We are publishing a large extract from Justin Gillis’ March 18th article in The New York Times, Scientists Sound Alarm on Climate, because what Gillis describes is potentially historic.
Thousands of the world’s scientists are joining together to more effectively communicate to the public the pressing and imminent dangers of climate change.
“Early in his career, a scientist named Mario J. Molina was pulled into seemingly obscure research about strange chemicals being spewed into the atmosphere. Within a year, he had helped discover a global environmental emergency, work that would ultimately win a Nobel Prize.
Now, at 70, Dr. Molina is trying to awaken the public to an even bigger risk. He spearheaded a committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society, which released a stark report Tuesday on global warming.
The report warns that the effects of human emissions of heat-trapping gases are already being felt, that the ultimate consequences could be dire, and that the window to do something about it is closing.
“The evidence is overwhelming: Levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are rising,” says the report. “Temperatures are going up. Springs are arriving earlier. Ice sheets are melting. Sea level is rising. The patterns of rainfall and drought are changing. Heat waves are getting worse, as is extreme precipitation. The oceans are acidifying.”
In a sense, this is just one more report about global warming in a string going back decades. For anybody who was already paying attention, the report contains no new science. But the language in the 18-page report, called “What We Know,” is sharper, clearer and more accessible than perhaps anything the scientific community has put out to date.
And the association does not plan to stop with the report. The group, with a membership of 121,200 scientists and science supporters around the world, plans a broad outreach campaign to put forward accurate information in simple language.
The scientists are essentially trying to use their powers of persuasion to cut through public confusion over this issue.
Polls show that most Americans are at least somewhat worried about global warming. But people generally do not understand that the problem is urgent — that the fate of future generations (not necessarily that far in the future) is being determined by emission levels now. Moreover, the average citizen tends to think there is more scientific debate about the basics than there really is.
The report emphasizes that the experts have come to a consensus, with only a few dissenters. “Based on well-established evidence, about 97 percent of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening,” it says.”
Other Headlines of Note this Past Week:
The new boilers will serve 110 buildings in Coney Island, the Rockaways and the Lower East Side. Since the storm, NYCHA has been spending $3 million per month for the temporary boilers. [NY1]
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s latest budget proposal would skim $40 million from a fund partly dedicated to providing much-needed dollars to mass transit. [The New York Times]
New York City’s capital spending needs are growing as sea levels rise, but the de Blasio administration and other government entities are not putting nearly enough funding toward achieving a state of good repair, two new reports argue. [Crains New York]
A massive fire tore through a Greenpoint newspaper recycling plant overnight on Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, leaving plumes of acrid smoke hanging over the neighborhood. [The Brooklyn Paper]
The effort includes making federal data more accessible through climate.data.gov and launching a design competition to demonstrate the extent to which Americans are vulnerable to coastal flooding. [Washington Post]
If the weather cannot be stopped, how can we ensure that the basics, such as power to our hospitals, are protected? Some energy experts say microgrids could prevent…energy disruptions. They also say microgrids could make everyday power more reliable and economical, while promoting green-technology on a local level. [Medill Reports]