Letter: How can we treat our psychotic climate?
Tough times in the Anthropocene. Spring skiing in February garners front-page news space here in the Roaring Fork Valley, while the Northeastern U.S. wonders where to put all the snow. Folks in Northern California pull out their umbrellas, as up to 12 inches of rain falls over a four-day period, while snowfall in the usually-soggy Northwest is lower than that in the Northeast. Is it climate change, a weather blip, or a combination of the two?
When we mine carbon from below-ground reservoirs at unprecedented rates and spew it into our atmosphere, we create a cozy blanket of heat-trapping gases, warming our planet. The National Climatic Data Center’s website (http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/) is a great resource if you want science-based statistics to help you understand the short- and long-term effects of this carbon comforter. Here’s just one statistic from the website: The year 2014 was the warmest year across global land and ocean surfaces since records began in 1880. As temperatures rise, we are faced with an unpredictable climate — some parts of the planet experience record heat or cold while others may experience intense storms with epic amounts of snow and rainfall. Warmer oceans account for the increased water vapor load in the atmosphere that falls to earth in the form of snow or rain.
How can we treat our psychotic climate? Since science points to carbon as the primary culprit for this warming trend, it is time to figure out how to control our emissions. The Citizen’s Climate Lobby has created a proposal for a carbon fee and dividend that addresses this problem and encourages all of us to become carbon-educated consumers. The proposal would place a fee on carbon-based fuels that would accurately represent the true costs of these fuels to our environment. The fees would be placed in a trust fund to be returned to households as a monthly dividend, encouraging conservation and enabling consumers to make wiser choices about their energy choices. To learn more about this proposal go to http://citizensclimatelobby.org/.
Climate is what we plan for; weather is what we dress for. At this point in the Anthropocene it has become difficult to plan around a seemingly psychotic climate as we react to daily weather instead of looking at how patterns have changed. Should we really be riding bicycles in February in shorts and T-shirts in Colorado?
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