All the warnings from climate scientists are coming true. Global warming is here. It is bringing all-time record temperatures to Western Europe. Yesterday, the U.K. saw the hottest temperatures ever recorded, 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat wave killed more than 1,700 people in Spain and Portugal. The heat triggered wildfires from Portugal to the Balkans. Some areas, including northern Italy, are also experiencing extended droughts.
The heat wave has also hit the U.S. At least ten heat records have been broken in cities across the southwest and central parts of the country. Cities and towns in Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas all saw record highs. The National Weather Service warns “it will get worse . . . before it gets better.” Then temperatures spiked in Oklahoma, heading for at least 110 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday. This morning’s Washington Post reports that President Biden is considering declaring a climate emergency. There is little question that he would be justified in doing so.
We know what’s causing the extreme heat. Human activities are the main driver of climate change. Despite knowing we are contributing to rising temperatures, we go on burning fossil fuels (like coal, oil, and gas) which produces heat-trapping gases. As greenhouse gas emissions blanket the earth, they trap the sun’s heat. This leads to global warming and climate change.
All of the above is common knowledge. Yet we go on releasing emissions that cause what will soon become temperatures that are barely survivable and some that will kill. And we refuse to pass laws that would alleviate the situation. Last week, Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) rejected efforts to include about $300 billion in tax incentives for a raft of clean energy sources in the Democrats’ reconciliation package, H.R. 5376 (117), dashing hopes for major climate change legislation.
What will it take to force us into action?