As I record this radio show the temperature in San Jose is already over 100 degrees. So this week’s show is not just about the future hazards of global warming, but the fact that extreme climate change has already arrived.
I know that a hot day in San Jose is just a reflection of the weather – not proof of climate change. Weather is what you see outside on any particular day. Climate is the average of the weather over a period of time. When we talk about global warming, we are talking about changes in long term averages of daily weather. So a cold streak in March does not negate the fact that global warming is happening, no more than a hot day in San Jose is definitive proof that the planet is heating up.
Some people have reasons to believe that the earth is really not warming, that this warming is not caused by CO2, or that this CO2 is not caused by humans. Nevertheless, both short term and long term worldwide average temperatures have increased, and 97% of climate scientists believe that this warming is caused by CO2 in the atmosphere.
These temperature changes are not just academic; many locations around the U.S. have already exceeded a 2 degree C temperature rise. The Washington Post analyzed more than a century of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration temperature data in the lower 48 states. They found that more than 1 in 10 Americans — 34 million people — are living in rapidly heating regions. 71 counties have already hit the 2 degree C mark. In LA County the average temperature rise was 2.3 C, Silicon Valley was 2 C, NYC was 2.2 C, and my home town in New Jersey was 2 C.
Although a few good things will come from higher temperatures (more farming in Alaska, etc.), the overall impact will drastically affect our society. Sea levels are rising, cities will have to move inland, warmer and more acidic sea water will reduce fishing, hot areas will become uninhabitable, weather will become more severe … the list goes on.
Once we acknowledge this problem, there are only two sensible actions: ADAPT to these global warming changes and MITIGATE the causes of worldwide warming. Please tune in to this week’s Energy Show for details of the extreme climate change we are already experiencing, as well as the actions that we can take.