As the world ramps up to the United Nations' summit in Copenhagen, climate science experts such as the summit's scheduled keynote speaker Dr. Rajendra Pachauri continue to bang the drum of strict policies and regulation to curtail further environmental destruction, while global warming deniers call for the heads of those very same experts.
Pachauri, who serves as chair of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), sounded an urgent clarion for "sustainable consumption" in the west saying, "Today we have reached the point where consumption and people's desire to consume has grown out of proportion. The reality is that our lifestyles are unsustainable." Personal accountability is high on Pachauri's list of regulation tasks, including charging hotel guests based on their monitored energy use.
A hefty tax on aviation travel that would go to subsidize more environmentally friendly modes of transportation is another Pauchari proposal: "We should make sure there is a huge difference between the cost of flying and taking the train.â€ Not one to be shy with controversial ideas, Pauchari ruffled feathers last year when he suggested that people eat less meat due to the massive carbon emissions associated with raising livestock.
At the same time that Pauchari and Copenhagen step to the fore, conservative web publisher Andrew Breitbart continually posts updates to his Twitter account about ClimateGate despite the fact that CRU has issued statements debunking various arguments of the deniers. One such post was targeted specifically at NASA's Dr. James Hansen, one of the nation's leaders in climatology.
Not to be outdone, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh chimed in with statistics that it hasn't warmed in the past 10 years and claimed that climate scientists around the world are "skunks and liars" who should be â€œdrawn and quartered.â€
As more and more research is done, many scientists are beginning to concede that their models of study may have been incorrect. The problem is, the more accurate models actually indicate that climate change is happening faster and with greater implications than previously considered. Yale's Jeffery Park just published his new paper in Geophysical Research Letters which finds "Our hypothesis implies that human activities have lately outpaced the ocean's capacity for absorbing carbon." Park pooled data from the past 50 years and found that "No one had updated the analysis from 20 years ago. I expected to find some change in the lag time, but the shift was surprisingly large. This is a big change."
The moral of the story is this: We can bicker over the causes of global climate change all we want, but that's not going to stop it from happening.