Lewis Diuguid

Lewis Diuguid: Rush needed to save the planet from climate change

A polar bear dries off after taking a swim in the Chukchi Sea in Alaska. Scientists have determined that polar bears being forced onto land because of melting ice are unlikely to find enough food to replace their diet of seals. It is one of the effects of climate change.
A polar bear dries off after taking a swim in the Chukchi Sea in Alaska. Scientists have determined that polar bears being forced onto land because of melting ice are unlikely to find enough food to replace their diet of seals. It is one of the effects of climate change. The Associated Press

Because of climate change, time may be running out for many coastal cities throughout the world.

New research led by retired NASA climate scientist James E. Hansen warns warns of more violent storms brought on by the continued melting of polar ice. Fresh water mostly on the surface of the oceans near Antarctica and Greenland is expected to disrupt the system of ocean currents, which distribute heat around the planet and allows some of it to escape into space.

The findings were released Tuesday by Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, a European science journal. Nations of the world in December at a United Nations climate change summit in Paris agreed to limit human consumption of fossil fuels, which pump planet-warming greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

The report notes that the consequences of climate change “will be unacceptable to most of humanity, so it is important to understand this threat as soon as possible.”

Countries in 2009 also had agreed to try to limit the warming of the Earth to 2 degrees Celsius, which is above the pre-industrial age level. The recent study written by Hansen and 18 additional authors pointed out that the Earth last warmed naturally to that level about 120,000 years ago.

The sea level then rose 20 to 30 feet. Because of global warming, the scientists expect the seas to rise that much or higher. And it could occur far faster over the next 50 years.

Globally, cities were built on sea shores to give people better access to shipping and trade. Climate change threatens to change all of that.

On a more positive note, Missouri and Kansas are creating clean-energy jobs, which should help offset the employment loss of those in fossil fuel dependent companies. Missouri is expected to have a growth of 8.3 percent, the “Clean Jobs Midwest” report notes.

In Missouri, that will mean 52,479 clean energy jobs; 27,005 for Kansas. The total for the region in 2015 was estimated at 568,979.

The jobs are in energy efficiency fields, including making and installing better heating and air-conditioning systems, appliances, lighting and building materials. Other clean energy jobs also involve natural gas-powered vehicles and renewable energy sources such as solar and wind generating systems, The Kansas City Star reports.

Every little bit helps. Let’s hope it’s occurring fast enough to save the planet.

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