Global warming is here and it’s real. That’s the message expected to be delivered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has been convening in Paris, France this week. Representatives from more than 100 countries are involved in the meetings, which examine scientific research gathered over the past six years. More than 2,500 scientists have contributed to the research. The final report is expected to be released tomorrow.
Global warming is always good fodder for debate. For every person who insists global warming is for real, there’s another person who counters that swings in global temperatures are nothing new – that they’ve been occurring for centuries. Personally, I’ve always straddled the fence on this one. However, it appears we’re at a breakthrough. Word out of Paris is that the much-anticipated document being finalized by the intergovernmental panel will make it obvious global warming is a reality.
The report is said to contain evidence that climate change is being caused by humans burning fossil fuels, and global temperatures could rise between 2.5 F and 10.4 F by the year 2100. Now, I don’t plan on being around in 2100, but if what this group says is true, then I am extremely concerned about the future of our planet and those who will occupy it in the not-too-distant future.
If the panel’s grim predictions are true, 200 to 600 million people could face food shortages and seven million will have to retreat from areas that face coastal flooding within this century. Between 1.1 and 2.3 BILLION people will suffer from water shortages if global warming is not reversed, the panel is expected to reveal. I’m no Greenpeacer, but I find these predictions startling and a little bit depressing! I now know what side of the fence I’m going to plant my feet on.
Those of us in the transportation industry can seek some comfort in the fact we have already taken steps to reduce our environmental footprint by reducing heavy-duty truck emissions and exploring new technologies that further reduce our energy consumption. Hopefully, our efforts to date will have a noticeable impact on the environment and will be mirrored by other industries that haven’t been quite so proactive.
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