Climate Change? Global Warming? Hoax or Scientific Truth?

The following article was developed by Amit Shah, Managing Director of Green Comma as a discussion resource for use in grades 9–12 classrooms as well as in freshmen college classrooms.

All opinions are the writer’s own.

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A book published by climate change deniers in 2015 and distributed nationwide to college and high school teachers states, “ Claims of a ‘scientific consensus’’ on climate change “rest on two college student papers. The writings of wacky Australian blogger and a non-peer reviewed essay by a socialist historian.” The blatant and purposeful lie is easily circulated to thousands, perhaps millions, across cyberspace. Many will try and probe the statements and in turn learn a few facts, verified and reviewed by genuine experts in the field. An alarming number won’t. On the eve of the Climate March in Washington and many other cities in the US, let’s look at a few of the facts around the most pressing issue that the world faces barring a nuclear war.

The facts today are that over 97 percent of peer-reviewed climate change papers are in consensus about the reality of climate change

The scholarship and data forecasting global catastrophe if left unattended will make future generations scratch their heads (if there are future generations) at this generation’s madness, in fact, derangement. The current administration of the US makes no effort to even consider the issue that the previous administration had pinpointed not only as a catastrophe-in-waiting but also an opportunity toward job growth through explorations in alternate sources of energy.

Temperatures increasing worldwide and seas rising are indicators of climate change and global warming. The US Pentagon and Department of Defense is heavily invested in protecting its assets from this calamity, despite resistance and lack of support from many in the United States Congress and the White House. The rather startling fact points to a careless political display of pandering for votes rather than mature governance.

Artists, in the performing and dramatic arts, have always been in the vanguard of social consciousness. The paucity of fiction writers on this topic can be called striking. They are not absent though.

One of the prolific scholars writing at the intersection of climate science, drama and performance is Una Chaudhuri, a professor at New York University. As we, humans, affect nature and nature shifts and changes because of that interaction, how should humans respond, responsibly, inspiringly, thoughtfully? That zone of eco-theater is Professor Chaudhuri’s interest and she is recognized as one of the foremost theoreticians.

In one of the most inspired, creative platforms on the topic of a changing climate, Chaudhuri and Marina Zurkow have given us Dear Climate, a zany, intelligent, thoughtful, accessible portal/path to engage with a new vocabulary. As they wrote in the introduction: “We began Dear Climate for a new way to talk about the weather. . . instead of crisis and catastrophe, we wanted the familiar and ordinary; instead of desperation and heroism, playfulness and friendliness.”

“In 2014, 17.5 million people were displaced by climate-related disasters . . . .” This eye-popping statistic is from Vinod Thomas’ new book, Climate Change and Natural Disasters. Thomas is not a lightweight in this area, having been the director-general of Independent Evaluation at the Asian Development Bank and in key policy positions at the World Bank. In a published interview in a Vassar College publication, Thomas said: ”Addressing climate change is necessary today, not tomorrow. It’s essential not only for our sustainability but also for our economic growth. Some people may argue that protecting the environment is a luxury while the poor need cheap energy to provide water and turn on the lights, and they maintain fossil fuels are the cheapest way to do that. But that’s no longer true. When you subtract the subsidies fossil fuels receive and add the health costs and the damages from an increasing number of natural disasters, this form of energy isn’t cheap at all. And those who are doing the polluting are hurt the least by the damage, and the poor are hurt the most.”

So why deny? Why ridicule as a “hoax”? These are questions that you need to answer for yourself by exploring, reading, evaluating, and questioning.

Even the venerable newspaper of record (for me certainly), the New York Times, ran an op-ed that encouraged skepticism. Fine, I agree on general principle but am I arguing about the unknowable or the knowable? I know that blood flows through human veins. If blood flows outside a ruptured vein, lookout!

I have stated a position here and I’ve populated that opinion with some selected facts. I’d hate to argue against 97 percent of the

scientific community on this topic. But you are free to but not without facts.

The choice is simple. There is no choice.

“No national leader in the history of humanity has ever faced this question. Will we survive or will we disappear under the sea?” (Enele Sopoaga, Prime Minister of Tuvalu)

Poster in Paris Metro : “Stopping environmental degradation and protecting our planet.”

Fearless reader, fearful writer, optimistic traveler