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Climate Change Is Here. Let’s Adapt to It Now

Climate Change Is Here. Let’s Adapt to It Now


Climate change is a tricky business.  Scientists consistently (and rightly) remind us that you can’t pin any individual storm or drought or hurricane on climate change – there are too many variables, and climate change is just one of them (albeit a rapidly growing one).

However, the vast majority of the world’s climate scientists tell us that the new extremes of weather plaguing the United States and other countries are part of a trend that they expected from global warming, and will get worse. Computer models from way back in 2007 are proving accurate in predicting the types of weather that we should expect.  And in a new report from Climate Communication, renowned scientists spell out in detail how climate change has become the driving factor behind all current weather events.

“All weather events are now influenced by climate change because all weather now develops in a different environment than before,” according to the group Climate Communication, in a report released shortly after Irene dumped record amounts of rain on the U.S. Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

This probably doesn’t seem like news to much of the eastern half of the country, where tropical storms and hurricanes dumped massive amounts of water in the past month, as well residents in Texas who are still coping with some of the worst wildfires in history.

What it does mean is that the science is clear: climate change is here, and it is here right now.

We need to adapt – and fast.  Even if we were to stop carbon pollution today, the effects of past emissions will be with us for decades. This might sound like old hat – we’ve been calling for adaptation for years – but it is clearly a more pressing need than ever.

Adaptation projects are some of the most cost-effective ways to protect against the worst effects of climate change.  In the video below, Maryland restoration contractor Keith Underwood shows a project that saved a county $3 million and restored a living streambed, helping to improve the water quality of the nearby Chesapeake Bay.

(and if you like the video – head over to Planet Forward and give it a “thumbs up” for viability)

Already cities and communities are adapting to the “new normal” – Seattle is adapting to expected water shortages NOT by building lots of new, expensive facilities, but by creating habitat management plans for key watersheds that provide its drinking water. For when it rains too much, cities like Chicago are planting water-soaking plants to lessen the burden on municipal sewer systems.

Waiting around on adaptation action will likely only drive the costs up – and that doesn’t count the lost benefits that we get from the land. Things that we depend on our natural places for – clean air, clean water, healthy ecosystems – will continue to be less productive, costing us billions of dollars in lost benefit.

The writing is on the wall – climate change is here now, and we need to adapt now, before it is too late.


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10:22AM PDT on Oct 8, 2011

Thanks for the post.

11:18AM PDT on Sep 26, 2011

What a dumb arse article, must have been a real slow day, right Neil or is it just as the old saying goes, "publish or perish".

I guess that I can sell all my solar modules and my wind turbine, I could buy a lot commercially produced electrical power with the money. Maybe I can stop recycling 40 years of doing such, it is too time consuming. No more BioDiesel in my tank, give me some good old dead dinosaurs.

I think that I will pull out my composting toilet, I really miss wasting all that water.

Thanks, Neil for showing us that we can adapt to Global Climate Change (GCC).

If you are young enough, the best way to adapt to GCC is to own a motorhome, when your local environment becomes unbearable, fire up the coach and head off to better climes.

Got to go... what dumb article.

1:09PM PDT on Sep 25, 2011

thanks for shareing

7:02PM PDT on Sep 24, 2011

Roger B. says, "The climate was much warmer than it is now during the Medieval Warm Period and French vintners complained about the English wine competition."

But what was the climate like in the rest of the world at that time? What was the +/- change from year to year over the entire globe?

10:26AM PDT on Sep 24, 2011

Time will tell. You-all are confusing [conservatives who don't want to change and people with something to gain (or maintain)] with [science types who are looking at things other than CO2.] I have nothing to gain and I love scientific controversies and I don't follow the crowd and I don't believe any scientist unless they can show me data.

10:14AM PDT on Sep 24, 2011

Where did you get That Data.... I seriously think you should reexamine your position on the effects of global warming. Why does your data show it's not happening, but it is happening? You infer through your posts that your at the very least a non-professional expert because you follow the data. I think you lost all credibility in that respect.

10:07AM PDT on Sep 24, 2011

David, global warming is not a bleak prospect. The climate was much warmer than it is now during the Medieval Warm Period and French vintners complained about the English wine competition. Warmer weather means more evaporation, which means more rain. The people who painted that bleak picture are and were lying because they wanted the grants to just keep pouring in. Check out these videos by real scientists:

9:58AM PDT on Sep 24, 2011

Whether you get your scientific information from all those geniuses at fox news, which is apparently where roger b. gets his information. From roger b: ". I am a global warming denier because I follow the data carefully. Actually, I don't deny global warming; I deny that human intervention has anything to do with it". You follow the data carefully, ergo, you are a global warming denier, but, then again, your data really shows that global warning is happening, but the clouds are causing it. have been watching fox news, haven't you??!!! What is causing it, in my opinion, is irrelevant. I'm surprised more people haven't said this. The fact of the matter is, whether it's rogers data and clouds, (which he has his head in), or human activity, it IS happening and it IS real. The prospects for human beings on the planet are bleak at best, and we better find a way to stop it, or at the very least, slow it down. I'd like to leave my children and grandchildren a place to live. People better start realizing that it really doesn't matter why it's happening, it is happening!

7:56AM PDT on Sep 24, 2011

Cristian, Mother Nature is doing a reforestation project right now because of increases in global CO2. But if you want to add to it, go for it. But, please, I am a poor person and I don't want to have to pay for it. But, you just go out there with your eco-friends and start planting trees. I might even help you.

6:59AM PDT on Sep 24, 2011

Reforestation and afforestation programs are a good way to adapt to climate change.

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