It must be global warming!

At last check of the temperature in Portland today, the thermometer read 101 degrees. Must be global warming! I mean, it doesn’t get this hot this soon in Portland. Except, of course, when it does. Especially after a weekend of Live Earth and all things atmospheric, I wonder how many of us in similar thermal conditions across the country today are asking whether the Big GW has set in for good. See, all you climate change naysayers out there, this is what I’m talking about! It’s 101 degrees in Portland, and it’s July 10, when the average temperature for this date is just 79 degrees. What more proof do you need?

I often find myself wanting to madly shake the shoulders of those still in disbelief or denial about the reality of global warming. As if that will bring them to their senses. Impatience will get us nowhere with those who reject the science and wouldn’t be caught dead taking advice from Al Gore. Hey, they never voted for the guy! Nor will we bridge the gap by being imprecise or inaccurate in our claims. I am thinking now of comments by Philip Mote, Washington’s state climatologist, at a seminar for science and environmental journalists last month. Philip told the group a few days ahead of his public announcement that the glacial melting on Mount Kilimanjaro is not due to warming temperatures. That’s significant since Kilimanjaro is virtually synonymous with global warming, as illustrated by “An Inconvenient Truth.” It’s not that Mote doubts global warming and human contributions to the problem. He just wants journalists and the rest of us to be accurate in what gets attributed to rising greenhouse gases.

Fortunately, we do not have to exaggerate or mislabel anything when it comes to making the case for climate change. The facts speak for themselves. In fact, Dr. Stephen Schneider of Stanford University told the journalists attending the seminar (sponsored by the University of Oregon) that the science is settled on global warming. It’s happening; the remaining questions have mainly to due with causes. Schneider would know; he was a lead author of this year’s Fourth Assessment reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The journalists’ main question at the seminar was whether to continue balancing out their reports by including the claims of the shrinking minority of scientists who still dismiss the reality or forecasted impact of climate change. I think most agreed the debate was over on whether the climate is changing, and they were going to move on to covering the issues of what to do about it.

So as I watch abnormally hot air engulf Portland, I’ll refrain from telling anybody, I told you so! Why even speculate about whether global warming is behind our little heat wave. It’s behind plenty of other things that can no longer be denied. Time to stay focused on what I can do to help solve the problem. Is that my air conditioner I hear roaring?

July 10th, 2007

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