As residents on the east coast recover from the record snowfall of winter storm Jonas, the usual suspects are in full force claiming that cold weather is evidence enough that climate change is a myth. In a series of new reports published by climate deniers, data is repeatedly misinterpreted, misrepresented, and simply misreported.
However, mayors and community leaders are more aware than ever of the true costs of climate, and are not dissuaded from acting. Politicos in Washington DC dismiss the environmental and human costs of climate action at a time when urgent leadership is needed. Climate change is a problem created by human action, and will be solved by bold action. Current models call for 80-100% reductions in fossil fuel emissions over the next few decades, and mayors are getting to work.
In cities throughout the country, mayors are working diligently to protect the communities they represent from the consequences of a changing climate. But more importantly, they are embracing the many benefits of developing and implementing climate action plans: bringing in stable, well paying jobs, developing programs that decongest city streets, increasing energy efficiency, and making communities healthier places for residents to live and raise families.
As various parts of the nation recover from the fallout of last weekend’s massive blizzard, the three feet of snow that winter storm Jonas dumped in parts of West Virginia and Maryland are prompting many to revisit the debate over the merits of climate change. In a recent editorial in The Wall Street Journal, in particular, the CATO Institute’s Patrick Michaels makes a number of scientifically inaccurate statements, whether about humans contributing to climate change, El Nino’s role in 2015’s record heat, the sensitivity of climate to greenhouse gases, or the connection between extreme weather and climate change.
Michaels opens with a description of temperatures, the warming of which peer-reviewed studies have repeatedly found to be caused by human emissions. The latest study, published Monday, finds that the odds of 14 of the 16 warmest years on record all occurring after 2000, would be one in 300,000 were it not for human-made warming. This is just one of many independent lines of evidence that human activity — namely the burning of fossil fuels — contributes significantly to warming.
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