Global Warming

Oklahoma Escapes The Heat For Now

Image of wind turbines

As our local television weather forecasters fall all over themselves about the recent unusually cool August weather, more grim news about the overall climate and global warming has emerged.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) just recently reported that not only was July the hottest July worldwide since records have been kept starting in 1880 it also was the hottest month ever recorded as well.

The implications, according to writer Eric Holthaus in an article published on Slate, are enormous and extremely bleak. He calls it a “very big deal.” Here are two of his major points:

. . . global temperatures are currently approaching—if not already past—the maximum temperatures commonly observed over the past 11,000 years (i.e., the time period in which humans developed agriculture), and flirting with levels not seen in more than 100,000 years.

But this is the scary part: The current level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any point since humans first evolved millions of years ago. Since carbon dioxide emissions lead to warming, the fact that emissions are increasing means there’s much more warming yet to come. What’s more, carbon dioxide levels are increasing really quickly.

The immediate cause for the hot temperatures has been attributed to an extremely strong El Niño weather pattern this year, which could result in another record hot year in 2015 and also in 2016, according to Holthaus. The same weather pattern, however, will probably mean a cooler and wetter upcoming winter for Oklahoma. But it’s the large-scare (that's intentional) picture here that’s important. Just because we might experience a couple of major snowstorms in Oklahoma this winter will NOT mitigate the terrifying possibilities of a planet devastated by global warming.

It also won’t matter how many snowballs Oklahoma’s U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe brings to the Senate floor this coming winter as proof global warming doesn’t exist. Global warming is happening. It’s getting recorded. Its effect on the planet is already visible. It should be clear by now to everyone that Inhofe’s crusade against climate science is incredibly damaging to the world.

Scientists have long noted that increasing amounts of carbon dioxide caused by the burning of fossil fuels accelerate the greenhouse effect, which raises temperatures and leads to rising sea levels as the arctic ice cap melts. Rising sea levels have the very real potential to destroy coastal cities and also create more extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and flooding. It can also lead to the type of extended drought now experienced in California, which then leads to massive wildfires.

The important thing for Oklahomans to realize is that just because we’re experiencing moderate or colder weather doesn’t mean we won’t be affected by global warming. Massive population migrations, worldwide economic devastation, and food shortages because of drought in crucial farming areas throughout the world will affect everyone on the planet. We’re all connected.

By all means, Oklahomans should enjoy the cooler temperatures and be glad about our lower air conditioning bills this summer as we contend with our own manmade earthquake crisis, but the planet is still burning up, and our world leaders aren’t doing much to stop it.

The answer is to develop more renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, and drastically lower our carbon emissions.