So if drowning polar bears haven’t convinced you that the climate is changing, perhaps the United States Government can be more persuasive. The U.S. Climate Change Science Program has issued a report on the impacts a changing climate is having on the American landscape. From the Washington Post:
The report, which runs 193 pages and synthesizes a thousand scientific papers, highlights how human-generated carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels have already translated into more frequent forest fires, reduced snowpack and increased drought, especially in the West.
This is a wake up call for citizens and policymakers alike. The effects of global warming are no longer part of a distant future scenario that we can fix when we get around to it. Already, according to the report, close to 60% of the animal species in our country have experienced some effects of a changing climate. The Department of Agriculture is already issuing warnings of increased risk of certain crop failure because of changed conditions.
All of this comes from the same administration that once encouraged more patience in verifying the science of global warming before taking policy action. This skeptical approach has given way to outright acknowledgment that global warming is real, it is man-made, and it is having effects on the United States. As floral blooming patterns and animal migrations change while forests burn and crops die, still some would say that we should do nothing. To them I ask:
What will it take?