Craig Welch is an environment writer at National Geographic. He has been writing about environmental issues for 14 years and is the author of ‘Sea Change: The Pacific’s Perilous Turn’.In his article, ‘Global Warming Is Real—But 13 Degrees? Not So Fast’, he investigates the likelihood of recent claims by scientists that the earth will heat up by another 13 degrees Fahrenheit no matter what we do (Welch, 2016). Such warming would likely make some parts of the planet uninhabitable without special cooling systems, especially those areas with summer temperatures already averaging well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit like Bandar, Iran and Qatar.
The science for this sobering claim of irreversible temperature increase was based on a climate model derived from data derived from two million years of evidence. While Mr. Welch finds this data to be valid, he believes the conclusions regarding temperature increase
need to be questioned. An eminent scientist who disagrees with the gloomy prediction is Gavin Schmidt, chief of NASA at Goddard Space Center in Maryland (Welch, 2016).
The Stanford researcher who conducted the study, based her conclusions on the strong relationship between the surface temperature of world oceans and the amount of carbon dioxide naturally released into the atmosphere. She has determined that even if we
stop all greenhouse gas emissions due to fossil fuel burning immediately, the planet will still increase in temperature by 13 F. Dr. Carolyn Snyder of the US Environmental Protection agency says that the strong relationship between temperature and greenhouse gas is remarkably stable. This is the basis of the gravely pessimistic conclusions. Scientist Eric Stieg, a professor at the University of Washington, claims that Dr. Snyder’s temperature predictions are exceedingly high (Welch, 2016). But his claim appears more subjective than objective.
Implications of Climate Change
Regardless of recent dire predictions of reaching a point of no return in terms of global temperatures, The World Economic Forum outlines the severity of risks that the planet already faces from climate change. These risks are widespread and include availability of water and food. They also include the risk of social instability. Coastal areas around the world are already at risk of flooding and have already experienced major destruction caused by ocean rise from climate change. Food production is also threatened by Global Warming. Climate vulnerability has been a major concern in Russia and India. The US is a major exporter of food but has experienced major setbacks in prime growing areas like California. Stepping away from the scientific world and looking into the world of investment and finance, we might want to take under advisement, the words of a $4.5 trillion asset manager who views climate change as a serious financial concern as do other investment corporations around the world (Hulac, 2016).
Critique: Data, Results, Conclusion
The science behind the claims made about irreversible global temperature increase are substantiated by well-respected investigators. We have already experienced the devastating consequences of climate change world-wide. There have been widespread publications about accelerated rates of global melting caused by climate change. In Craig Welch’s article, it is clear that the model claims are based on, has received wide support. It is also clear that the statements denying the likelihood of irreversible world-wide warming are unsubstantiated. The article is very much focused on the climate model and the claims supporting and denying the predictions drawn from it. Yet, no background information is provided by those who disagree with the conclusions.
The topic of the article ‘Global Warming Is Real—But 13 Degrees? Not So Fast’ relates to a global threat, yet it minimizes that threat and does little to discuss current or future implications. Perhaps unintentionally, it leaves the reader with a false sense of security that is very dangerous, because we can only correct problems by acknowledging them. Global warming affects my financial security, food security and civil safety. It increases my level of insecurity and the level of insecurity in the world.
- Hulac, B. (2016). Top Economics Risk of 2016 is Global Warming. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/top-economic-risk-of-2016-is-global-warming/
- Welch, C. (2016). Global Warming Is Real—But 13 Degrees? Not So Fast. Retrieved from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/09/global-warming-study-13-degrees-is-wrong-climate-change/