Extreme Weather = Climate Change

Posted by | July 9, 2011 18:40 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the recent pattern of extreme weather is only adding to the mountain of evidence about climate change.  Of course I am also happy to acknowledge when others say it better than I do.

The problem with waiting to act until all the nuances of the relationship between warming temperatures and extreme weather can be further established is that we may lose our chance to avoid what could be truly catastrophic impacts of a climate out of control.

In the year 2010, and the first half of 2011, we have seen extraordinarily wild weather, perhaps the most extreme set of weather events on Earth in more than a century. Meteorologist Jeff Masters, Ph.D, co-founder of the website “The Weather Underground” suggests this confluence of weather may be more than chance: ”… [I]t is highly improbable that the remarkable extreme weather events of 2010 and 2011 could have all happened in such a short period of time without some powerful climate-altering force at work. The best science we have right now maintains that human-caused emissions of heat-trapping gases like CO2 are the most likely cause of such a climate-altering force.”

We can argue about whether the best response to climate change is prevention or adaptation or some combination of the two.  What anyone who considers themselves part of the reality based community can’t argue, however, is that the best response is to wait and see what happens.

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

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