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March 09, 2010

Climate Change & Extreme Weather

Guest entry by: Branden Grubb (energy intern)

Massive snowfalls, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, and tornados are consistently occurring more often due to high levels of moisture in the air. Why are there high levels of moisture in the air? The answer is easy: climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that the earth is slowly warming. Slow warming results in greater amounts of evaporation, evaporation causes high moisture levels, and high moisture levels cause extreme weather. This is why there was a record snowfall (snowpocalypse) in Washington, D.C., this February, while in Vancouver, British Columbia, site of the 2010 Winter Olympics, some events had to be postponed due to lack of sufficient snowfall. The shocking part is that these events occurred in the same week.  My friends, it is time that some drastic changes took place.

While some argue that snow means no climate change – the reality is that climate change is very real. Eleven of the past twelve years rank among the warmest on record. During this time we have seen some of the most detrimental weather in history, including Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the cyclone in Burma in 2008. The sad thing is, human beings are the main contributor to climate change; in essence we are determining our own fate.

Even President George H. W. Bush admitted as much, and signed an act in 1990 that stated "Industrial, agricultural, and other human activities, coupled with an expanding world population, are contributing to processes of global change that may significantly alter the Earth habitat within a few human generations."

How is it our fault though? Every day, we emit upwards of nearly 100 tons of harmful gasses and pollutants into the air. These pollutants get trapped in atmosphere and ozone creating a green house gas force field. The force field traps heat and causes the earth to continually warm – hence global warming.

Is it too late to stop global warming? No, but we have to act quickly. It has been concluded that, even if we could stop all use of fossil fuel tomorrow, the already emitted pollutants would continue to harm the planet for 150 years.

What can be done? There are many ways to curb global warming – we just have to take the initiative to do it. By investing in clean energy solutions we can create jobs, as well as slow climate change. Also, things we do during our day-to-day routine can be altered minimally and have a substantial effect. Check out this website to learn more about what can be done.


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