March 6, 2016

The Changing Climate

Iris Berman '18
Recent extreme and unseasonable weather conditions have been affecting the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people in increasingly dramatic ways.
Not only does this bizarre weather instill a chronic underlying sense of panic in the hearts of average Americans, it also hurts the economy with billions of dollars in direct damages and untold sums in lost productivity and the disruption of daily life.
From severe flooding and frequent hurricanes to record-­high temperatures and intense droughts, the weather has become less familiar and predictable since the beginning of modern weather recordkeeping. This level of unpredictability has lead to weakened economies, damaged infrastructure and a surplus of fatalities. Scientists attribute these strange weather patterns to global climate change which holds devastating consequences for the future of society.
Over the course of the last century, the global average temperature has risen more than 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Oceans are heating up and becoming more acidic, causing ice caps to melt and sea levels to rise dramatically. Greenhouse gas emissions stemming from the generation of energy, transportation industries and private households have all been labeled as causes of global warming.
“There is clear evidence that the earth is warming and there is clear evidence too that this is because of carbon and greenhouse emissions.” said sophomore Jordan Mayor.
Mayor brought up the daunting statistic that over the past century, the Earth has been warming at a faster rate than at any other time in the past 11,300 years. Others attribute this warming to the cyclic patterns of Earth’s climate.
“The earth's atmosphere is a complex system and to dial the whole earth’s temperature to one number is unlikely to be accurate.” added sophomore Elijah Taitel.
Taitel suggested that natural fluctuations of the Earth’s atmosphere may be the biggest factor in climate change and is unsure whether human activity is the largest driver of global warming.
Regardless of these contradicting beliefs, it is agreed by both sides of the spectrum that there are temperatural changes occurring and that there could be a dangerous aftermath for everyone.
Global climate change also holds social consequences for Americans. There are basements that are flooded, businesses that are destroyed and families that become dislocated while their homes are swept away, like in the recent flooding of the Mississippi River.
Many Americans’ reactions have demanded that the United States government is not only needed after a disaster, but also to help prevent future damage and protect lives via establishing more proactive policies.
Hopes were raised after the Paris climate talks, when the U.S. adopted its own goals in order to limit its greenhouse gas emissions and a plan for the future. Although, the future for climate issues in America is still unclear.

“For our own sake and our own happiness we should try and use cleaner more efficient energies,” said Taitel. “Whether the scare is real or not, it is beneficial because it forces humans to become innovative and progressive.”
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