Sunday, March 7, 2010

"The science is solid"

My local newspaper, the Houston Chronicle, had an op-ed piece today that is sure to bring out the global warming deniers, of whom there are an abundance in the Chronicle's readership. The piece was authored by scientists from several of Texas' preeminent universities, namely Texas A&M, University of Texas, Rice University, and Texas Tech. All of them are specialists in atmospheric science or environmental sciences, so one can assume that they have some expertise in this area. I'm sure that won't stop their critics.

The bottom line conclusion of these scientists is that the science on global warming is essentially settled: The earth is warming and humans are a very large contributing factor in that warming, especially in the unnatural speed with which it is taking place. They point out that satellite measurements show that the first decade of this century was the warmest since records have been kept. The next warmest was the 1990s and then the 1980s. Do we see a trend developing here?

They also point out that in spite of all the shouting by Sen. Inhofe and his ilk about the record snowfalls on the East Coast this winter, in fact, worldwide, January 2010 was one of the hottest for that period. They also point to a recent federal report "Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States" which was commissioned by the Bush administration in 2008. This report details how rising sea levels threaten our coasts and how weather variability, including drought, heavy rainfall events and, yes, more severe winter storms are affecting our infrastructure, energy, and even our health.

Of course, all of this reasoned analysis by these eminent scientists will not change one mind among the deniers, because, frankly, they are not swayed by reason. But perhaps it will help nudge those who accept that the global warming phenomenon is real to move a little faster in trying to counteract its deleterious effects. At least, we can hope.

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