Letter to the Editor

Harbinger of climate change

Thursday, August 16, 2007

To the editor:In relation to climate extremes, folks often say: "People always complain about the weather, but nobody ever does anything." Regrettably, we have now changed that. The evidence strongly suggests that we are doing something about it. By releasing greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide into the environment, we are altering the climate. The heat wave and drought in Southeast Missouri (repeated throughout the continent and the world) are unfortunate harbingers of the future.

Climate experts predict that over the next 100 years the future climate of Missouri (like that of Illinois) will involve an annual average temperature increase of 3 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit (the current average is 57 degrees) with negligible precipitation change. This means hotter and -- thanks to heat-driven evaporation -- drier.

Without the concerted effort of citizens, businesses and politicians (federal, state and local), the situation will only deteriorate. As the evidence of climate change becomes ever clearer, the campaign of protestations by the well-funded and misguided climate-change deniers is elevated to ever more shrill levels.

Certainly climate fluctuations have happened in the past, but as Sharon Begley writes (Newsweek, Aug. 13), "Current warming is 10 times greater than ever before seen in the geologic record. The chance that the warming is natural is less than 10 percent."

Please consider joining a grassroots, nonpartisan effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions locally.

The Southeast Missouri Climate Protection Initiative's next meeting will be at the Cape Girardeau Public Library at 7 p.m. Aug. 29. Please visit us at cstl.semo.edu/SEMOCPI/.

ALAN R.P. JOURNET, Co-facilitator, Southeast Missouri Climate Protection Initiative, Cape Girardeau