September 8th, 2011 18:30 EST
Did Global Warming Short out College Football?
Last weekend, football games at Notre Dame and University of Iowa were delayed because of severe storms. Being a Big Ten fan, I didn`t really give a holy hoot about Notre Dame`s weather problems, but the Iowa game did grab my attention. To be honest, when I heard that it was the first time in about 100 years that Notre Dame had to delay (they did finish and wound up losing -- aw, shucks!), I started to think about the violent weather.
In the last few weeks, Hurricane Irene flooded out areas of the country that have not seen a flood in the last century. Violent wildfires continue to sweep through barren, drought-destroyed Texas, and more tropical depressions and typhoons are showing up on the radar each day. Is it the Earth just settling out as some powerful political lobbyists and scientists want us to believe or is all this the result of -- dare I say it -- Global Warming?
Yes, it could be global warming unless you are in the camp that it is a sign from God of our impending doom. But for now, let`s leave the doom alone and go with Global Warming. Global Warming and its effects on the climate is about as hot a topic as one can get in this political environment. Scientists on each side of the argument flex their massive brains to incite us to action or to incite us to complacency. A recent report by the National Academy of Sciences explained the connection between the two topics. " Climate change is occurring, and is very likely caused primarily by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities, and poses significant risks for a range of human and natural systems."
According to these scientists, as the atmosphere warms, it pulls more warm moisture into the air, creating more volatile storms and unstable weather patterns that are now driving these conditions further north into previously stable areas. Along with the flooding in the Northeast and New England, scientists point to recent flooding in the Mississippi river basin which was exacerbated by heavy rains on record deep snow packs that were melting earlier than normal, accompanied by heavier-than-normal rains in the lower parts of the river basin.
North America is not the only continent to experience the increase in violent weather patterns and climate change. Australia`s extreme weather is now commonplace, rapid glacier melt in the Himalayas have contributed to heavy flooding from Pakistan to Bangladesh. The list of countries experiencing wild weather grows almost every day. If the arguments for Global Warming are true, then our everyday lives are already affected. The climate changes have or will alter our farming as growing seasons change. It will even influence the hibernation and migration of animals.
Is there anti-Global Warming camp? Well, there are scientists -- very well known scientists -- who do not think human activity has anything to do with Global Warming. It is, they say a natural process of the Earth. They don`t deny Global Warming; they argue its cause. It`s true that some of these scientists are connected with the petroleum industry which is the number one target of Global Warming activists, but not all of them. There is a group of scientists still waiting for the smoking gun that human activities are to blame, which they say has not presented itself.
It`s not surprising that Global Warming is a contentious political issue, and who knows, maybe the arguments that the skeptical scientists present will one day win out. I highly doubt it, but whoever is right, there is no denying our Earth is in trouble. What harm would it cause to protect our environment a bit more? Businesses and governments fighting environmental activists say that changing the way we live will hurt us economically down the road. They believe environmental policies will kill off already depleted jobs. But is that true?
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, we can address climate change and Global Warming and improve our economy and physical health as well as we rid the Earth of pollution by following a blueprint laid out in Climate 2030: A National Blueprint for a Clean Energy Economy which became public in 2009.
The blueprint urged the United States to play a lead role in cutting its heat-trapping emissions aiming for at least an 80 percent drop by 2050. They believe if the nation achieves deep cuts in carbon emissions, they could save consumers and businesses $465 billion annually by 2030.
The Blueprint also builds $1.7 trillion in net cumulative savings between 2010 and 2030. Blueprint policies stimulate significant consumer, business, and government investment in new technologies and measures by 2030. The resulting savings on energy bills from reductions in electricity and fuel use more than offset the costs of these additional investments. The result is net annual savings for households, vehicle owners, businesses, and industries of $255 billion by 2030.
I am no scientist and I don`t know who will win the argument for Global Warming, but the violent storms of late have caused me to stop and think about the dire effects that Global Warming may have on all of us, and I don`t want to take a chance and deny our potential responsibility. We are given this Earth as a gift; I think it`s our responsibility to take care of it, and maybe if we do, violent weather will never interrupt a college football game again -- even Notre Dame.