This issue is one of the most divisive in the Western World. In the United States, many more people who used to accept that global warming is happening no longer believe it. Even when reputable institutions like NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) put out evidence recently that this is a problem, still many people more seem to flock to the more comforting idea that mankind is just a simple creature unable to have a long-term effect on the planet.
That is why climate-warming deniers always cling to any shreds of a hacked e-mail or a scientist or a celebrity who tells us that our industrial economy doesn't come with a nasty effect on the atmosphere of the planet. The facts are that hundreds of climate scientists say that the earth is getting warmer, period, and have been saying so for years.
I believe human beings do have the power to change our climate--and all the name-calling I've read on websites researching this topic tells it is so hopelessly politicized (at least in the USA, where one-quarter of the greenhouse-effect emissions come from) that it will be a long time before we realize how fragile this planet is and how American and Chinese and European lifestyles are making this planet warmer.
It was all put together quite well for me in a recent editorial in the Los Angeles Times (from July 22) . I include a portion of this editorial because I feel this gets to the heart of the state of denial too many Americans are trapped in by misleading punditry and conspiracy theories that aim to do nothing but pretend the forests aren't dying, the masses of plankton and coral reefs aren't diminishing and the world isn't getting hotter.
"You probably won't hear it from columnist George F. Will, Fox News commentators or the plethora of conservative blogs that have claimed global warming essentially stopped in 1998, but recent figures released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show that global land and ocean surface temperatures in June were the highest since record-keeping began in 1880. What's more, the first half of 2010 was the hottest such period ever recorded, and Arctic sea ice melted at a record-setting pace in June.
"The heat can probably be attributed at least in part to periodic and entirely natural changes in ocean temperatures and surface air pressure — the El Niño/La Niña phenomena most likely played a role. But the fact that peak years are getting hotter while even relatively "cool" years now tend to remain above historical averages (the 10 warmest years on record all occurred within the last 15 years, according to the NOAA) shows that something else is at work. A consensus of climate scientists worldwide, including not only the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change but the national scientific academies of the United States and the rest of the developed world, have identified that "something else" as anthropogenic (human-caused) greenhouse gases, which reflect the sun's heat back onto the Earth rather than letting it escape into space."
Sometimes an "inconvenient truth" is just that.