One of the key aspects of human efficiency is making decisions based on facts, data, and nonideological logic. According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a body of the United Nations, climate change is occurring at an alarming and unprecedented rate. 2015 was the hottest year ever. 2014 was the hottest year ever before that. According to the WMO, global surface temperatures were 0.76C higher than the 1961—90 average. Meanwhile, Arctic sea ice is melting resulting in sea level rise and extreme weather is increasing.
Climate change is due to the build-up of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere. The level of CO2 in the atmosphere had a record annual increase in 2015 as measured at Mauna Loa and is higher than it has been in the last 400,000 years and above normal climate cycles. It just when above 400 ppm for the first time.
As is always stated, about 97% of climate scientists now agree that this is due to human activity and yet, due to extreme ideology, there are still some people who cannot accept this.
However, there is another way to look at this. Before engineers install a new process or change an existing one they have to do a risk analysis where they consider the possible failure modes and assign a risk factor to each. The way they determine this risk is by multiplying the likelihood of an event occurring by the severity of the impact that the event will have if it does occur. So even if an event has only a 1% chance of occurring, if the impact is severe enough it will warrant reconsidering the change.
The cost of climate change in just the U.S. is estimated by the National Resources Defense Council will be 1.8% of GDP or $1.9 trillion annually by 2100. Other estimates are also huge. So even if you are not 100% sure whether climate change is being caused by people, the consequences warrant doing something about it. Especially considering that renewable energy is getting to be so inexpensive.
Luckily, the number of people concerned about global warming is increasing. According to Gallup, 64% of Americans are now worried about this. This includes only 40% of Republicans, 64% of Independents, and 84% of Democrats, all of which are increasing.
On top of that, according to Pew Research, about 65% of Americans want a priority put on alternate energy development rather than fossil fuels. And yet, the new administration wants to increase production of fossil fuels. Once again, the citizens are making a better fact-based decision than the government and once again, the will of the people is not being implemented by the government. This is not at all efficient and the consequences will be severe. Unfortunately, we are close to a tipping point and can no longer wait for a new administration.
We need to enact policies to accelerate renewable energy at the expense of fossil fuels. In the next blog, I will discuss ways to do this.
Next: 2. (Cont.) How to Take Action on Climate Change