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Hell on earth, Europe in a time of global warming – Daily Kos

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For Americans in the audience 40.3ºc is 105ºf

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”  Daniel J. Boorstin

I spent my youth in England. This allowed me to travel throughout Europe. Unsurprisingly, some countries were hotter than others. And some years were hotter than others. And the summers were always hotter than the winters. But usually the temperatures fell within a predictable range. Heat waves were not unknown. But they were relatively rare. Now they are the norm.

Climate change deniers will say this is part of a historical pattern. While people who believe global warming exists — which includes almost the entire scientific community — see this as an anthropogenic aberration from the natural climate.

A New York Times article ‘Why Europe Is Becoming a Heat Wave Hot Spot’ may give the science deniers some ammunition. But it does not mean what they think it means. The piece analyses the recent increase in European temperatures as the continent suffers yet another record heat wave. The reporter claims that while global warming is a factor, it is not the only cause. A science denier reading this will go into full cherry-picking mode. Scream about those other causes. Ignore the rest of the piece. And crow, “we told you it was not global warming.”

The article starts starkly,

“Two months ago, France experienced its hottest May on record, with record highs in some cities. Last month, France was blistered again, by a spring heat wave that also affected Spain, Italy and other countries. Then, this month, Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe suffered during a spell of extreme heat.

“Now temperatures across Europe are soaring yet again, at or near triple digits from Spain to the British Isles and spreading east. Wildfires stoked by the heat are burning in many countries, and much of the continent is in the throes of a lengthy drought.”

And there are still two months of summer left.”

The global warming deniers will skip that part. And this one,

“Global warming plays a role, as it does in heat waves around the world because temperatures are on average about 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) higher than they were in the late 19th century, before emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases became widespread. So extreme heat takes off from a higher starting point.”

Finally, the article gets to the part the anti-climatologists will like.

“But beyond that, there are other factors, some involving the circulation of the atmosphere and the ocean, that may make Europe a heat wave hot spot.”

The reporter explains that a “cut-off low” has formed off the coast of Portugal and is pumping hot air from the Sahara into Europe. These cut-offs form because the jet stream splits and causes a “double jet”. And there is more science talk. The likely causes of these phenomena are warming in the Arctic and weakening ocean currents brought about by hotter temperatures.

I am no climatologist, but it seems to me that the NYT article is saying that Europe’s record-breaking temperatures are caused, not just by climate change, but by other factors — that themselves are caused by global warming. So is that not 100% global warming?

Regardless. Let’s do a thought experiment. When it comes to man-made global warming, there are two possibilities. It exists, or it does not. And there are two ways to react to it. Ignore it, or do something. This leads to four possibilities illustrated below,

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What happens in each of the four scenarios?

A. Warming does not exist. We do nothing: No harm, no foul.

B. Warming does not exist. We do something: We spend a lot of money to tackle a problem that does not exist. However, we end up with a bunch of shiny new technology, a cleaner planet, and renewable energy.

C. Warming does exist. We do something: Thank God. it may have cost a lot. But the economic devastation of unchecked global warming would have cost far more.

D, Warming does exist. We do nothing: The cost of inaction is between $trillions and the end of the human race.

Simply put, there is a limit to the cost if we do something. But if we do nothing, there is no bottom to the abyss.

Even if you are still on the fence as to whether man-made global warming is real, logic demands that you vote for politicians who believe it exists. 

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