The climate changed Monday.
This journalist, applying time-tested observation and deduction skills, got that scoop at 9:47 a.m. while crossing the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. When my drive across the Cooper River began, it wasn’t raining. About a mile later, a downpour ensued.
No, that’s not the type of “climate change” precipitating a flood of fretting about greenhouse-gas emissions.
Or is it? Climate-change deniers routinely — and absurdly — cite extraordinary cold snaps as evidence against global warming. Some man-made climate-change believers make similarly silly claims that unusual short-term weather backs their case.
President Barack Obama, in his weekly radio address Saturday, dismissed the skeptics: “Those who already feel the effects of a changing climate don’t have time to deny it — they’re busy dealing with it. The firefighters who brave longer wildfire seasons. The farmers who see crops wilted one year, and washed away the next. Western families worried about water that’s drying up.”
The cost also rises
The president touted his “national Climate Action Plan” to “lead the world in a coordinated assault on a changing climate.”
Does that include an assault on fossil-fuel-related jobs?
Does that include an assault on not just rising sea levels but rising SCE&G bills?
Much closer to home, Todd LeVasseur, who has served as a religious-studies professor at the College of Charleston (his alma mater), wrote in the March 24 Post and Courier that we coastal dwellers are at climate change’s “ ‘ground zero’ with the emissions of the industrial economy set to trigger a predicted 3-foot rise in sea level this century.”
And: “Maybe it is time for an 11th Commandment: ‘Thou shalt not emit greenhouse gases.’ Or to frame it positively: ‘Thou shalt celebrate and protect the creation.’ ”
Or to frame it more realistically: Thou shalt not undermine the argument for reasonable reduction of carbon emissions by overstating their current effects.
Too many environmentalists who condemn coal power, which is heavy in carbon emissions, also condemn nuclear power, which isn’t.
Too many folks drive gas guzzlers adorned with Coastal Conservation League stickers.
Still, as Obama pointed out Saturday, “The 12 warmest years in recorded history have all come in the last 15.”
He left out that the upward shift stopped (for the time being?) in 1997.
Yet few scientists see the 20th century’s steep warming climb as mere coincidence with the 20th century’s steep carbon climb.
And if you still don’t believe humans can change the weather, remember what happened 32 summers ago.
In from the cold
Evil Greek tycoon Mikkos Cassadine used his “Ice Princess” to freeze Port Charles with a blizzard of “carbonic snow.” (Even in 1981, carbon was already typecast as a bad guy.)
Then Luke, Laura and Scorpio saved the day, killing Mikkos in the intrepid process.
OK, so “General Hospital” wasn’t — and isn’t — real.
But many Americans still don’t think human-fueled climate change is real. And you’re not going to change their minds by blaming coal for tornadoes in Tornado Alley.
Meanwhile, don’t pitch nuke power to Luke. The aging rascal learned last week that Helena, Mikkos’ evil widow, might get the last laugh:
She has radioactively poisoned Luke — from beyond her grave and through his earring.
Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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