Last month when the U.S. and Europe were brought to a standstill by brutal winter weather, there was a proliferation of posts on the blogosphere of contrarians shouting “It’s cold! It’s cold! Whatever happened to global warming??”. The eastern U.S. has just been slammed with snow again, and it seems these same people are at it again,too. As I wrote then:
Some of these denialists really don’t get it! Well, some of them do know better and just want to obscure the issue (check out the DeSmogBlog for more info on this); but a lot of them just haven’t done the research that is required to become better informed on this issue. This is what scares me about their nonsense – these “it’s unusually cold therefore climate change isn’t happening” people are simply trying to out-shout the scientists who have studied this topic in depth. It’s the Fox “News” approach to the most important issue humanity has ever faced – don’t do your homework, just shout louder than your opponent.
What is important to remember is that as more and more climate change-inducing emissions accumulate in our atmosphere (such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) and form a warming “blanket” on the earth, our climate will become more and more unstable and unpredictable. The result will be more and more instances of extreme winter weather like parts of the world are now experiencing. There will also be more droughts, hurricanes, etc. That is one of the reasons that Former World Bank chief economist Lord Stern, recently revised his initial estimate that failure to act urgently on climate change would cost between 5 to 20 percent of global GDP, up to 50 percent or higher (a third of the world’s wealth).
Meanwhile, in the Arctic, The National Snow and Ice Data Center recently reported that “Arctic sea ice extent at end of December 2009 remained below normal, primarily in the Atlantic sector of the Arctic. Average air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean were much higher than normal for the month, reflecting unusual atmospheric conditions”.
Click here to read the full post from January 7th, “Cold Snap “Proof” that Climate Change Not Happening?”.
- But in the “good news” column, amidst the snow storm, the Obama adminstration has announced that it will be forming a new agency to monitor climate change. The announcement was made jointly by Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Jane Lubchenco. NOAA will set up the new Climate Service to operate in cooperation with NOAA’s National Weather Service and National Ocean Service. Locke said at a news conference this week:
“Whether we like it or not, climate change represents a real threat. Climate change is real, it’s happening now.”
Locke went on to say that climate information is vital to the wind power industry, coastal community planning, fishermen and fishery managers, farmers and public health officials.
Click here to read more on Huffington Post.com
- Another piece of good news is that the British Columbia government has rejected pressure from mining companies and announced this week that no mining, oil or gas development or coal-bed gas extraction will be allowed in the Flathead Valley in southern British Columbia. The pristine area borders on a World Heritage Site, B.C.’s Waterton Park and Glacier park in Montana. The government has said it will, instead, build a new “creative economy” around clean technology, innovative forestry industries and tourism.
Click here to read more.
Here’s a neat time lapse video of the recent snowfall in Washington D.C . posted by YouTube user “amandareckonwith“. Although for those of us on the Canadian prairie a snow storm is not as much as a novelty as it is, perhaps, for those folks in D.C.!