Climate change cannot be ignored, must be addressed immediately

Opinions Columnist | Mass Communication Junior

Climate change is real and imminent, and action must be taken immediately to reduce its consequences.

Many people do not believe in climate change, or global warming, as the uneducated like to keep calling it. Climate change is not like Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy or conspiracy theories. Choosing not to believe in climate change is like choosing not to believe in the Universal Law of Gravitation or Newton’s Laws of Motion.

Climate Communication Science & Outreach claims temperature data sets compiled by major climate centers around the world show it to be an unequivocal fact that Earth’s average temperature continues to rise. This is not only proof of the real effects of climate change, but also proof there is scientific consensus and information to back up the claim.

Climate change is not some crackpot theory made up by dirty hippies who got a little too sweaty during the past few heat waves. The Copenhagen Diagnosis, a report of the most policy-relevant climate science, states that this century has had 10 of the hottest years since instrumental records began. These distinct measurements of climate change patterns are independent of natural phenomena such as solar flares and Earth’s warming/cooling periods and are due almost solely to greenhouse gases and emissions.

In short, not only does climate change exist, it is a universally accepted scientific theory that is basically fact. Earth is getting hotter, and even if something is done now, the heat will not let up for quite a while.

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an objective source of the most widely accepted scientific information about climate change, publishes a policymaker’s guide every few years. The FAQ that accompanies this handbook claims even if there is substantial reduction to the present carbon dioxide emission levels, atmospheric CO2 will continue to increase in the long term. CO2 molecules are the little buggers that humans like to pump into the air until the planet turns into an Easy Bake Oven, complete with uneven baking.

Those who do not believe in climate change can enjoy frying under an unforgiving sun. For the intelligent people out there who actually pay attention to the consequences of their actions, it is time to make immediate changes. Addressing issues with the current climate needs to be a top priority for everybody. After all, getting rich will not matter much if paper money bursts into flames as soon as it touches the hot concrete.

There are several things students can do to play their part in fixing the climate. Simple changes to daily behavior such as paying attention to CO2 emissions, saving as much electricity and water possible and recycling and using compost piles can go a long way. Many of these things save money as well, so it is actually moronic to not do them.

Self-education is easy if students research and take the necessary steps. Take advantage of the many forms of recycling on campus. Get involved in clubs that are sensitive. This issue cannot be compromised. The health of the Earth is, and should be, the top priority.