Some parts of the public still doubt climate change, but climate scientists see its damage galloping ever faster than expected. As Ontario’s extraordinary heat triggered an upsurge in gun violence, wildfires and crop failures, Greenland ice cap watchers saw the biggest, fastest melt ever recorded. As the National Geographic Daily News put it:
“After just a few days of intense melting this month, nearly the entire of the surface of Greenland’s massive ice sheet had turned to slush, NASA images show—the fastest thaw rate since satellites began keeping score 30 years ago.”
Is it certain that all these things are due to climate change? No, it isn’t. To be certain, we’ll have to wait until the melting and other damage is much greater. But these are exactly the sorts of changes that climate change models predict, except that they are happening much faster than the scientific consensus (e.g. the IPCC reports) predicted. It takes a long time and a lot of data for scientists to prove the cause of changes to complicated systems, which is why we argued for decades about issues like acid rain, cigarettes, and leaded gasoline. Now we look back at the enormous damage that each of those did (and is continuing to do) to human health and the environment, and wonder why we were so stupid.