Today's Paper Obits Weather Community Calendar Newsletters Readers' Choice: Best of the Best

Yes, we did land a man on the moon, the World is not flat, and evolution is a fact. Of course most Americas with half a brain will nod in the affirmative, but as you know, not one of those supposedly facts will get a unanimous consent.

That’s right, and items such as the moonlanding will pick up as much as a 5 percent denial that it ever occurred. Somewhere around 15,000,000 Americans believe the moon landing was faked and somewhere, probably in California, there is a moonscape soundstage.

But then there is Global Warming, and let’s be honest and not call it climate change.

Of course, the non-believers in Global Warming are a lot more numerous than the moon landing deniers, and those Global Warming deniers will tell you, and get this, they aren’t scientists by any stretch of the imagination, but they are exactly right when they say the climate has always changed.

Okay, let’s look back at climate change, when palm trees grew at the ice-free poles.

That’s right, and how did that happen? Now, let’s listen to scientists, who will say more than the common denier’s refrain, “I just don’t believe in Global Warming.”

First, let’s look at the scientific evidence that goes with palm trees at the North Pole.

Yes, the Earth’s atmosphere had to be much warmer, but why was it warm enough to where the poles were ice free? Back a 100 million years ago a younger Earth was more volcanically active to the point where the emissions from thousands of volcanoes spewed billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and the carbon dioxide from those volcanoes filled the Earth’s atmosphere and blocked the sun’s warmth from escaping. The Earth was a hot house, and the temperature of the planet soared. The ice at both poles melted, and the continents shrank. A great inland sea covered most of Louisiana and Florida, and the Earth’s landmass was reduced to its lowest point in the Earth’s history.

Then, as the Earth’s volcanic activity diminished and the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere became less, the Earth slowly cooled until around 65 million years ago a large meteorite struck the Earth near the Yucatan resulting in a cloud of debris causing a global winter that killed over 90 percent of life on the planet. From that point forward the Earth slowly reached atmosphere equilibrium interrupted only by sunspot induced relative recent glacial ages. But since the last glacial age some 20,000 year ago, the Earth’s atmosphere has reached equilibrium and only recently, coinciding with the start of the Industrial Age, has the Earth’s atmosphere slowly started to become warmer. The result of the gradual overall warming of 2 to 3 degrees has taken place in a very short geologic period of time, caused by an increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It is because of human activity. There are no other reasons for the atmosphere to become warmer. Think, coal fired plants, etc.

The result of this temperature increase has already become catastrophic. Both polar ice caps are rapidly losing ice volume thereby steadily adding to a rising sea level where villages in Alaska are being evacuated and numerous South Sea Islands are disappearing beneath a rising sea, and the continents are seeing normal weather patterns becoming hyper systems, which are producing devastating weather events. For example; Houston has seen three severe 500 year weather systems just during the past year, and this tornado season in the USA has reached unbelievable numbers.

Now let’s consider Arkansas and the flooding of the Arkansas River. Obviously, that has been caused by the torrential rains occurring in the river’s watershed, which happened, according to scientists who have studied the effects of in increased global temperature change, because of Global Warming. Ninety-eight percent of the scientific community says Global Warming is the cause of severe hundred year flooding. If you will recall, a number of years back, when Al Gore first coined the term, Global Warming, he quoted scientific studies that said as the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere increases, the intensity of the Earth’s weather systems will increase. That is exactly what has happened! Are we ready to abandon life on the flood plain of the Arkansas River and other rivers around the Nation, and watch as our coastal cities disappear beneath a steadily rising sea? How much more will we have to suffer through before we admit the obvious?

The same scientists who correctly called the period of intense weather associated with Global Warming are telling us that another 2 to 3 degrees of warming will be beyond catastrophic. Yes, they are saying the worst is yet to come, and to back up their claim, the last five years have been the hottest worldwide since temperatures were measured. The world’s industrial countries continue to pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a rate, which will result in a steady increase of the earth’s temperature, and that will bring about severe restrictions upon the earth’s inhabitants. If the rate of warming continues at the current level, in less than 50 years a portion of our planet will be uninhabitable as severe weather and rising seas reduce arable land. Our grandchildren will live on an extremely hostile planet. One where the very necessities of life will be scarce and weather systems that are severe beyond our imagination will ravage the earth. In other words, “We ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”

The above are scientific facts that are the finding of over 98 percent of the scientific community, and those facts are as certain as we did land a man on the moon, and as we look at the flooding of the Arkansas River, we see the irrefutable evidence of Global Warming. But what is even more terrifying, is the prospect of it happening year after year. No, I’m not trying to do fear-mongering. I am just stating what the projections made by the experts are saying. Is that our future? Do we want to hand off a planet to our grandchildren that has as much as 25 percent of Earth’s land not fit for human habitation?

For an intelligent, non-scientific person to refute the finding of the scientific community is without precedent. It has become a mantra to say, “I don’t believe in global warming.” As if you are saying “I believe in God.” To make something as certain as landing a man on the moon or almost to the point of the earth is round, in order to divert needed resources away from trying to stem a worldwide catastrophe, when the planet’s very survivable at stake, is beyond criminal.

With the threat to billions of the Earth’s inhabitants on the line, it should be the overriding bipartisan theme of every country on Earth to join in the fight to reverse the warming of the planet. This goal to reduce global warming should be treated as if a worldwide threat of a major plague is threatening civilization.

I’m tired of hearing scientific illiterate people saying they don’t believe in global warming. If they would only realize the stupidity of that statement, they would hang their head in shame.

Richard Mason is a registered professional geologist, downtown developer, former chairman of the Department of Environmental Quality Board of Commissioners, past president of the Arkansas Wildlife Federation, and syndicated columnist. Email richard @

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