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An Image Worth A Thousand Words

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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), from its Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), just released an updated analysis that indicates 2011 was the ninth warmest year on record for the planet. GISS Director James Hansen said: “Even with the cooling effects of a strong La Niña influence and low solar activity for the past several years, 2011 was one of the 10 warmest years on record.” 

The animation below, developed to illustrate how temperatures have risen, is especially illustrative and alarming. I encourage you to take a moment to watch the warming.


Video via NASA

Despite our failure to enact policies at the federal level that put a price on global warming pollution, states like California have taken action to address climate change at the state level, most recently with a plan to put cleaner cars on the road, and the EPA is moving forward with regulations to reduce toxic air pollutants that are emitted from coal plants.

Still, there is more we must do. For starters, Congress should renew the Production Tax Credit for clean energy producers, to establish the financial and policy certainty the industry needs to move forward and build us electricity generation facilities that don’t cause global warming or threaten public health.

The science is clear that the earth is warming and humans are the primary cause. Unfortunately, global warming and the threats it poses to our health, water, food, and safety won’t turn off even if our collective interest in the issue does.

 

Posted in: Energy, Global Warming Tags: , , , , ,

About the author: Laura Wisland is a senior energy analyst and an expert on California renewable energy policies. She holds a master’s degree in public policy. See Laura's full bio.

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2 Responses

  1. Eddy says:

    Your final point, essentially that climate change will not be altered by any human effort is about all we need to know, isn’t it?

    In effect, you acknowledge we may be doomed or we may not, and the whole thing is out of our control. What a relief! You may as well stop preaching and worrying over my carbon emissions. I may as well indulge in all the polluting air travel, driving, home HVAC…everything and anything I can afford today, because tomorrow will be whatever it may be. It is out of my hands!!

    You, on the other hand, may cease and desist from any and all carbon oxidizing activities as a live demonstration of your fine, proud, righteous obsession with climate change. I don’t think much of you now, but I will think even less of you if you consume one more drop of fossil fuel, directly or indirectly. Seriously – no more driving for you, no heated meals, no air conditioning, no products made from plastic or metal, no electricity for lights or internet. Especially no internet for you!

    • Thanks for your comment, Eddy, but actually, my point is that climate change cannot be ignored, it’s not out of our control, and we have a responsibility to take actions to address the problems. The longer we wait to address the human actions that are causing the planet to warm, the worse the effects will be. While the scenarios you mention to cut out any activity that has a carbon impact are as extreme and ridiculous as I am sure you intended them to be, they point in the direction we need to go, in terms of moving towards much cleaner transportation and electricity sectors, and making choices to use fewer products that require high levels of energy to be produced.