TN-Knoxville/Oak Ridge: ActOnClimate Climate Change Press Call

Joanne Logan of Knoxville writes:

0351Joanne is a professor at UT in the Biosystems Engineering and Soil Sciences Department: I am here as a voice for the community of climate scientists. The most recent 2013 study by Cook and colleagues confirm that 97% of climate scientists who publish about climate change agree that increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses are most certainly going to change the climate into the foreseeable future. Dozens of agencies and professional societies have issued strong affirmation statements about climate change, including the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Meteorological Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Geological Society of America, the American Physical Society, the American Chemical Society, the American Geophysical Union, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and even the Department of Defense has stated that it must plan for the national security implications of Climate Change. Another recent report from Yale and George Mason Universities asserts that 2/3 of Americans believe that global warming is a real problem, and most of this group believes that humans are at least partially responsible. The Southeast has not suffered the consequences of climate change seen in other parts of our nation and the world, which has led to increased skepticism. However, some of the same models and science that are used to sound the alarm are the very ones that all of you so trustfully check out on your smartphones to plan your daily and weekly activities, and they show some disturbing future patterns for our region, including heavier rainfall events and prolonged heat waves. Climate scientists realize that greenhouse gas pollution is a somewhat more difficult concept to grasp than other environmental issues such as water quality and biodiversity, where the base or steady state is fairly easy to quantify. There is no steady state for the climate, it does vary from year to year, decade to decade, and it has a system of checks and balances that contribute to our planet’s status as the Goldilocks planet – not too hot, not too cold. These same checks and balances likely contribute to the often claimed arguments that global temperatures have “plateaued”, when in fact, it’s just a temporary slowdown of the increasing march toward a warmer planet.

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