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Fires. Floods. Searing heat waves. Is this climate change? Are we there yet?

Posted by Barbara Gottlieb on August 18, 2016
Wildfire in Stockton, CA in May 2013
Photo by: AP Photo/Los Angeles Times, Mel Melcon

Climate scientists, as we have heard many times, refrain from attributing any single weather event to climate change. But they do tell us in no uncertain terms that climate change increases the likelihood of frequent intense weather events.

  • Like the wildfires that have ravaged California and parts of the Southwest. The massive Blue Cut fire, currently out of control, required a mandatory evacuation order for at least 82,000 people.
  • Like the deadly rains that deluged Louisiana, flooding 40,000 homes, requiring the rescue of thousands of people, and killing 11. And the earlier floods in West Virginia, Houston, TX and even Maryland.
  • And like the heat.  NOAA, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, reported that July’s global average temperatures were the highest -- for both the month of July and for any month -- in the entire NOAA global temperature dataset, which dates back to 1880.

It was also the 15th straight month the monthly global temperature record was broken. 

In short, the events that climate scientists predicted would become more frequent under climate change are happening. The future, as they say, is now. 

What we have to do is to take urgent, even massive action to reduce production of greenhouse gases so that the future doesn't get worse. And we can: by replacing fossil fuels with carbon-free (and methane-free) solar energy, wind, and other renewable energy sources; by increasing energy efficiency; and by adopting a healthier, more active, less consumption-focused lifestyle. 

The time for that massive effort is now. What action are you going to take?

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