By C. Forbes Tompkins, Kelly Levin and Noah Kaufman
During the recent confirmation hearings of President Trump's cabinet nominees, a familiar pattern has emerged. Many of them have acknowledged that climate change is happening, but each has then sowed doubt by either understating the connection between human activity and climate change or by suggesting that there's too much uncertainty to act. The overall effect of these statements is to confuse or stall progress.
Doomsday Clock Now Two and a Half Minutes to Midnight, Thanks to #Trump https://t.co/tKFbHoaDpE @BulletinAtomic #DoomsdayClock @billmckibben— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1485457381.0
The reality is that we know plenty about the role of people as a primary driver of climate change and government officials certainly know more than enough to act.
For example, during his hearing to become the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator, Scott Pruitt claimed: "There is a diverse range of views regarding the key drivers of our changing climate among scientists."
Rex Tillerson, President Trump's selection to become the next Secretary of State, remarked: "I agree with the consensus view that combustion of fossil fuels is a leading cause for increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. I understand these gases to be a factor in rising temperatures, but I do not believe the scientific consensus supports their characterization as the 'key' factor."
5 Reasons #RexTillerson Is Unfit to Be Secretary of State https://t.co/3jwHuN84ED @foe_us @greenpeaceusa @SierraClub @350 @ClimateReality— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1485891917.0
Simply put, these views are not accurate and fly in the face of well-established science. The underlying research showing the connection between increasing CO2 concentrations and a warming planet was established more than 150 years ago. The statements above conflict with conclusions from all leading national and international scientific institutions (IPCC, NCA, WMO, NAS and UK MET Office) and they contradict the findings of the departments and agencies these appointees may soon be leading.
It is time for these leaders to look carefully at the climate science and establish policies based on the best scientific information available.
Here's a brief reminder of some of our fundamental understanding about climate science:
1. Global Temperatures are Rising at Unprecedented Levels
- 16 of the 17 warmest years on record have occurred this century.
- Average global temperatures have been above the 20th-century average for the past 40 consecutive years.
- Since 1880, global temperatures have risen by more than 1 C (1.8 F), while levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have increased from 280 parts per million (ppm) to more than 400ppm.
To save the planet, we must save the Amazon rainforest. To save the rainforest, we must save its indigenous peoples. And to do that, we must demarcate their land.
A new EarthxTV film special calls for the protection of the Amazon rainforest and the indigenous people that call it home. EarthxTV.org
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Anke Rasper
"Today's interim report from the UNFCCC is a red alert for our planet," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
The report, released Friday, looks at the national climate efforts of 75 states that have already submitted their updated "nationally determined contributions," or NDCs. The countries included in the report are responsible for about 30% of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions.
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India's New Delhi has been called the "world air pollution capital" for its high concentrations of particulate matter that make it harder for its residents to breathe and see. But one thing has puzzled scientists, according to The Guardian. Why does New Delhi see more blinding smogs than other polluted Asian cities, such as Beijing?
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In a historic move, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted Thursday to ban hydraulic fracking in the region. The ban was supported by all four basin states — New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York — putting a permanent end to hydraulic fracking for natural gas along the 13,539-square-mile basin, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
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Colombia is one of the world's largest producers of coffee, and yet also one of the most economically disadvantaged. According to research by the national statistic center DANE, 35% of the population in Columbia lives in monetary poverty, compared to an estimated 11% in the U.S., according to census data. This has led to a housing insecurity issue throughout the country, one which construction company Woodpecker is working hard to solve.
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