In an article written by Richard A. Kerr, “Climate Change: Greenhouse Forecasting Still Cloudy,” the author examines some of the few doubts centering around climate change, with little remorse for the many scientists and climatologists who have been working on this matter for many years. He discusses situations from greenhouse gas emissions to technological struggles that may be portraying what he believes is happening, completely wrong. Kerr mainly focuses on how, as a population, we truly do not know what is causing climate change. At one point in this article he states, “many climate experts caution that it is not at all clear yet that human activities have begun to warm the planet—or how bad greenhouse warming will be when it arrives,” inferring that what humans have done thus far has had little to no impact on the planet, and we have yet to see any warming due to anthropogenic emissions. He continues shifting to how we cannot truly trust our computer models in which are replicating what is happening to our atmosphere when referencing, “climate modeler Max Suarez of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, agrees that it’s “iffy” whether the match between models and temperature records is close enough to justify saying that greenhouse warming is already under way.” It is very clear that Kerr does not believe that the results of climate change are going to be as drastic as many climatologists believe, and even though he explains his thoughts and ideas thoroughly, there are many areas in which they do not add up.
Although Kerr has some decent ideas that don’t seem too far off, the science just simply does not back-up his thinking. It is a known fact, with zero doubt or dispute, that as of 2016, humans have emitted 40 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide alone. On top of that, humans emit an average of 60 million tons of methane per year, alongside many other greenhouse gas emissions such as nitrous oxides and fluorinated gases. There is no need to be a mathematician to know that adding all these numbers up equals one very large amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Alongside the emissions alone, we also know that these gases are called greenhouse gases for a reason– the reason being that they trap heat into our atmosphere, hence the greenhouse effect. We know that this has been happening for many decades and the emissions really began growing exponentially during and after the industrial revolution. As of now, the amount of greenhouse gas concentrations in our atmosphere are the highest they have ever been, and it does not seem to be a coincidence that we are also reaching record breaking heat across the globe. It is also a common misconception that climate change only causes the planet to heat up, when in reality even though this is true, the rising heat causes way more than just intense heat waves. It begins to mess with many of the other complex and interconnected ecosystems. These can be ecosystems deep under the ocean, a thick forest, or even a small patch of grass in your backyard. When one thing is affected negatively, which is going to happen via climate change, it is very likely that the rest of these ecosystems will also crash down, including the many that humans are personally involved in. For one to have doubts about the negative effects of our anthropogenic impact, is absolutely mindblowing.
Kerr also explores the idea that our computer models may not be accurate, or even show any relevance as to what is going to happen. As this is a possibility, it is also known that the modern day computer models are very high-tech and have different algorithms in place to detect changes and certain instances of our future. This allows us to understand, through previous knowledge, research, and findings, how different aspects of our environment and atmosphere affect each other. This is portrayed through these models and used as warning signs or foreshadowing as to what our future has in store for us. Even though no model is completely accurate or 100% accountable, they are a good “representation” as to what we are headed for. As you can see, authors such as Richard A. Kerr are the drivers of change in our globalized world as he, and many others, point out the few flaws within the climate change “debate” and allows scientists, climatologists, or passionate students such as myself, to push harder and analyze smarter by utilizing his ideas in order to make ours stronger. Overall, the climate is changing, whether one believes it is mainly due to greenhouse gas emissions, or simply the deforestation happening globally. It is our duty as humans to understand how to restore, repair, and protect the remnants of our planet that we all call home.
Reference Article: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/276/5315/1040.full