Genetics, mcb, and biochemistry society
On June the first 2017 President Trump indicated that he would be pulling the United States out of the Paris accord on climate change. The move was met with both praise from high ranking Republicans and backlash from international leaders. Is this another step in his war against science and truth? Or is he taking a stand against a bloated and dramatised issue?
Figure 1- Global temperature changes from 1880 to 2013.
Previous generations found that the greenhouse effect can be exacerbated. In 1861 Irish physicist John Tyndall demonstrated that water vapour and certain other gases create the greenhouse effect and in 1896 Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius concluded that the industrial coal burning era will enhance the greenhouse effect (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15874560). Despite more than 100 years of research, experiments and discussion I hasn’t been enough. Here we are still arguing about the validity of the data. The data has been scrutinised by the public and the scientific community and the consensus is that climate change is real and it’s happening. So why are we still arguing about this? It is because our politicians are on a leash, owned by the big oil tycoons. The bigger the green movement, the lower the profits of the oligarchs, so they fund unsustainable pollution in order for short-term gain and dismiss climate science as a hoax.
In today’s post truth world even climate change is up for debate. In short climate change is real and it is having its effects already. Global temperatures have been on the rise since records began and this general trend has shown no signs of reversing itself anytime soon, Figure 1. Additionally, the Arctic sea ice volume has shown a decreasing trend and continues to do so, Figure 2. Both of these events are linked to increased CO2 levels on Earth. And carbon dioxide appears to be a dominant force in climate change (Foster and Rohling, 2013). The fact that several credible studies have found near identical data sets indicate that increased carbon dioxide levels are accelerating climate change, warming the planet and melting the arctic. This is a fact. But you’ll hear from deniers that we should “look at all the evidence” and that “science is not a consensus field”. I’m sorry to say that science is a consensus field. When Charles Darwin proposed his theory of evolution it was seen as complete lunacy by many in Biology. However, as the years went by the theory was tested and it held up and now evolution is tickling on becoming complete fact. Science is about observing, theorising, testing and repeating.
Figure 2- Arctic sea ice volume changes from 1979-2017. Shaded areas show one and two standard deviations from the trend
The Trump administration and the Republicans say that jobs are being killed by climate change protocols, they’ve pulled the economy card. In reality jobs in renewables are on the rise globally. IRENA, International Renewable Energy Agency’s annual report indicates that between 2015-2016 there was a 1.1% increase in jobs in renewables. This brought the total figure to 9.8 million people employed in the renewable sector globally (IRENA, 2017). Coal is not the future. In fact, last year the US Department of Energy found that 43% of those employed in electricity generation workforce worked in solar. Additionally, 22% were employed in the fossil fuels sector (IRENA, 2017). Renewables are superseding fossil fuels whether people like it or not and they’ll continue to do so.
Countries across the globe are poised and ready to tackle what is arguably the greatest threat of our time. With or without the US federal government the international community is ready to make change and so are some US states, ready to defy the Trump administration for the greater good. Economically coal just doesn’t make sense anymore. We cannot run away from this issue and pretend it doesn’t exist. Yes we have many problems as a species but this one needs urgent attention. It’s time to train people and embrace the new wave of renewables that will come and maybe we can stem the tide of global catastrophe we’ve created.
Foster G L, Rohling E J (2013) Relationship between sea level and climate forcing by CO2 on geological timescales. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110, 1209-1214.
IRENA annual report 2016-2017. http://www.irena.org/menu/index.aspx?CatID=141&PriMenuID=36&SubcatID=2729&mnu=Subcat.