The good news is that two-thirds of Americans are confident that climate change is real and well-supported by evidence and science, while only fifteen percent of Americans deny climate change*.
The bad news is that the climate is changing. The changes have created more severe droughts, floods, and storms. That’s still a hypothesis. Although it is based on evidence, it is subject to testing and more data collection and analysis. What is known is that climate change has devastated coral reefs around the world. What is suspected (another hypothesis) is that climate change has adversely affected the biodiversity of Lake Tanganyika, the longest freshwater lake in the world.
Worse news is that climate change is a significant contributing factor to the wars in the Middle East and Africa.
Drought has devastated farmland; rural peoples have migrated to cities looking for opportunity. The crowded cities and lack of those opportunities have created tinder boxes ripe for the flames of radical Islam. The crowded cities and lack of opportunities have been an excellent recruiting poster for Daesh (ISIS, ISIL), Boko Haram, and their ilk. Droughts led to war; war has led to the current migrant crises in Europe and Africa.
It’s another lesson that everything that happens has a cause. Not necessarily a reason, but a cause. Yes, there is a difference. Climate change and weather are not the result of divine retribution or favor. They are the result of the physics of the atmosphere, of wind and waves, of oceanic carbon sequestration, of solar heating and human-created greenhouse gasses, among other things.
Worse news is that Donald Trump’s history of denying climate change, to the point of calling it a hoax, has apparently affected his mindless followers. The number of republicans who doubt climate change rose from 26% to 34% in only six months*.
It’s not enough to “believe” climate change is real. It’s critical that we do something about it. More on that, later.
* National Survey on Energy and Environment, University of Michigan and Muhlenbert College.
Registered Curmudgeon, scientist, skeptic, humanist, and writer.