A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

2012 Is Warmest Year On Record For U.S.

It's official now. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released the figures for 2012, and it shows that the United States recorded the highest temperature (averaged over the year) ever recorded in its history. The average temperature for the lower 48 states was 55.3 degrees F. That is 3.2 degrees F warmer than the 20th century average, and a full degree warmer than the previous warmest year (1998). Every single state had above average temperatures last year, and nineteen states set new records for highest temperature ever, while another 26 states recorded one of their 10 warmest years.

The United States also experienced its second most extreme weather last year, second only to 1998. Among those extreme weather occurrences was a massive drought, which is still affecting some areas (like Texas). Precipitation was 2.57 inches below the normal average for the nation.

Once again, the weather is backing up what more than 95% of the world's scientists (and over 97% of climate scientists) have been telling us for years now -- that the world's temperature is rising (largely due to the human use of carbon-based fuels), and that warming is negatively affecting the climate. And still, the world's leaders talk and argue -- and do nothing to correct the situation.

And one of the prime offenders in this failure to act is the United States itself. While many nations have expressed a desire to act, none want to act unilaterally -- especially if the two biggest polluters of all, the United States and China, will not act. And these two nations seem to have no desire but to put off action as long as possible. They are putting economic desires for increasing profits above the desire to solve the ecological problems presented by the growing planetary warming. And unless action is taken soon, it will be useless -- because the warming will go beyond its "tipping point", after which action cannot stave off the impending disaster.

This may be the most selfish generation this country has witnessed. There are alternatives to the carbon-based fuels, but the public and the government have both been exceptionally slow to accept them and make the necessary changes. Government is afraid to make the giant corporations clean up their act, and people are afraid the changes necessary might affect the comfortable lives to which they have grown accustomed. Both are content to just kick the can further down the road (as if that road had no end).

I shudder to think what future generations are going to think of this generation. I suspect the nicest terms they'll use are "stupid" and "selfish".

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