Your Opinion: Climate change a global, not local, phenomenon

Dear Editor:

It happened in Jefferson City on Saturday, just like in Jim Dyke’s cartoon. Our local Citizens Climate Lobby cancelled its meeting because of winter ice. Does that say anything about climate change. No. Climate change is about global trends over time.

Jefferson City isn’t the globe. The entire United States is less than two percent of the world’s surface. While we were experiencing a cold January, tennis players at the Australian Open had to literally be put on ice to cool down.

Globally 2013 was the seventh warmest year since 1880 and nine of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000.

In 2,258 peer-reviewed climate articles, written by 9,126 authors, published between November 2012 and December 2013, only one author rejected man-made global warming. That information comes from James Powell, a former college president turned science historian who served for 12 years on the National Science Board.

Climate change is about floods, droughts, storms and wildfires becoming more frequent, extreme and in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s not as much about a bad crop year as it is about cropland becoming desert. It’s not about high orange prices for a season, but food insecurity for the future.

Climate change is about changing ocean temperatures and acidity that will lead to mass extinctions and additionally threaten food security. Who wants dead oceans?

We’ve had plenty of letters in this paper from people who don’t believe in science and have faith that things will be fine. One suggested that warmer might be better. I wouldn’t bet my grandkid’s lunch on it.

At Citizens Climate Lobby, we believe the science is in and it is time to take action. The challenges are huge and worldwide. Without major climate action from the United States, the rest of the world will do nothing. That is why it is so important for America to lead.

Climate change is dire only if we do nothing. There is near consensus among economists that pricing carbon should be a central feature of climate policy worldwide. If done right, it can create jobs, boost the economy, reduce emissions, and will not grow government.

Saturday’s ice was local weather. We will continue to set record cold temperatures for a long time, but we will set a lot more record highs. If we do nothing, this will be the global trend for a very long time.

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