Republicans in the U.S. Congress Remain Unconvinced that Earth’s Recent Warming is Human Caused
Despite big data to the contrary, the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate, while conceding that climate change is real and not a “hoax”, as Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma formerly claimed, still refused to admit that humans are responsible for the current warming of the planet. A series of votes publicly tested Republicans’ stance on global warming just days after two federal agencies declared 2014 the hottest year on record and hours after President Barack Obama called global warming one of the greatest threats to future generations. The votes were held over a debate over a bill on the Keystone XL pipeline.
Carbon dioxide (CO2), the most abundant of the greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere, began rising in concentration, as measured in parts per million (ppm), in the atmosphere as fossil fuels began being burned for energy around the time of the Industrial Revolution (about 1800). CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere were 70% lower than present levels, which are presently close to 400 ppm. Today’s concentrations of CO2 and other increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are largely the result of emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from human activities. These activities include burning fossil fuels and changes in land use, such as agriculture and deforestation, according to Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.
As a result, greenhouse gases are accumulating in our atmosphere at unprecedented rates. According to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography,the concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are increasing at an accelerating rate from decade to decade. The latest atmospheric CO2 data is consistent with a continuation of this long-standing trend.
The upper safety limit for atmospheric CO2 is 350 parts per million (ppm). Atmospheric CO2 levels have stayed higher than 350 ppm since early 1988.
Many of today’s Republican have either denied the science of climate change or have distanced themselve from it, saying they don’t have the expertise to issue an opinion, according to the Associated Press’s Dina Cappiello in a January 22, 2015 article in the Wisconsin State Journal.