What Might Man-Induced Climate Change Mean? [Excerpt]
Society, Science and Climate Change [Excerpt]
The Cost of Combating Global Warming
Toward a Real Global Warming Treaty
Stick with Kyoto: A Sound Start on Global Warming
What Makes Greenhouse Sense?
What to Do About Climate Change
Copenhagen's Inconvenient Truth
How to Salvage the Climate Conference
The Low-Carbon Diet
How the Market Can Curb Climate Change
Globalizing the Energy Revolution
How to Really Win the Clean-Energy Race
Tough Love for Renewable Energy
Making Wind and Solar Power Affordable
Cleaning Up Coal
From Climate Culprit to Solution
How Big Business Can Save the Climate
Multinational Corporations Can Succeed Where Governments Have Failed
How Washington Can Bolster a Stronger Climate Deal
Why Municipalities Are the Key to Fighting Climate Change
The Geopolitics of the Paris Talks
The Web of Alliances Behind the Climate Deal
The Problem With Climate Catastrophizing
The Case for Calm
Climate Catastrophe Is a Choice
Downplaying the Risk Is the Real Danger
Paris Isn't Burning
Why the Climate Agreement Will Survive Trump
Why Trump Pulled the U.S. Out of the Paris Accord
And What the Consequences Will Be
Trump's Paris Agreement Withdrawal in Context
The Polarization of the Climate Issue Continues
…A growing accumulation of evidence has persuaded most of the scientific community that human activity may be contributing to a substantial change in the Earth's climate on a global scale. In particular, large-scale consumption of fossil fuels (coal, petroleum and natural gas) is leading to an accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which if continued appears likely to increase the average surface temperature of the Earth by several degrees over the next 50 to 70 years. And the release into the atmosphere of other gases arising from human activity may add significantly to this overall "greenhouse effect."
There are, of course, many gaps in our understanding of how the climate system behaves, and hence many uncertainties in this prediction of the future. But few climatologists still doubt that there will be a gradual trend toward a warmer Earth in the decades ahead, assuming we continue to add enormous quantities of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. By the same token, we can anticipate shifts in the current patterns of precipitation due to changes in atmospheric circulation, though the details of these shifts are still unclear.
Since this prospective global change is the result of human activities, we could in principle avert or at least defer it if we decided that the likely consequences were "unacceptable." Or we could accept their onset and take measures to mitigate the adverse effects of the change and to capitalize on its beneficial effects.
Four years ago an informative article in these pages undertook to examine what the broad impact of man-induced climate change might be, particularly in terms of food production and ecological systems. At that time the scientific community was more divided on the issue, but a great deal of research has now made some elements of the future picture more clear. There remains an important need for more organized and systematic analysis, especially in translating overall global trends into a more precise picture of what can be expected for the climate of specific regions of
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