It was hovering around 90 degrees Fahrenheit at the Arctic Circle in Norway and Sweden last week. In July, the hottest temperature ever recorded in Scotland was hit — 92 degrees in a village near Glasgow. It was 106 in Japan, also that nation’s highest ever.
And while it’s often in the triple digits in the air in California, never in 102 years of daily water-temperature readings at the pier near the Scripps Institute in La Jolla had the Pacific Ocean hit 78 degrees — until this summer. Rising ocean temperatures are another feature of global warming and will radically alter our formerly famous Mediterranean climate insofar as nighttime air temperatures go. And, yes, to answer many Californians’ understandable question, climate change is contributing to the unprecedented wildfire seasons we are seeing this year and last.
So — now that the demonstrably real effects of climate change are affecting California lives every day, what to do about it? It’s only human to lament the lost opportunities, the fact that responsible scientists warned us two decades ago that this would come to pass if we didn’t halt the rise in greenhouse-gas production. But humans have faced existential threats before, from world wars, from nuclear weapons. Now is the time to not give in to despair but to lobby our leaders, and governments around the world, telling them to stop sticking their heads in the (hot) sand, believe the science and begin a technical approach to reversing the real problem humans have brought to our planet.
FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER