Local view: Weather is telling us it's time for serious talks on global warming
The wheels are coming off, but no one is willing to talk about it. The year 2010 was tied for the warmest in history. And 2012 promises to surpass that milestone. The National Weather Service in Duluth reports a deep reduction in heating-degree days.
The wheels are coming off, but no one is willing to talk about it. The year 2010 was tied for the warmest in history. And 2012 promises to surpass that milestone. The National Weather Service in Duluth reports a deep reduction in heating-degree days. We needed 19 percent less fuel to heat homes, schools and businesses due to the effects of global warming in our region. Before our recent "storm of the century," we were in a drought and very concerned about fire potential. Then we were flooded with 9 inches of rain in 24 hours. This crushed the old record for a one-day rain by inches. The training of fronts over Duluth on the 19th and 20th of June probably were part of a larger climate dynamic.
But I have not heard one meteorologist comment on the pattern of more drought, fires, heat waves and destructive storms linked to the human use of fossil fuels. They must have slept through that climatology presentation -- or drank the pert punch.
Now, we see 54 fires burning in the West. And there is a heat wave simmering over the Midwest and East Coast. Extreme temperatures will combine with high humidity to generate killer storms. This raw and spiraling energy will destroy more of our generational infrastructure.
But no one wants to talk about it. Perhaps they are too busy watching, "America's Got Talent."
Recent global conferences in Copenhagen and Rio were failures. The U.S., China and India failed to lead because they are frightened by the challenges of change. So we continue to devolve. Our leaders can fence with ideology while the planet burns. Sadly, some of our young people may figure this out. And they will not appreciate our legacy.
Markets may offer part of the solution, but not until fossil-fuel prices reflect the risk to our kids, communities and planet. We have the technology needed to get off fossil fuels. But it will mean no more subsidies for organizations that discount our future. And it means more revenue to reward efficiency and renewable energies. This could usher in the second wave of innovation in the human enterprise.
But not until we talk about it.
Governments can help communities set a new course for a secure future. This would affect elections, spending, consensus, policy and enforcement. We already have the institutional tools we need. We lack political will. We can choose a sustainable path for the 21st century, or we can wait silently for the crisis to deepen.
We need more help while we wait. So we better deepen our faith in one another and our shared enterprise. We need all the help we can gather if we hope to come out on the other side of this difficult transition. Our faith traditions historically have guided citizens toward common values and celebrations that help us work together as we face challenges.
Clearly, it is time to talk.
Bill Mittlefehldt of Duluth is a member of the Energy, Food and Environment Team at Peace Church.