Year 2, Month 7, Day 11: Put A Cork In It.

The Woodland, California Daily Democrat for June 25 notes that wine-makers in California’s Napa Valley are now forced to take climate change into effect in their planning for future years:

A Napa Valley winemaker last week traversed a steep hillside to reach a 12-foot white weather station that towers above rows of cabernet sauvignon vines absorbing the midmorning sun.

Curiosity drove him to install the relatively inexpensive device in 1995, said Christopher Howell, general manager and winemaker at Cain Vineyard and Winery in the valley’s Spring Mountain region in St. Helena.

But in the years since, its wirelessly relayed data — along with those of 100 like it now operating in the valley — has become crucial as Napa Valley vintners uneasily brace for a changing climate that they’re sure will come.

The region’s wine growers had long heard of melting glaciers and Arctic ice sheets breaking apart in rising global temperatures. During the 20th century, global temperature increased by about 1.33 degrees Fahrenheit, and a U.N. climate panel estimates that, depending upon carbon dioxide emissions, temperatures will rise an additional 2 to 11.5 F by 2100.

“But we shockingly hadn’t connected the dots and said, ‘Oh my, our world is going to change, too,'” Howell said. “We are as anxious about this as we are about the arrival of any new pest or disease.”

How long will it take?

Sent June 25:

For too long our politicians and media have ignored, belittled or mocked the painstaking research of scientific specialists on the world’s climate. By treating the greenhouse effect as a political issue, they’ve polarized the question, making it impossible to discuss the science without ideological interference. The basic facts of global warming have never been in dispute, despite what our televisions would have us believe, and they have been part of climate science for decades; Arctic ice melt as a consequence of increased atmospheric CO2 was predicted in Popular Mechanics magazine — in 1953! Now the window of opportunity is rapidly closing; denialists have squandered forty years and are still intent on making meaningful action on climate all but impossible. Their radical refusal to take responsibility for our civilization’s greenhouse emissions is now bearing fruit, and as the Napa Valley is coming to realize, it’s going to be a bitter vintage indeed.

Warren Senders

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