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Time not on our side with climate change

Global warming is real! I am in my 60s. I challenge anyone my age to say that this winter was just like one from our childhood. If a person will not accept their own lived experience as proof, what evidence will they accept?

How about hand written records? The Dunkirk Lighthouse has kept temperature and snowfall records since it was chartered in 1826. I bet those records still exist. If those don’t satisfy you find others. The Army and the Navy recorded weather in their daily logs. Ships logs all record weather conditions.

Can we find individual hand written logs from 100 years ago? Yes, in little museums, libraries and private collections all around the country. They all agree.

Temperatures all around the world are higher. Winters in the Northeastern U.S. are milder. Droughts in the Western U.S. are longer and worse. Every desert on the planet is growing, every glacier is shrinking. Could all these sources be false? Surely it isn’t possible to fake them all.

We here in Western New York are benefiting from the milder winters. Why should we care if the Mohave Desert grows to engulf all of Mexico and Arizona?

We should care because Arizona is wealthy and they look at the Great Lakes as water that is being wasted. There are already proposals to build a pipeline. Their wells are going dry. We must act to protect ourselves.

We should care because Mexico is poor. Thousands of farms there and all around the world have been swallowed by the desert. The people must move or die. They are climate refugees. There is not much work in Mexico. They are desperately trying to cross from Mexico to the U.S. to take the worst, dirtiest, most grueling jobs.

Climate is made up of a complex combination of many factors. Sunlight comes through the clouds. The chemical make up of the atmosphere determines how much energy is kept as heat and how much goes back into space. Carbon Dioxide traps energy, it acts like a blanket. Look at a graph of our CO2 output and lay a graph of global temperatures over it. You will see they overlap perfectly.

When air is hotter it has more turbulence and it can hold more water. This means that stronger winds pull more water out of the landscape causing droughts and wildfires. On Dec. 30, 1,000 homes burned in Denver in one night. Wildfire season has grown from a few months to the whole year. When hotter air meets colder air several things can happen. The two we see most are the water is dumped all at once, and turbulence cause’s tornadoes and hurricanes. On Sept. 14, 15 people died in a flash flood in New York City. On Dec. 10, 69 separate Tornadoes swept across Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Do you remember in the 1990s there was a lot of talk about global warming? Scientist were saying “Our models from the 1980s were very accurate. We must act now to prevent wildfires and flash floods, stronger hurricanes and tornadoes.” Everything we are seeing now was predicted by those models.

Those models also predict our weather will become so unstable shipping will become hazardous and we must give up trying to farm in Ohio and Illinois. Food doesn’t really come from the grocery store. A lot of our economy depends on the grain we feed to cattle. No more grain, no more cattle.

The oil companies have run a massive media disinformation campaign. We were told again and again that Climate Change was not real. We were lied to. Still today many people believe the lie. I wish those people would go to the historical society in their town and looked at the data for themselves. The Historical Society will let you make copies of people’s diaries and other records. Share it with other climate deniers. Being informed takes real work, but it’s our only hope.

President Joe Biden has presented his plan, Build Back Better. It uses a combination of strategies to lower the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. It addresses our needs for transportation, housing, utilities and industries. It invests in trains, the most efficient fun way to get around. It has money to build new houses and retrofit old ones to be energy efficient. There is money for schools and research into better batteries and house sized generators. It invests in the electrical grid to make it more resilient. There is money to help people buy new energy efficient appliances and to plant millions of trees, nature’s air conditioner. You can find details at https://www.whitehouse.gov/build-back-better/

Every Republican in the Senate has vowed to vote against Build Back Better. Do they have a plan of their own? OK, Let’s see it.

You can fight Climate Change. Find a climate action near you at https://www.usclimatenetwork.org/member-organizations

Marie Tomlinson is a Fredonia resident. Send comments to editorial@observertoday.com

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