From the New York Times several weeks ago:
"To put it another way, for a given geographic area, “the coldest year in the future will be warmer than the hottest year in the past,” said Camilo Mora, the lead scientist on a paper published in the journal Nature."
- It's not simply that temperatures will be hotter. That's bad enough. Despite news headlines about tornadoes and hurricanes, heat kills the most people per year. From the National Weather Service:
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"Unprecedented climates will arrive even sooner in the tropics, Dr. Mora’s group predicts, putting increasing stress on human societies there, on the coral reefs that supply millions of people with fish, and on the world’s greatest forests."
- More than the raw heat will be the havoc the changes cause to many environments
- Even if you don't care about the coral reefs themselves, the changes will affect the fish available for humans to eat.
- Even if you live in Alaska and think, "Hmmmm, more comfortable winters," the havoc of perma-frost melting will affect all the roads and buildings and airports and other infrastructure built on it. The migration patterns of salmon and other fish we take for granted will change. Or perhaps the water will warm enough to disturb their life-cycles.
- And crops everywhere will be affected by changing temperatures - some crops won't grow, rainfall will be disturbed with inundations in some places and droughts in other places (as we're starting to see already.)
- Insects and other critters that eat crops will be found in new places
I have children and a new granddaughter who will inherit that world, so it matters to me.
And even if you think this is extreme and it might not happen or we can adjust without the disruption. Even if you think this is an unlikely scenario, it's such a catastrophic event that everyone should want to prevent the possibility even. Just as we endure the security at airports in the off chance that a terrorist will want to board one of the planes.
“Go back in your life to think about the hottest, most traumatic event you have experienced,” Dr. Mora said in an interview. “What we’re saying is that very soon, that event is going to become the norm.”
At today's Citzens Climate Lobby meeting we heard on the national phone link from Evangelical Christian Eric Sapp whose consulting firm "helps political, non-profit, business and government entities better understand America's rich and complex faith landscape." His message was that Climate Change is accepted by the vast majority of people and the Evangelical community is receptive to the issue.
My sense is that without the Kochs and others who are spending huge sums of money to foment doubt about climate change, we would have been past this issue long ago. Call your legislators and tell them you believe that climate change is real, caused by humans, and they need to stand up to the bullies who deny climate change and start working on stopping the carbon use that is radically changing our planet's climate. Or a letter to the editor. Or both.
Every other issue you can think of is dwarfed by this one. As we start fighting over resources because our food and water supplies are disrupted by radically changing climate, all the other issues will get worse. This, over the years, will disrupt civilization more than anything else. The sooner we slow this down, the less damage and disruption there will be. Your children and grandchildren and great grandchildren (even if you are only 15 now) will thank you or blame you depending on whether you start taking action to get our politicians to take action. It can be done. See the Citizens Climate Change website to see what people are doing.
[Feedburner worked right away for this post. I didn't have to manually ping it either.]