By now, it’s not like we really needed another data point to confirm that global climate change is happening and that its consequences could be catastrophic, but if you’re a glutton for bad news, here’s the latest from today’s New York Times (read to the last sentence):
“[S]cientists reconstructed the level of the sea over time and confirmed that it is most likely rising faster than at any point in 28 centuries, with the rate of increase growing sharply over the past century — largely, they found, because of the warming that scientists have said is almost certainly caused by human emissions. They also confirmed previous forecasts that if emissions were to continue at a high rate over the next few decades, the ocean could rise as much as three or four feet by 2100. Experts say the situation would then grow far worse in the 22nd century and beyond, likely requiring the abandonment of many coastal cities.”
Folks who oppose action on climate change sometimes argue that the climate has changed before, and that the planet always finds a way to adjust. They’re right. Earth has had warm periods and cold periods. For a while, in fact, the whole world was encased in ice.
But that misses the point. Human civilization developed and flourished during a period of climate stability, and no advanced society has ever had to cope with the upheaval of rapidly rising temperatures and sea levels.
Without corrective action, it’s not the planet that will be in trouble, it’s us.