Violent tornadoes throughout the southeastern U.S. must be a front-page reminder that no matter how successful climate deniers are in confusing the public or delaying action on climate change in Congress or globally, the science is clear: Our climate is worsening.
More extreme and violent climate is a direct consequence of human-caused climate change. There is a reason it isn’t called global warming anymore. Higher temperatures are only one — and not the most worrisome — of the consequences of a changing climate.
Climate science tells us unambiguously that we are changing the climate and trapping more energy on the planet. Trapping more energy will cause more extreme events and worsen extreme events that would otherwise happen.
In the climate community, we call this “loading the dice.” Rolling loaded dice weighted toward more extreme and energetic weather means more death and destruction. And it is only going to get worse and worse, faster and faster, the longer our politicians dither and delay and deny. Climate deniers who have stymied action in Congress and confused the public — like the tobacco industry did before them — need to be held accountable for their systematic misrepresentation of the science, their misuse and falsification of data, and their trickery.
Please go read it all.
Peter, whom I know somewhat from an e-mail group we both belong to, is far too decent a person to put the ragged and rusty edge on this issue that it deserves. Not being so burdened by politeness, I’ll do it.
Did you enjoy what happened yesterday in the US South, when blissful reality was shredded by the brute force physics of our atmosphere and hundreds of people died horrible deaths, many hundreds more were injured, and millions were terrified because they just happened to live too close this climatic ground zero? Did you like watching houses and businesses and possessions being ground into so many tons of rubble? Did you?
No, of course you didn’t enjoy it, because it was a sickening nightmare from which none of us could awake. What reasonable human being could have liked it? That unremarkable observation leads inexorably and directly to one question: If you’re not fighting as hard as you can to keep such situations — and hurricanes and crushing heat waves and floods and droughts and inundated coasts thanks to sea level rise — from happening much more often and with much more devastating effects in the coming decades, then you’re failing miserably as a responsible adult and member of society. You’re nothing more than the equivalent of an underage drunk driver who endangers everyone around him because he’s too selfish to stop doing what he wants in order to serve his own best interests as well as those of others around him.
You’re telling the world that rather than do your part you want to keep flying to vacation spots, keep driving your much larger than needed/less fuel efficient vehicle, keep running your home electronics for many hours a week when no one is even using them, keep refusing to change your bloody light bulbs because you claim you “don’t like the light from those new ones”, etc. The timing is different, the individual acts are different, but the lack of maturity, the toxic mix of ignorance and arrogance, and the utter insanity of such destructive behavior are the same.
So make sure the next time there’s a heat wave in Russia that kills tens of thousands of people, or a devastating flood in Pakistan, or tornadoes or hurricanes ripping up parts of the US or some other unlucky spot, or another country violently slips closer to or into being a failed state and suddenly becomes newsworthy, that you switch your immense screen TV from the latest reality show or NASCAR event for a few moments to watch the highlights on the news. It’s the least you could do.