tagged w/ denial will not solve this
Answer: One Trillion Tons of Carbon Pollution
40,000 heat records have already been broken this year across the United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Here in Fredericksburg, Virginia, the signs of an unbalanced climate system have been felt in recent years not just in heatwaves, but increasingly in the form of unusually severe wind storms. This past weekend’s storm brought 80 mph wind gusts that snapped three trees in our backyard like pretzels, even though they were each a foot thick. Once again, my insurance company is teaching me new weather terminolgy to explain the latest climate disasters. A few years ago, the term was “micro-bursts” (not quite tornadoes, but similar impact). Now it is “derecho” (not quite hurricanes, but similar impact).
Whatever you call it, we need to face up to the fact that our weather has turned dangerous because our climate is breaking down. Virginia has had 27 national disaster declarations due to storms in the past 20 years, three times as many as the prior 20 years. Meanwhile, wildfires and droughts are threatening people and wildlife elsewhere in the nation, particularly in the West, including the National Wildlife Federation’s staff in Colorado. More than two million acres have burned in U.S. wildfires already this year. Global warming has created longer wildfire seasons in the West due to heat and drought (warmer winters has also allowed pests to floursih, killing large numbers of pine trees that add fuel to the fires).
The current heat wave and climate disasters shouldn’t be catching us by surprise. Since the year 2000, we have witnessed nine of the ten hottest years ever recorded, according to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, which tracks global surface temperatures. The first three months of this year has been the warmest first quarter ever in the United States, and March was an alarming 8 degrees warmer than average. As the planet heats, weather patterns are destabilized. Warm air sucks more water from the ground and holds more water (about 4% more for every 1 degree F increase in temperature). That’s one of the reasons our warming planet has been creating historic droughts out West and dumping torrential rains in the Midwest (in Iowa, for example, there have been four “100-year” flood events in the past 5 years, and 17 emergency disaster declarations for floods in the past two decades).
Scary Weather is a Warning: We Need to Act
For the moment, we are paying attention to the weatherman, and the weather is scary. But the media is still asleep at the switch when it comes to reporting the real story: What is causing this climate to unravel? The U.S. National Academy of Sciences completed an exhaustive review of scientific research and concluded more forcefully than ever in a landmark 2011 report that pollution from smokestacks and tailpipes is destabilizing our climate. Here is how they put it in scientific terms:
“Climate change is occurring, is very likely caused primarily by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities, and poses significant risks for a range of human and natural systems. … The sooner that serious efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions proceed, the lower the risks posed by climate change, and the less pressure there will be to make larger, more rapid, and potentially more expensive reductions later.”
Clear enough? If not, here is a strong hint of what is going on: In the past 50 years, we have added one trillion tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere from burning coal, oil and natural gas (Source: U.S. Department of Energy). Over this time, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased 23%, from 322 ppm to 397 ppm (Source: Mauna Loa Record, Scripps CO2 Program).
We can’t do anything about yesterday’s weather, but we need to be responsible stewards of the world we shape for our kids and future generations. We want to pass on a natural world full of abundant wildlife, but wildlife species are increasingly at risk as climate change threatens the very existence of thousands of species. Pollution from smokestacks and tailpipes is loading the dice and increasing the likelihood of more frequent and increasingly severe storms and heat waves. If we don’t talk about the source of the problems, then we can’t do anything about it. The decisions we make today will shape the future for generations to come. Why? Because much of the heat-trapping carbon pollution we put into the atmosphere will increase CO2 levels for centuries and even millennia. According to the IPCC’s 2007 report on the state of climate science:
“About 50% of a CO2 increase will be removed from the atmosphere within 30 years, and a further 30% will be removed within a few centuries. The remaining 20% may stay in the atmosphere for many thousands of years.”
So What Can We Do?
All we lack is the determination and leadership to change course on energy. We need more businesses to provide better energy options than are currently available to families. Some companies are out in front, including automobile manufacturers who have embraced goals of doubling the fuel economy of their vehicles by 2025. But other companies, such as Dominion Power here in Virginia, are dragging their heels and doing more to block the march to cleaner energy than help.
The best and first solution to reduce our “carbon footprint” on the planet is to stop wasting energy. Energy has long been taken for granted by consumers and businesses alike; we waste far more of it than we need to. We need to each do our part and pay more attention to how we use energy. But we also need to get more ambitious as a nation to bring to market the abundant ideas and technologies engineers and entrepreneurs have to cut energy waste.
But there is one bright spot that could mark a turning point in whether we are getting serious about carbon pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed clean air standards to limit industrial carbon pollution from new power plants. Polluters are launching a fierce counterattack and spending lavishly on lobbying and campaign contributions. One thing you can do right now is to join the more than two million Americans who have written the Environmental Protection Agency to support their new carbon standards. More Americans have supported this rule than any other federal rule in history.
It’s only a start, but standing up now for a better future is the right thing to do. And who knows? Perhaps we can get some wind at our backs to take us where we need to go.
Evidence that humans are causing global warming: A summary is provided at http://sks.to/evidence and http://sks.to/agw with links to the many peer-reviewed papers that provide empirical evidence for human caused global warming.
For those who wish to keep track of CO2 emissions:
An entire collection of scientific and informational videos on climate change and deniers crocks and myths debunked is available at this link:
Make sure you watch these and pass them on. They really rile deniers.
Just look at the desperation in here with the usual Al Gore sued by failed weathermen videos ( after whining about content amount) which isn't even true and has nothing to do with this post. Sad isn't it? (waaaah I want to be voted up because that means the junk I post is true!) What a shame to see such a "meltdown."
**I have also posted other videos between pages 1 and 2 of this thread which include actual scientists and not FOX News mouthpieces.**Answer: One Trillion Tons of Carbon Pollution
40,000 heat records have already been... more