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Yes, climate change is real, and yes, humans are a large part of the cause.
There are many reasons why climate change is considered to be very real, but going into detail would just reiterate what you learn in climate- and weather-related classes. But all of the evidence is nicely summarized by the 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report linked here.
There is no shortage of reasons why humans are considered to be the main cause of climate change. It’s evident in the inability of climate prediction models to accurately capture past climate fluctuations without the addition of human-induced externalities. This means that in the past, scientists made models that predicted future carbon levels and were able to accurately predict concentrations of carbon only when they used a model that included human emissions. Also note that we are assuming that carbon dioxide contributes to climate change as well. This is once again summarized in the IPCC report and also by NASA.
Now, I come to the controversial part. Global warming does not mean that we are all going to die.
It’s more like our real estate options are dwindling. There will likely be more extreme weather events, less land than before and higher average global temperatures. But that does not mean all seven continents are going underwater or that earthquakes will render the surface of the earth unlivable.
The impact of climate change means that we are going to have to adapt to an ever-changing earth. People will have to move from the coasts, millions will experience malnourishment and people will die. Now, that’s on the extreme side of the predictions, but does that sound like the end of the human race and life altogether? Not to trivialize the possible implications of climate change, but extinction does not seem to be the likely scenario. Realistically, we are looking at events that could cut our populations, but the human race will likely thrive.
While something grave is truly upon us, I believe humans are more adaptive than we tend to think. In the midst of this massive “sixth extinction,” I think it would be wise to be extremely realistic about the situation we are in. We may have lost certain species of animals, certain crops or land to build our homes on, but we could come out of this relatively unscathed if we come together and adapt. Popular novels will paint humans as stubborn and unwilling to change, but I think we are the exact opposite.
We dream of life in stars, we are always trying to make our own lives better and we are constantly innovating. I do not think our future is dim; I think it is brighter than ever. This will be the single largest opportunity to change our world for the better. When faced with disaster, we will create amazing things. Our future could look like many things— maybe huge megacities and untouched countrysides, maybe massive space stations that house millions of people or maybe even a moderated world consisting of fewer people and fewer excesses. Whatever it may be, I believe we have not only the will, but the inclination to change.
Our situation is precarious, but fearmongers who claim the earth is at a tipping point do a disservice to climate scientists and science as a whole. They do not represent the facts and they misunderstand the human race. We are explorers, inventors, artists and pioneers — we are going to push through any challenge.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Conner Kingsley at firstname.lastname@example.org.