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We must address climate change now

Date: 2/19/2015

I’m sure that like me you’ve been moving a whole lot of snow around.

Perhaps you’re running out of room to pile the snow. You’ve been watching weather forecasts with a certain element of dread. You’re sick of winter.

Weren’t our winters supposed to be easier because of climate change? This one certainly hasn’t.

Folks who deny the evidence of climate change have been seeing this winter as a way to discount the idea that through human behavior the planet is getting warmer, which will have long and profound effects on us.

Now I know the readers who don’t believe in climate change will now probably call me a name – stupid liberal, communist, or moon bat might be among them – and stop reading. That’s their right. Turn the page.

Climate change is something my now two year-old grandson will have to face in his life more than me. He and his children will not know the same world that I did, if the science is correct.

By the way, The Union of Concerned Scientists explained on the organization’s website the reason for more snow is that moisture is held in the air because of the higher temperatures.

Weather, is of course different than climate. NASA made the following definition: “The difference between weather and climate is a measure of time. Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere ‘behaves’ over relatively long periods of time.”

What we’ve been told is that we need to use less carbon-based fuels in order to decrease the emission which are altering the atmosphere. By changing how we generate heat and power, we can make a difference.

I think that task alone is daunting to many people who believe it will cost them money or inconvenience. I’m sure some of them believe they will be dead and gone before the worst of climate changes happens. Let’s just pass this problem down to the next few generations.

Let’s not.

We’ve recognized and tackled environmental problems before and we’ve actually made positive differences.

Remember acid rain? According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the initiatives started by the 1990 Clean Air Act have made “remarkable and demonstrable results” in reducing acid with sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide.

In fact the EPA noted, “In fact, a 2003 Office of Management and Budget study found that the Acid Rain Program accounted for the largest quantified human health benefits – over $70 billion annually – of any major federal regulatory program implemented in the last 10 years, with benefits exceeding costs by more than 40:1.”

Remember the hole in the ozone layer that was allowing a greater amount of ultra-violet rays into the planet’s atmosphere? A story on Discovery News from 2013 noted the thinning of the ozone layer has been arrested and should reach 1980 levels between 2045 and 2060. That was due to the banning of the use of chlorofluorocarbons, according to “Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion 2010” from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Here’s something less esoteric: do you remember how the Connecticut River looked and smelled? As a kid, I remember being told that it wasn’t safe to swim in the river. There were some towns that dumped untreated sewage into it. Years worth of efforts to clean up the river have resulted in it going from Class D to Class B, which means the river is once more a body of water that can be enjoyed.

By doing more with wind, solar, geothermal sources of power as well as greater conservation, could we make a difference? I’d like to think so.

What’s the down side if climate change ultimately is disproven? Will we have gained anything? How about a cleaner environment? More control over our nation’s energy sources? Greater potential for innovation and business development?

What’s wrong with that?

Agree? Disagree? Drop me a line at or at 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028. As always, this column represents the opinion of its author and not the publishers or advertisers of this newspaper.