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We Can Change Our Wicked Problems!

Climate Change

OK, so we might as well ease in with something big.  How about our planet and its ability support us? 

With all of our scientific explorations, using telescopes, space probes and all information we have ever gathered, there is only one place in the universe we have ever observed life:  our very own planet Earth.  It teems with life, in spectacular varieties, many of which we don’t even know about yet, or understand.

The U.S. has a vast and stunning wealth and diversity of natural resources, beauty and systems:  mountains, plains, deserts, forests, swamps, rivers, coasts and lakes.  When Europeans first arrived here, all of our environments and ecosystems were healthy.  Native Americans lived in harmony and balance with natural systems, with love and respect for them.  There was an astounding variety of plant and animal species, each with unique qualities and abilities, and interactions with others, and the whole.  The land, air and waters were clean and pure.  Earth’s vibrant life force expressed itself in myriad ways.

Almost immediately, U.S. settlers began pillaging and exploiting that natural wealth, and that has continued to this day.  Nature has been viewed as something to conquer, something to convert to worldly riches, advantages of some over others.  Competitively, those that take from nature faster profit more than those that take from nature slowly.  There’s been little thought to replacing what’s taken.

Vast forests have been cut down and burned or used up, eliminating not just sources of forest wood, but also countless interdependent living beings that made their homes and lives in those forests.  Forests are the Earth’s lungs and natural filter systems for cleaning the air we breathe, converting vast stores of carbon that warms our atmosphere into the oxygen that we and many other species need to survive.  That system of optimizing the content of the air we breathe and the temperature of the climate we live in was in balance.  Now, our air, lands and waters are generally no longer clean, and temperatures in our climate are rising from stuff we’ve released into the atmosphere, altering complex systems.

Greenhouse Gasses and Global Warming Climate Change

 

The Greenhouse effect is one of the key ways we’ve observed the Earth creating the conditions to support life as we know it.  It appears that the Earth has an atmosphere of gasses that stays around it, because of gravity and an electromagnetic shield generated by a spinning molten metal planet core.  Gravity keeps the atmosphere from just drifting off into space, and the magnetic shield keeps the atmosphere from being blown away, and us from getting overcooked by radiation from the sun.

Earth’s atmosphere consists of a mix of gasses.  Life on Earth has adapted and evolved to live in that mix, over very long periods of time.  We breathe that air to live.  If the composition of air changes too much, too fast, it no longer supports our lives.  We get sick and die, and so do other life forms.

The composition of that atmosphere also regulates the surface and air temperatures of the Earth.  Around the planet, space is very cold.  The Earth is warmed by the sun’s rays.  Some of those rays are reflected back to space from its surface.  Greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere prevent some of those reflected rays from leaving the atmosphere and disappearing into space.  They capture part of that heat, like glass in a greenhouse, keeping the planet at optimal temperatures to support life as we know it.

The composition of the atmosphere and the air we breathe is a product of everything they interact with.  It’s a product of balanced and harmonious interactions evolving over billions of years, including:  volcanoes spewing greenhouse gasses into the air that trap heat; trees inhaling the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2), exhaling oxygen into the atmosphere, and sinking CO2 into soils; animals inhaling oxygen, exhaling carbon dioxide and farting methane (another greenhouse gas); the sun’s radiation evaporating water into the atmosphere to trap heat as a greenhouse gas, until it releases and falls to the Earth as rain or other precipitation, moving water around the surface of the planet to support life, etc.

In this extraordinary and beautifully balanced, complex dance, arranged over billions of years, each part takes in something produced by others and gives back something used by others.  This give and take, this sharing and exchange, supports all of us here on Earth.  It creates conditions that allow us all to live.  Take from nature only what we need, and give back what we do not need, and all have plenty to live.  It’s miraculous how many beings it serves.  Humans didn’t create it.  We’re part of it.  It’s far greater than we are, something to observe with wonder and gratitude.  We are only beginning to understand it.

Carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, nitrous oxide (N2O), fluorinated gases and ozone are greenhouse gasses.  Human activities are putting far more of these than normal into this carefully balanced system, throwing off the balance.  We clear lands of forests, cutting their gifts of oxygen and sequestering carbon in soils.  Our industrial processes release far more CO2 and other chemicals in the air than the system’s used to.  We burn coal and other fossil fuels, releasing carbon captured and sequestered over billions of years into the atmosphere at much higher volumes than normal.  We overuse cattle for food, which release methane into the atmosphere at higher volumes than usual.  We mismanage lands, depleting soils and reducing volumes of plants that pull carbon from the air.  We release chemicals into the atmosphere that harm atmospheric effects and poison us and other life. 

A big and urgent problem associated with our abuse of our environments is climate change.  By now, most have heard about that.  In summary, at this point, some 97% of regularly publishing scientists in the world agree that human activities are changing the atmospheric mix and warming the planet, and more than 200 major and respected agencies studying the matter agree, including the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, NASA, NOAA, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Chemical Society, American Geophysical Union, American Medical Association, American Physical Society, Geological Society of America, and U.S. Global Change Research Program.[1] “Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.”[2]  We’re 99.999% sure humans cause it.[3]  It looks like this on a graph.[4]  Clearly, something big’s happening.  2018 had the highest greenhouse gas emissions ever, like each year since most of us have been alive.[5]

 

Scientists estimate, by 2100, from 1880 preindustrial levels, average global temperatures will increase:  4.5° Celsius (8.1° Fahrenheit) if countries do nothing to change emissions; 3.5°C (6.3°F) if we follow current policies to change; 2.9°C (5.2°F) if we follow current pledges to change; but to avoid catastrophic climate changes, we need to keep global temperature increases below 1.5°C (2.7°F).  Globally, in 2018, CO2 emissions reached another all-time high, and concentrations not seen for 3 million years.[6] [7] [8]

Current Impacts of Global Warming

 

Global temperature rise - Earth's average surface temperature has already risen 0.9°C (1.6°F) from preindustrial levels, with all five warmest years on record since 2010; the four warmest since 2015, averaging 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels already, out of 1.5° to avoid catastrophic changes.[9]  

 

Warming oceans - Oceans have absorbed 93% of increased heat, so far,[10] with the top 700 meters (2,300’) warming more than 0.2°C (0.4°F) since 1969, and each year is a new record high now.

Shrinking continental ice sheets – On average, Greenland lost 281 billion tons, [11]  Antarctica 119 billion tons of ice per year from 1993 to 2016.  Antarctica’s ice mass loss rate has tripled in the last decade.  The Arctics have been warmer over the last 5 years than at any time since records began in 1900, and they are warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet.  (Oh, sheet!)

 

Glacial retreats - Glaciers are melting and losing volume almost everywhere around the world, including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and Africa.

Decreased snow cover - Northern Hemisphere snow cover has decreased, and it’s melting earlier.

 

Sea level rise - Global sea level rose about 20cm (8 inches) in the last 100 years.  In the last two decades, it rose nearly twice as fast as during last 100 years, and it’s accelerating every year.

Declining arctic sea ice - Both coverage and thickness of sea ice has declined rapidly in recent decades.  The five warmest years on records in the arctics are the 5 in a row starting in 2014.[12]

Extreme events - In the U.S., record high temperatures, storms and massive wildfires are increasing.[13]  The U.S. just had its wettest year on record.[14]  A billion U.S. acres are at risk for catastrophic wildfires.[15]

Ocean acidification - Acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30%, and the amount of CO2 absorbed by the upper layer of the oceans is increasing by about 2 billion tons per year.[16] [17]

 

Thawing permafrost – Happening 70 years sooner than predicted in current models, this releases methane and other greenhouse gases previously trapped in the ground, accelerating climate change.[18]

 

Climate change and health effects of burning fossil fuels are estimated to have already cost the U.S. $240 billion per year in the 10 years until 2017.  In 2017, 3 major hurricanes and 76 wildfires in 9 western states cost $300 billion (enough money to provide free tuition for the 13.5 million U.S. students enrolled in public colleges and universities for 4 years).  These costs are estimated at $360 billion per year over the next decade (31% of FADS).[19]  In other words climate change is already costing the U.S. about a third of what the Federal Government has discretion to decide how to spend in a year.  

 

Try this simple experiment:  ask yourself and others if the local weather you are used to has changed. Anecdotally, most people everywhere will agree that their local weather patterns have already changed.  Climate change is real, and we can already experience it in our personal lives and neighborhoods.

 

Predicted Impacts

 

Predictions for how these climate changes will result in changes to the environments we live in include: 

  • Temperatures will continue to rise, generally making it hotter in most places.

  • Precipitation patterns, frost and growing seasons change, with more droughts and heat waves.

  • Hurricanes, storms and wildfires will be more frequent and intense, and sea levels will rise.

  • Infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries and ecosystems will be increasingly compromised.

  • Changes in the timing of stream flows will reduce water supplies for competing demands.

  • Increasing wildfire, insect outbreaks and tree diseases will cause widespread tree die-offs.

  • Extreme heat will affect health, energy, agriculture and more.[20] [21]

  • A fraction of companies estimated climate change costs to their operations of $1 trillion.[22]

Those are conservative predictions, more of what’s already happening, if we try to slow climate change.  If we do less to change, more frightening predictions of impacts from climate change include:

  • Deserts will expand and emerge in places they’re not today, making land unusable to us.

  • Water sources will disappear, harming agriculture and incenting mass migrations.

  • Arctic ice shelves will collapse into the seas, causing huge sea rises, inundating all coastal cities.

  • Forests will be devastated from insect invasions, diseases and fires, accelerating problems.

  • Insurance systems will collapse because of losses from storms, floods, fires and disasters.

  • Industries and businesses will fail, and economies and political and social systems will collapse.

  • Millions will starve and die of thirst and hunger, because of food and water shortages.

  • Millions will die in wars fought over water, food and land that is still useful to humans.

  • Diseases will spread and kill millions as environmental conditions change.

  • Billions of humans and other life forms will perish prematurely, including a million extinctions.[23]

 

These are catastrophic changes.  Common sense says we are stupid to do this.  Right?

Let’s look at one a little closer.  If greenhouse gas emissions are not severely curtailed, sea levels rise is expected to flood 300,000 U.S. coastal homes every two weeks, collectively worth $120 billion by 2045 (10% of FADS), inflicting huge financial and emotional tolls on half a million people who live in them.[24] 

However, on our current emissions trajectory, “West Antarctica goes, that’s 10 feet of sea-level rise… add in ice loss from Greenland… East Antarctica and other sources, you quickly get to 15 to 20 feet…   15-to-20 feet of sea-level rise in the next 70 or so years looks like… the permanent drowning of virtually every major coastal city in the world.  Miami, New Orleans, large parts of Boston and New York City and Silicon Valley, not to mention Shanghai, Jakarta, Ho Chi Min City, Lagos, Mumbai — all gone...[25]  Whoa.

Crisis Response by the U.S. Government

October 2018, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report and warning that humanity has only a little more than a decade to radically change its behaviors that are increasing global warming to keep the rise in global temperatures from pre-industrial levels below 1.5° C (2.7° F). 

“There is no documented historic precedent" for the scale of huge changes to transportation, energy and other systems required.  Otherwise, it’s too late. [26]  15,000 scientists from 184 countries called it our last chance to really do something about global warming before big catastrophic change is irreversible.[27]  The current U.S. administration released an analysis assuming about 4°C (7.2°F) of average global temperature increase by 2100 if the world takes no action.[28]  That is an extremely urgent call to action.

OK, wow, that’s scary!  We gotta do something, right?  78% of US citizens realize climate change is already affecting the weather;[29] almost 7 in 10 support U.S. involvement in the Paris Agreement; and almost 80% want to tax or regulate global warming pollution.[30]  In 2018, global warming and climate change is the #9 biggest fear of people in the U.S., and 5 of the top 10 big fears are environmental.[31]

The Paris Agreement,[32] negotiated through the United Nations, was reached after years of research and discussions and is the greatest global commitment to changing human behaviors and actions to meet the challenges of global climate change, and limit the global rise in temperature attributed to emissions.  Syria and Nicaragua are the only nations that didn’t sign, agreeing to:

  • Keep global temperatures "well below" 2°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial times and "endeavour to limit" them even more, to 1.5°C

  • Limit amounts of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity to the same levels that trees, soil and oceans can absorb naturally, beginning at some point between 2050 and 2100

  • Review each country's contribution to cutting emissions every 5 years, so all scale up to the challenge

  • Enable rich countries to help poorer nations by providing "climate finance" to adapt to climate change and switch to renewable energy[33]

So, how is the U.S., “the greatest nation on Earth”, responding to meet perhaps the greatest challenge to humanity ever known?  The U.S. is withdrawing, all by itself, from the Paris Climate Agreement.[34]

The President[35] and his VP deny and joke[36] about global warming, as do 130 members of Congress,[37] and key appointees in the Executive branch, like:  the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Secretary, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Homeland Security Secretary, Attorney General, Interior Secretary, Housing & Urban Development Secretary, Agriculture Secretary, CIA Director and Small Business Administration head.[38]  They say it isn’t real.  They don’t believe in it.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was staffed with climate change deniers to dismantle regulations, had its budget cut 20%,[39] and removed website resources helping local governments address climate change;[40] the Center for Disease Control (CDC) was forbidden to use certain words;[41] government prevents its scientists from presenting climate change research;[42]  it repealed the Clean Power Plan to reduce power production greenhouse gases; [43] and headed the Department of Energy with a climate change denier with conflicts of interest who wants to eliminate the agency.[44]  The President of the U.S. removed climate change from the Whitehouse website shortly after taking office.[45]

The official U.S. government approach seems to be to bury our heads in the sand, deny climate change, and proceed as quickly as possible empowering and easing efforts which contribute to global warming?  U.S. news agencies’ “fair and balanced” reporting give equal time to views of almost all informed experts saying global climate change is real and devastatingly important, and views of those who deny climate change based on not liking what that means for entrenched personal interests?[46]  Ignore that 16 of the 17 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000, and 2016 was the hottest on record?[47]

“Under the (current) administration, the U.S. has no plans to try and cut its carbon pollution, and in fact the administration has been taking every possible step to undo established climate policies and increase pollution from the coal and oil industries.”[48]  It has trashed at least 78 environmental rules, including:  ending methane emission limits on federal lands and other methane reporting requirements; loosening limits on industrial polluters; allowing hydrofluorocarbon use; ending social costs of carbon calculations; allowing federal land coal leases, ending water pollution regulations for fracking on U.S. and Native land; ending the goal of cutting U.S. government greenhouse gas emissions 40% in 10 years; constraining Interior Department environmental studies to 1 year and 150 page; eliminating flood building standards; stopping payments to the U.N. Green Climate Fund to help poorer countries reduce CO2 emissions; approving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, ending oil drill bans in the Atlantic and arctics,[49] and undoing the U.S.’ most important clean energy rule.[50] The current administration announced a National Security Strategy  which removed climate change from the list of national security threats, instead focusing on threats from economic competition and border security.[51] 

A study concluded “that limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures would save more than $20tn as compared to a temperature of 2°C.  The carbon pollution cuts needed to achieve the 1.5°C target would cost about $300bn more than efforts to meet 2°C.  In other words, the economic benefits of the more aggressive target would outweigh its costs by a factor of about 70-to-1.”  So, that investment is a total no-brainer from the perspective of society. The U.S. government responded by:

  • Reducing Fuel Efficiency Standards – set in 2012 that would double vehicle gas mileage by 2025, and trying to strip California of its legal right to set its own standards.  Transportation emissions are the largest man-made source of carbon dioxide in the U.S., and this rollback could mean annual carbon increases greater than the combined emissions of 82% of the countries on Earth.

  • Making It Easier to Burn Coal and Gas for Energy – by rolling back 76 regulations by 2018, most importantly, the Clean Power Plan, the first federal limits on pollution from coal- and gas-fired power plants, which was trying to reduce energy grid carbon emissions 32% below 2005 levels, and is essential to meeting the U.S. commitment to the Paris Agreement. 

  • Unleashing Other Greenhouse Gases – by killing regulations that force oil and gas operators to reduce leaks of methane, a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2 and the 2nd-largest source of U.S. industrial greenhouse-gas emissions, producing 380,000 more tons of pollution, the equivalent of 2.6 million cars, and by trying to reduce regulations on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) from air conditioners, refrigerators and aerosols, a “superpollutant” so powerful it alone could cause a 1/2°C of warming by 2100, single-handedly making the Paris Agreement fail.

  • Producing More Fossil Fuels – in the name of “energy dominance,” by tearing down regulations and exploring for more fossil fuels.  In 2017, the government offered 12 million acres of public land for oil and gas leasing, a 500% increase from the year before, including the largest oil-and-gas-lease auction ever, for 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico.

  • Hurting Green Energy – by establishing tariffs on solar panel imports,[52] among other things.

A 2018 congressionally mandated report by 300 scientists and experts in 13 federal agencies projects costs of $141 billion from heat-related deaths, $118 billion from sea level rise, $32 billion from damage to infrastructure, and U.S. GDP down 10%, triggering an economic crisis twice as bad as the Great Recession by 2100.[53]  That’s $2.3 trillion a year, 198% of FADS, twice what the Federal Government has discretion to spend annually in climate change losses every year by 2100.  That’s big harms done, right?

The U.S. President tried to bury the report by having it released on Black Friday,[54] said it was produced by a “deep state” conspiracy to undermine him personally,[55] denied facts in the report and said he didn’t believe it.[56]  He has since created an effort to formulate an alternate explanation for global warming headed by non-scientists.[57]  Meanwhile, big business spends millions to block climate change action.[58]

Need for Change to Slow Global Warming

How does it feel to hear and understand this, and where do those feelings come from?  Some feel fear of big harm from climate change impacts, to us and our loved ones, causing some to not have children.  Some fear loss of benefits from fossil fuel uses if we try to change.  Some have anger at those most responsible for this, and able to do something about it, apparently being unwilling to change.  Many have anxiety about the many unknowns associated with this.  How does it make you feel, and why?

Many of us experience cognitive dissonance, our brains kind of short out, and we can’t process the true magnitude of these dangers, or we can’t process the fact that we will have to give up the investments we’ve made in fossil fuels and benefits we realize from them, and we go into denial or try to ignore it.  Some of us are motivated by this challenge and want to rise up and meet it head on.  We can do it!

 

So, let’s try to apply common sense to this.  Our very best, informed, professional scientists, who we trust in other things, studying this issue to the best of their abilities, that are the best among us for this, almost unanimously agree that we have a big problem, probably the biggest ever faced by humanity.  We’re creating the problem.  We must stop, or there will be catastrophic harm done.  We respond not only by ignoring, but by denying the problem, ending our participation in working to solve the problem, sabotaging those trying to solve the problem, and actively promoting what causes the problem. 

That doesn’t make sense.  If we’re wrong about this and take action to change, no real harm is done.  The economy’s stimulated, we create new livelihoods, and we greatly reduce pollution, which is healthy.  If we’re right about this problem and do not take action to change, we’re seriously hosed.  Act!  Duh.

This is probably the greatest issue and challenge of any of our lifetimes.  It’s frightening to realize how dangerous this is, and how much this could harm our lives, societies, environments and other species.  These changes are coming unless we do something to prevent it.  Yet, we deny it and do almost nothing. 

The climate change problem is largely created by burning fossil fuels, which have sequestered carbon in the Earth over millions of years, and the U.S., maybe more than any other nation, promotes and exploits extracting, burning and consuming fossil fuels.  That’s provided cheap energy, counting only money paid for that energy, and that energy has fueled explosive growth and created many human advantages in transportation, heating, electricity, production, agriculture and other areas.  OK, we did it.  It was good?

However, that energy isn’t as cheap as it seems, if external costs to the environment are accounted for.  Add costs of the death and illness of millions of humans and other species.  What does it cost to fix that?  Add costs of cleaning the atmosphere.  What does it cost to fix that?  Add costs of cleaning the oceans, rivers, lakes and lands.  What does it cost to fix that?  Add costs of property and entire cities lost to rising seas.  Add costs of forests lost.  Add costs of farmlands lost to deserts, costs of roads and wars... 

Actually, the costs of fossil fuel consumption are very high, and most of those costs have accumulated as debt to be paid by the public, nature and by future generations.  Fossil fuel burning has produced about 3/4 of the increase in CO2 from human activity over the past 20 years.[59]  We need to get off of that stuff.

What do you think?  Does it make sense to rally and try to change our ways and stop contributing to this frightening future, when the only downside if we’re wrong is we have clean energy and green practices, and had to make these changes a few decades before we were going to run out of fossil fuels anyway?  Or should we just sit around doing nothing, hoping somebody else does something, being freaked out? 

It seems unlikely it will work to expect others to change and solve this problem.  We sit and hope some gearhead will invent a technical solution to fix this, like a recent experiment testing injection of particles in the atmosphere to stimulate global cooling, as when volcanic eruptions spew tons of dust in the air.[60]  What are the chances of that messing something up?  Why would we rather resort to something like that than just stop putting greenhouse gasses in the air?  No matter what, we will change.  Each of us.  We change in reaction to harms arriving, or we change to prevent them.  Negative or positive change?

Fixing this problem requires change from each of us.  If we want this to get better, we can’t just keep driving around in combustion engine cars, consuming foods and goods transported from afar, spacing out on our electronic gizmos, consuming dirty energy, earning our livings doing things that produce environmental harms, blaming others, eating meat most meals, consuming plastics, being afraid... 

If we were able to work together with government, there are many things we could do to address this:  ending fossil fuel subsidies, taxing carbon emissions, increasing taxes for fossil fuels and meat, and investing that money in energy efficiency, clean energy, sustainable foods and public transportation.  Changing agricultural practices, raising fuel efficiency standards, incenting local products and services, redesigning spaces to reduce the needs to travel, building bicycle and pedestrian pathway networks, subsidizing green buildings and energy, standardizing and reusing packaging aren’t that hard to do.  Together, we built all our existing systems.  We can build new and better, clean and sustainable systems.

But what do we do when our government is corrupt and unresponsive and doing exactly the opposite? 

We can each personally do things like: 

  • care about this, share information about this, and take personal action to change;

  • write letters about this problem, to government, news organizations and polluters;

  • reduce or stop personal use of internal combustion engines and fossil fuels;

  • stop heating and cooking with coal, oils, gas and fires, directly or indirectly;

  • use only energy produced from renewable sources;

  • consume foods, drinks and goods that are sourced locally instead of transported long distances;

  • plant far more trees than we cut down, and preserve old-growth forests;

  • restore wildlands and set aside more lands for nature ecosystem services;

  • endeavor to improve education, government and family planning;

  • use more natural products, and stop using plastics and other synthetics from oil;

  • eat more organic plant-based foods and less meat; choose sustainable practices in everything; and take our citizen’s responsibility of voting seriously. 

Get a loan to finance energy efficiency, solar, wind or other clean energy systems on your property, which is easy since it’s secured by the property and investments.  Forget about return on investment!  Finance it so monthly payments for clean energy are the same as current payments for dirty energy.  Then, who cares how long it takes to pay back?  You get clean energy and energy independence now!  Once it’s paid off, you get free energy!  Use that system to charge electric vehicles!  It’s a no-brainer.  Convince your landlord if you rent!  It’ll feel so good being part of the solution, rather than the problem!

We do not have to wait for anyone or anything else to start doing these kinds of things in our own lives.  We each have the power to change.  Let’s each start making changes like these ourselves, now!  Change!  That’s common sense, right?  Support those making positive changes, not those doing harm!

 
 
 
 
 

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Endnotes

 

[1] “Scientific consensus”: Earth's climate is warming,” Global Climate Change:  Scientific Consensus:  Facts, NASA, https://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/

[2] Global Climate Change:  Facts, Evidence, NASA, https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

[3] “Scientists Are 99.9999 Percent Sure Humans Caused Climate Change: "The narrative out there that scientists don’t know the cause of climate change is wrong. We do.", Dan Robitzski, Futurism, February 26th 2019, https://futurism.com/climate-change-caused-humans/

[4] Global Climate Change:  Facts, Evidence, NASA, https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

[5] “‘We are in trouble.’ Global carbon emissions reached a record high in 2018”, Brady Dennis and Chris Mooney, December 5, 2018, The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/?utm_term=.b63439a8c447

[6] “‘We are in trouble.’ Global carbon emissions reached a record high in 2018”, Brady Dennis and Chris Mooney, December 5, 2018, The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/?utm_term=.b63439a8c447

[7] “Climate change: Where we are in seven charts and what you can do to help”, BBC News, December 2, 2018, https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46384067

[8] “Carbon Dioxide Concentration in the Earth's Atmosphere Has Hit Levels Unseen for 3 Million Years”, Ciara Nugent, Time, May 14, 2019, http://time.com/5588794/carbon-dioxide-earth-climate-change/

[9] “2018 was Earth's fourth-warmest year, EU scientists find “, Andrew Freedman, Axios, January 7, 2019, https://www.axios.com/2018-fourth-warmest-year-climate-change-ad16eae9-bc9c-4dab-b8db-0f387017a5ac.html

[10] “Ocean Warming Is Accelerating Faster Than Thought, New Research Finds”, Kendra Pierre-Louis, The New York Times, January 10, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/10/climate/ocean-warming-climate-change.html

[11] “What Greenland's 'unprecedented' ice loss means for Earth: The ice sheet is melting faster than in the last 350 years—and driving sea levels up around the world.”, Alejandra Borunda, National Geographic, December 5, 2018, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/12/greenland-ice-sheet-is-melting-faster-than-in-the-last-350-years/

[12] “Warming in Arctic Raises Fears of a ‘Rapid Unraveling’ of the Region”, John Schwartz and Henry Fountain, The New York Times, December 11, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/11/climate/arctic-warming.html

[13] “Climate change was behind 15 weather disasters in 2017”,Sarah Kaplan and Angela Fritz, The Washington Post, December 10, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2018/12/10/climate-change-was-behind-weather-disasters/?utm_term=.130dc8e79913

[14] “The continental US just had the wettest 12 months in the 124 years on record”, Paul P. Murphy and Judson Jones, CNN, May 30, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/30/us/wettest-12-months-continental-us-wxc-trnd/index.html

[15] “1 Billion Acres At Risk For Catastrophic Wildfires, U.S. Forest Service Warns”, Kirk Siegler, NPR, June 5, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/06/05/729720938/1-billion-acres-at-risk-for-catastrophic-wildfires-u-s-forest-service-warns

[16] Global Climate Change:  Facts, Evidence, NASA, https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

[17] “Warming in Arctic Raises Fears of a ‘Rapid Unraveling’ of the Region”, John Schwartz and Henry Fountain, December 11, 2018, The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/11/climate/arctic-warming.html

[18] “Canada's Permafrost Is Thawing 70 Years Earlier Than Expected, Study Shows. Scientists Are 'Quite Surprised'”, Nadia Suleman, Time, June 19, 2019, https://time.com/5610084/canadas-permafrost-thawing-surprising/

[19] “Hidden Costs of Climate Change Running Hundreds of Billions a Year”, Stephen Leahy, September 27, 2017, National Geographic, https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/09/climate-change-costs-us-economy-billions-report/

[20] “How climate is changing,” Global Climate Change:  Facts, Effects, NASA, https://climate.nasa.gov/effects/  

[21i] “We broke down what climate change will do, region by region: Yeah, we read each chapter of the National Climate Assessment so you don't have to.”, Grist staff, Grist, November 29, 2018, https://grist.org/article/we-broke-down-what-climate-change-will-do-region-by-region/?fbclid=IwAR2-URWo1s6V0CiaGLrarEpXA18-le6zoXWgnVB8UlUeHlDx1dquFHeuqpU

[22] “The world’s biggest companies could lose over $1 trillion to climate change: And that’s only considering a fraction of big companies, including Apple and Microsoft, that reported risks–the real costs they face will probably be much higher.”, Adele Peters, Fast Company, June 6, 2019, https://www.fastcompany.com/90359630/the-worlds-biggest-companies-will-lose-over-1-trillion-to-climate-change

[23] “Nature crisis: Humans 'threaten 1m species with extinction'”,  Matt McGrath, BBC, May 6, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-48169783

[24] “Flooding from sea level rise threatens over 300,000 US coastal homes – study”

Oliver Milman, 18 Jun 2018, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jun/17/sea-level-rise-impact-us-coastal-homes-study-climate-change

[25] “What’s Another Way to Say ‘We’re F-cked’?” Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone, October 12, 2018, https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/climate-change-sea-level-rise-737012/

[26] “Global Warming of 1.5 °C”, United Nations, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, October 8, 2018, http://report.ipcc.ch/sr15/pdf/sr15_spm_final.pdf

[27] “How to Save Humanity:  15,000 Scientists Urge Action Before ‘Vast Human Misery’ Takes Over”, Sydney Pereira, November 13, 2017, Newsweek, http://www.newsweek.com/how-save-humanity-15000-scientists-urge-action-vast-human-misery-takes-over-709403

[28] “The world has just over a decade to get climate change under control, U.N. scientists say”, Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis, October 7, 2018, The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/energy-environment/2018/10/08/world-has-only-years-get-climate-change-under-control-un-scientists-say/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.abaf76ede515

[29] “8 percent of Americans recently changed their minds on climate. What gives?”, Kate Yoder, Grist, January 16, 2019, https://grist.org/article/8-percent-of-americans-recently-changed-their-minds-on-climate-what-gives/

[30] “2016 was the hottest year on record – again”, Brandon Miller, CNN, January 18, 2017, CNN, http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/18/world/2016-hottest-year/index.html

[31] “America’s Top Fears 2018:  Chapman University Survey of American Fears”, October 16, 2018, https://blogs.chapman.edu/wilkinson/2018/10/16/americas-top-fears-2018/

[32] https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement

[33] “US notifies UN of Paris climate deal pullout”

August 5, 2017, BBC News, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40829987

[34] “US notifies UN of Paris climate deal pullout”, August 5, 2017, BBC News, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40829987

[35] “Donald Trump doesn't think much of climate change, in 20 quotes”, Chris Cillizza, CNN, August 8, 2017, https://www.cnn.com/2017/08/08/politics/trump-global-warming/index.html

[36] “Donald Trump Tells Global Warming to ‘Come Back Fast, We Need You’ During Current Cold Snap”, Scott McDonald, Newsweek, January 29, 2019, https://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-tells-global-warming-come-back-fast-we-need-you-during-current-1308810

[37]“These are the 130 current members of Congress who have doubted or denied climate change”, Ellen Cranley, Business Insider, April 29, 2019, https://www.businessinsider.com/climate-change-and-republicans-congress-global-warming-2019-2

[38] “Climate change skeptics run the Trump administration”, Emily Holden, March 7, 2018, Politico, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/03/07/trump-climate-change-deniers-443533

[39] “E.P.A. Head Stacks Agency With Climate Change Skeptics”, Coral Davenport, March 7, 2017, New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/07/us/politics/scott-pruitt-environmental-protection-agency.html

[40] “E.P.A. Scrubs a Climate Website of ‘Climate Change’”, Lisa Friedman, October 20, 2017, The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/20/climate/epa-climate-change.html

[41] “CDC gets list of forbidden words: Fetus, transgender, diversity”, Lena H. Sun, Juliet Eilperin, December 15, 2017, The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/cdc-gets-list-of-forbidden-words-fetus-transgender-diversity/2017/12/15/f503837a-e1cf-11e7-89e8-edec16379010_story.html?utm_term=.d846544013c1

[42] “‘Let us do our job’: Anger erupts over EPA’s apparent muzzling of scientists”, Brady Dennis, Juliet Eilperin, October 23, 2017, The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/10/23/let-us-do-our-job-anger-erupts-over-epas-muzzling-of-scientists/?utm_term=.8f25c185b97a

[43] “Trump’s EPA Repeals a Landmark Obama Climate Rule” Robinson Meyer, October 9, 2017, The Atlantic, https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/10/the-trump-administration-repeals-obamas-central-climate-rule/542403/

[44] “8 Reasons To Worry About Rick Perry Running The Department Of Energy”, Dominique Mosbergen, January 16, 2017, The Huffington Post, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/rick-perry-department-of-energy_us_587721a0e4b092a6cae559d6

[45] “Unraveling Trump’s Toxic Agenda”, Phoebe Neidl and Andrea Marks, Rolling Stone, October 19, 2018, https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/donald-trump-environmenal-agenda-738964/

[46] “Fox News Is Desperately Trying to Convince Us Climate Science Isn’t Real: A bombshell new study written by 400 scientists found that up to one million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction. Trump’s favorite network isn’t buying it”, Ryan Bort, Rolling Stone, May 7, 2019, https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/fox-news-climate-science-isnt-real-832294/

[47] “2016 was the hottest year on record – again”, Brandon Miller, CNN, January 18, 2017, CNN, http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/18/world/2016-hottest-year/index.html

[48] “Trump administration refuses to consider that 97% of climate scientists could be right: Even though smart climate policies could save tens of trillions of dollars”

Dana Nuccitelli, 29 May 2018, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/may/29/trump-administration-refuses-to-consider-that-97-of-climate-scientists-could-be-right

[49] “78 Environmental Rules on the Way Out Under Trump”, Nadja Popovich, Livia Albeck-Ripka and Kendra Pierre-Louis, New York Times, Updated December 28, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/05/climate/trump-environment-rules-reversed.html

[50] “Trump rolls back Obama’s biggest climate rule”, Alex Guillen, Politico, June 19, 2019, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/06/19/trump-coal-climate-rule-1539616?cid=apn

[51] “Here’s What the Experts Make of Trump Removing Climate Change from the National Security Strategy”

Patrick Caughill December 28th 2017, Futurism, https://futurism.com/experts-make-trump-removing-climate-change-from-national-security-strategy

[52] “Unraveling Trump’s Toxic Agenda”, Phoebe Neidl and Andrea Marks, Rolling Stone, October 19, 2018, https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/donald-trump-environmenal-agenda-738964/

[53] “Climate Change Will Cost Taxpayers Billions In Near Future, Federal Report Shows:  By 2100, the country’s GDP could shrink by 10 percent, triggering an economic crisis twice as damaging as the Great Recession”, Meilan Solly, Smithsonian.com, November 26, 2018, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/new-report-offers-stark-assessment-climate-changes-impact-us-180970885/

[54] “US tries to bury report on climate change’s dire health, economic impacts:  Release schedule changed at the last minute”, Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, November 26, 2018, https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/11/latest-dire-us-climate-report-was-pushed-out-on-black-friday/

[55] “Trump Administration’s Strategy on Climate: Try to Bury Its Own Scientific Report”, Coral Davenport, The New York Times, November 25, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/25/climate/trump-climate-report.html

[56] “Trump: 'I don't believe' climate change report by 300 scientists and experts”, CNN, November 26, 2018, https://edition.cnn.com/videos/tv/2018/11/26/lead-pamela-brown-dnt-trump-ignoring-everything-jake-tapper.cnn

[57] “Donald Trump is using Stalinist tactics to discredit climate science: A panel to promote an alternative explanation for climate change would be disastrous. Yet that’s what White House officials want”, Michael Mann and Bob Ward, The Guardian, March 20, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/mar/20/donald-trump-stalinist-techniques-climate-science

[58] “Oil And Gas Giants Spend Millions Lobbying To Block Climate Change Policies [Infographic]”, Niall McCarthy, Forbes, March 25, 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2019/03/25/oil-and-gas-giants-spend-millions-lobbying-to-block-climate-change-policies-infographic/#a8d5edc7c4fb

[59] Global Change & Energy Policy, Jon Schiller, p 143, CreateSpace, 2010, ISBN 145053340X, 9781450533409,

[60] “Harvard Scientists Are Really Launching a Sun-Blocking Geoengineering Experiment”, Avery Thompson, BBC News, December 5, 2018, https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/a25401599/harvard-stratosphere-particulates-geoengineering/

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