Year 4, Month 1, Day 29: What He Was Doing In My Pajamas, I’ll Never Understand.

The Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot runs an op-ed:

In the four years since a 2009 federal report detailed global warming in America, the evidence has become harder to ignore.

It’s not just the freaky, violent weather of 2012, the warmest year on record. It’s also temperatures over the past decade, the highest on record.

“Americans are noticing changes all around them,” concluded the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee in a draft report released last week.

The report, mandated by Congress, was last compiled in 2009. Since then, the panel says, the case for global warming has grown more widespread:

“Residents of some coastal cities see their streets flood more regularly during storms and high tides. Inland cities near large rivers also experience more flooding, especially in the Midwest and Northeast. Hotter and drier weather and earlier snow melt mean that wildfires in the West start earlier in the year, last later into the fall, threaten more homes, cause more evacuations, and burn more acreage. In Alaska, the summer sea ice that once protected the coasts has receded, and fall storms now cause more erosion and damage that is severe enough that some communities are already facing relocation.”

All well and good. The Second Inaugural should be a help. Sent January 22:

To anyone who’s been paying attention, the recently released National Climate Assessment is hardly breaking news. After all, 2012 was marked by devastating droughts, all sorts of extreme weather, and heat waves strong and sustained enough to make the year the hottest yet recorded in human history. Still, as Groucho Marx once asked, “Who are you gonna believe? Me, or your lying eyes?” A significant number of Americans still reject the evidence when it comes to climate change.

That’s why President Obama’s Second Inaugural Address was a big deal. By making a firm commitment to address the threat, the President came down on the side of science, delivering a strong rebuke to those still locked in the denialist mindset. Presidential follow-through must include the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline project, and initiatives to promote the work of climate scientists, so that the American public can understand the threat posed to our nation and our posterity.

Warren Senders

Year 4, Month 1, Day 18: The Very Rich Are Different From You And Me

The Delaware News-Journal discusses the hot-off-the-presses National Climate Assessment:

A new national report flatly declared Friday that global climate change “is already affecting the American people” – making seasons hotter and drier, whipping up more furious storms and floods and threatening global ecosystems and every aspect of human activity.

“Evidence for climate change abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans,” said the draft National Climate Assessment, which is issued every four years.

In an opening to the 1,146-page document, described as “A letter to the American People,” the report’s lead officials said: “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” with evidence to be found in hotter seasons, increased wildfires, and retreating sea ice.

“Americans are noticing changes all around them,” the report said. “Summers are longer and hotter, and periods of extreme heat last longer than any living American has ever experienced. Winters are generally shorter and warmer. Rain comes in heavier downpours, though in many regions there are longer dry spells in between.”

I was tired of excoriating the media, so I excoriated fossil fuel corporations instead. Sent January 12:

The newly released National Climate Assessment is a sobering read, confirming once again that the consequences of a century-long fossil-fuel binge are already clobbering America and the world, with more heavy blows yet to come. And yet this document will probably land in Congress’ to-be-ignored pile, along with the scores of other such reports on climate change and its effects. Our representatives apparently have more important things to do than address the potential for natural disasters that could cost hundreds of billions of dollars by the decade’s end.

What possible rationale would justify our elected officials’ egregious abdication of responsibility to their constituents? The answer’s a simple one: our lawmakers are no longer beholden to us citizens, but to the oil and coal industries, whose eagerness to co-opt our governance for sake of increased profits is a tragic demonstration that great economic power has a negative correlation with civic virtue.

Warren Senders