Global warming hits hard

by Judy Ferro

This weekend gave a lot of people a chance to be thankful that global warming is a hoax and nothing to take seriously.   A heatwave now and then is one thing, but no one wants 100+ degree weather becoming the norm, particularly when water is in short supply.

On the other hand, people like me who believe that humans are adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere at a damaging rate, found more to fuel their worries.

Thursday’s Idaho Press-Tribune had five items about warming and drought.

An inch-high front-page headline “Heat Wave Danger” introduced an article warning that car interiors could reach temperatures fatal to kids and pets in less than 15 minutes.

Inside we learned that governors of ten western states were meeting to discuss how to deal with drought, including “ways to more efficiently use wastewater, better track soil moisture levels, work with other states and invest in water infrastructure.”

That was followed by an article about the water level in Lake Mead reaching new lows and hundreds of wildfires currently burning in Alaska.

And, in International news, a court in the Netherlands responded to citizens’ appeals to order the government to cut greenhouse emissions by 25%, rather than the 17% in current plans.

Friday’s paper followed up with a front-page assuring us that Idaho Power was prepared for a searing summer, but advised doing laundry after sunset and grilling outside if you must cook.

Inside, three articles on wildfires informed us that larger of two fires near Emmett was controlled after 10,000 acres burned, that Southern California is still battling a week-long 36-square-mile blaze, and that 300 fires in Alaska have burned 945 square miles.

International news informed us that 113 degree temperatures in southern Pakistan, coupled with power outages, had left 980 dead. (India’s recent heat wave had killed 2,200 people.)

On a lighter note, a New Republic article quoted various California conservative leaders who blame the drought on abortion, gay marriage, and immigrants. So warming IS caused by humans, but not by their carbon dioxide by-products?

And many may appreciate the black humor in Shell Oil Company now suffering because it wants global warming, that it claims doesn’t exist, to proceed faster. Ice in the Arctic seas continues to keep two dozen Shell oil-drilling ships anchored.

While American leaders maintaining a head-in-the-sand stance chastised Pope Francis, the Vatican released his 65-page encyclical entitled “Care for Our Common Home.”

Much of the Pope’s thesis focuses on the broader problem with our values. Too many of us are caught up in a culture of consumption for consumption’s sake. We fail to honor others, especially the poor, as children of God.  We have little concern for the common good.

When the Pope does address climate change, he is blunt: humans are destroying our earth rather than acting as good stewards of God’s gift.

He calls for a worldwide plan to replace the use of fossil fuels immediately. He dismisses “carbon credits,” supported by many in the U.S., as a way to give the richest companies the right to pollute.

The encyclical says that rich nations can help poorer ones develop solar power for less cost than they could deal with the effects of further global warming. It also asserts that progress must go hand-in-hand with programs to alleviate poverty.

The Pope actually talks of the “common good” like the old-time conservatives who embraced responsibility and civic duty. Today too many call it “socialism.”  It may be the key to humanity’s survival.