I was just down town to thank the folks at the Vigil to End Climate Silence, as they wrapped things up in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy. A couple blocks away from Government Center, the water was nearly level with the doc. With a surge and high waves anticipated, the cars parked a few feet away might be in for a doozy of a flood. For now, the vigil will continue unofficially. Sage and Abe are still down at Government Center with an Occupod. (It looks like a covered wagon for a bike.) On one side there is a banner that reads “Denial is Not an Energy Policy” and on the other a quote from Henry David Thoreau, “What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on”. Let’s wish them and everyone along the east coast well.
So, what are people talking about when they say “climate silence”, and why are they so worked up? Besides, hasn’t it always been this way?
First, let’s address why this is an issue. The climate is changing. Take oh so topical Sandy, for example. This is a very unusual storm but does that really have anything to do with climate? The long answer gets a little harry (but if you have the time please check out the links below). The short of it seems to be that higher ocean temperatures add energy to hurricanes and the documented increase in sea levels makes the associated flooding worse. Both are expected to increase with climate change. To put it more eloquently consider this quote from Dr. Kevin Trenberth at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research:
“The answer to the oft-asked question of whether an event is caused by climate change is that it is the wrong question. All weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be….”
Today, it is flying all over the internet. However that discussion is not happening at the national level. At the national level things are getting quieter and this is rather curious. That is because, to answer that second question, it really hasn’t always been this way.
Its no less curious because there is now general agreement in the scientific community that this is happening, that it’s the result of our own carbon emissions, and it is a significant threat to us.
Vigil in the news:
To read more about the political silence read:
To find our more about climate change and Sandy, check out: