Do you believe climate change is real? I’m afraid to say, all evidence points to it being very much a reality. Whether we like it or not, our planet’s climate is changing and those changes are projected to have dire consequences.
Before you read on, an open mind is helpful.
The problem with climate change is partially an image problem. Someone at some point decided to call it “global warming” and that label has caused some people to dismiss the problem. When we have a harsh winter or a colder than normal spring, some take that as proof it isn’t happening, capriciously dismissing it with “yeah sure and they say we have global warming.”
This past week, we went from 45 degrees to 90 in one day — one of my friends posted on Facebook, “if this is global warming, I’ll take it!” There’s a problem with that kind of thinking. Here in New England, we shouldn’t see temps going from 45 to 90 degrees in a single day, particularly in the first week of May. As it is, we held steady at 88 to 90 for two days straight — those are August temps, not early May temps.
The now regularly occurring erratic and extreme weather we’re seeing is a direct result of climate change. When people think of it in terms of “global warming,” they’re forgetting the cause and effect that this warming trend has wrought.
NASA explains global warming and climate change this way:
“Global warming” refers to the long-term warming of the planet. Global temperature shows a well-documented rise since the early 20th century and most notably since the late 1970s. Worldwide, since 1880 the average surface temperature has risen about 1 °C (about 2 °F), relative to the mid-20th-century baseline (of 1951-1980). This is on top of about an additional 0.15 °C of warming from between 1750 and 1880.
“Climate change” encompasses global warming, but refers to the broader range of changes that are happening to our planet. These include rising sea levels, shrinking mountain glaciers, accelerating ice melt in Greenland, Antarctica and the Arctic, and shifts in flower/plant blooming times. These are all consequences of the warming, which is caused mainly by people burning fossil fuels and putting out heat-trapping gases into the air. The terms “global warming” and “climate change” are sometimes used interchangeably, but strictly they refer to slightly different things.
The president of France makes compelling comments on climate change:
From the New York Times:
Christopher C. Burt, the author of “Extreme Weather: A Guide and Record Book” and a contributor to Weather Underground, said that 122.4 degrees, or 50.2 degrees Celsius, appeared to be the hottest reliably measured April temperature “in modern records for any location on Earth.” Only one reading might challenge it: 123.8 degrees Fahrenheit, or 51 degrees Celsius, recorded in Santa Rosa, Mexico, in April 2011. But Mr. Burt said that measurement was “questionable because the site was a regional observation site and not of first order.”
Intense, life-threatening heat waves have become more frequent as the climate has warmed, and Asia has been especially hard-hit. During a heat wave in April 2017, Pakistan set a record that lasted only until this Monday. One in June 2015 killed more than 1,000 people in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city.
Worldwide, 17 of the 18 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA, and the past four are the four warmest.
I hate to sound preachy, because that is not my intention, but for me, that people continue to question if climate change is real, is of great concern. The debate should not be on whether climate change is real, but rather, should be on the causes and solutions. Is it a naturally occurring phenomena that we can’t control? Is it being solely caused by humans? Or, is is that it’s naturally occurring, but man is making it worse?
Climate change is real. It’s scary and it’s hard to comprehend, but it is happening. If the experts want us regular folk to grasp it better and accept it, they should get the discussion out of the political realm. The debate needs to be moved away from the misnomer of “global warming” and focused on the larger issue of climate change — they also need to ensure that we are presented not with hysteria, but with proven facts and possible solutions.
We take care of our homes, yet we sometimes forget that the earth is our true home. We also forget that this planet does not belong to “us,” because we share it with all forms of life — and because we do, we have an inherent obligation to protect it.