EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 10, 2014

Column: Listen up, America; climate change is real

I am contemplating my house’s frozen pipes, marveling that the temperature in the kitchen has inched up to 44 degrees and feeling that I am blessed. I have electricity. I have a working space heater.

We have just gone through a remarkable period when every state in the union had freezing temperatures, including Hawaii! (OK, it was definitely not statewide, but freezing temperatures were recorded above the balmy breezes.)

So many people have been through such incredible challenges weatherwise in the past few weeks that it is impossible to complain without feeling churlish.

But there are points to be made.

Folks, climate change is real. And, dear fellow citizens, we have to do something about our infrastructure.

I know, I know. You are muttering something about a polar vortex, and how this deep freeze has been really unusual and what you will tell your grandchildren: “It was so cold my swear words froze over the hood of the car that I couldn’t get started. I couldn’t even get through to AAA!”

The trouble with climate change is that “they” started out calling it global warming. That was fine when the weather was 102 degrees and the nation’s sweat would have overflowed the Hoover Dam and crops were crumbling from lack of moisture.

But the truth is that climate change, subscribed to by more than nine out of every 10 scientists (picture them standing in lines with the truly, dweebily hopeless ones refusing to hold up their hands), means that extreme weather gets more extreme. Hot weather and droughts get more intense. Cold weather and snow and ice get worse.

Al Gore has a lot to answer for on this issue. If he had stayed with the adorable Tipper and hadn’t been, well, so self-righteous, millions of Americans might be more amenable to accepting the inconvenient truth that decades of using fossil fuels since the Industrial Age began have done enormous although not irreparable damage to the Earth’s atmosphere.

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