Posts Tagged ‘Hottest year on record’

North Pole is 50 degrees warmer than usual

December 27, 2016

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The temperature of the Arctic is 50 degrees warmer than usual—so warm that it is off the chart for this map.

A warming Arctic in some ways is a good thing.  It frees up the Arctic Ocean for navigation and (which may or may not be a good thing) opens up the oil and mineral resources of the Arctic for exploitation.

But it disrupts the weather patterns throughout the whole Northern Hemisphere.  A melting Arctic ice cap changes ocean currents and a melting Greenland glacier raises the levels of the sea.

Meanwhile 2016 is on track to replace 2015 as the hottest year on record worldwide.

Stopping greenhouse gasses immediately would not reverse global warming within the lifetime of anyone now alive.   They will affect the world’s atmosphere for a long time to come.

The choice for the world’s policymakers is whether and how much to stop making things worse.   The choice for us, the citizens of free countries, is how much we care about those who will come after us.

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Why climate change is such a tough problem

January 10, 2013

HOTTEST YEARLast year was the hottest year on record for the continental United States (lower 48 states).  There were cool spots elsewhere in the world, but overall it was another very hot year.

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Given the fact of global climate change, why is it such a hard problem to address?

First, the facts are not readily available to the average person, especially here in the United States.  You can find all the information you need on the Internet, but in order to do that, you have to first realize that you need to look for the information, and you need to be able to separate bogus information from fact.  It is hard for the average, hard-working person to find time to do this, and the need is not obvious, especially if you rely on Fox News and talk radio as your main sources of information.

Second, there is nothing to be done to to prevent the droughts, storms, melting glaciers and rising oceans which now afflict us.   What we do now about greenhouse gasses will not affect us, it will affect future generations, just as what is going on now is the result of the actions of past generations.

Third, action on global climate change requires an effort on not just one nation, but the whole world acting together.  It will go little good for the United States to limit greenhouse gasses if China does not set any limits.  Or vice versa.

So we’re asking people to become well-informed about a subject in which the facts do not seem obvious.  We are asking them to put the needs of future generations ahead of their own desires and needs.  We are asking them to trust strangers to voluntarily do the same things.  That is a lot to ask.  But it is necessary if our descendants are to have liveable planet to inhabit.

If I had the power of a dictator, I would create a world governing body with the powers of the World Trade Organization or the International Standards Organization, but which would set standards for goods in world commerce based on their impact on the climate.  I know this is unrealistic.  Do you have a better idea?

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