The Arctic began warming back in the 1960s. That warming trend has continued and has increased. Robert Boyd of McClatchy Newspapers, referring to a report by an international team of scientists, notes that "Temperatures in the Arctic last fall hit an all-time high -- more than 9 degrees Fahrenheit ... above normal -- and remain almost as high this year."
The loss of sea ice in the Arctic warms the oceans and causes "global sea levels to rise even faster than predicted." While global warming is not the only cause, it is the most important one. And what happens in the Arctic has a world-wide impact.
Renee Schoff, also of McClatchy, reports that scientists are insisting the United States take
action on climate change. She quotes James Hansen, NASA climate scientist, who has repeatedly stressed that Congress and the president "must define a course next year in which the United States exerts leadership commensurate with our responsibility for the present dangerous situation."
The danger comes from the fact that our options are closing. If something isn't done now, we may lose the opportunity to protect the planet. We must "reduce the level of gases enough to prevent changes such as rising oceans and dying plant and animal species." The result of inaction will lead to disastrous climate changes that spiral dynamically out of humanity's control."
The Bush administration has, for many years, denied the reality of global warming, even going so far as to rewrite scientific reports to coincide with that denial. The Bush administration's policies over the past eight years have not only been ineffective as far as dealing with climate change goes, but have actually increased the problem.
John McCain, contrarily, though belatedly, said "We know that greenhouse gas emissions, by retaining heat within the atmosphere, threaten disastrous changes in the climate.
President-elect Obama cautions that "There can no longer be any doubt that human activities are influencing the global climate and we must react quickly and effectively."
Already, some Repugs are touting Governor Sarah Palin for their presidential candidate in 2012 (that is, of course, if god approves)! Consider Palin's take on global warming and the environment in general.
The Alaskan governor has "questioned the science behind predictions of sea ice loss linked to global warming." Not so long ago, "the state of Alaska under Palin's guidance sued Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne in an attempt to reverse his decision to list polar bears as a threatened species. Palin said that scientists' predictions that global warming will eliminate the ice where the bears live in summer were unreliable."
That, in spite of the fact, that because 2007 set a record low for sea ice in the Arctic, reindeer, walruses and polar bears were threatened as their habitat was being destroyed.
As the Arctic goes, so goes the rest of the world. Anyone seeking public office should be questioned thoroughly on his/her understanding of global warming. The reality of global warming, whether caused by human activity or nature, can no longer be denied. To ignore or deny global warming is to invite catastrophe.