Humans: The Perpetrators of Climate Change


Matthew Harper, Editor-in-Chief

For decades, climate change has the been the basis of debates and heated (pun!) conversations. Indeed, with the depletion of the ozone, rising sea levels, and rising temperatures, our planet is suffering. Currently, in the atmosphere, there are 406.94 parts per million of carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas that is released through deforestation and burning fossil fuels. Furthermore, since 1880, the earth’s temperature has increased by 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit and the Arctic Ice Minimum decreases 13.2 percent per decade. The land ice decreases by 286.0 billion metric tons per year and the sea level increases by 3.4mm per year.

The general consensus among Republicans and Democrats is that the climate change exists, but the real debate is whether humans are the primary cause. In a Climate Science Special Report, human activities were found to be the dominant cause of the observed warming in the history of civilization. The significance of this report, which represented the first of two volumes of the Fourth National Climate Assessment (mandated by the Global Change Research Act of 1990), is that it directly contradicts the policies of the Trump administration.

Philip B. Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center, explained, “This report has some very powerful, hard-hitting statements that are totally at odds with senior administration folks and at odds with their policies…It begs the question, where are members of the administration getting their information from? They’re obviously not getting it from their own scientists.”

Although the report clearly states that climate change is primarily caused by humans, White House spokesman Raj Shah undermined the report by stating, “The climate has changed and is always changing…As the Climate Science Special Report states, the magnitude of future climate change depends significantly on ‘remaining uncertainty in the sensitivity of Earth’s climate’ to greenhouse gas emissions.” Furthermore, the Environmental Protection Agency has removed any references to climate change from its website and has barred its scientists from researching on this topic. The administration of the EPA is also not educated on the subject of climate change. Scott Pruitt, an administrator, stated that carbon dioxide is not a primary contributor to climate change, even though it has been scientifically proven multiple times.

The report states that the continued emission of carbon dioxide will lead to greater risk of unanticipated changes and impacts, some that are irreversible. Furthermore, evidence shows that every part of the United States has been affected by global warming. Various human activities, ranging from agriculture to mass production, have caused the earth to go down a dark road, which could ultimately lead to destruction. As David Bower, the environmentalist, once said, “We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”