Tag Archives: Climate change

Weather vs. climate … short term and long term

When we gripe about the weather, we are speaking of an event in the moment.

If it’s hot out there, it’s hot at the time you notice it. Same if it it’s cold. We’re talking about the weather, not the climate.

Our climate, though, cannot be discussed in real time. It requires a longer look, a broader view.

Thus, when politicians or citizens conflate the two — weather and climate — they’re talking about non-parallel phenomena.

I have spoken already on this blog about my desire to see climate change assume the important role it deserves in the upcoming presidential campaign. Donald Trump calls climate change a hoax; scientific analysis calls it real. Who do you believe? I’ll go with the scientists who study these matters intently even though Donald Trump — in his own mind — is the smartest human being ever to inhabit Earth.

NASA, the agency that launches satellites and people into space, calls it correctly: The difference between weather and climate is a measure of time. Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere “behaves” over relatively long periods of time.

Earth’s climate is changing. We’re posting record high temperatures virtually every year. Those ice caps on either pole — North and South — are shrinking. Icebergs the size of cities are breaking off at alarming rates. Sea levels are rising as a result, threatening coastal cities on every continent.

Weather patterns are changing, too. Storms are getting more severe, more frequent. We see evidence of this each year. When have we ever seen, for instance, a storm drop 50 inches of rain in 24 hours as Hurricane Harvey did when it pummeled the Upper Texas Gulf Coast in 2017?

I want the candidates for president — even the one who occupies the office — to tell us how they intend to do battle with climate that threatens the nation and the world. No more platitudes. No more clichés.

No more phony denials about it all being a hoax. Climate change presents an existential threat to the very planet on which we all live.

‘Climate change’ needs to take center stage

There can be no doubt in my own mind — none at all — that climate change must become the pre-eminent issue of the 2020 presidential campaign.

The incumbent president calls the issue a “hoax.” Donald Trump says it’s a figment of some plot concocted by China to undermine the U.S. fossil fuel industry.

The president is as wrong about this as he is about damn near everything. Except his error bodes grim for the country and the planet.

Most of the Democrats running for their party’s nomination have spoken with varying degrees of eloquence and detail about how they intend to tackle climate change if they are elected in 2020.

I am waiting to hear some more detail about what they intend to do and how they propose to pay for it.

I simply know this: Earth’s climate is changing and it is imperative that the world’s most powerful industrial power and the nation that is chiefly responsible for humankind’s role in changing the climate to do something about it … now!

Climate change deniers endanger the nation. Do you remember that idiotic stunt U.S. Jim Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican, pulled on the Senate floor some years back? It was cold in Washington one winter, so Sen. Inhofe brought a snowball onto the Senate floor to prove, by golly, that Earth’s climate isn’t getting warmer. Of course, Inhofe conflated weather with climate, ignoring the science that separates the two phenomena.

The scientific community is speaking with increasing sameness on this the gravity of this issue. Climatologists tell us that it well might be too late for humanity to change the trend that already is developing. My response? OK, but that doesn’t mean we do nothing!

The Trump administration is backing away from air-quality emission standards. It has been silent on the issue of deforestation. The president nominated and the Senate confirmed an Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Scott Pruitt, who himself is a climate change denier; Pruitt forgot during his time at EPA that the agency’s mission is to “protect the environment,” not destroy it.

Climate change is real. It is endangering the planet we call home. It’s the only planet we have. Or, as someone noted just recently, there is “no planet B.”

The president takes an oath to protect Americans. The current president is far falling short of fulfilling that oath. The next one needs to step up.

Rain threatens region still recovering from earlier deluge

REGINA, Saskatchewan — My worry index is off the charts today as I listen to reports of extreme rain and flooding in a part of the world I know pretty well.

My wife and I are away at the moment, vacationing in Canada, but CTV News is all over the story: Rain is inundating the Golden Triangle region of Texas, that southeastern corner of the state that barely two years ago was blasted by the unspeakable wrath of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey.

I am not going to make this a political blog, other than take note that climatologists have said all along that we can expect this kind of extreme weather as we cope with and combat the effects of climate change. It ain’t a hoax, folks. It’s real and it is affecting lives daily.

The Gulf Coast storm is another example of it.

However, my concern turns now to my friends who live there, folks we got to know during nearly 11 years living in Beaumont. We return when we can. When we do we see the destructive marks that Harvey left behind when the storm blasted ashore in 2017.

My heart breaks for them all. We send them our love and our hope that they find the strength to persevere.

Meanwhile, the Amazon forests are burning

Americans are rightly worried about the damage that Hurricane Dorian is likely to bring to the eastern coast of the United States.

I am, too.

I also am worried about the damage being done to our planet’s atmosphere by those wildfires along the Amazon River watershed. I have heard the region called the “oxygen chamber” of the planet. However, many millions of trees are destroyed by the fire, exacerbating the climate change that is plaguing Earth.

The Amazon fire story has been shoved aside for the time being, thanks partly to the rain that fell on much of the region in recent days and also because our attention has been diverted to the peril Dorian is bring to the east coast.

It’s kind of a karma thing with me. I had written a blog post just a few days before the world was startled by the immense Amazon forest fires. I remain deeply worried about the impact that deforestation has had on changing climate worldwide. That worry only deepened when we heard about the fire that incinerated so much of the forest.

We all know of the value of that forest land. It produces oxygen to replace that atmospheric compound being consumed by living creatures that inhabit Earth. With fewer trees the less oxygen is generated to counteract the carbon dioxide poured into the atmosphere.

Yes, the result is dire. It results in a warming of Earth’s atmospheric shroud and it produces dramatic and potentially catastrophic changes in our planet’s climate.

It’s never a good time for vast stretches of forest land to go up in smoke. In this period of time, as Earth’s climate is changing, those fires present a clear danger to the survival of the only planet we have.

Climate change? It is no hoax!

Candidate calls a halt; his issue lives on

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee was one of those 0-percenters who sought to catch fire among the huge field of Democrats running for president of the United States.

He didn’t ignite. Today he ended his campaign.

That’s the bad news … for Inslee. The good news is that his signature issue, climate change and Donald Trump’s ignorance of its significance, lives on.

Gov. Inslee had vowed to make climate change/global warming the linchpin of his campaign. Sure, he said he felt strongly about other issues, but this one really floats his boat.

As for Trump, he calls climate change a “hoax.” He said it’s cooked up by China, which wants to undermine and destroy the U.S. fossil fuel industry. The president is blowing it out of his backside.

Inslee sees the issue as the nation’s premier national security concern. So do many other Americans. I am one of those millions of others who stands with Inslee and others who want the government to pay attention to the tangible evidence that climate change is having around the world … and to acknowledge that humankind is at least partially responsible for the damage it is inflicting on Planet Earth.

Gov. Inslee vowed today to remain active in the dual-edged pursuit of (a) talking up the dire peril that climate change is posing and (b) the peril the nation faces if it re-elects Donald J. Trump to another four years as president.

Keep up the fight, governor. I stand with you.

Why are we ignoring deforestation in the climate change debate?

I am delighted to hear the Democratic Party presidential primary candidates debate among themselves about how they intend to attack the scourge of climate change/global warming.

They recognize the obvious, that it poses a grim and dire threat to our national security. They are challenging Donald Trump’s ridiculous assertion that climate change is a “hoax” cooked up by the Chinese, who are trying to “destroy our fossil fuel industry.”

There. That all said, I am wondering about what I believe is a missing element in the climate change debate.

While the candidates talk about carbon emissions and their impact on the atmospheric temperature and the changing climate, I hear next to no one mention deforestation as a key part of the crisis.

What’s going on in many regions of the world? Human beings are encroaching further and more deeply into habitat occupied exclusively by wildlife. To do that humans are wiping out millions of acres of forestland annually. Why is this important? How does it contribute to the changing climate worldwide?

Trees consume carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. CO2 warms the atmosphere, while oxygen cools it. With more CO2 being thrown into the air with less oxygen present to counteract its impact, well … what do you think happens? The atmosphere warms up. Those polar ice caps are exposed to warmer air. The ice melts. The oceans’ levels rise. You know how this goes.

And yet we hear precious little from these men and women running for president that speaks directly to ways to pressure other nations to curb their deforestation efforts. What’s more, the European Union is the leading importer of goods produced from the deforestation epidemic that continues full throttle throughout the world.

This plague is occurring throughout Latin America, in Africa, in Southeast and South Asia. Lush forests are disappearing daily.

Developing countries are looking for places to grow, to improve industrial capacity, to find places where their residents can live, rear their families and continue their search for success and happiness. I don’t begrudge them those desires.

However, the cost of all this hideous scarring of our planet is too great to ignore.

We’re going to elect a president in 2020. If we keep the current guy in power, climate change will continue to get short shrift from the White House. We need someone in power who at a bare minimum is going to refocus our effort to curbing this terrible trend.

We also need to apply a lot more of our focus on finding ways to stop obliterating Earth’s forest lands. Without those trees, we are doomed to suffocate in an ever-warming environment.

Climate change gets the attention it deserves

If there was an issue that won the day during the two nights of Democratic presidential candidates’ joint appearance, it had to be climate change.

The Republican president these men and women want to replace has ignored the issue, other than to declare it is a “hoax.”

It is no such thing. The Democratic candidates have spoken at varying levels of enthusiasm about the need to deal with climate change and the existential threat it poses to our national security.

I am glad to hear these candidates raise the level of attention to this dire issue. I am delighted they have elevated the issue to the front rank. I want to them to keep the issue in front of us for as long as it takes.

Donald Trump’s non-response to the climate change crisis is to promote exploration of fossil fuels, the burning of which is one of the primary sources of carbon emissions that are warming Earth’s atmosphere and, thus, are changing the climate that surrounds the planet.

Climate change is the signature issue of one of the Democratic presidential candidates: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. He makes no apology for his intention to make the issue his front-and-center talking point as he campaigns for the White House. Nor should he.

Climate change won’t elect Jay Inslee in November 2020 to the presidency. However, the issue will continue to be discussed openly and fully by the Democratic contenders for their party’s nomination.

Whoever emerges as the nominee to face Donald Trump must keep the climate change volume turned up. I trust that nominee will continue to sound the alarm.

Yep, the biggest threat to the nation is its president

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee drew the biggest round of cheers tonight with what might have come off as a quip, but which — the more I think about it — now sounds like the brutal truth.

He and the nine other Democratic presidential candidates gathered on the debate stage in Miami were asked to name the greatest geopolitical threat to the United States: Inslee said it is Donald John Trump.

Not Russia. Nor the People’s Republic of China. Or Iran. Or terrorist organizations. Or even climate change, which happens to be Inslee’s signature campaign issue.

He said the biggest threat is the president of the United States of America. I agree with him.

Donald Trump is systematically destroying our alliances with Europe, with Asia, with Latin America. He’s gone after Australia and Canada, for crying out loud!

Donald Trump has isolated the nation from the rest of a shrinking world. He cozies up to tyrants — Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin being the most notable. He challenges the nation’s intelligence network’s findings. He makes foreign and domestic policy pronouncements via Twitter, without advising his senior policy  advisers.

Trump has burned through two national security advisers. He is talking openly about possible war with Iran without a defense secretary on board. He is reportedly losing patience with his third White House chief of staff.

Yes, Gov. Inslee was right. Donald Trump has become the greatest existential threat to the very nation he was elected to govern.

Wow!

Wow! That’s all one can say about that storm

This picture came from the Washington Post’s website, which leads me to believe it’s the real thing. It’s no Photoshop product, or the result of some other photographic trickery.

It is a picture of what occurred over Dallas, Texas, yesterday. The storm produced high wind, heavy rain and it knocked over a construction crane in the city’s downtown district.

They call this phenomenon a “microburst.” It was deadly, indeed. One person died when the crane crashed into a building, cutting the structure virtually in two.

I got an inquiry from a friend downstate who asked if had experienced any of that mayhem. I told her “no,” and noted that we got a bit of rain and a little bit of wind in Princeton, which is about 40 or so miles north of Dallas.

I have heard it said about Texas weather — whether it’s on the Gulf Coast or in the Panhandle, where we have lived during our 35 years in Texas — that “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 15 minutes …” I also have heard it said of the Panhandle that “You can experience all the seasons of the year in just a matter of minutes.”

Let it also be said of North Texas, where we now call home, that meteorological violence can erupt just on the other side of our neighborhood.

Storms such as the one that roared Sunday over downtown Dallas can produce magnificent images … but they aren’t to be trifled with.

Wow!

Wanting climate change to get a full hearing in 2020

Climate change is not the “hoax” that Donald Trump says it is.

Therefore, I want the issue to take center stage during the 2020 presidential election campaign. I keep seeing data that tell us about warming global temperatures, shrinking ice caps, rising sea levels, coastal communities facing an existential danger.

Yet the president does nothing about any of it. He says he wants to boost fossil fuel production, which means an increase in carbon emissions that scientists blame for the warming atmosphere.

Most of the Democrats running for president tell us they subscribe to the notion that climate change poses a legitimate national emergency and is a threat to our national security. I happen to believe them.

I also want there to be commitments — ironclad, cast in stone, signed in blood if need be — that the United States is going to resume its investment in alternative energy sources.

Indeed, one of the Democratic candidates — South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg — noted the other day that such investment could produce literally thousands if not millions of jobs for Americans. Thus, such an emphasis not only would save the planet from its self-destruction, but it also would Americans to work.

Hmm. How’s that for “putting America first”?

It works for me.

If you want to declare a national emergency, then let’s turn away from this nonsense about migrants seeking entry into this country. The national emergency exists in the changing climate that threatens the entire planet.