env2073 f11 exam2 JAC_answers

env2073 f11 exam2 JAC_answers - 1 I do not agree with Mr...

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1/6 1. I do not agree with Mr Gingrich’s comments. I will take the second part of his comments first – “the most you can argue for, I think, is more research.” Although there are certainly aspects of the climate system that we don’t understand fully, and which probably do merit additional research, we have a very sound understanding of the fundamental science of climate change at this point, such that “more research” is really not what we need at this point, in my opinion. We already know that the planet is warming; we already know with pretty good precision how much it has warmed in the past 100–150 years; and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) wrote in 2007 that “most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20 th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations.” It is true that we are not yet certain what the effects of global warming will be (e.g., how much warmer will it get by 2100, how much will the sea level rise, how strong will hurricanes get, how will food supply be affected), so I suppose one could plausibly argue that we oughtn’t take action against global warming until we are more certain that the likely effects are severe enough to warrant it. Hence, one could possibly agree with Mr Gingrich that more research is called for until we are more certain that action is warranted. However, I disagree with this advice, and I would not advise delaying action until we obtain such certainty, because delaying until we are certain is most likely the same as delaying until it is too late. If we are going to limit future warming to, say, 2 °C or 3 °C, then we must act immediately to drastically reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases. Therefore – getting back to the first part of Mr Gingrich’s quote – I would say that there is evidence to justify a large government centralized response, and quickly. For sure there is evidence (surface thermometer record, glacier record, arctic sea ice record) that shows the planet is warming; the question is, does this evidence argue for centralized government action? I would say yes. The IPCC noted (2007, p 48) that “overall it is expected that benefits will be outweighed by the negative health effects of rising temperatures,” which suggests that climate change is, on the whole, bad for us. But does that mean we should act to stop it? Again, I would say yes. The National Research Council recommended (2011, p 59) that “In order to minimize the risks of climate change and its adverse impacts, the nation should reduce greenhouse gas emissions substantially over the coming decades…it is the committee’s judgment that the most effective strategy is to begin ramping down emissions as soon as possible.” Dessler and Parson also noted (2010, p 120) that “Relying on adaptation while doing nothing to slow or stop climate change would mean putting no limits on how much change we must adapt to – gambling that we can effectively, and at acceptable cost,
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env2073 f11 exam2 JAC_answers - 1 I do not agree with Mr...

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