As we suffer through yet another scorcher of a day, there's a small voice in the back of our heads saying "global warming". A majority of climate scientists who study and understand data have predicted that our earth is warming up and will continue to do so unless we reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That evaluation and prediction has come under fire by petroleum-financed groups (ie: Republicans and FOX News) as nonsense. At some point, the terminology was changed from "global warming" to "global climate change". The oil people have mostly acquiesced that there is warming, but have successfully instilled doubt as to whether the change is natural or man-made. It really doesn't matter which it is if we aren't willing to try to make changes.
It's tempting to look at more than 2000 temperature records being matched or broken
across the country and consider that prime evidence. There are a couple problems with that. First, there's the reality that if a record was broken, it has reached nearly that temperature at some point in the past, indicating that temporary temp spikes occur all the time. There's also the reality that weather happens. Every winter, some right-wing yahoo will guffaw that he just shoveled 3 feet of global warming off his steps. Normal seasonal weather and short temporary spikes should not be used as evidence of global warming.
But what would "normal" be? Is it normal to have weeks
of weather in the 100s? The midwest has been cooking for over a week
, resulting in roads buckling, deaths, and power outages. I remember growing up in upstate NY where you'd have a couple nights that were overly hot. We didn't have A/C (it was not common to have it) because it was rarely needed. I am certain that is true for other areas of the country currently trying to survive in this heat. But now? It seems that A/C is becoming mandatory where it never was before.
One of the signs of global
climate change is severe weather. That has certainly been the case. How often does upstate NY get hit by a hurricane? The derecho that barreled through Ohio, WV, and VA is not something one normally sees here. A record 56% of the US is in drought conditions
, ranging from abnormal dryness to extreme/exceptional dryness (8.4% of the country fits that last description). That dryness has contributed to the massive wildfires in the west
. This hot temperature pattern is likely to stay with us and get worse, according to climate scientists
This all carries a cost. There is a cost in emergency response, in lost productivity, in crops failing, in lives...
Those that deny climate change do so at their own - and OUR - peril. For those that don't have a direct financial stake in maintaining the status quo for using fossil fuels, one has to wonder what their motivation is. Is it selfishness? What do they think the "liberal agenda" is for trying to change our energy sources? There's no money in it for us, unless we own a windmill factory or other manufacturer of renewable energy technology. Is it simple political gamesmanship? Both North Carolina
have rejected the language and warnings of sea levels rising, with VA delegate Chris Stolle (R-VA Beach) calling "sea level rise" a "left-wing term". This guy represents a district that will be directly and negatively impacted by rising sea levels and he wants to play games with the scientific data?
As I wrote about a month ago
, we as a planet are approaching the tipping point, that precipice of the abyss where the downward spiral accelerates slowly, but picking up speed, until we are steaming in our juices year round. Infrastructure improvements to the power grid and replacing coal power plants with renewable energy sources will create jobs and slow down that slide. That's not partisan - that's survival.