Lets pretend that 97% of all climate scientists didn’t agree on human caused climate change, informed by tremendous amounts of data, all independently coming to the same conclusions and models. Lets pretend that the oil company funded “scientific” campaigns actually represented real scientific confusion rather than just propaganda to confuse a population that doesn’t have the critical thinking skills to study the data on their own, and tend towards status quo supporting ideas anyways….
Are we really in a phase of global warming? Or is it global cooling? Maybe we’re justing monitoring storms more now? Maybe its a natural cycle? Or the result of solar flares or volcanoes?
Ok, lets pretend any of that were true, and the the 40 billion metric tones of CO2 human industry emits into the atmosphere every year has no affect on the climate at all.
Having nothing to do with climate, that CO2 (and everything else goes along with making it) still poses an extinction level threat to us through other mechanisms, including ocean acidification, that are not in question. 30-40% of all the CO2 emitted diffuses into the oceans as carbonic acid, decreasing the pH of the ocean. Thats 22 million tones daily. The oceans have already become 30% more acidic from human caused CO2, which is nearing critical tipping points for devastating effects on ocean life. The oceans are the foundation of life on this water planet.
Moreover, refining oil from tar sands is one of the largest current uses of the dwindling fresh water reserves we have left. Mountain top removal mining also irreparably pollutes fresh water and destroys whole ecosystems in the process. In addition to CO2, burning carbon based fuel creates toxic mercury emissions and is the main cause of mercury poisoning in the world’s waters and fish. Carbon fuels are the single largest source of particulate air pollution, VOC’s and the nitric, zinc, and carbon oxides that cause acid rain. The 300,000 barrels of natural gas produced daily by fracking in the US require 72 trillion gallons of fresh water and 360 billion gallons of chemicals, which end up in the ground water or atmosphere. Oil spills represent the worst kind of environmental disaster humans have ever caused, and they are inevitable in an oil economy. Add to this the fact that rising CO2 levels are mirrored by falling O2 levels (CO2 comes from burning carbon fuels in the presence of oxygen), which affects the health of every human alive. Not to mention the political destabilizations (wars) that occur over oil…and the basis for energy monopoly a commodity (coal and oil) based energy source offers compared with a technology based method.
I say it doesn’t matter if the overwhelmingly clear science on climate change is true or not, because we have to get off of carbon based fuels as fast as we possibly can regardless. We have the technology to do this today. Now we need the will and choice. If we do, future historians will record this as the heroic generation that turned the tide from impending catastrophe to a world fit for our grandkids and theirs to grow up and thrive in. If we don’t…our saving grace may be that there are no future historians to record our folly.
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