Obama science advisor wields evidence to undercut climate change deniers
US President Barack Obama's science advisor, John Holdren, took on climate change deniers in a comprehensive, data-heavy speech last month at the Kavli Science Forum in Oslo, Norway. Proclaiming that "the earth is getting hotter", Holden went on to enumerate on the causes of climate change (human impacts) and its overall effect (not good), discussing at length the science that underpins the theory of climate change. For environmentalists and international officials frustrated with the US's slow pace on combating climate change—which is decades behind Europe's and many other nations'—Holdren touted that the Obama Administration had made progress on the issue and stated that the administration plans to pursue legislation again after a new congress is elected. However, given current predictions that Republicans will pick up seats in November, comprehensive climate and energy legislation seems unlikely since historically the majority of the GOP has been against tackling climate change.
Yet, Holdren argued that "most people are perhaps not sufficiently aware of the number of ways in which climate affects our well being," citing how climate impacts not just weather patterns, but availability of water; the productivity of agriculture, forests, and fisheries; the spread of disease; the need for funds to be spent on adaptation; and the survival of the world's species.
Much of Holdren's speech addressed what he called the "five myths" of climate change, including that argument that warming is natural, that climate change impacts are far on the horizon, and that climate change won't be bad for society. Systematically taking on each of these 'myths', often touted by climate change deniers, Holdren argued that for most of the world unmitigated climate change would mean massive disruptions to society and exponential increases in human suffering.
"[Current climate change] is rapid compared to the capacities for adjustment, the capacities of ecosystems, and the capacity of social and economic systems to adjust, and it is going to be harmful for most places and most times," Holdren said. "Some places for some time will get some benefits from climate change, but most places for most times and increasingly so going forward will suffer harm."
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