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Climate Change and the Plight of Modern Science

The long-held principles of a scientific world are being questioned and will shake our modern society to its core.

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By Cobin Szymanski | USA

“We pronounce, judge, and declare, that you, the said Galileo… have rendered yourself vehemently suspected by this Holy Office of heresy.”

The words echo around the courtyard; a cheer jolts through the crowd. “We condemn thee to the prison of this Holy Office during our will and pleasure.” The Inquisition, a time of profound suffering for the world’s scientists, a time in which beliefs and evidence were vehemently opposed and detested by the common population. It was a time in which science suffered profoundly and when the world’s leaders of unconventional sagacity were persecuted by the church. They were times not unlike the present when science, once again is being conspicuously opposed and questioned.

The way we view the world was forever changed during the age of enlightenment when the world’s most prominent thinkers invented a process that questions everything yet yearns for the truth. This process is called science and is the first tool that we possess that can create objective knowledge. This paved the way for a future of trailblazers and visionaries that would make astounding discoveries that challenge the way we think. This all is the result of the objectivity of science, which is what makes it so valuable. When a hypothesis is formulated and claimed to be true it is subjected to unbiased and rigorous examination in which the very core of the idea is shaken to the ground. This is the product of a philosophical process called deductive reasoning; if a claim cannot be proven a fallacy then it must be true. This is why science is innately objective and so immensely valuable to the curious humans that we are.

However, in 1760 the world began to change; we humans found a much more enigmatic yet easier way of doing work. This was the dawn of the Industrial Revolution when humans transitioned to a fossil fuel-centered energy scene.

This time became synonymous with the ephemeral and materialistic living that we now adhere to. In this time period, we began to emit an astounding amount of CO2, what we now call a greenhouse gas; this began the era of a polluted environment. These circumstances lead to climate change, which is caused when there is a plethora of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere. This subsequently leads to heat being trapped in the Troposphere, this is called the Greenhouse effect. The Greenhouse effect is exemplified by earth’s evil twin, Venus.

The greenhouse effect is capable of wreaking havoc on an environment and likely will do such a thing if we do not cease inundating the earth’s atmosphere with carbon dioxide. The greenhouse effect is the result of the bonds that Carbon makes with Oxygen which allows for heat to be trapped in its molecules. This small-scale natural phenomenon has profound impacts for the earth’s future and ours as well. While we continue to pollute the earth’s atmosphere with carbon dioxide, the earth is getting warmer and will only continue to do so. The only way to stop our planet from becoming another casualty of the greenhouse effect is to cease to emit hydrofluorocarbons and other greenhouse gasses. Only then will our earth begin to slow its gradual process of heating and lapse into its former pristine state.

The objectivity of science is unassailable and has been used for millennia. Thus, it is directly pertinent to climate change. In fact, 97% of climate scientist agree that humans are the main factor of climate change and have been for hundreds of years. We produce greenhouse gasses that subsequently heats the earth as a product of the greenhouse effect. We have studied tree rings and ice sheets and launched satellites to study it, climate change is the most studied fact of our time. It has also withstood the onslaught of scientific research and unbiased peer review. The process of climate change is real and it is substantiated by the facts and studies of the scientific process.

It is real.

The NOAA has undertaken an immense amount of studies and research trips to validate the climate change claim. Here are their findings, 2016 was the warmest year in recorded history and each year prior has broken the record as well. The planet’s average temperature has increased by two degrees Fahrenheit since the eighteenth century and is continuing to rise. The Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are retreating and their extent has decreased by about 276 cubic miles in four years. The ocean is becoming acidic due to the inundation of carbon dioxide into our seas and coral bleaching events are ever more prevalent. The sea level has risen eight inches in the last century and the rate has doubled in the last forty years. Many cities are sinking and the coastal areas around the world are in a precarious and volatile predicament.

It is happening.

However, despite what many say, this is not an event that will occur in the distant future; it is happening now. We have had four major hurricanes make landfall in a span of six weeks, a record amount of hurricanes in one season and this is partially due to climate change. Droughts in Africa and in Europe are becoming ever more frequent and costing lives. There are more than 200 deaths attributed to climate change every year, it is happening now. We are causing it, every year we chop down an immense swath of rainforest that contributes 17% of our carbon output. As a result, species are going extinct and humans could be the culprit of the largest mass extinction to affect this planet. The environment and biosphere are suffering and we are losing touch with the wilderness that we originate from.

There are solutions.

In reality, there is only one way to halt the progress of the greenhouse effect, we need to stop emitting greenhouse gasses. It may seem quite simplistic however in our modern geopolitical landscape a simple task like this can be quite arduous to solve. We have created the Paris Climate Accord and numerous others in hopes of reaching our simple goal of inhibiting the progress of the greenhouse effect. In order for us to accomplish such an arduous task, the entire global political landscape will need to work coherently towards our common goal. We can do this in many ways but we need to transition away from fossil fuels and invest in renewable resources. However, we first need to recognize the implications of such a global catastrophe; the world will not look the same if we do not act now. As Leonardo DiCaprio wrote,”You can make history or be vilified by it.”

The great minds of our century have been industriously working to solve the largest issue of our time and numerous solutions have been suggested. In the U.N, a carbon tax has been proposed in which large entities and nations would be charged for producing more carbon than the acceptable threshold permits. There have also been numerous agreements signed by compliant countries around the world to hold each other accountable for the carbon that they produce. We can invest in renewable energy, an investment that would create more jobs than fossil fuel could ever manage to create. There are viable solutions; all that is required of us is to act.

In spite of the overwhelming scientific consensus and plethora of feasible solutions available to us, we continue to deny climate change. This marks an epoch in which science is once again being questioned and vilified. The large oil companies that have vested interest in the assurance of continued oil production continue to spread misinformation. They have gone so far as to as to create websites and hire scientists to doubt supported facts and the scientific consensus. This is a time when it is imperative that we continue to question all and to support the credible. The implications of a climate disaster are vast and it is essential that we continue to reduce carbon emissions to save the biosphere that we hold dear.

The long-held principles of a scientific world are being questioned and will shake our modern society to its core. The great minds of our time are imploring us to continue to innovate within our progressive society. For, science have gotten us to where we are and will deliver us to where we are heading. The battle for science has commenced and if we wish to continue to progress we need to win the war.


                                                              Works Cited

“1.The World Is Getting Warmer.” Climate Change, www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/climate-change/.

“2016 State of the Climate: Highlights.” State of the Climate: Highlights Homepage | NOAA Climate.gov, www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/state-climate-highlights/2016.

“Climate Change Evidence: How Do We Know?” NASA, NASA, Oct. 2017, climate.nasa.gov/evidence/.

“Effects of Climate Change.” WWF, World Wildlife Fund, www.worldwildlife.org/threats/effects-of-climate-change.

“Galileo Is Convicted of Heresy.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, www.history.com/this-day-in-history/galileo-is-convicted-of-heresy.

“Global Climate Change.” NASA, NASA, Feb. 2014, climate.nasa.gov/.

Nuccitelli, Dana. “The Mail’s Censure Shows Which Media Outlets Are Biased on Climate Change | Dana Nuccitelli.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 2017, www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2017/sep/25/the-mails-censure-shows-which-media-outlets-are-biased-on-climate-change.

Nuccitelli, Dana. “These Are the Best Arguments from the 3% of Climate Scientist ‘Skeptics.’ Really. | Dana Nuccitelli.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 2016, www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2016/jul/25/these-are-the-best-arguments-from-the-3-of-climate-scientist-skeptics-really.

Otto, Shawn Lawrence. The War on Science: Who’s Waging It, Why It’s Dangerous, and What We Can Do about It. Milkweed Editions, 2016.

Poushter, Jacob, and Dorothy Manevich. “Globally, People Point to ISIS and Climate Change as Leading Security Threats.” Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, Jan. 2017, www.pewglobal.org/2017/08/01/globally-people-point-to-isis-and-climate-change-as-leading-security-threats/.

Times, The New York. “Where in the World Is Climate Change Denial Most Prevalent?” The New York Times, The New York Times, Dec. 2015, www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/cp/climate/2015-paris-climate-talks/where-in-the-world-is-climate-denial-most-prevalent.

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  1. Thank you for covering this topic – we all need to be more aware of climate change. It IS real!!

    Reply

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