As Oklahoma experiences a relatively cooler and wetter summer than usual, it might be wise to take a minute and note that a stunning and deadly heat wave is striking the Middle East and India.
In one area of Iran, the heat index has reached a staggering 165 degrees. This year will almost certainly be one of the hottest on record, which is yet another indication of global warming and the impact of carbon emissions on the environment.
I’m not trying to be negative here just to be negative. It’s just that too often American politicians, and in particular U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, will point to a particular weather event, such as a snowstorm, to make the argument that global warming science and its predictions are part of some conspiracy against the fossil-fuel industry.
Just because we’re getting more rain and it’s relatively cooler than summer averages in Oklahoma does not mean that the planet no longer faces an extremely real crisis, from an extended drought in California to soul-destroying temperatures and heat indices elsewhere in the world to melting arctic ice that is contributing to rising sea levels.
So instead of throwing out a figurative snowball, here’s some summer reading for you. First, read this post on Democracy Now! that ties together the India heat wave and the California drought. Second, here’s an article about a new global warming study conducted by well-known scientist James Hansen and others that shows the planet’s growing predicament. Third, read this about how the expansion of the Antarctica ice sheet is overshadowed by Arctic ice melting and is probably the result of global warming, too.
Scientists have long argued that too much manmade carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels has accelerated the greenhouse effect, which radiates heat back to the planet. Even a sustained two-degree jump in a medium temperature could have catastrophic impact on the planet, wiping out coastal cities and leading to mass migration and economic disaster.
All this might not make for pleasant summer reading as the mild summer winds down here in Oklahoma, but the state does not exist in isolation to the rest of the world. Any catastrophic global warming event on the planet has widespread ramifications. If New York or Miami become submerged in water in a couple of decades, it will have an impact throughout the world, even here.
This just something to think about this summer and also the next time Inhofe throws around a snowball instead of talking about science.