Climate scientist Lonnie Thompson. Photo by Thomas Nash By Earle Holland
8 Dec 2010

(Ohio State University) Lonnie Thompson, distinguished university professor in the School of Earth Sciences at Ohio State University, posed that possibility in a just-released special climate-change edition of the journal The Behavior Analyst.

He also discussed how the rapid and accelerating retreat of the world’s glaciers and ice sheets dramatically illustrates the nature of the changing climate.

He also discussed how the rapid and accelerating retreat of the world's glaciers and ice sheets dramatically illustrates the nature of the changing climate.

It is the first time in a published paper that he has recommended specific action to forestall the growing effects of climate change. During the last three decades, Thompson has led 57 expeditions to some of the world's most remote high altitude regions to retrieve cores from glaciers and ice caps that preserve a record of ancient climate.

In the past Thompson has let his research data and conclusions speak for him but in this paper, intended for social scientists and behavior experts, he voiced his concern regarding the risks that ignoring the evidence of climate change may bring.

"Unless large numbers of people take appropriate steps, including supporting governmental regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, our only options will be adaptation and suffering," he wrote in the concluding paragraph.

"And the longer we delay, the more unpleasant the adaptations and the greater the suffering will be."

In the paper (available here), Thompson said that virtually all climate researchers "are now convinced that global warming poses a clear and present danger to civilization."

His opinion isn't hyperbole, he said, but instead is based on a "very clear pattern in the scientific evidence documenting that the Earth is warming, that the warming is due largely to human activity, that warming is causing important changes to many of the Earth's support systems, and that rapid and potentially catastrophic changes in the near future are possible.

"Such future scenarios," he says, "emerge not, as is often suggested, simply from computer simulations, but from the weight and balance of the empirical evidence as well."

Thompson listed three options humanity has for dealing with global warming which, he says, "is here and is already affecting our climate, so prevention is no longer an option." …

Climate scientist warns world of widespread suffering if further climate change is not forestalled

1 comments :

  1. Amanda N. Kelly, PhD candidate, BCBA said...

    While the prospect that our lives could be so severely impacted by changes in our climate is unsettling, the notion that we can change our behavior to lessen the effects is a hopeful one; and is one of the many reasons why I have chosen to make Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) my life's work. ABA is certainly more than a treatment for individuals with autism, it can also a lifesaver...if we let it be.  

 

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