Whenever I meet with groups of chemical people, it quickly becomes clear that there are many in our industry who do not accept the science behind claims of man-made climate change. Here at Chemical Industry Roundtables, we think that the rise in temperatures that is being observed right now, and which seem to be outside of statistical historic norms, are driven by man-made activity.
Just today, we got the news that last year was the hottest in record in the USA (see http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/09/science/earth/2012-was-hottest-year-ever-in-us.html?hp&_r=0). As the article states: “Scientists said that natural variability almost certainly played a role in last year’s extreme heat and drought. But many of them expressed doubt that such a striking new record would have been set without the backdrop of global warming caused by the human release of greenhouse gases. And they warned that 2012 was probably a foretaste of things to come, as continuing warming makes heat extremes more likely.”
And not only heat extremes, but the phenomena which accompany them, like more violent storms and more persistent droughts.
I have the greatest respect for colleagues in the chemical industry who are suspicious of the science and who take the view that the absolute proof of man-made climate change is not yet available. But I also ask them to look at the consequences of being wrong. Many seem to believe that if they are wrong, there are always remedial steps that can be taken to mitigate the effects of man-made climate change. What I see is a destruction of carefully built value as companies and governments try to hold back the rising tide, and also effects that we cannot control at all, like acidification of the seas, and diseases thriving in new locations because of climate change. These mega-effects are not fixed by clever science. They need even the skeptics to consider that they might be mistaken and follow up their new-found concern with international action.
We need this to happen now.