””My climate epiphany wasn’t overnight, and it had nothing to do with Al Gore.”
I’m going to tell you something that my Republican friends are loath to admit out loud: climate change is real. I’m a moderate Republican, fiscally conservative; a fan of small government, accountability, self-empowerment and sound science. I am not a climate scientist. I’m a Penn State meteorologist, and the weather maps I’m staring at are making me very uncomfortable. No, you’re not imagining it: we’ve clicked into a new and almost foreign weather pattern. To complicate matters I’m in a small, frustrated and endangered minority: a Republican deeply concerned about the environmental sacrifices some are asking us to make to keep our economy powered-up. It’s ironic. The root of the word conservative is “conserve”. A staunch Republican, Teddy Roosevelt, set aside vast swaths of America for our National Parks System, the envy of the world. Another Republican, Richard Nixon, launched the EPA. Now some in my party believe the EPA and all those silly “global warming alarmists” are going to get in the way of drilling and mining our way to prosperity. Well, we have good reason to be alarmed.”
“[Recently] Department of Homeland Security officially discontinued its Special Registration program, which “required thousands of Arab and Muslim men to register with the authorities, in an effort to uncover terror links and immigration violations,” Sam Dolnick at The New York Times explains. The program was founded after 9/11 but only “11 of the more than 85,000 men who came forward in the first year were found to have ties to terrorism.”—
Clearly ineffective at increasing security, the program did more for catching undocumented immigrants, “leading to a significant wave of deportations” that continue to be carried out even after the program has ended.
The world is close to reaching tipping points that will make it irreversibly hotter, making this decade critical in efforts to contain global warming, scientists warned on Monday.
Scientific estimates differ but the world’s temperature looks set to rise by six degrees Celsius by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are allowed to rise uncontrollably. As emissions grow, scientists say the world is close to reaching thresholds beyond which the effects on the global climate will be irreversible, such as the melting of polar ice sheets and loss of rainforests.
”This is the critical decade. If we don’t get the curves turned around this decade we will cross those lines,” said Will Steffen, executive director of the Australian National University’s climate change institute, speaking at a conference in London. Despite this sense of urgency, a new global climate treaty forcing the world’s biggest polluters, such as the United States and China, to curb emissions will only be agreed on by 2015 - to enter into force in 2020.
”We are on the cusp of some big changes,” said Steffen. “We can … cap temperature rise at two degrees, or cross the threshold beyond which the system shifts to a much hotter state.”