There's now a record showing -- from year to year starting 11,300 years ago -- the global warming we're experiencing now and how it differs from earlier warming periods. There's plenty to worry about here. But what we haven't talked about much is how this warming affects our behaviors. Not just in our response to global warming, but in our relationship to society.
As well we know, our behavioral changes can go unnoticed by us until they become problem for society. Perhaps even the destructive sweep of narcissism in the US (at least) may not be entirely the result of boomeritis but a self-protective reaction to changes we feel but haven't understood.
The recent warming has been so quick that it’s still hard to tell whether there were any similarly brief and sharp temperature spikes many thousands of years ago that quickly abated. Michael Mann, a prominent climate scientist, suggested to the New York Times’s Andrew Revkin that the temperature estimates match more robust records of recent temperatures so well that their conclusions should be taken seriously. They should also spur more research.
As scientists continue to refine their sense of how the climate behaved since the most recent ice age, Mr. Revkin points out that perhaps the biggest unknown that will affect the future of the climate is human behavior. Debates will continue about exactly how sensitive the climate is to greenhouse emissions from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas. But the evidence does not allow policymakers to ignore scenarios that predict very serious warming over the next century if world leaders — including policymakers in the United States — continue to do too little. ...WaPo