Between a recently released report by the National Intelligence Council and a study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, we are living in turbulent and unsure times. Both reports, released this week, point to global climate change as a very real issue that will be the cause of many wars, lifestyle changes, and power shifts over the next 20 years. With storms and typhoons causing greater damage with greater frequency than experienced in a long time we seem to be at a unique crossroads where countries are willing to approach this issue as a world community in a way where every side agrees to be accountable for how we will immediately work to develop sustainably in ways that will lessen the human effect on the environment we share.
While scientist have been warning of the dangers of global climate change for some time, and while the consequences for how we live becomes less of a “future” scenario and more of a “present” problem, the argument over the science of the issue (and the skeptics who debunk the skeptics) continues to permeate the discussion and take attention away from a potential debate over ways to change course on the road we are traveling down. The science is clear, the global climate is warming and it cannot be explained by natural forces alone. It is time the skeptics came back to the science.
In an opinion piece for Forbes Magazine this past summer, Peter Ferrara works very hard to put forth the hard science that shows that the Earth is not warming. It is a discussion that is becoming more and more out of place and out of touch with the sentiment of many around the world, especially those in developing countries. To combat the notion of climate change is to miss the modern argument. The debate now lies in how do we, as a world community, live more sustainably going forward into the future? As Ferrara continues to point to science that shows cooling trends, his argument sounds less skeptical and more irrelevant as he seems to be blindly ignoring the evidence we have been looking to for decades now.
In direct response to Ferrara’s article, I am glad that as a Director of Entitlement at the Heartland Institute he puts so much faith in the Heartland Institute’s research into climate change as an “analog” to the UN’s research. However, the source of his information seems to be just a bit conspiratorial.
In fact, most of the articles I found debunking global climate change had the Heartland Institute and a familiar cast of scientists presenting essentially the same data in the citations.
In the heated debate that continues over the science of global climate change and what we should be doing about it, the idea of conspiracy has popped up in most of the research I did. A recent study in the journal Psychological Science noted that the majority of climate change skeptics also believe in many of the more prevalent conspiracy theories. And in a backlash to the report, many critics cited the report itself as a conspiracy. And just a moment ago I called the Heartland Institute a conspiracy, what a circle!
The New World Order, what happens to people when they oppose the NWO, the Illuminati, Bohemian Grove and the moon landing hoax are all conspiracies that I have spent more than enough of my time looking into, but they carry no weight in my mind when I actually look around me and think rationally; they are simply items of interest. The report in Psychological Science asserts that people who believe in these conspiracies also believe in the idea that global climate change is an elaborate hoax.
While it is fishy to imagine Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon running around the redwoods of California drunk and trading top secret information, I find it hard to believe that, in the midst of satanic rituals, they orchestrated a world-wide conspiracy to control everyone with one world government carefully using climate change as one pawn in that game; although, now that I write it down, I feel it is not completely out of the question.
But, the allure of a good conspiracy aside, we find ourselves in the midst of turbulent, exciting and unsure times. At the very center of all the change happening to the united 7 billion of us is an observable change that is happening to our climate. Climate change is a worldwide issue that will need to be addressed equally by all people.
As the intensity of storms continues to reach record levels all over the world, the issue of climate change becomes less of an environmental issue and more of a humanitarian issue. Just last week, Naderev Saño, the lead negotiator of the Philippines delegation, broke down in tears in a plea for the nations all around the world to take on swift and monumental legislation to halt and reverse global climate change. The Philippines was recently slammed by the typhoon Bopha. The typhoon, like Sandy, was a “clear sign of climate change.”
In the next17 short years, the world will shape up to be a very different place. Asian countries will have a global status that they have not seen since the 1400s, the influence of governments will be more shared and democracy will be seen taking a stronger hold all over the globe. As stated in one NPR piece, “By the year 2030, for the first time in history, a majority of the world's population will be out of poverty” and middle classes will be the most important social and economic sector. Granted, the times are always changing and no matter what happens the world is going to be a different place than it was before. But, this forecast is predicting change on a level rivaling the Industrial Revolution or the French Revolution. It is going to be swift, monumental and the breadth of change will be seen worldwide.
The report referred to above entitled, “Global Trends 2030,” was prepared by the National Intelligence Council, comprising the 17 U.S. government intelligence agencies. A centerpiece for the projected way the world will look in 2030 stems from global climate change. The report forecasts a dramatic increase in wars over land, food, and water as a result of global temperatures rising. Along with the somewhat grim forecast from the NIC, the Development Co-operation report 2012 by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has recently come out warning that a failure to take world-wide action to halt climate change will have dire consequences for many developing nations around the world. This includes a 50% projected increase in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The report “calls for radical changes to an economic model in which rapid growth has come at a price for the environment and many of the world's poorest people.”
The report cites developing countries such as China, Ethiopia, and Kenya as moving forward with both ambitious and forward thinking green energy and sustainably minded policies. South Korea has also adopted a very ambitious strategy calling for energy independence by 2050. This is a strategy coming from a country that has virtually no natural resources. Revolutionary change is not impossible.
As the millennial generation comes of age, we begin to see what physicist Max Planck was talking about when he said (in response to emerging theories of quantum mechanics):
"A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."
We are a generation that was born into the hole in the ozone layer and we came of age watching the debate about global warming (now global climate change) in real time. For the most part, I believe people living in the modern world see the effect we have on the environment. The debate should center on how do we begin to change the way we live in a meaningful, productive and sustainable way that can alter a rather bleak course we seem to heading down? Working as a world community proactively while we can is much better than the alternative, acting in reaction.
As Bob Dylan so eloquently said, “The times they are a changin’.”