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November 23, 2009

Global Warming: The Science is Clear

The controversy has been boiling since Friday, when it was revealed that hackers breached the email servers for the esteemed Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the UK.

The huge amount of emails stolen have since been scoured and cherry-picked by climate deniers to use as so-called "proof" that these scientists were hiding or altering data that could show that global warming is not caused by humans.

The university folks have already responded (seen in the Real Climate blog post linked here and above), and are standing by their emails - the comments section on that blog post is being monitored by the scientists and they are answering questions. In fact, despite climate deniers almost fainting as the sight of these emails between climate scientists, most are coming to the defense of these climate scientists.

The defenders - after decrying the theft in the first place - are saying that the exchanged emails actually show something very positive: that the scientists are discussing this issue more than most scientists do other issues. This shows how serious they are in their research, and honestly, it also show how much space we continue to give those who deny anthropogenic global warming despite the huge amount of science stacking up against their arguments.

You can find defense of the scientists and their emails on blogs and comments sections from the Christian Science Monitor to the New York Times - and even on well-known conservative blog Little Green Footballs. The folks over at Climate Progress also have two excellent blog posts on these emails: post 1 and post 2.

This is the truth, folks, the science is settled: Global warming is real and humans are causing it.

We can no longer hide our heads in the sand or be distracted by those that want to block action on this global problem. With world leaders set to gather in Copenhagen next month to put forth a framework for a climate agreement, the debate over the threat of climate change is over. We need to move forward with an agreement that will curb carbon pollution and move us to a clean energy future.

Let's look at some research with the help of Center for American Progress:
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science: The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society. [10/9/06]
  • U.S. Global Change Research Program: Global temperature has increased over the past 50 years. This observed increase is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases. [June 2009]
  • American Physical Society: Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide as well as methane, nitrous oxide and other gases. They are emitted from fossil fuel combustion and a range of industrial and agricultural processes. The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now. [11/18/07]
  • American Meteorological Society: Despite the uncertainties noted above, there is adequate evidence from observations and interpretations of climate simulations to conclude that the atmosphere, ocean, and land surface are warming; that humans have significantly contributed to this change; and that further climate change will continue to have important impacts on human societies, on economies, on ecosystems, and on wildlife through the 21st century and beyond. [2/1/07]
  • American Geophysical Union: The Earth's climate is now clearly out of balance and is warming. Many components of the climate system—including the temperatures of the atmosphere, land and ocean, the extent of sea ice and mountain glaciers, the sea level, the distribution of precipitation, and the length of seasons—are now changing at rates and in patterns that are not natural and are best explained by the increased atmospheric abundances of greenhouse gases and aerosols generated by human activity during the 20th century.... Evidence from most oceans and all continents except Antarctica shows warming attributable to human activities. [December 2007]
  • American Quaternary Association: Few credible scientists now doubt that humans have influenced the documented rise in global temperatures since the Industrial Revolution. [10/24/06 (PDF)]
  • The national science academies of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa: It is essential that world leaders agree on the emission reductions needed to combat negative consequences of anthropogenic climate change at the UNFCCC negotiations in Copenhagen in December 2009. [May 2009 (PDF)]
  • The Past Decade Has Been The Hottest On Record: The 2000s are on track to be nearly 0.2°C warmer than the 1990s. And that temperature jump is especially worrisome since the 1990s were only 0.14°C warmer than the 1980s. [Climate Progress, 12/07/08]
  • The World’s Glaciers Shrink for the 18th Year: According to the University of Zurich’s World Glacier Monitoring Service report in 2006 and 2007 the world’s glaciers lost 2 meters (2000 mm) of thickness on average. They note, “The new data continues the global trend in accelerated ice loss over the past few decades.” The rate of ice loss is twice as fast as a decade ago. [Climate Progress, 01/30/09]

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