Global Climate Change Triggered by Global Warming
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This paper will offer compelling evidence from a large body of research that global climate change caused by global warming is already underway and requires our immediate attention. The research in question appears in refereed scientific literature, and most of it reflects a broad consensus of the worldwide climatology community. The principal points of this position paper are summarized below and are considered in detail, with supporting references, in the text that follows.
Convincing evidence that the Earth’s climate is undergoing significant, and in some cases alarming, changes has accumulated rapidly in recent years, especially during the past three decades.
The conclusion that there is significant warming of the Earth’s surface is not based primarily on theoretical models, although these models do succeed in replicating the existing database with growing success. Instead, global warming is a fact confirmed by an enormous body of observations from many different sources. Indeed, the focus of research has now shifted from attempts to establish the existence of global warming to efforts to determine its causes.
Although the exact extent of harm from global warming may be difficult to predict now, it can be said with confidence that the harmful effects of global warming on climate will significantly outweigh the possible benefits.
The probability is extremely high that human generated greenhouse gases, with carbon dioxide the major offender, are the primary cause of well documented global warming and climate change today.
Much can be done now to mitigate the effects of global warming and the associated climate change. Difficulties in addressing the problem are not caused primarily by unavailable technology, but by the lack of sufficient incentives to implement the new technologies more aggressively.
After consideration of these points, the paper will end with a brief analysis of the role of the political process in addressing these issues. No detailed recommendations will be made, but some general suggestions will be offered. This final section will argue that any solution to this major global problem will require contributions from all major elements of our society, from the academic research community to American industry. Getting the science right is the critical first step, but implementation of solutions will need more broadly based cooperation that takes economic realities, and opportunities, into account. We will end this paper on that note, expressing the view that without a determined political effort, a successful attack on climate change is unlikely soon.