I write this article as the United States suffers yet another weather disaster. News anchors are describing Hurricane Sandy as a once-in-a-lifetime event. Climate science suggests it is only the beginning.
“Warmer than normal”
Shepard Smith the anchor for Fox News described the cause of Hurricane Sandy as “warmer than normal” ocean temperatures. He is right. With math being a main topic in this upcoming Presidential election, it is appropriate that we all memorize the following numbers from 350.org:
The Earth’s average global temperature has risen between 1.5 and 2 degrees Fahrenheit over the past century.
Warmer temperatures mean that the atmosphere holds about 4 percent more moisture than it did in 1970.
Why is a hurricane landing in the northeast in October?
Jeff Masters, hurricane tracker and weatherman, reports that the mid-Atlantic water temperature this year is 5°F warmer than average. This warmer temperature enables a hurricane to maintain its energy as it travels farther north. It also brings with it “an unusually large amount of water vapor available to make heavy rain.” But why is it warmer? The scientific answer not reported by the mass media is global warming created by manmade greenhouse gas emissions.
End climate silence
A demonstration was held in New York City just prior to Hurricane Sandy making landfall that included a huge banner stating “End Climate Silence.” The Yale Project on Climate Change Communications reports that 70 percent of Americans now say they believe global warming is a reality, the highest level since 2008. Tellingly, those surveyed cited increased weather volatility as the main reason for their belief in climate change.
Yet, even with this shift in American beliefs, I failed to hear any of the TV and cable news reports over the last twenty-four hours address “climate change” or “global warming.” How many more droughts and floods and hurricanes will it take before the news media reports on the science of climate change? How many more times will our most distinguished news journalists say the words “warmer than normal” without then turning to experts who could offer facts that explain why it is warmer than normal?
The cost of climate silence
The price of silence is higher costs and human suffering. This winter we will all be paying more for food as the full impact of this past summer’s drought hits at the cash registers. The initial estimate of the property damage from Hurricane Sandy is $20 billion. This pales in comparison to the deaths and human suffering this mega-storm has inflicted. Please reflect upon the price of climate silence the next time you pump gasoline. Think about it the next time you spin the electric meter with electricity generated by coal-fired power plants. Think about this the next time you buy a product made in China that is now the world’s mega polluter.
The great news: Solutions are here today
The real tragedy is that the solutions to climate change can be purchased at your local retailer. Here are just two of hundreds of solutions. LED lighting uses 90 percent less energy than the old Edison lightbulb. Electric hybrids like the Chevy Volt (which can now be leased for $299 per month) deliver 100 miles per gallon. The great news is American businesses are pioneering sustainable competitive solutions. They also create the jobs we need. What they need are customers. They need you. Together we need to stop the silence.
Bill Roth is the Founder of Earth 2017 He coaches business owners and leaders on proven best practices in pricing, marketing and operations that make money and create a positive difference. His book, The Secret Green Sauce, profiles business case studies of pioneering best practices that are proven to win customers and grow product revenues.