Tag Archives: Global warming

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.

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.

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.

Give POTUS the dickens on climate change, Your Highness

Climate change is happening. It isn’t a hoax. It isn’t a made-up figment of billions of Earthlings’ imagination. Honest. It’s happening right now in real time.

One of the world’s pre-eminent climate-change activists happens to be the United Kingdom’s monarch-in-waiting, Prince Charles.

Prince Charles is going to play host soon to Donald Trump, president of the United States and one of the world’s pre-eminent climate-change deniers.

Thus, the visit is filled with controversy, and Trump hasn’t even arrived yet.

Trump has said climate-change is a hoax drummed up by China, which he alleges is trying to undermine the U.S. fossil fuel industry. Of course, as he does with virtually every allegation he makes, the president doesn’t offer a shred of evidence to buttress whatever he says.

Prince Charles agreed to meet with the president when he makes his initial state visit to the U.K. These visits usually involve a meeting with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Any meeting with her son, the heir to the throne, isn’t required of visiting heads of state.

But it’s good that Trump will meet with the prince.

It also is my fondest hope that Prince Charles raises the issue of climate change with Donald Trump. Oh, I wish I could be the proverbial fly in whatever room where such a meeting would occur . . . although I doubt there will be a fly anywhere near the two men, if you get what I mean.

There’s also the situation involving the possible meeting between Trump and Sadiq Khan, the Muslim mayor of London. Trump has spoken ill of Muslims, saying how they “hate America”; he has tried to enact travel bans of Muslims to the United States. Along the way, he has managed to offend Muslim worshipers, such as Mayor Khan.

The issue at hand, though, is whether the planet’s climate is changing and what the world’s leading industrialized nations are doing to minimize the damage being done to our ecosystem. The Brits are being proactive, responding to the rhetoric espoused by the Duke of Windsor and other environmental activists. Americans, though, are hamstrung by the president’s rescinding of environmental regulations aimed at curbing carbon emissions, a serious cause of Earth’s annual warming.

Give the president the dickens on climate change, Your Highness.

I am one American who is on your side. I am quite sure I’m not alone.

One-note samba won’t cut it on campaign trail

I’ll give Washington Gov. Jay Inslee plenty of credit for candor.

He announced his candidacy the other day for president of the United States declaring right up front, out loud and for all the world to see and hear that he’s running on one issue only: climate change and the peril it poses for the world’s most powerful nation.

Fine. What about the rest of the job, governor? What about, oh, let’s see: fighting terrorism, creating jobs, fiscal responsibility, dealing with cybersecurity, border security? There are a whole lot of other issues, too.

Inslee wants to make climate change the strongest plank in his platform on which to seek the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 2020.

I don’t dispute the urgency he is placing on the matter. I do dispute whether it’s enough all by itself to commend him for nomination and election.

Just as Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is running on economic inequality, which kind of mirrors Issue No. 1 for Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Inslee is staking his candidacy on a single issue.

We have Sens. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar in the hunt already. Former Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado is in. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii is, too. I know I’m missing someone. There’s too many of ’em to keep up.

The Democratic Party field has reached a dozen candidates so far. There will be more. Many more, or so it appears. Texan Beto O’Rourke appears to be set to go. Former Vice President Joe Biden is letting it slip out that his family is all in on his running for president.

They all need to demonstrate a well-rounded, well-considered and well-tested competence on an array of domestic and foreign policy issues. Climate change is a big one. So is income inequality.

Spare me, though, the one-note samba. I tend to tire of hearing the same thing coming out of candidates’ mouths.

We’ve already elected an incompetent business mogul/boob to the nation’s highest office. We don’t need to train another president on the vast complexities of the nation’s highest office.

Here is your ‘national emergency,’ Mr. President

Donald Trump keeps yapping and yammering about the “national emergency” he insists is occurring on our nation’s southern border.

I continue to doubt that such an emergency actually exists. I do know of an actual emergency that the president and his fellow Republicans keep ignoring.

It involves climate change, the meteorological condition known formerly as global warming. That emergency is real. It’s occurring 24/7. It is bringing harm to Earth, the only planet we are able to inhabit.

Here is a bit of good news. The Democratically controlled U.S. House of Representatives today had an actual hearing to discuss climate change. It was the first such hearing in about eight years. The GOP has controlled the House and it decided that climate change was a phony issue. It’s a “hoax,” as Donald Trump prefers to call it.

It’s not a hoax. It’s real. It is posing an existential threat to our coastal regions. It is putting our polar wildlife in dire peril. Polar ice caps are melting, creating a significant loss of hunting habitat in the Arctic for polar bears.

The hearings in Congress, which must continue, are meant to expose further the cause for this changing climate. Scientists from across the spectrum are arguing that human beings are a primary cause for the changing climate on Earth. Those carbon emissions are depleting oxygen, causing the atmosphere to warm at dangerous levels.

I know that’s at times a tough thing to swallow during winter months. The Upper Midwest is enduring frigid temperatures, causing climate change deniers to say, “See? We told you that climate change is ‘fake news.’ It’s phony. It ain’t happening.”

Except that it is happening.

Can we stop it? Slow it? Can we prevent Earth from suffering irreparable damage? Those, folks, are the questions we need to explore. I am glad to know that a change in the congressional command structure in one legislative chamber is going to elevate this discussion to where it belongs.