Reality of climate change shows real effects


Sam Rosenblatt, Staff Writer

Global warming has become an increasingly prominent issue in America’s political discourse.

Former President Barack Obama helped negotiate the Paris Agreement in 2015, which promised to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Sen. Bernie Sanders, while campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination, said that climate change was the greatest threat to our national security. President Donald Trump once tweeted that global warming is a “hoax” that was “created by and for the Chinese,” but has since tempered some of his remarks on the subject.

There is a general consensus in the scientific community that human activity has caused the world’s climate to change. In contrast, many conservative politicians have been known to deny the concept or assert that the issue does not warrant legislation, especially if it restricts business.

Although politicians have presently failed to reach an agreement on how, if at all, to combat climate change, one thing is undeniable: the effects are real.

For instance, the Isle de Jean Charles, an island roughly 80 miles from New Orleans, has lost over 98 percent of its land mass since 1955 due to rising sea levels, natural disasters, and development for oil and gas production. The lone road that used to reach the mainland from the island often floods, causing the island’s residents to become “climate refugees.”

Those who deny climate change may offer an alternative explanation for the changing sea levels in southern Louisiana. However, science tells us the diminishing land of the Isle de Jean Charles stems from rising temperatures, which have melted glaciers and icecaps and caused warm water to rise.

Rising sea levels could pose similar threats to coastal areas around the United States. Effects are already seen in areas such as southern Florida.

For a more local perspective, temperatures in Lewisburg, Pa. rose to highs of over 70 degrees on Feb. 23 and 24. Between Feb. 18–24, the temperature at the University reached over 20 degrees above the historical average high temperature for that individual day.

In fact, there were 14 days in February during which the temperature at the University was 10 or more degrees above the historical average high temperature for that day. In comparison, the temperature was below or equal to the historical average high just nine times.

It’s unlikely that the Obama administration’s progressive environmental policies will continue in the near future due to conservatives holding the majority in government. This is unfortunate, as actions must be taken to continue combating climate change. If we want to mitigate these effects and leave the next generation with a healthy environment, it is essential that we realize those 70 degree days in February come at a high cost.

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