A new study on global warming has concluded that rise in global temperatures over the last century is even more shocking that you think, because the Earth should actually have been getting colder during that time. According to a study published in journal Science yesterday, the first decade of the 21st century was not just the hottest in living memory, but one of the hottest in the previous 11,000 years. However, the first decade of the 1900s, was actually one of the coldest of previous 11,000 years. That was also part of an overall cycle of cooling that had been going on for nearly 4,000 years—until it was halted during the Industrial Revolution.
The leader research on the study says that based on variations on the Earth's position relative to the Sun (on a scale of millennia, not seasons), "you would predict that we would be still cooling, but we're not." A temperature shift so dramatic in a span of just 100 years, has never been seen in the climatological record.
The massively quick shift lends more evidence to theories that rise in temperatures is not just a natural shift in the Earth's rhythms, and those who deny man-made global warming might argue. Whatever the cause happens to be, whenever we're reminded that temperatures are going up, we're also being reminded once again that no one seems inclined to do anything about it.
Even insurance companies, who are supposed prepare for the worst, have been reluctant to included climate change in their long-term plans. According to USA Today, a survey of 184 insurance companies found that only 23 had any kind of strategy to deal with a possible increase in weather-related claims. (Only 10 of those are in the United States.) Most won't talk about climate change in any kind of formal language and desperately try to avoid discussions of whether it's man-made. Some reward customers for using things like energy-efficient building materials, but most have not addressed the issue in any comprehensive way, despite $100 billion in weather-related disaster damage last year.
Worst of all, not even cute furry animals are enough to win people over to the side of taking action. At a global meeting on endangered species, this week, the U.S. failed to get a ban in place that would restrict the trade of polar bear parts. The species is not yet officially endangered but the shrinking polar ice cap may soon push them over the edge, particularly if they continue to be harvested for their body parts. The ban failed mostly because Canada, Norway, and Greenland, where most of the world's polar bears live—and the people who hunt them for a living—wouldn't support it. How can you say no to this face?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.