Archived Story

Evidence clear we are hurting our planet

Published 9:46am Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Abby Fowler’s recent letter to the editor on the need to reduce carbon emissions was a breath of fresh air.

The evidence that our climate is changing, and that the burning of fossil fuels is responsible is clear. The 10 hottest years on record have all been in the last 15 years, with 2010 and 2005 the hottest single years.

In the United States, 2012 was the hottest year in the data, with record highs outpacing record lows by an unheard of factor of 115 to 1.

The last time the earth experienced a month with a mean temperature lower than the 20th Century average for that month was February 1985. That is 341 consecutive months above the 20th Century average.

Further evidence can be found in the loss of ice worldwide. The arctic ice cap is rapidly disappearing. It shrank dramatically in 2012, shattering modern records.

The former Chief Oceanographer of the U.S. Navy Rear Admiral David Titley is now predicting that the arctic could be largely ice free for months at a time by 2030. The massive ice sheets of Greenland and West Antarctica are showing serious signs of instability and could each contribute twenty feet of sea level rise if they were to collapse

Stronger storms will result from greater heat in the atmosphere. How many of us in the Tri-State had ever heard of a derecho before last summer? Remember, Superstorm Sandy hit New York on Oct. 29. We are used to hurricanes striking Miami in August, but New York on Halloween?

How much more evidence is required before we act?

There are simple things we can do as a nation and a planet. Invest in clean energy and build a 21st Century power grid. Support President Barack Obama’s program to reduce pollution from power plants. Build more energy-efficient vehicles, homes and appliances.

This problem can be solved but we must begin now.

Robert McCollister



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