Weekly Feature

climate change, climate change issues, climate change causes

Nature Wages War: The Role of Climate Change

November 29, 2009
by Liz Colville
No discussion of weather is complete without climate change, which scientists believe is responsible for many changes in weather patterns and extreme weather phenomena around the world.

Emerging Evidence

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We humans affect the earth in profound ways, and the data to prove it is becoming more widely available. In a recent AP article, the research of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston was noted for its mapping out of the effects of human activity on the ocean. The data was published in the February edition of the journal Science. The AAAS found that the “big picture” of human impact was more dramatic than they had anticipated. But they pinpointed the northern and southern extremes of the planet as being the most at risk for damage due to human activity. These areas include the North Sea, the South and East China Seas, the Mediterranean Sea, and the East Coast of the U.S. and Canada.

What kind of impact do we have? The AAAS looked at “oil rigs, commercial shipping, species invasion, climate-change impacts including acidification, ultraviolet radiation and sea temperature, various types of fishing and several types of human-related pollution.” Fortunately, the House of Representatives recently approved funding for two NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) programs to study oceanic life and geology.

Some Myths About Climate Change

Climate-change skeptics are prevalent, and it’s worth looking into their side of the matter. Grist, an environmental news blog, enumerates popular arguments against climate change, and also addresses those who are looking to convince skeptics of the validity of climate-change arguments. As advocates of the climate-change philosophy, Grist tends to be harsh in its critique of the skeptics, but the material is a thorough and interesting read nonetheless.

Financing Climate Change

For those interested in the economic side of climate change, the U.K. government’s Treasury recently released the Stern Report a long-term research project that assesses the costs of implementing emission reductions—and the cost of staying the current course.
For more information on the organizations working toward climate change, especially groups concerned with international cooperation and aid to poorer nations, South South North, which fights poverty “in the context of climate change,” has a long list of suggested links to government organizations, nonprofits, intergovernmental organizations and sites that address the science of climate change.

The Science Behind Carbon

The focus of change is often on the “carbon footprint:” individual and corporate impact on the environment that can be measured in a number of ways (and is discussed further in the findingDulcinea Green Living Guide). For a basic overview of what carbon means in the grand scheme of the environment, the Met Office’s Hadley Centre, whose primary focus is climate change research, has an explanation of the carbon cycle that casts light on the damage done by carbon to the environment.

Stopping Climate Change

The Union of Concerned Scientists is one of many organizations that attempt to translate the science, panic and confusion about climate change into feasible goals that everyone can work toward. The “Practical Solutions to Global Warming” section of their site distills the risks of global warming and the solutions. Renewable energy, better car design and forest preservation are three areas they discuss.
Be sure to also read the “10 Personal Solutions” article as well, which includes practical tips for U.S. citizens.
The Enviropaedia, a South Africa-based partnership on environmental education, has a beautifully designed “Sustainable Lifestyle Guide” that gives readers tangible ways to reduce their impact, get involved with worthy organizations and make minor adjustments to their home life that can make a major difference to the environment.
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