What is the true story about global warming?

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Dear Tom,
What is the true story about global warming? I hear so many different opinions, but I trust you.
Norb Pierson
Dear Norb,
Thank you for your trust. Global warming is real, and it is a real problem. The Earth’s climate is growing warmer, primarily as a result of carbon dioxide and methane (so-called “greenhouse gases”) being released into the atmosphere by man. A study issued in 2018 by the United Nations says that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at current levels, the planet could warm by 2.7 degrees F. since the Industrial Revolution began (about 1800) by 2040. To prevent that, greenhouse gas emissions will have to be completely eliminated by 2050. The U.N. study is a “deafening, piercing smoke alarm going off in the kitchen,” said Erik Solheim, executive director of the U.N. Environmental Program.
The U.N. study says the Earth could warm to the 2.7 degree threshold as soon as 2030 if greenhouse gases continue to be released into the atmosphere at their present rate. However, it will take major changes in all aspects of society to limit warming to that threshold. Some changes are already in motion: Renewable energy sources like solar power and wind are expanding rapidly, but much more needs to be done in order to account for the negative effects of burning fossil fuels (like coal) that release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Even though polls show that the majority of Americans understand that global warming is occurring, they are choosing not to do anything about it. Paul Slovik, a University of Oregon psychologist, says, “The question is often ‘Do I feel vulnerable?’ For the most part, we don’t, and that shapes our behavior.”


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