Climate Change – We Need to Act!

May 23rd, 2012 | Simcha Weinstein | Comments Off on Climate Change – We Need to Act!

Data released last month by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center shows that the 12-month period between May 2011- April 2012 was the warmest year to date since recordkeeping began in 1895. The first quarter of 2012 alone saw temperatures that were more than 5 degrees F above average. In addition to temperatures, precipitation patterns are also abnormal. While precipitation levels were higher than usual on the West Coast and Northern and Central Plains, they were lower than usual in Texas and along the Gulf Coast. And, overall, national precipitation levels are below average.

The change in weather patterns affects agriculture (which is extremely vulnerable to climate change) in several ways. Higher temperatures eventually reduce yields of desirable crops while encouraging weed and pest proliferation. Changes in precipitation patterns increase the likelihood of short-run crop failures and long-run production declines. Although there will be gains in some crops in some regions of the world, the overall impacts of climate change on agriculture are expected to be negative, threatening global food security. Changing weather patterns mean more drought for dry areas and floods in other areas.

The unimpeded growth of greenhouse gas emissions is raising the earth’s temperature. The consequences include melting glaciers, more precipitation, more and more extreme weather events, and shifting seasons. The accelerating pace of climate change, combined with global population and income growth, threatens food security everywhere.

Populations in the developing world, which are already vulnerable and food insecure, are likely to be the most seriously affected. In 2005, nearly half of the economically active population in developing countries—2.5 billion people—relied on agriculture for its livelihood. Today, 75 percent of the world’s poor live in rural areas.

And meanwhile in Washington, we have one of our 2 major political parties who believe that climate change is not real. What does it take?