Geologists generally agree that the Earth is in a warming cycle that will last about another 10,000 years. The cycle between Ice Ages is about 40,000 years...with the last one ending about 10,000 years ago. So it's all just a normal part of our planet warming and cooling as it's done for millions of years. Every few years, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change puts out a report on the state of the earth and if it's getting hotter or cooler and then try to give explanations as to why. in 2001, the panel was 66 percent sure that humans were at least partially to blame for the recent spike in warning. In 2007 they were 90 percent sure. Last Friday, they were 95 percent sure that mankind was at least 50 percent responsible for the extreme changes we've seen in the past century. We're not talkiing about a couple science nerds. We're talking about 1000 researchers....whose work was then reviewed by 1000 scientists. They are not saying that mankind is solely responsible for the latest warming trends...they're just saying that since the Industrial Revolution, our outputs have accellerated the earth's normal warming cycle. It's pretty simple stuff, people. Over the course of a century, the Earth should warm by about 0.6 degrees but it's actually warmed by more than 1 full degee since the mid-50s. By the end of this century, it could be more than 3 degrees hotter. I won't get into all the science, but extreme changes like these will lead to extreme changes in weather. Summers may be hotter....but Winters may also be more extreme as well. After seeing the Arctic ice sheet melt for the past few years, it grew back this year...and then some.
A new report that came out last week, that had nothing to do with warming or coolling, said the Earth will be around supporting life for at least the next 1.75 million years. Considering the planet has been around for 4.54 BILLION years....that's a little more than a blink of an eye. So the few degrees we're talking about won't lead to massive extinction, but it will lead to big changes. Shorelines will change...some islands may disappear (as they already have in the Chesapeake)....some species won't survive the loss of their habitats and food sources. Of course, we won't be around to see most of this....but our grandchildren will be. The maps they're looking at right now will be vastly different from the maps they look at when they're in their 90s.
The one thing I wish we could do, is look at this subject as a pure science report....which it is....instead of a poltical football...which is what it's become. Admittedly, it became that way because Al Gore, Michael Moore and others pushed the issue...and when you have political polarizing figures such as those one one side of an issue, you know the other side is going to push back....and viola, it becomes political. Just look at the science. Look past politics....for a change.
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