Last week, the Midwest was bombarded with freezing temperatures, some areas getting as low as -56 degrees in Minnesota. This was followed up with temperatures of 50 degrees this past Monday. With that difference of over 100 degrees, how much more convincing will it take to get Congress to act on climate change?
Almost on cue, climate change deniers like President Trump began using the polar vortex as an excuse to make false claims. On January 28, the President tweeted: “In the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded. In coming days, expected to get even colder. People can’t last outside even for minutes. What the hell is going on with Global [Warming]? Please come back fast, we need you!”
Without a doubt in my mind, the Trump administration is deeply anti-science, specifically regarding climate change. Climate change denial has sunk deep into the roots of many conservative platforms. It is nearly impossible today to be a Republican in good standing without denying the reality of climate change, either insisting it has natural causes or that nothing can be done without ruining the economy. Ideology is one of the main factors at play here, in that accepting the nature of climate change leads to a realization for the need of some sort of government regulation, so those who are insistent upon the ‘purity’ of the free market are unlikely to concede. But I digress.
All that being said, the National Climate Assessment was still released last November, detailing the current and expected impacts of climate change on the United States.
This assessment confirms what we (basically) already knew: Climate change poses a major threat to our nation, with its adverse effects already being felt. For example, growing risks of wildfires, the detriment of current ecosystems, rising air and water temperatures, et cetera.
Current weather patterns are one of the best ways to track climate change. We experience the weather; we see and feel it. Nothing else is really able to appeal better to common people than their own personal experiences. But what do we say when we’re faced with these frigid temperatures?
The obvious answer is the fact that weather is dynamic, and is constantly changing on a day-to-day basis. Even a planet that is warming overall will be very cold at times, much like a sick person will have random days where they feel better than usual.
Climate change is complex. It’s hard to know exactly what path we’ve set ourselves down, and the effects still remain uncertain. Climate change is causing the planet’s warming, but is also the root of extreme winter storms like last week’s. The number of extreme hurricanes has increased, but not necessarily the number of overall hurricanes. It is also to blame for the increase in droughts, wildfires and extreme rain.
Don’t get it wrong, though. The finer nuances and uncertainties of climate science do not provide any doubt to the overall picture: the planet is changing. All reliable information points to the increasing dangers of climate change, yet the Trump administration and its supporters continue to actively deny and ignore these analyses. These changes are threatening the well-being of not only our generation, but future generations. Anyone who claims otherwise is feeding into the school of thought that only benefits massive corporations that rely on dirty energy.