Take the recently issued United Nations report on global climate change and combine it with the new study suggesting that the Atlantic circulation system is showing signs of slowing and there is much to worry about. Not that a lot of this is new news but the degree to which the evidence points to the more extreme climate responses being more likely is certainly worrisome. The certainty the science provides that extreme weather events are already exacerbated by climate change, and the predictions that this will get worse soon, validates all of us backyard meteorologists who have been saying for a while that the weather feels different.
There will always be deniers and fringe elements suggesting the obvious is just not true. The fact is that with the science settled, the energy formerly wasted on debating reality can now be funneled into the long overdue response to that reality. As with many things, the first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have one. We have a problem.
Transformational national legislation on climate response seems poised to become a reality, but don’t take that for granted. Contact your Congressperson and Senator and encourage them to ensure that the climate response incorporated in the infrastructure and budget reconciliation bills are not watered down. We need strong national legislation and now is the best chance we have ever had to see it come to pass.
At the state level Massachusetts has already passed landmark climate legislation but that, ironically, was the easy part. Implementation is where the real work gets done so pay attention and stay involved. Massachusetts in entering an election cycle. It is the responsibility of climate aware voters to ensure that candidates for statewide office are forced to develop aggressive climate action goals that they will pursue if elected. We the voters must make sure climate response is a part of the election conversation. Candidates respond to issues of importance to voters. Ask the questions of the candidates. Doing so will force them to respond.
Lastly, at the local level we all need to push our towns to do more. Town governments already have access to resources for climate preparedness and response. More resources are on the way. Inquire of your town how it plans to protect its citizens from the inevitable impacts of increased storm frequency and intensity, increased flooding, and more temperature extremes. You may like what you hear and if you do, offer your active support. If you don’t like what you hear then do something about it, especially if you have not previously been involved in town affairs. If we plan to leave a habitable planet to our descendants then a lot must change, so get busy.