Storms start climate change debate
This winter’s unusually heavy snowfall and low temperatures in D.C. are evidence of climate change, according to the National Wildlife Federation.
This season’s snowfall has reached 55.9 inches, breaking the previous seasonal snowfall record for Washington D.C. of 54.4 inches set in the winter of 1898-99, according to the National Weather Service.
Despite the numbers from the NWS, polls show that Americans are increasingly skeptical of climate change.
Some AU students are among those doubting the reality of climate change, but others remain very concerned about the issue.
Last year was the second-warmest year on record, and heavier precipitation is a sign of climate change, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
When temperatures are warmer, lakes do not freeze, more water evaporates, and more snowfall occurs, like the December and February snowstorms in D.C., according to the NWS.
57 percent of people believe global warming is happening, according to a Yale University poll from Jan. 27. This number is down from 71 percent in October 2008. The poll also found that only 50 percent of people are “somewhat” or “very worried” about climate change, which is down from 63 percent. Forty-seven percent of respondents said human activity is the main cause of climate change.
This skepticism is occurring at a time when the Obama administration is trying to pass legislation aimed at cutting down on greenhouse gases, according to The Washington Post.
The American Clean Energy and Security Act was passed in the House of Representatives last summer and is currently in the Senate. This bill would create a cap-and-trade plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to the House of Representatives Web site.
Some AU students believe in climate change, but some are not convinced by the scientific arguments that are made to prove it.
Jennifer Jones, president of EcoSense, said climate change is a very important issue that will affect the environment, health, the economy and the government.
“Climate change is an issue that permeates all other issues,” she said. “Climate change will also affect human health, economic growth and government stability.”
Drew Veysey, environmental policy adviser to Student Government President Andy MacCracken, said science has proven the existence of climate change.
“It is not an article of faith, so ‘belief’ has nothing to do with it,” Veysey said. “We see enormous amounts of evidence and from that evidence draw a scientific conclusion.”
Elena Leo, a freshman in the School of Public Affairs, is not convinced that the problem of climate change exists, because the earth has already been changing for millions of years, she said.
“I would like to see more evidence that proves there is a connection between the rising temperature of the Earth and the rising concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” she said. “I think we have reason to believe that scientists are promoting the idea of global warming in order to receive government funding for their research.”
The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press recently released a poll in which participants ranked the issues that were most important to them. Climate change came in last, the center reported.
You can reach this staff writer at firstname.lastname@example.org.