Impending Climate Calamity Seems So Far Away Today

For behold, the winter is past, The rain is over and gone. The flowers have already appeared in the land; The time has arrived for pruning the vines, And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land. The fig tree has ripened its figs, And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance.

Today the sun is shining here in Lakeland, Florida. It’s 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside the window of my den, and the weatherman promises a high in the mid-eighties. Surely, spring is here.

And, like the Queen of Sheba in “The Song of Solomon” (quoted above), I feel “like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.”

Well, maybe not quite like a roe or a young hart, but you get the idea.

On a day like today, it’s not easy to get my head around the devastation being wrought by climate change in other parts of the country and so many places around the world. That dreadful drought in California…. unprecedented ice and snow across most of North America… floods and typhoons in the Pacific… earthquakes and volcano eruptions…

As the snow comes down in Virgina, Pat Robertson looks out his window and declares that the notion of man-made global warming is “idiocy.” What’s wrong with those scientists anyway? Can’t they see the snow? Can’t they feel the cold?

But Mother Nature doesn’t work that way. It can be cold today and yet over the year, the world may be warmer. Weather is not the same as climate.

I don’t know if this means anything, but while our little corner of the world has had a long, dreary spell of colder-than-usual weather, we haven’t had a day of frost. And that’s not normal. Every other year – and Sandra and I have lived in this house for 15 years – there has been a day or two (or three) of frost, leaving a trail of dead leaves for me to prune away. One year, it got cold enough to kill my mango tree.

Millions of Americans may be shivering now but, overall, 2013 was among the warmest years on record. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that the average world temperature was 58.12F (14.52C) tying with 2003 for the fourth-warmest since 1880. NASA, which calculates records in a different manner, says 2013 was the seventh-warmest, with an average temperature of 58.3F (14.6C).

We shouldn’t need John Kerry to tell us that global warming is as big a threat to humanity as any weapon of mass destruction, as he told Indonesian students recently. But apparently we do.

The climate change deniers are in full voice. And right-wing billionaires are digging into their deep pockets to fund them.

Meanwhile, the polar ice cap slowly melts away, polar bears drown, and sea levels rise.

Click for Kerry’s warning.

Click for Bill Nye’s take on climate change.