By: Shahri Estakhry
According to all reports, this was the driest and warmest summer in the history of this nation. The most unusual year, to be exact. According to the World Resources Institute, “Stabilizing the global climate is the great challenge of the 21st century. Temperatures have exceeded global averages for 36 consecutive years. The world is already beginning to feel the impacts. Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe. Heat waves and drought plague many countries, destroying agriculture, sparking wildfires, and endangering lives. And rising sea levels threaten coastal communities and infrastructure with flooding and storm surge.” (www.wri.org/our-work/topics/climate)
The time has come for us to understand the facts with regard to climate change, and stop listening to politically insane rhetoric no matter who has a microphone in hand. Trying to converse with climate change deniers is like, as satirist Jon Stewart pointed out, akin to “pushing a million pounds of idiots up a mountain.” The arguments of 15 years ago no longer, under any circumstances, hold true. Any intelligent person can look and see what is actually happening. You don’t need to go far… the challenge is there, just water your lawn as much as you like and then see what kind of fine will arrive at your doorstep! Look at us in California, once the most prosperous state in the nation and among the top 10 economies of the world. The drought is real and the harm that it has brought to our farmers, crops, and livestock, not to mention the resulting decreasing of our purchasing power as prices climb, is devastating. If, by some chance, we are crazier than one would think, we might be thinking that it is going to get better, but it won’t. Wake up folks, scientific research tells different. Stop listening to politics!
One way to stop hanging on the biased words of the media and politicians is to go straight to scientific sources. The U.S. Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), oversees all facts related to our climate, i.e., storms, hurricanes, drought, weather, forecast outlooks, etc. Even a quick perusal of the Climate Prediction Center’s website (www.cpc.noaa.gov/) will show you that persistent drought is what awaits our future! Another scientific organization, climateprediction.net (a climate modeling project from the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute), published very interesting research commentary by two leading scientists, Roberto Mera and Brenda Ekwurzel from the Union of Concerned Scientists, entitled “Weather@home Climate Accountability: the causes of extreme heat in the Western US.” The article attempts to calculate the effect of the world’s major carbon producers on climate change, an eye opener of current climate realities with facts that back it up.
Mera and Ekwurzel point out that, “[o]ver the past several years, scientists have succeeded in tracking with increasing confidence the portion of climate change that is tied directly to human activity, especially the burning of fossil fuels. Recently published research documents that nearly two-thirds of the industrial carbon pollution released into the atmosphere since 1854 can be directly traced to the carbon extracted from the Earth by just 90 entities – 83 producers of coal, oil and natural gas, and 7 cement manufacturers.” Now, please carefully read what follows: “Building on this research, the Union of Concerned Scientists is now collaborating with leading scientists who study climate change consequences at a regional scale and beyond. For the first time, this research will calculate the contribution of the world’s major carbon producers to climate change (such as increased average temperature, or increased number of days of extreme heat).
The California and Nevada heat wave of 2006, as well as the record-setting heat wave of late June 2013 in the Southwest were both deadly and costly for the local population. Recent research is able to attribute these types of events to climate change. The research shows that heat waves such as those in 2006 and 2013 in the Western U.S. were nearly 5 times more likely during the 2000s compared to the 1960s due to climate change.” (www.climateprediction.net/weatherathome/carbon-majors-project/)
I’m not running for any political office, promoting my agenda at the expense of the safety of my community and my loved ones. At this time and at my age, with all that is going on in the world, I guess only fools would want to be political “know-it-alls.” But I had to write about this urgent matter that affects us all and I have given references to the complete commentary by reputable individuals and a major center that oversees our climate predictions. Take time to review this, please, as our future survival depends on knowledgeable decisions we make now—decisions that should have nothing to do with political parties, but humanity. Our main concern needs to be saving and keeping the earth in a respectable, if not better, atmosphere for our future generations. We owe them this!