The world’s leading climate scientists are issuing dire warnings on climate change. In a leaked summary obtained by Reuters and others, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a 2007 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, finds that the recent increase in carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide is unprecedented in the last 22,000 years. Revising their already grim warnings from the last report in 2007, the Commission now believes with 95% certainty that humans are the principal cause of climate change. The panel also warned that rising sea levels—one of the greatest threats from climate change—could increase by more than 3 feet by 2100.
Organizing for Action—the non-profit successor to President Obama’s campaign—is calling out Republicans who continue to deny climate science, releasing the below clip of Speaker of the House John Boehner in 2009 saying, “Every cow in the world, you know, when they do what they do, you've got more carbon dioxide.”
But this hasn’t stopped Republicans from perpetuating inaccurate claims about climate science. Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, who even authored a book calling climate change “The Greatest Hoax,” told Mike Huckabee Monday,
A lot of our listeners out there are not aware that you have to have CO2. That’s a form of a fertilizer. In order to grow things, it’s actually sought after in many cases. And so it’s not something -- you can’t just automatically assume we have to do something about CO2. Because every effort that we do—to think that we can change nature--God’s still up there.
The U.N. report is agnostic on God’s role in climate change, but it is very clear on the human role. In fact, most climate scientists think the U.N. report low-balls the effects of climate change. ClimateProgress blogger, physicist, and former Assistant Secretary of Energy Joe Romm likened the report to cigarette labels in the 1960’s, which warned that cigarettes could be dangerous, even though the science had already proved that they were.
Romm also discussed the economic impact already being felt. Longer and hotter heat waves lead to more droughts. Last year saw the largest drought in 50 years, devastating farmers. Longer droughts lead to more forest fires—as we have seen across the Western United States this year. According to U.S. Forest Chief Thomas Tidwell, the average wildfire today burns twice as many acres as it did 40 years ago. In coastal areas, rising sea levels increase the flooding and more moisture in the atmosphere increases storm intensity.
While public officials hesitate to link weather events to climate change, the facts are clear: climate change is already affecting communities across the globe.