Climate change is about what to do, not if it is happening


The question is not whether we “believe” in climate change.

Climate change is about what to do, not if it is happening

I haven’t lived in Florence for several years now but had the joy of celebrating Thanksgiving with my father-in-law this past weekend. While in town, I read the Guest Viewpoint “Climate Has Always Changed And Will Always Change” (Nov. 27) in the Siuslaw News.

Let’s be clear about the simplicity of basic climate science. We know average global temperatures are increasing and the rate is accelerating. NOAA reports, “...The combined land and ocean temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.13°F per decade since 1880; however, the average rate of increase since 1981 (0.31°F) is more than twice as great.” (www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-global-temperature).

This is simply data; the increasing levels of CO2 in our atmosphere and our experience of increasing global temperatures match. IPCC mathematical models over the past several decades have accurately predicted the warming we’re experiencing.

I don’t like it, but it is simply true.

What about Oregon? The most recent (4th) Oregon Climate Assessment Report (www.occri.net/publications-and-reports/fourth-oregon-climate-assessment-report-2019) points out that “The entire Pacific Northwest has warmed about 2°F since 1900...”

It reports that, “Nearly every location in Oregon has seen a decline in spring snowpack, and it will continue...”

Is this important? Well, wildfires in Oregon and Washington to date for 2019 are ocurring at twice the average rate of the prior decade. Oregon agriculture is affected by earlier and warmer springs paired with later cooling in the fall. Mean temperatures and changes in the state’s hydrology are playing havoc with our ability to make a living.

I care about that. And the trends are getting worse.

And we know why.

The question is not whether we “believe” in climate change. The question is what are we going to do about the changes happening right before our eyes.

—Rev. Dave Brauer-Rieke

Portland (formerly of Florence)

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