According to a new environmental report, the world only has five years to initiate effective change before the effects of global warming become essentially irreversible. The dire World Energy Outlook report, by the International Energy Agency, looked at the planet's energy trends over the next 25 years and found that action is needed immediately to stem the tide: "The door is closing," Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, told the Guardian UK. "I am very worried—if we don't change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum [for safety]. The door will be closed forever."
The report lays out what governments need to do to cap global temperature increases at 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels—the threshold beyond which some scientists have said catastrophic changes could be triggered. "After 2017, we will lose the chance to limit the temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius," Birol told the Associated Press. While governments around the world have increasing prioritized energy efficiency, efficiency has actually worsened for two years in a row now.
Recently, Mayor Bloomberg laced into the major Republican presidential candidates' anti-science stances at an international economic forum at Columbia University. "We have presidential candidates who don't believe in science. I mean, just think about it: can you imagine a company of any size in the world where the CEO said 'oh I don't believe in science' and that person surviving to the end of that day? Are you kidding me? It's mind-boggling!" he said. Most of those candidates believe scientists have overblown or completely fabricated global warming.
For example: Rick Perry believes scientists "have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects"; Herman Cain doesn't believe global warming is real, and doesn't think climate change is a crisis; Michele Bachmann laughs in the face of greenhouse gases, calling it "manufactured science"; Newt Gingrich greatly regrets being featured in a 2008 commercial about climate change; Ron Paul has called global warming "the greatest hoax"; and Rick Santorum thinks any change in temperature is just "junk science."
Politicians such as those aren't the only problem—according to a new Pew poll, older generations are much more loathe to support clean energy and environmental protection, and to believe man-made climate change is happening. While over 70 percent of Millennials and Generation X, 60 percent of Baby Boomers, and even nearly 50 percent of Millennial Republicans and Republican leaners say global warming is occurring and needs to be a priority, only 47 percent of people aged 66-83 say alternative energy should be the priority, while 40 percent think the country should focus on expanding exploration and production of fossil fuels.