couriernews
SPARKLE 
Weather Updates

Difficult to ignore climate change after Hurricane Sandy

Updated: December 14, 2012 6:12AM



Difficult to ignore effects of climate change in the wake of Hurricane Sandy

Our recent Hurricane Sandy (I am sorry they took MY name!) is a terrible example of how climate change makes natural weather storms extreme.

That storm had a combination of a high tide with a full moon — normal events, but with a 5-degree warmer sea surface temperature due to climate change. The Union of Concerned Scientists describe this as a nightmare combination. Ben Franklin did measurements during a hurricane in Philadelphia in 1743 that sent waves over the wharves in Boston. Without climate change, the storms lessen and weaken with cooler ocean temperatures.

We humans live in the safe areas that nature had in place up to now. These are changing.

Climate change has been warming the seas as well as the Earth, and that evaporates more water so there is more rain and snow in some areas, but some land areas are just hotter and drier.

The fossil fuel industries have spent billions to deny, confuse and slow us from taking action that will regulate them so we can all live together. THEY say humans “can just adapt” to warmer temperatures, drought, higher sea levels, extreme weather events. And many are listening because it is confusing, and is easier to ignore problems than take action. It is also just plain terrorizing to consider what scientists are telling us with over 90 percent agreement are facts. It’s the fossil fuel corporations that are the richest in the world.

The changes are sometimes slow and subtle; and as with most of us, they are easy to ignore until a Hurricane Sandy kicks in. And until 40,000 weather records are broken in one year. And until we have 12 years in a row with average temps winter and summer higher than ever before.

I like to ignore problems I can’t solve, and I think this is a survival tactic until it hits home. But individuals can take energy efficiency and sustainability steps to reduce our waste of energy at home anywhere from 15 percent to 66 percent. And the savings will be permanent. And you are doing your part. We have done ours, maybe 40-50 percent.

President Obama’s new regulations on fuel efficiency for cars and trucks will do wonders for reducing emissions. Last but not least, natural gas — IF REGULATED — could be the miracle fuel on the horizon until renewables are in place. Using natural gas in industry — along with energy efficiency steps taken by many already — our emissions are back down to 1992 levels. This is a miracle!

There is a lot more to do, and individuals have to do it while we wait for the government to follow our grass-roots actions. We have to do it first.

And it is working; it just needs to become a movement. Let’s get it done. It is a Christian, Jewish, religious mandate to care for the Earth God gave us.

Sandra Kaptain

Elgin



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.