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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Winter 2014 and Global Warming

Every winter spreads its harsh challenges. Winter requires the wearing of expensive cloths to keep warm, the cost of keeping transportation going through ice, and snow drifts, not to mention climbing bills delivered to homes and businesses in fuel trucks.
Winter 2014 appears to be more widespread than in the past. Rather than winter being isolated to some northern states, this particular winter is affecting most of the continental US. It's like we're experiencing an equal opportunity miserable winter. Although I'm not a meteorologist, it seems like the winter weather epidemic is the result of global warming causing changes in weather traffic patterns. It's an inverse correlation. As the earth's temperature rises, the winters become more widespread and severe. 

Canada, of course is likewise in frozen misery, but the US media doesn't report much about our friends to the north and their typical seasonal deep freeze.  "It's almost like the total meteorological lexicon of everything miserable in terms of winter is found somewhere in Canada," said senior climatologist David Phillips quoted in the Huffington Post.

Nevertheless, in the debrief of President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech (SOTUS), very little was made of his statement about climate change is a fact. 

It wasn’t so long ago that Democratic politicians hemmed and hawed over the issue of catastrophic climate change — whether it was real, whether it was due to human activity, whether anything about it could be done.

Well, if anyone doubted those days were over (on the Democratic side, at least) President Obama’s latest State of the Union address should ensure they doubt no longer.

While celebrating his administration’s record on alternative sources of energy and energy independence, as well as its efforts to reduce America’s levels of carbon pollution, Obama made a forceful argument that his and Congress’ work to thwart climate change was far from complete.

“[W]e have to act with more urgency,” Obama said, “because a changing climate is already harming western communities struggling with drought, and coastal cities dealing with floods.”

Even more sobering, in the December 31, 2013 "The Week", is a short report predicting the drastic impact of accelerating climate change. "An analysis of isotopes in marine fossils from around the world yielded the most complete record of Earth's temperatures yet, and showed that the planet is heating up at a rate unprecedented in the past 11,300 years. Scientists say that if it weren't for greenhouse gas emissions, a cooling trend that began 5,000 years ago after a shift in the planet's orbit and angle would likely be continuing advancing Earth toward another ice age. Instead, global warming at its current pace will heat the planet between 2 and 12 degrees further by 2100, challenging many species' ability to adapt. 'The climate changes to come,' says NASA climate researcher Gavin Schmidt, 'are going to be larger than anything that human civilization has seen in its entire existence.'"

It seems to me, given the preponderance of empirical evidence supported by our recent winter misery experiences, that it's time for Republicans, albeit belatedly, to stand and applause President Barack Obama's definitive statement about climate change being a fact.  Winter 2014 should not melt away without people asking how America can protect our people from the "challenging many species' ability to adapt" impact of the fact of climate change.

Preventing greenhouse emissions by improving efficient and fast mass transportation systems is certainly one way of taking at least some CO2 gases out of the atmosphere. Obviously, this takes an investment of money in the future of our national well being.

Republicans must face the facts.  Climate change is real and our ability to respond depends on their political response.

Republicans must put people before dogma. Yet, they even appear to be intent of being the victims of their own destructive thinking, rather than face the truth. Unbelievably, they are frozen in denial.

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