Best objective data says we're in for climate change
Today's 39th annual Earth Day is as much about politics as it was in 1970.
There are those who use the threat of global warming to push unrelated social agendas, just as there are those who dismiss any evidence of climate change as propaganda.
In the end, we need to look beyond politics to find the truth.
That's what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was designed to do.
The IPCC is a scientific intergovernmental body set up by the World Meteorological Organization and by the United Nations Environment Programme.
The organization conducts no research and takes no measurements, but reviews the best scientific studies as objectively as possible and makes recommendations to member governments.
What does the IPCC say about the issue of climate change?
It says we should be worried.
Especially in Southwest Nebraska, where water is and always has been a point of contention, we have reason to be concerned.
That's because, according to the 2007 IPCC report, middle latitudes are likely to become dryer as temperatures continue to climb, precipitation patterns change and glaciers shrink.
Over the past hundred years, the amount of water stored in mountains has shrunk, the amount of land classified as "dry" has doubled and river flows in higher latitudes and tropics have increased at the expense of the middle latitudes.
Higher temperatures have exacerbated problems like water shortages and water pollution, with food supplies affected as a result.
Population growth is expected to increase the inadequacy of water infrastructure such as flood control, hydro power, irrigation and conservation.
And, the pace of change may increase to the point that we won't have time to adapt.
What should we do? What can be done?
That's for policy makers to decide -- and as the economies of China, India and other more populous countries develop, those policy makers won't be elected by American voters.
Let's hope decision makers enact policies that distribute fairly around the globe the sacrifices needed to deal with the economic disruption resulting from climate change.
To read the complete IPCC report, go online to: