As I watch the winter wind rattle my screen door, it's hard to put today's weather here in the context of our global climate. But the data keeps coming in, and it's undeniable. 2000s: Hottest decade on record. 2009: 2nd-hottest year on record. And now this -- January 2010: Hottest January on record.
Once you start looking at the bigger picture, the consequences of one snowy winter in one metro area seem insignificant. "Hey grandkids, I know it's 3 degrees warmer in your world, but check out this snowman!"
Jeremy Symons, a Leeland Station, VA resident & senior vice president for the National Wildlife Federation, frames our choice in today's Fredericksburg Free Lance Star:
For our kids and grandkids, snowstorms may be the least of their concerns if we fail to act to reduce pollution and invest in clean energy alternatives. Warmer average temperatures could increase concentrations of ground-level ozone, which is known to aggravate respiratory problems such as asthma, especially in children and seniors. Virginia's incredible diversity of native wildlife--more than 700 species of birds, fish, and animals--will have to adapt to rapid changes in climate and habitat or perish.
Why do polluters work so hard to persuade us not to believe NASA and other scientists? Because they are worried we are going to shift to cleaner alternative energy sources like wind and solar and also pursue greater energy efficiency. If we take a bite out of our dependency on oil, we take a bite out of their enormous profits.
Congress is working now on clean energy legislation that would reduce our dependence on oil, create more than 45,000 clean energy jobs here in Virginia, and reduce pollution. Corporate lobbyists are hard at work pressuring Virginia Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb, and Congressman Rob Wittman, to let clean energy legislation die in Congress.
If corporate polluters succeed, we all lose. We will lose the clean energy race, and those jobs will go to Beijing instead of Virginia. Instead of being good stewards of the environment, we will leave our kids with a dangerous inheritance. Our senators need to stay focused on delivering jobs and clean air to Virginia by passing legislation that limits pollution and unleashes investments in clean energy alternatives.
As always, full disclosure: While I work for the National Wildlife Federation for my day job, I blog at The Green Miles on my personal time. (Really, I should just replace this disclaimer with a little picture of me in an old sweatshirt drinking coffee.)