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Unite behind the science
David Kyler new
David Kyler is Co-Director & Co-Founder of the Center for a Sustainable Coast

 Rather than debating climate change and the urgency of actions needed to address it, we should rigorously adhere to the maxim “Unite behind the science.”

Consider the benefits of rational, scientific use of information achieved during the two-hundred years that it’s been deployed. Without science, the human prospect would be harshly constrained by food shortages, disease, and widespread poverty. Enhancing the well-being of billions worldwide would have been impossible. 

Today, advanced applications of science enable our species to understand the vital functions and limitations of globally systemic, life-sustaining ecosystems. Accordingly, we must intelligently pursue reforms essential to sustaining humanity’s long-term interests.

Writers of opinion columns and letters often cast unfounded doubts on the climate crisis, contradicting analysis and predictions made by 97 percent of the world’s highly-qualified climate scientists, who warn of impending environmental breakdowns caused by human disruption of Earth’s climate. 

Such skepticism about the call for climate action resorts to grossly false equivalencies with past problems, including extensive drought during the Depression.

It’s dangerously wrong-headed to urge neglect of the climate crisis simply because certain predictions of geo-physical trends in the distant past were erroneous. For instance, flawed forecasts of the 1930’s, primarily made by ill-informed observers, couldn’t benefit from the modern use of computer-enhanced analysis of vast quantities of data. 

Studies irrefutably show that current models used to predict rising sea-level and dangerously climbing temperatures have correctly anticipated global climate trends, erring only by understating the speed and extent of the destructive impacts of climate disturbance that are continuing at a perilous pace.

Disregarding future threats based on “gut-level” rationale is pure folly, especially when the implications are so dire. It is imperative that actions to reduce the human causes of climate disruption – primarily by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions – are taken as soon as possible. 

The longer the delay in taking action, the worse the consequences in the decades ahead – including famine, mass migrations, trillions in property losses, and alarming decline in human health.

To view the climate crisis with appropriate precaution, ponder the overly confident predictions of America’s continuing immunity to foreign threats because no such incidents had previously occurred – until the tragic events of September 11, 2001. 

History clearly shows that the future does not always replicate the past. With the vast scientific evidence of climate disruption at our disposal, ignoring dangerous ongoing trends will bring massive self-inflicted misery. 

False complacency and denial about the climate crisis must be overcome by uniting behind the science.

David Kyler is Co-Director & Co-Founder of the Center for a Sustainable Coast

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