The time has come to take a stand. It’s for the Earth, it’s for our land. The time has come, a fact’s a fact. The heat is on, no turning back.
— Midnight Oil
It used to irritate me when, any time the temperature around here dipped below 40 degrees, this newspaper’s Squawkbox would get a rash of meant-to-be-clever posts that said, essentially, “Where’s your global warming now?”
I chalk that up to a couple of factors: People like Sarah Palin and other influential politicians have ensured their blind followers that there’s no such thing as global warming and early alarmists like Al Gore, who coined the term “global warming,” which is something of a misnomer when it comes to the changes in the Earth’s weather patterns.
Now that we’re actually having a winter in Southwest Georgia, the climate change deniers have come out in force. “What, are we headed for ‘global freezing’ now?” one wanted to know. “Still worried about those polar ice caps?” another smirked.
Well, actually, yes.
Despite the coldest winter we’ve had around these parts in years, there is an abundance of evidence that our world is undergoing a dramatic climate shift. That change includes periods of unusally dramatic weather episodes — cold, rain, heat, drought, flooding — that indicate instability in our atmosphere.
But because the Koch brothers and their ilk, who’ve made gazillions polluting our air, paid some influential mouthpieces and politicians to discount any scientific evidence pointing to a severe shake-up of our weather, so many of us take the path of least resistance and laugh at the suggestion that our world is in any danger brought on by the poisions that we shoot into the atmosphere on a daily basis in the name of commerce.
Evidence such as:
— National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research that shows the decade of 2000-2010 was the warmest ever recorded.
— The average global temperature has increased by more than 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit over the last century? (For those whose response is a blase “So what?,” data show that for every 2 degrees of warming, crop yield is reduced by 5 to 15 percent, severe rains and flooding increase by 3-10 percent and — as we’re seeing, especially in the West — the amount of land that will be burned by wildfire increases by 200 to 400 percent. Pretty good so what, hmm?)
— An increase in the frequency of severe heat waves.
— The impact greenhouse gas emissions are having on the atmosphere.
— And there are those ice caps, which are all but gone, threatening indigenous wildlife with extinction and raising the sea level to dangerous heights. Projections call for a 1.5-3-foot rise in sea level by 2100, which means you might want to hold off on buying that time share in coastal cities like Miami. A recent dramatic report shows that parts of the South Florida playland is now flooded during any significant rain event, and city engineers are predicting a complete demise of the city if the sea level does indeed continue its ascent.
Now I understand that it makes more sense for some to listen to a brainless boob like Sarah Palin than it does an honest-to-God scientist who’s collected data for years and years … I mean, who would you rather get your scientific information from? And with the Koch brothers assuring us their needs are much more vital to our country’s future than worrying about some regional flooding or an intense heat wave that’s burning up crops in some farmers’ fields, well, they’re rich so they have to be the smartest people in the room, right?
So, go ahead, send in those squawks about global freezing and revel in your superiority. You’ve obviously chosen the path of righteousness on this global warming bull. Maybe you and the Kochs and all the other climate change deniers will kick the bucket before some calamitous weather event occurs — hey, whoever dies with the most stuff wins, right? Pray that when you go your grandchildren and their children won’t pay the price for President Obama and other high-ranking world leaders’ refusal to do something about a pending disaster when they had an opportunity.