|Green plumes of algae visible in Lake Erie. These algae blooms have poisoned much of the water in the western end of the lake.|
Scientists have informed 500,000 residents of western Ohio who depend on Lake Erie for their drinking water that water from the lake is toxic to humans, right now and until cold weather returns. The problem with Climate Deniers--the people who preach that global warming is a hoax--is that people will believe them and fail to take measures to protect the planet from global warming. This situation would not be so dangerous if global warming only affects climate change deniers. But it doesn't. The attitudes of climate deniers are harming all of us.
The poison in Lake Erie is only the latest example of the dangerous effects of climate change. People demand that scientists make specific predictions and then criticize the scientific validity of their work if the predictions are not accurate. If there are fewer Atlantic Hurricanes, climate deniers crow that the scientists are wrong about one prediction so the entire theory must be wrong.
Does it work the other way? When scientists accurately predict an effect of climate change, such as the increase of poisons in Lake Erie, will climate deniers nod their heads and say, yes, I agree, the scientists were right all along? It seems unlikely. Climate change deniers are driven by politics and money, not facts. They will most likely ignore any facts that do not conform to their outrageous and irresponsible theories.
Just for the record, however, here are the facts about the poison in Lake Erie.
Global warming has changed rainfall patterns in the northeastern United States and Ontario. Heavier rainfall in isolated downpours has washed millions of pounds of phosphorous-laden soil into the lake. This phosphorus causes rapid growth of algae, which can be seen in aerial photos as a green covering that covers the waters of the lake. The algae produces substances that are poisonous to humans. Just like that, 500,000 people can no longer drink the water from Lake Erie. There is no known treatment to remove the poison. Ohioans will just have to wait until the algae is reduced by cooler temperatures in the fall before they can start drinking from their usual sources.
Climate Deniers sometimes claim that warmer temperatures will be beneficial. This is a case where global warming has harmed Ohioans, both climate deniers and reasonable people, and will cost them all a good deal of money. First, they will have to pay for their drinking water this summer, and second, they will have to pay to keep phosphates out of their lake.
For a scholarly discussion of this problem, see this.
Climate Denying, anyone?