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Expat Life

Is it hot in here or is it just me?

I’m sitting here looking out the windows and it is finally a beautiful sunny day here in Cuenca.  But I can’t go enjoy it because I’ve got to sit here and write this now. Because, due to editorial priorities this week, I have to turn this column in today.  But I shouldn’t be complaining, because as Codie always says, “Honey, you bring this on yourself. ”

Anyway, back to the sunny day.  Wow, it sure seems like a long time since we had sun, doesn’t it?  It’s literally been almost a full month of rain.  The thing though, is that rainy season here was supposed to be March-April.  That’s what the locals say and long-timer expats claim.

In Yunguilla we had the same thing.  A month of rain starting AFTER what is supposed to be rainy season.

Is this just an aberration or something more sinister, like climate change?  There I said it.  So, lets get things rolling.  I’m not saying it’s caused by man (though I believe it is).  I know a lot of you will argue with me about that until we both run out of [clean] air.  I’m saying it exists, even if many of today’s leaders want to stick their heads in the sand about it.

(Article continues below graphic.)

Every day we are seeing signs of this.  Signs that the world is heating up and impacting things that even Al Gore might not have thought of.  For example:

  • The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century. Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with 16 of the 17 warmest years on record occurring since 2001. Not only was 2016 the warmest year on record, but eight of the 12 months that make up the year — from January through September, with the exception of June — were the warmest on record for those respective months.
  • The oceans have absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 700 meters (about 2,300 feet) of ocean showing warming of 0.302 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969.
  • The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass. Data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment show Greenland lost 150 to 250 cubic kilometers (36 to 60 cubic miles) of ice per year between 2002 and 2006, while Antarctica lost about 152 cubic kilometers (36 cubic miles) of ice between 2002 and 2005.
  • Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world — including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and Africa.
  • Global sea level rose about 8 inches in the last century. The rate in the last two decades, however, is nearly double that of the last century.
  • Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30 percent.
  • The amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the upper layer of the oceans is increasing by about 2 billion tons per year.

What does all of that mean?  I don’t know.  But I know this, most reputable scientists who study these events say that we MAY be at a tipping point in being able to turn around this climate change (some think we have past that point).

So, my question is this: why is this not the most important thing our governments are talking about every day?  Forget about politics for a second and ask yourself this, “What would be the harm in accepting that climate change is happening?”  What would be so wrong about taking actions to address this?

Many argue that putting CO2 emission controls in place as laid out in the Paris Agreement were unfair to the US (I actually mostly agree with that) and that is why the President pulled out of it (I didn’t agree with that).  But what is the counter action then? To just do nothing?  To not put other controls in place is not the answer!

Of all the things that we can ignore and assume, “Hey, that will never happen,” is this really one that we want to be playing with?

I’m just sayin.’
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* To be transparent, the bullet points in this column were taken from an article on NASA’s website that I recently read.