When I am asked about the issues I am most passionate about, global warming is often the first issue that comes to mind. In simple words, global warming is the increase in average global temperature over time . The lack of urgency on global warming, especially among some U.S. politicians, is a cause of great concern to me because the time has been running out fast if we are not already too late. I believe in global warming not only because the scientific evidence is undeniable but also due to ethical and moral implications of our failure to address global warming.
Global warming is a fact and an almost unanimous scientific consensus is a proof. It is estimated that 97 percent or more of the climate scientists believe that human activities are major contributors to global warming . The scientific community is so frustrated by lack of political inaction that 375 of the top scientists including 30 Nobel Prize winners published an open letter last year in which they urged immediate action to tackle global warming . The signers of the letter forcefully argued that global warming is real and factors within human control are responsible for it to a major extent. The signers warned of huge economic and social costs in case of our failure to take global warming seriously. They also urged the U.S. Government not to abandon the Paris Agreement because it would hurt U.S. leadership status in the global arena . Professional credibility matters, and if 97 percent or more of the climate scientists as well as some of the top scientific minds among us believe global warming is real, it makes sense not to dismiss global warming as a hoax.
Global warming is real because the evidence is all around us. NASA dedicates considerable resources to studying global warming, and the agency cites several proofs to back up its position on global warming. First of all, earth’s average surface temperate has risen by 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century, and 16 of the warmest 17 years over the past 35 years have occurred since 2001. The oceans have also become warmer, with top 700 meters of ocean displaying an increase in temperature of 0.302 degrees Fahrenheit. Planet earth has also been losing ice sheets. Antarctica lost 36 cubic miles of ice between 2002 and 2005 and Greenland lost between 36 and 60 miles of ice on an annual basis between 2002 and 2006. Glacier retreats have also been observed all over the world in mountains like Alps, Himalayas, Rockies, Alaska, and Andes etc. The global sea level rose by approximately 8 inches in the last century, and the increase in rate in the last two decades has been double that of the last century. Global warming has also increased the acidity of ocean surface water by about 30 percent since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Last but not least, global warming is resulting in an increasing number of extreme events , as the recent hurricanes like Harvey, Irma, and Maria remind us.
I also believe in addressing global warming because of its security implications for the U.S. and many other countries. A group of senior military, security, and intelligence leaders wrote a letter to President Donald Trump after his election victory to take global warming seriously because of the security implications for U.S. security and strategic interests. The leaders warned that global warming may increase the risks of failed states, civil conflicts, regional instabilities, and mass migration . One doesn’t usually expect military establishment to address issues that are scientific in nature yet the willingness of military, security, and intelligence leaders to urge Trump to take global warming seriously shows how serious the threat is. It is clear that the leaders were influenced by the fact that global warming poses dire security risks for the U.S. as well as other countries.
I am worried about the negative political implications of our failure to address global warming. I have watched the unfolding political events around the world over the last few years with great concern. I am worried nationalism, populism, and fascist ideologies are making a comeback. Some of the reasons behind the resurgence of such ideologies are more open borders and mass migrations from areas facing wars and other violent epidemics. If the scientific community and the military establishment are to be believed, failure to address global warming will only increase episodes like mass migrations. I fear such mass migrations will further fuel nationalist, populist, and fascist movements around the world. We cannot take peace and global security infrastructure for granted because few among us would have predicted current political events even few years ago. We should address global warming because failure to do so will threaten our security in a number of ways. In addition to worrying about catastrophic natural events like hurricanes, we will also have to deal with adverse political movements that may lead to wars.
I must admit the recent hurricanes like Harvey, Irma, and Maria etc. did cause me to lose some sleep, and only strengthened my conviction that we cannot afford to waste any time in addressing global warming. This hurricane season has been quite different from other hurricane seasons in recent memory. Some hurricanes took climate scientists by surprise as to how quickly they gained strength. These hurricanes should not surprise those who have been paying attention to the predictions of climate scientists that global warming will increase the occurrence and severity of extreme events. I could not help but wonder during this hurricane season that what we witnessed this time might just have been a trailer as the future hurricane seasons will be even more catastrophic. If this hurricane season also failed to move the skeptics of global warming, all of us should be very worried about the future of humanity. We have just one home in this planet earth. If earth becomes inhabitable for mankind, we don’t have anywhere else to go because we still have not developed the technologies that will enable us to colonize other planetary bodies or build artificial space colonies. Our ancestors made huge sacrifices to build a better future for us, and it is our duty to build an even better future for next generations. I cannot think of a more important challenge than global warming if we want to build a better future for our children. In fact, this is the least we can do for them.
I believe in global warming because there is almost unanimous scientific consensus that it is primarily being caused by human activities. In addition to our best scientific minds, other stakeholders such as military, security, and intelligence experts have also acknowledged the grave threats posed by global warming. Organizations like NASA offer several pieces of evidence that prove global warming as a fact. I am also worried that our failure to address global warming in a timely fashion will result in huge negative consequences, not just the economic costs of extreme events such as hurricanes but also undesirable political movements that may increase the threat of WWIII.
- Abraham, J. (2016, September 21). 375 top scientists warn of ‘real, serious, immediate’ climate threat. Retrieved October 8, 2017, from https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2016/sep/21/375-top-scientists-warn-of-real-serious-immediate-climate-threat
- Bolstad, E. (2016, November 15). Military Leaders Urge Trump to See Climate as a Security Threat. Retrieved October 8, 2017, from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/military-leaders-urge-trump-to-see-climate-as-a-security-threat/
- CSRRT. (2016, September 20). Responsible Scientists. Retrieved October 8, 2017, from http://responsiblescientists.org/
- MacMillan, A. (2016, March 11). Global Warming 101. Retrieved October 8, 2017, from https://www.nrdc.org/
- NASA. (n.d.). Climate change: How do we know? Retrieved October 8, 2017, from https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/
- NASA. (n.d.). Scientific consensus: Earth’s climate is warming. Retrieved October 8, 2017, from https://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/