August 22, 2018—Global warming is here, and we are living with it, now.
That is the message from Kim Cobb, earth and atmospheric scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA. “What we’re seeing today is making me, frankly, calibrate not only what my children will be living but what I will be living, what I am living currently [sic],” said Cobb, as quoted in the Charlotte Observer (8/12/2018, p. 30A). “We haven’t caught up to it. I haven’t caught up to it, personally.”
The hottest year recorded, worldwide, was 2016, according to the Charlotte Observer (8/12/2018, p. 30A). What’s more, 2017 was the third-warmest year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as cited in the Charlotte Observer (8/12/2018), and the first half of 2018 was the fourth-warmest, ever. Sea levels continued to rise substantially, too, in 2017, as compared with levels in 1993, according to the NOAA, as cited in the Charlotte Observer (8/12/2018).
In Charlotte, NC, this summer has been a hot one, so far, according to the Charlotte Observer (7/12/2018, p. 3A). The temperatures reached 90 degrees or higher on 8 days out of the first 11 this July, and 90 degrees or hotter on 19 days in June. Forecasters in mid-July predicted “warmer-than-normal” temperatures for July, August, and September “across the Carolinas,” according to the Charlotte Observer (7/12/2018).
I can attest it has been another hot summer in Charlotte, as usual. The facts, available in the local, daily newspaper, indicate the temperatures are rising, now, and that global warming is here.
One of the main causes? Industrial emissions of carbon dioxide, which have reached record levels in 2017, according to the Charlotte Observer (8/12/2018). Carbon was estimated to be at the highest levels in the earth’s atmosphere in the past 800,000 years. Facts like that make one take a step back, and pause. That time frame dates back to before humanity existed on the planet, after all, according to all theories of the beginning of our species on Earth, I would note.
The change now is that we are beginning to feel the effects of a warming world, now.
“Decades ago when the science on the climate issue was first accumulating, the impacts could be seen as an issue for others, future generations or perhaps communities already struggling,” said Katherine Mach, a climate scientist at Stanford University, as quoted in the Charlotte Observer (8/12/2018, p. 30A). “In our increasingly muggy and smoky discomfort, it’s now rote science to pinpoint how heat-trapping gases have cranked up the risks. It’s a shift we all are living together.”
Reading these facts in the paper, and living through the beginnings of the effects of global warming, now, leads me to believe that we must do something, now, to address this issue.
Unfortunately, our current president, President Donald Trump, is worse than missing-in-action on carbon emissions and global warming. Denouncing what he calls a “war on coal,” President Trump shifted the weight of regulating coal power plants from the federal government, to the states. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) named Trump’s plan the “Dirty Power Plan,” a play on the Obama-era policy name that Trump just dismantled. Obama’s regulatory plan was called the “Clean Power Plan,” dating to 2015. The NRDC was quoted in the Charlotte Observer (8/22/2018, p. 3A).
In addition, earlier this month, President Trump froze the vehicle emissions standards, through fuel efficiency standards, that also dated to the Obama era. “These are the two biggest sectors of the economy that contribute to greenhouse gases in the country and are just hugely significant in terms of emissions,” said Janet McCabe, Obama-era Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief. The transportation sector and power sector contribute over half of the emissions from the USA, according to the EPA, as quoted in the Charlotte Observer (8/19/2018, p. 26A).
To me, the issue is obvious. It is not so-called “fake news.” A warming earth, and global warming, is real, and we are beginning to feel the effects, now. It is, however, political. Sadly, with our current president acting against bringing global warming due to carbon emissions into control, the issue is now, still, political.
This blog post is not about listing all of the dangers of global warming, but rather in noting that global warming can be documented to be here, now, with the effects beginning to be felt, at this time. I leave describing all of the ill effects of a warming earth to another article. Let it be known, however, that we are in this new climactic reality, now.
Despite the changing reality we can easily document on our planet, we are, in terms of US policy, back where we were in the 1980s. That is, do nothing, and deny, deny, deny.
I find that to be terribly sad. Our current state on this issue requires us to step back, take a pause to reflect, tune out all other politics and issues, and resolve to do something, once again, on this issue, now.
It is no longer an issue only for our children, after all; it is now an issue for us, today.