The US has been bedeviled by a series of freak weather conditions, from stifling heat waves, to uncontrollable wildfires, to devastating droughts – and, say the UN’s body of climate scientists, it’s our fault.
Christopher Field, a leading scientist with the IPCC and director of global ecology at the Carnegie Institute for Science, told US Congress on Wednesday, during the first congressional hearing on climate change in two years, that the links between man-made climate change and extreme weather are clear.
“There is no doubt that climate has changed,” he told the Environmental and Public Works committee, according to The Guardian. “There is also no doubt that a changing climate changes the risks of extremes, including extremes that can lead to disaster.”
Now, does anyone believe him?
Palm trees flourished in Antarctica 55 million years ago – and could do so again, if carbon dioxide levels continue to rise, scientists from the University of Glasgow suggested in a study published in the journal Nature.
Congressional Republicans dismiss IPCC’s claims
Hope that major world powers such as the US would work towards dealing with climate change was high at President Barack Obama’s election but that has since died, The Guardian reported, as it is “universally acknowledged there was no prospect of moving climate change legislation through Congress.” One of Congress’s most prominent climate change deniers, Republican Senator Jim Inhofe, declared, “The global warming movement has completely collapsed.”
Alabama scientist dismisses IPCC’s claims
In a YouTube clip posted by Senator Inhofe’s office, Dr. John Christy, Alabama’s State Climatologist, Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville testified before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works that the recent heatwaves in America were not related to climate change. Watts Up With That, climate change skeptic blog run by meteorologist Anthony Watts, picked up the clip and posted Christy’s comment: “Now, it gives some people great comfort to offer a quick and easy answer when the weather strays from the average rather than to struggle with the real truth, which is, we don’t know enough about the climate to even predict events like this… The recent anomalous weather can’t be blamed on carbon dioxide.”
Why is London Mayor Boris Johnson promoting climate change sceptics? asks Bob Ward at The New Statesman, after Johnson chose Dr. Matt Ridley, a man who opposes most forms of renewable energy and believes that climate change has had and will have little impact on the UK.
Climate change? What climate change?
James Delingpole, libertarian conservative blogger for The Telegraph and climate change denier, obviously disagrees with the IPCC’s claims. In response to a news piece the noted that 97 percent of Greenland’s ice sheet experienced melting this summer, Delingpole, who does not hold a degree in climate science or related field, cited his own anti-climate change book, Watermelons, as a “must read”, and declared, “Catastrophic Man Made Global Warming is a hoax.” He also suggested that any time you read anything on the BBC or similar media outlet regarding climate change, “Treat it with about as much respect as you would a report from North Korea radio telling you that this year’s bumper grain harvest has been more gloriously plentiful than ever before and that workers are now at severe risk of expiring due to an excess of nourishment, plenitude and joy.”
Conversion of a sceptic
But Richard Muller, a professor of physics at the University of California Berkeley, is convinced. Writing at The New York Times ahead of the Congressional hearing, Muller said, “Call me a converted skeptic… Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.” Muller claimed that his turnaround is entirely the result of analyzing the findings of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, which he co-founded with this daughter and which determined that the earth has warmed 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 250 years. That rise is attributable to human emission of greenhouse gases.
More on climate change
- Climate change probably man-made, freak weather to continue
- Waldo Canyon fire: Thousands evacuated, but this won’t be the last “super-fire”
- Climate change is making plants and animals shrink