After a month of filtering through climates science and assessments, I have found that the US has put out its own draft assessment (http://ncadac.globalchange.gov/). While some people are still debating whether climate change is real or not, if the scientists are biased or not, the US government has decided it is time to not only admit the climate science is good and compelling - but they concede in the first lines of the executive summary that climate change is driven by human activities. It is easy to read and sets out some important results that reveal the critical nature of the climate problem in terms we can all understand.
I have not read the entire report yet, but do plan to make my way through it. There is no topic more important to me that understanding climate science so that we can make educated decisions about how to adapt to the changes were are seeing right outside of our windows each day. We are witnessing heavier downpours, extended periods of unusually dry weather, and higher intensity storms.
In my own work I am witnessing thousands of year old trees suddenly dying from drought stress and species long known to inhabit our region (like Western Red Cedar) dying out and stressed throughout the entire Pacific Northwest region. We have more data on climate change than we did on weapons of mass destruction, and this threat is far more ominous. Why do we still have climate deniers?
There is clearly a lot of work to do to look at the climate projections and understand our vulnerabilities regionally. The thing many people are not understanding is that the world will continue to exist through climate change, it is our vulnerable human condition that becomes threatened… maybe not to extinction, but certainly to regional extirpations. Will there come a time when we have to list ourselves as endangered?
While it may be conceptually difficult to comprehend our own suicide, it is an order of magnitude more difficult for me to comprehend how armed with facts at the global, national and regional level, we still are not taking action to understand and mitigate the changes.
Join me as I give in and take on the information available. To those who think the problem is too big, or the costs to great, just imagine what they will be in 5 or 10 years? It's like waiting to buy bottled water at the amusement park when you could have brought a glass from home - the costs, the thirst, the effort is 1000X greater than when we have a little foresight and prepare.