Climate Changes

Several stories on the science and politics of global warming caught our attention this week:

Climate change critics are gaining momentum in the press and recently released Gallup polling results show the public is becoming more skeptical of man-made global warming. But the scientific consensus on the credibility and danger of the issue remains steadfast. Volumes of evidence compiled by America’s leading research agencies – including NOAA, NASA, the Pentagon and the National Science Foundation – asserts global warming over the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases. Their research claims “the warming of the climate is unequivocal.”

Australian researchers claim science proves man-made global warming is changing an animal’s life-cycle. A recent University of Melbourne study found that because of a rise in temperature attributed to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions by humans, the common brown butterfly now emerges from its cocoon 10 days earlier than it did 65 years ago. Scientists have previously observed that biological events are happening progressively earlier in spring over the past few decades but this study is the first time the actions man can be scientifically linked as a contributing cause.

The buzz of the neon lights may hum a little softer next weekend as Las Vegas joins many other cities around the globe in preparing for the event dubbed “Earth Hour.” The event’s organizers say the goal is for “hundreds of millions of people” to turn off the lights for one hour – at the same time – to call for action on climate change. This year will mark the third consecutive campaign and events are set to take place in succession at 8:30 p.m. local time all over the world. As for the energy saved by turning off the lights of the Vegas strip, the local utility NV Energy, claims last year’s event saved 65 megawatts, roughly as much as the yearly energy consumption of 10 average homes in the PG&E service territory.

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