The quest to curb activities damaging to the ecosystem has been harder than it should be. Too many people refuse to accept the overwhelming scientific evidence that the earth is heating up and human activities are contributing to the warming.
But the environmental movement has just gained a powerful ally. And new scientific evidence bolsters the case for action.
This week, media worldwide circulated a leaked draft of a major speech Pope Francis is scheduled to give Thursday on climate change.
His verdict: The Earth is getting warmer because of greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activities, such as coal-fired power plants and fossil-fueled vehicles.
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The pope has proposed a solid response to the crisis. Leaders around the globe must finally hammer out an effective agreement to reduce emissions and more aggressively promote the use of renewable energy.
Pope Francis gets it exactly right when he says climate change is a moral problem that has outsized effects on the poor, partly through dramatic weather problems such as droughts and storms that destroy crops.
His call for rich nations to lead the way in finding solutions also is on the mark — and sure to upset conservative forces that have thwarted efforts for the United States to do just that.
The pope deserves great credit for bringing attention to such a consequential issue, with the hope that his standing on the world stage will prod efforts to better control global warming.
In a second development, one of the longtime tenets of climate change skeptics — that global warming has taken a “hiatus” over the last 15 or so years — was debunked recently.
A new study said average temperatures have continued to go up in recent years. Repeat: continued to go up.
That’s crucial, because the new data support the overwhelming number of scientists around the world who have concluded human activities are contributing to climate change.
Researchers used new information gathered from additional land weather stations as well as from more ocean buoys. Put simply, the more exhaustive research provided more accurate temperature measurements than previously available.
As the research paper stated, “the central estimate for the rate of warming during the first 15 years of the 21st century is at least as great as the last half of the 20th century. These results do not support the notion of a ‘slowdown.’”
None of this will surprise the majority of credible scientists who have studied this issue for decades.
The deniers, of course, will remain locked in their small but vocal camp, no matter the evidence provided.