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Earth Watch
Author: Will in Chicago    Date: 2016-04-04 10:23:10

All subjects in America seem to be political. Climate change is one of them, with leaders in the Republican Party either denying that climate change is occurring or saying that it is merely natural. However, a recent study may give even climate denying diehards like Senator Jim Inhofe (R- Oil, R- Fracking, oops R-Oklahoma) pause.

A recent study released by the University of Massachusetts - Amherst shows that sea levels may rise more quickly than earlier thought with the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

LONDON—Climate scientists may have collectively underestimated the hazards of sea level rise. If greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at their present rate, then, in Antarctica alone, enough ice will have run into the sea by the end of the century to raise the high tide mark worldwide by a metre.

And if the process continues, then by 2500 enough of Antarctica’s massive ice cap will have melted to raise sea levels by 15 metres.

The new finding focuses only on revised calculations for Antarctica. It does not count the melting from all the world’s mountain glaciers, the permafrost, or the Greenland ice cap, and it is concerned principally with the immediate impact of global warming. But the consequences are ominous enough.

“This could spell disaster for many low-lying cities,” says Robert DeConto, professor of climatology at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. “For example, Boston could see more than 1.5 metres of sea level rise in the next 100 years. But the good news is that an aggressive reduction in emissions will limit the risk of major Antarctic ice retreat.”

Professor DeConto and co-author David Pollard, senior scientist at Penn State University’s Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, publish their new simulations in Nature and begin by thinking about sea level rise long before the emergence of humankind, let alone human civilisation.

Additionally, Arctic sea ice levels have fallen to a new record low.

I have never found that denying a problem helps solve it. Rather, the opposite seems to be true. We as a nation and as a global society may face a high price if we do not act to limit the worst of global climate change. We have seen reports of the streets of Miami getting flooded at high tide, residents of Bengladesh fearing for the future, and Vanuatu and other Pacific islands worrying about more powerful storms and considering relocating their populations. To people experiencing these events, denying climate change must seem to be the equivalent of an ostrich burying its head in the sand at the beach - with the high tide rolling in.

For the sake of our planet and many other issues, I do not think any of the Republican nominees for President should ever sit in the Oval Office - save as a guest getting a photo op. From Donald Trump to Ted Cruz to John Kasich, the GOP candidates have a strategy of doing little or denying the problem. Perhaps they have a faith that God or Nature will solve the problem. (There is a study showing plants may emit less carbon dioxide as the globe warms, but that will NOT solve the problem.) There are hundreds of studies pointing to human action as the cause of climate change, Denying these studies is illogical and ultimately dangerous.  If there are signs that Saudi Arabia may be looking at the end of its involvement in oil , then it may be time to admit that we are facing a changing world.

Despite their differences on some issues, both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have plans to address climate change and focus on renewable sources of energy. This may be a point where supporters of each candidate can come together after the primaries are over and the eventual Democratic nominee has to face a GOP candidate who denies that climate change is real or can be addressed.

As for how bad things might get if all the ice on Earth melted, let me take you here. Let's say that visiting Miami beach would be impossible -- without a submarine.

13 comments (Latest Comment: 04/05/2016 02:35:36 by Will in Chicago)
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