What's up with the wild weather? We're posting a series of articles and videos that attempt to answer that question.
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It’s really happening and it’s serious. That’s what more and more scientists are saying about world temperatures that continue to climb.
Deadly summer heat, devastating floods, unpredictable snow and of course, Sandy, are all recent extreme weather events that have occurred with barely one degree of warming. So imagine what two degrees will do. Or three or four, as the computer models predict by 2100.
“We expect the weather to get more extreme,” said Dr. Heidi Cullen of Climate Central.
There are many things we can do in this country to reduce the gasses that lead to rising temperatures, such as increasing fuel standards for cars. Here’s the problem however. There are no borders in the atmosphere. What happens in other countries affects us too.
“If we here at home make investments in reducing our CO2 emissions but China and India don’t, that doesn’t answer the question,” said Dr. Cullen.
So is it too late to turn the Earth’s thermostat down?
“We still have time, but there isn’t a whole lot of time,” said Dr. Michael Mann of Penn State.
Dr. Mann says we must first adapt to the climate changes that have already happened.
“We have to build better coastal defenses, seawalls and levies,” said Dr. Mann. “We have to think about the impact of Hurricanes and sea level rise in our urban planning. We have to think about where we build and where we don’t build.”
Some researchers think a tax on carbon is necessary. But it may take revolutionary new technology that replaces our most polluting industries and way to actually remove carbon from the atmosphere. In the meantime, don’t rule out small steps to reduce fossil fuels.
“I’m trying to recycle everything and use less of everything that I use,” said one resident.
Here is what else you can do.
- Take one of the city’s natural gas buses instead of driving
- Pay attention to packaging
- Buy loose fruit and vegetables rather than plastic wrapped or boxed
- Don’t buy bottled water since it takes a lot of energy to produce and move
- Use a laptop which uses far less energy than a desktop
“They save us money and they make us healthier,” said Dr. Mann. “They actually cut down our carbon emissions.”
Since this whole subject has become very political, it’s hard to know what to believe and whom to trust. So here’s what you can do. Only pay attention to true experts, which are climate scientists who are published in science journals. Other scientists are not experts when it comes to climate change. Not physicists, biologists or even…meteorologists. After all, if you have brain cancer, you’re going to listen to a brain surgeon, not a foot doctor.