AC Alert for July 9, 2012 Global Warming Gets Serious

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 1:00pm

CONTENT: Newsletter

"If you want a glimpse of some of the worst of global warming, scientists suggest taking a look at U.S. weather in recent weeks." (Source: Associated Press)

Indeed, just a quick review of some events in recent weeks serves to raise major questions about Global Warming and the impact it might be having on the US right now:

Exhibit # 1: A "derecho," defined as a line of thunderstorms containing high straight line winds, some in excess of 75 mph, rips across parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and our Nation's Capital, killing 20 people, and leaving millions without power, for days -- all in the midst of a record breaking heat wave.

Exhibit # 2: A few hundred miles to the south, triple-digit temperatures in cities such as Atlanta Georgia and Charlotte North Carolina break all time records.

Exhibit # 3: A freak thunderstorm with high winds tears across Long Island Sound between Connecticut and New York's Long Island on July 4th at 10 pm. A tragic incident occurs at the same time as a passenger-packed 34-foot cruiser is said to be overturned by a wake, killing three children. Officials are investigating whether the storm played a role in the disaster.

Exhibit # 4: Out to the west, wildfires of unprecedented strength destroy hundreds of homes in Colorado. In a bizarre twist of fate, several Air National Guardsmen from the Carolinas die when their C-130 firefighting plane crashes in Colorado.

A look at the color coded temperature map on July 7th showed virtually the entire nation in the "red" or "extreme heat" category. Now, of course July is traditionally the warmest month of the year in the US and heat waves are not unusual. But this summer, so far, seems rather extraordinary. Can these unusual events be pinned to the phenomenon of Global Warming? That's a question which remains unanswered, and hotly debated in times of extreme weather -- but surely it does make you begin to wonder whether there is some correlation (no matter where you stand on the issue of global warming).

For better and for worse, our weather does seem to be on a warming trend. So is it Global Warming -- or just the usual climate cycles? The last three years have seen an enlivened debate about the existence of human-caused climate change -- which is challenged by some doubters who feel the changes are just normal cycles. 

From our monitoring we see a majority of the scientists commenting on climate change expressing the view that humankind activities are causing some of the changes in our weather patterns.  And we see naysayers and doubters -- in business and the political world -- disputing that -- which makes the debate lively.  As some environmental leaders have said, we have one chance at doing things right -- the consequences of being wrong would be horrific.

Where do you stand?  While according to recent public opinion polls a majority of the American  public apparently still don’t believe in the problems of climate change/global warming -- and with world governments unable to agree on a course of action --  AC editors continue to focus on potentially one of the greatest issues world society faces.

Since our Global Warming Hot Topic section began in April 2008 more than 3500 articles, commentaries and reports have been posted for our readers. None have been more timely or impacted more citizens that those of the past few weeks. We've sharpened our electronic pencils to make sure all the latest information is available during this incredible summer of 2012. Here are some of our most recent articles:

Society not ready for heat waves coming with climate change
(Source: USA Today) Health officials are better prepared for heat waves than they used to be, but they have more to do in the face of climate change.

This US summer is what global warming looks like
(Source: Associated Press) Horrendous wildfires, oppressive heat waves, devastating droughts and flooding from giant deluges. And also a powerful freak wind storm called a derecho. These are the kinds of extremes climate scientists have predicted will come with climate change, although it's far too early to say that is the cause.

Sustainability? Business gets it
(Source: News and Observer) In recent weeks, as North Carolina legislators were battling over the use of the word “sustainable” in the government-funded NC Sustainable Local Food Advisory Council, Bank of America was announcing a new US$50 billion environmental business initiative. They stated that the most formidable challenge we face is global climate change.

Developing world caused more climate change before Industrial Revolution
(Source: NY Daily News) Mankind was causing climate change long before the combustion engine was even invented, according to a new study that suggests developing countries like China and India have contributed more to global warming than previously thought.

Climate change fears overblown, says ExxonMobil boss
(Source: ExxonMobil chief executive, Rex Tillerson, says fears about climate change, drilling and energy dependence are overblown. In a recent speech Tillerson acknowledged that burning of fossil fuels is warming the planet, but said society will be able to adapt.

Court Backs E.P.A. Over Emissions Limits Intended to Reduce Global Warming
(Source: The New York Times) A federal appeals court has upheld a finding by the Environmental Protection Agency that heat-trapping gases from industry and vehicles endanger public health, dealing a decisive blow to companies and states that had sued to block agency rules. The judges unanimously dismissed arguments from industry that the science of global warming was not well supported and that the agency had based its judgment on unreliable studies.

This is just a sampling of the information in our Alert. Go here for the full text of this alert, and more information on Sustainability, and other Accountability related topics.