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Saturday, October 1, 2016

For multiple days already this summer, the interior of the country has cooked underneath a bowl of hot air. As that heat wave wore on, a freakish storm erupted from Chicago to Washington, D.C., bringing winds that resembled the edge of a hurricane. And in what has become a summer ritual, wildfires are raging not only in the western United States but in parts of the eastern U.S., too.

If global warming is a hoax, it is a strangely powerful one, hoisting global temperatures to record highs, melting the Arctic ice cap, and threatening agriculture and ecosystems across the planet. So how did scientists make that up?

They didn’t, of course, despite the insistence of powerful Republican leaders that your frying lawn is a figment of your imagination. It’s hard not to notice that it’s hotter than it used to be.

This year, indeed, has brought the United States the broad spectrum of weird weather that climate scientists have warned about for years. That includes drought conditions across two-thirds of the country.

“This is what global warming looks like at the regional or personal level. The extra heat increases the odds of worse heat waves, droughts, storms and wildfire. This is certainly what I and many other climate scientists have been warning about,” Jonathan Overpeck, professor of geosciences and atmospheric sciences at the University of Arizona, told The Associated Press.

Still, of all the debates that rage like wildfires across the political landscape — taxes, health care, immigration — climate change gets precious little attention. Now that Republicans such as Mitt Romney have shifted their stances to line up with hard-core climate change skeptics, Democrats have given up. President Obama hasn’t made it a priority for a long time.

Yet climate change is the issue that worries me most when I think about my child’s future. No one can predict with any certainty how a warming planet will affect the global economy, stores of food and water, or even the spread of disease. Certainly, the world can expect even more conflict over scarce resources since scientists predict that the poorest countries will be hardest hit. It sounds as though we are bequeathing to our kids a very troubled planet.

  • Unless we start getting ready for the effects of global warming (call it climate change if you wish) we are going to be in a heap of touble in less than a decade. The problem is not limited to scorched arable land and wildfires, it also includes lack of potable water, increase in sking cancer, out of control produce prices, malnutrition, and rising sea levels which will have devastating consequences to coastal cities and towns. Hopefully the herbal scientists that were advising former President Bush will have a good explanation and, better yet, a solution for the problems our children are going to be dealing with.

    • mah101

      It is unlikely that consequences will be solely environmental or health related. As agricultural lands shift and productivity changes, as water resources in some parts of the world dry up, we can anticipate increasing conflict, economic disruption, starvation, warfare over resources or conflict resulting from changing economics, and a host of other social and political effects. With over 6 billion people crowding this planet, climate change is not just an environmental problem, but a social, health, political, and security problem as well. Perhaps we don’t have the political will to address the environmental side but we damn well better be preparing for the rest. To do nothing is criminally negligent.

  • quasm

    Ms. Tucker;

    Yes, the climate is changing! Anyone who denies this is ignorant. Who can point to a time in earths history when climate was not changing? We are still coming out of a mini-iceage that began over 200 years ago. In the ninth century crops could be grown on Greenland. What is at issue is the impact of human activity on climate. Do we contribute to climate change. Certainly. Everything that lives does. The effect of our activities on climate is unknown.

    Dik Thurston
    Colorado Springs

    • Actually the effects of our activities are better understood each and every day. Certainly climate has changed many times over the billions of years, but that is no excuse to pretending that our (man’s) activities have not contributed greatly to the very recent changes worldwide. You might want to do a little reading concerning that crop growing in Greenland that you refer too. Fact is that the settlements in Greenland were restricted to small portions of the coast line. Those settlers had to keep their farm animals indoors for a majority of the year and winter was very harsh. It is also important to understand that ice-cores well over hundreds of thousand of years in age are still be taken in Greenland. Just because portions of the coast was clear for a brief period of time should not be construed to suggest that Greenland was some sort of new paradise. Besides, the Medival Warming Period has yet to be proven to be more than a local event confined to portions of the Northern Hemisphere.

  • Landsende

    Anyone who doesn’t believe in global warming is living in a fantasy. Because of all the pollutants we are spewing into the air we have more severe storms, tornados, wildfires and drought. Now we are allowing fracking in oil drilling which will pollute the groundwater. Many regions rely on aquifiers for their water and if it is contaminated have no alternatives. What kind of legacy are we leaving for our children and grandchildren? We need to get rid of gas guzzling cars and start developing alternative energies. People complain about high gas prices but contine to buy big SUV’s and trucks. Companies that pollute should be heavily fined and if they continue they should be shut down until they are willing to comply. The teapublicans want to gut the EPA so that companies can continue polluting which would be a tragedy because then we would have more severe weather and illnesses. We all need to speak out on global warming and demand our politicians listen for the sake of our children and grandchildren.

  • In his attempt to out-green Al Gore in the 2000 presidenti­al campaign, George W Bush proposed to slow the pace of global warming by limiting the amount of carbon dioxide that electrical utilities release into the atmosphere. As we know, Bush didn’t keep that campaign promise.

    In the 2008 campaign, John McCain spoke about the issue of climate change throughout his campaign, telling voters that he was “convinced­, without a doubt” in his mind that climate change is real. He argued for an increase in green technology and the importance of a cap and trade system. Five months after losing the presidential election, McCain was ripping President Obama for his climate change proposal because it included a cap and trade system which McCain described as a “giant government slush fund.”

    Even though Bush and McCain had no intention whatsoever of addressing global warming, their status within the GOP was firm enough that they could move to the center on the issue and offer rhetoric designed to persuade environmentally conscious swing voters that they were green-friendly. Even with the nomination wrapped up, Romney is still unable to do that. Romney’s current opposition to global warming and climate change speaks volumes about the weakness of his candidacy.

  • Income disparity. Economic inequality. Marriage inequality. Racial inequality. Wealth disparity. Climate change. Global warming. Corporate welfare. Et cetera, etc, etc.

    Just because the GOP denies that these issues exist doesn’t mean that they don’t understand that the issues are real. But their first response is to simply deny that the issues are real. As long as they can deny the existence of a problem, they can count on an endless media debate where refusal to accept facts is given the same weight as factual evidence. This charade of denial of fact has become an effective GOP strategy to ensure that problems are never seriously addressed.

    And on those occasions where denial of fact becomes too politically inconvenient, the GOP argument for not addressing the problem then becomes that it will hurt job creators, the economy, the troops, the church, freedom, the sacredness of marriage, or any other convenient excuse that is based entirely on factless drivel. And then we get to play the charade of all over again.

    • montanabill

      Crikey, you forgot height inequality, hair inequality, education inequality, foot size inequality, age inequality, mental capacity inequality, etc., etc. Do the Dems deny this exist? If they exist, what are the Dems going to do about them? Are we going to have a charade and deny they don’t exist or are inconsequential? I must have a victim group to be a part of or my day will be ruined!

      • cybiz777

        I drove through Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio yesterday. All the corn in Georgia was brown. Ohio is better but not good by a long shot. Extreme weather has played havoc with the electrical grid and air transportation. Tornadoes occur year around now. I was working in my mom’s yard and found out that the East Coast is full of Asian Tiger mosquitos, the same kind that transmit Dengue Fever. They die if the temperature goes below 50 degrees. Is there any doubt this is the result of climate change. Lakes are drying up, and every summer for the past 30 years has been a record.

        So, ironic that the people whose crops are dying, forest and homes are burning up, and are slaughtering their livestock because they can’t feed them are still standing around in their front yards looking up in the sky and scratching their heads and wondering why it’s not raining like it used to. UhDuhhhhhh! It’s not raining because of global warming stupid. Congratulations on joining the 20th century….we’re in the 21st century now. You’ve got some catching up to do.

  • Over 80 percent of Global 500 companies now report to investors on climate change risks, opportunit­ies, impacts and issues through the Carbon Disclosure Project. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has also made informed reporting of climate change impact a mandatory requiremen­t.

    While many corporatio­ns are making business decisions based on the realities of climate change, some of these same corporatio­ns along with the aid of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are supporting front groups and select members of congress and some in the media to deny the existence of climate change.

    When one sees corporatio­ns, brokers, NASA, NOAA, the EPA, the Pentagon and the U.S. military investing and planning for the impact of climate change, it’s not difficult to grasp that they take the issue of climate change very seriously.

    It’s time to confront individual businesses to get them on record so that the public can be aware of where they stand on addressing climate change. If need be, divide the business community into those who value science and those who are feigning denial for their own financial gain and selfish purposes. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the cowardly deniers of climate change need to be exposed for the extremists that they are and who and what they represent.

  • howa4x

    It’s hard to grasp the science of climate change when you’re being taught creationism. In the evangelical mind this is all leading up to the rapture and it’s Gods will and there is nothing humans can do. These evangelicals form the foundation of the modern republican party, and it is easy for industry and the petrocrocy of oil and gas to convince them that the scientists are exagerating the truth about the danger. What I don’t understand is the scientists that work for those industries. Are they paid too much to really tell the truth? Don’t they have children? We seem to live in a culture where complex problems are beyond the 3 min attention span of most Americans. This is why the right wing makes up slogans to deal with issues. Easy to understand like drill babby drill and all our problems could be solved, or how clean coal(myth) can solve our energy future. The rabid anti science view of the right is why we can’t attempt to slove this problem. How do you reason with people who don’t, or refuse understand what you are talking about? Isn’t the news that we had more destructive tornados causing far more damage, ringing a bell? The right wing answer to all this is to forbid the language about sea level rise from state documents like in S Carolina with the same attempt in VA.The theroy is maybe if we don’t talk about it noting will happen.
    The new republican party are slaves to the ruling 1% in this country and will do their bidding even to the detrement of their own families. What will it take to shake them up?I fear nothing until it’s far too late to stop it

  • The lack of any clear action by the world’s leadership makes a mockery of the line that only the gorilla soils his own nest. We all live on this little blue marble and we had better begin to take care of it since we aren’t going anywhere else anytime soon.

  • montanabill

    Has anyone here ever actually looked at world climate over the eons or even the last few thousand years? Did any of you actually notice last year was an above average wet year in the west? Do any of you know that there is a cycle of wet/dry years and years where pine beetles kill millions of acres of trees leaving them as tinder waiting for a dry year, like this year? Has anyone noticed that global warming started during the last ice age and is simply continuing? (otherwise, you’d probably be living in Mexico). Do any of you know just exactly what would happen to us if we stopped emitting all green house gasses? Do you know how much carbon dioxide is put into the atmosphere simply because 7 billion humans breath out? Do any of you have a real solution to global warming or are you part of the band-aid crowd? Do you really think we can create a steady-state environment?

    • DukeDacat

      “Has anyone ….actually notice last year was an above average wet year in the west? ”

      Has anyone one noticed that the WEST is on FIRE from Idaho to New Mexico!!!!

      • montanabill

        Did you happen to read ALL of my post, especially the part about the beetles?
        Actually, Montana came pretty close to normal snow fall, but an early warm spring melted too much of it too early. It happens.

    • dtgraham

      As I pointed out a little further down in this thread, data shows that past climate change was always associated with higher or lower levels of co2. We’re exacerbating that with fossil fuel burning. I’m no climate scientist but I know what I read. I live in a northern climate too and we’ve had winters and springs since 2009 that would be considered impossible and are never supposed to happen. I wish I had your certainty that this was all just natural climate cycles of the planet.

  • onedonewong

    Its called SUMMER and in DEC the heat will be gone and we will see Snow does that mean its Global cooling??? NO its called Winter

    • ExPAVIC

      Hey Ding Dong

      Watch the temperature patterns not the season? Where did you get your science degree at the University of Macao?

      • onedonewong

        Really so its supposed to snow in July now you got me on that one alright. Can’t put anything over on you that’s for sure

        • ExPAVIC

          ONEDUMBWOG

          Location, location, location…like there aren’t places where it doesn’t snow in July and there aren’t places where temperature rises above 90 degrees in the winter?

          It depends on weather patterns not just single events. Its Weather 101 at Macao University, take the course.

          • onedonewong

            Just like Barak has beaten out Carter for the worst president in our history you’ve taken the title here for the dumbest

          • ExPAVIC

            WRONG AGAIN

            YOU JUST DON’T HAVE IT TONIGHT. IT WAS GEORGE W. BUSH WHO WAS THE COMPETITOR FOR THE WORST AND YOU PROBABLY VOTED FOR HIM TWICE WHICH SHOWS YOUR DEGREE OF INTELLIGENCE. PLUS YOU VOTED FOR McCAIN-PALIN WHICH SHOWS HOW DUMB YOU REALLY HAPPEN TO BE.

            OF COURSE THAT IS THE FIRST REQUIREMENT FOR AN AMERICAN TALIBAN REPUBLICAN, YOU MUST BE DUMBER THAN A STUMP. OR, SMARTER THAN ROMNEY.

            WAIT FOR THE DEBATES FOR THE REAL PROOF.

          • onedonewong

            You have cemented your position with this post

  • Part of the dumbing down of America .

  • politicalhack1

    The Republicans are in denial of all our problems, and they are supported by the short term greedy who couldnt care about the long term future of the U.S. or the world. So if they are successful in November the resulting Plutocracy may be short lived. If they lose, it is said that unless all major economies in the world agree on an environmental plan of action by 2015, most of those governments (along with about 90 percent of the worlds population) will be gone by 2100
    anyway. I really worry about the lives of my grandchildren.

  • andyjw

    It’s happening now and there is nothing other than talking that we can do about it.
    I predict that in a few years a conservative talking point will be to accuse liberals of ignoring the evidence for global warming. That’s just how these people are.

  • ExPAVIC

    The Real Cause

    You may want input from the American Taliban Republican Plutocratic anti-everything, including global warming.

    Ask them why 30,000 year old glacial ice is melting in Greenland and why are waterside property owners on Chesapeake Bay shores seeing their docks underwater?

    How much longer will it be before Venice, Florida, residents will be needing gondolas to get around town? Then your real estate agent tries to sell you underwater Florida property like they did in the thirties.

  • dtgraham

    I thought Al Gore made a simple but compelling argument for the relationship between levels of co2 in the atmosphere, and prior periods of cooling and warming. Sure there have been eras of cooling and warming in the past but they were always associated with elevated or depressed levels of co2, and that’s the ticket. It allows solar radiation in but traps it from leaving. The causes for those varied levels in the past is uncertain but solar activity is frequently mentioned.

    Here’s the difference. We’re pumping co2 into the atmosphere and producing levels of it not seen before. It’s possible that we could also be entering a period of naturally occurring elevated levels of co2, but we’re making that phenomenon worse exponentially through the burning of fossil fuels. Climate scientists point out that the decades to come will see levels of it that are just simply off the chart in terms of historical precedent. We’re going to cook, and some say that it’s too late and irreversible now. They’d better be wrong.

  • bigspender7

    Global warming denial is the gospel of the Tea Party. For these backward people, scientific achievement is just another of their many enemies. Like those who have the audacity to claim the earth is round and revolves around the Sun.

  • Dear Cynthia, you must also ask what role the sun flares and spots play in the warming and if this is cyclical. The problem with blaming man as the culprit is certain men and organizations stand to profit from this. If there was no carbon tax initiatives nor any Agenda 21, then the discussion on all sides would be more sane. As it is, explaining any warming as human caused remains problematic if some stand to benefit while others pay. The current warm summer does not mean global warming is here as stated-in fact, well what does James Havelock have to say now? One of the “fathers” of man-made global warming has changed his view. We should ask him what he says?

  • montanabill

    I’ll bet the neanderthals blamed homo sapiens’ fires for melting the glaciers and ending the ice age too! It is possible we are increasing the warming trend that has been going on for over 10,000 years now, but all the proposed solutions, including the stupid carbon tax, aren’t going have much of an impact. The best bet is for 7 billion people to stop breathing out carbon dioxide.

    • dtgraham

      At least you’re admitting that it’s possible that we’re increasing the warming trend. You gotta start somewhere.

      • montanabill

        Suppose it is true. Given the rapidly increasing population and the expansion of industrial progress throughout the world, have you seen, heard of or devised yourself, a single plan or set of plans that could reverse human impact to our environment? A simple analysis of the ‘carbon credits’ plan shows it to be totally ineffective at accomplishing any meaningful impact while it will have a severe negative impact to our current society.