After a spring marked by some of the most damaging tornadoes in recent history and a couple of weeks of sweltering temperatures between the Rockies and the Appalachians the specter of “global warming” or “climate change” is again being raised. The fact is that no record high temperatures have been recorded in any state this summer. The last time a state set a new high temperature record was North Dakota in 2006. Before that it was Connecticut in 1995. Twenty-five of the 50 states set their high temperature records in the 1930s.
In spite of the fact that 2011 has not (so far) been a record-setting year on the weather front, it still makes sense for thoughtful people to be familiar with the evidence for and against climate change. It’s in everyone’s best interest to be acquainted with the latest scientific thinking. An important new entry on the pro-climate change side by a credible authority is The Weather of the Future: Heat Waves, Extreme Storms, and Other Scenes from a Climate Changed Planet, by Dr. Heidi Cullen, senior research scientist at Climate Central and a visiting lecturer at Princeton University. The book, which is now available in paperback or you can download it to your Kindle for $9.99, presents the case for a drastic change in weather patterns in recent decades, and describes the possible effects of climate change on the world.
Dr. Cullen was a guest on NPR’s Fresh Air program July 26. She shared many of her findings with host Terry Gross and discusses the cities likely to be most vulnerable to extreme weather in the near future. The interview can be heard on the program’s website.
Here at Greenest of the Green we don’t take a stance on whether or not climate change is occurring, and, if it is, whether it is a natural process or a human-caused phenomenon. We do know it just makes good sense not to add any more combustion products into the atmosphere or burn any more fossil fuels than necessary to sustain modern civilization. CIMA advocates the theory of minding small things to managing the big ones. Simple steps, like retrofitting homes with insulation will go a long way toward reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions. New businesses and jobs could actually be created with an emphasis on upgrading the millions of older homes in need of insulation. Using cellulose insulation in these homes could redirect tons of paper annually from landfills to attics and walls, where it would reduce energy consumption and trap carbon for years.
Frankly, you don’t need concern over climate change to justify greater energy efficiency for buildings. Conserving resources, maintaining and improving air quality, and creating more comfortable living and working conditions are justification enough. If we end up saving the earth in the process, that’s a nice bonus.