The National Academies of Science in a 2006 report affirmed global warming and placed the blame on humans. The NAS takes forever to do anything, so this is, indeed, monumental and meaningful. Around the same time, a Bush Administration study (there are 21 such study groups, this is the first to announce findings) reported that warming is occurring at the surface and throughout the atmosphere, but typically, Michele St. Martin, spokeslady for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, responded that greenhouse gas emissions can be brought down through better use of energy while the understanding of climate science continues to improve.
The IPCC reported that the average global temperature has risen by about 0.6°C (1.1°F) over the past century, most of the warming attributable to human activities and carbon dioxide being the primary problem. Because of some cooling—that is, a few years when the planet dropped in temperature—much of this warming actually occurred over the past three decades, for NASA reports that the increase has been 1.08 °F just during that period. “One degree” does not strike much fear in your heart, but consider that the effective extra heat to create this change was the equivalent of 272 billion 1500 watt space heaters (about the capacity of the most powerful hair dryer you can find). That is, everyone living 30 years ago turning on 66 hair dryers, leaving them on at the maximum heat value….and forgetting to turn it off.
The IPCC further speculates that an additional increase of from 1.4°C to 5.8°C can be expected over the next century. The National Center for Atmospheric Research says there is a 90% chance that the temperatures will rise 3°F (1.7°C) to 9°F (5°C) by 2100 (solcomhouse.com/ucar.htm). Furthermore, it was reported that drifting satellites and math error led to “low” and faulty data in the tropics, and the corrections now removed a good portion of the doubts expressed by climate change doubters such as the George C. Marshall Institute, financed by the petroleum industry. While this temperature change is bad enough, it is in the potential effects, as the greater problem will come from heat waves, agriculture yield reductions, biological extinctions and other difficulties, as perhaps, mega-hurricanes.
All this scientific speculation and fear-mongering, though, is apparently not compelling for the general populace. In the summer of 2003 I took two trips to Europe. It was very uncomfortable in Paris and the U.K. hit 100°F (37.8°C) for the first time in recorded history. Then in 2006, London’s Underground, which has no air-conditioning, reached temperatures of 117°F (47.2°C). On that day I was sitting in comfort watching a baseball game on TV in my brother’s home with the temperature outside at 115°F. Of course, this was Las Vegas, Nevada. However, it occurred to me that some terrorist organization certainly must be planning to sabotage the electrical grid during a heat wave, for if such an incident were to happen throughout the world, millions would perish, and, ironically, serious decisions will only then be made to reduce the Greenhouse Effect. At that moment of these thoughts, a brownout hit this portion of Las Vegas. The consequences could have been fearful, but we just drove to a casino, which has backup power.