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In My Backyard

Anyone who has been paying attention to climate change has noticed that interest in the subject, at least in this country, has increased with with the advent of the current heat wave and drought. I have thought of a corollary to the more common 'Not in my backyard' rule - If it isn't happening in my backyard, it might as well not be happening at all. Now that something is happening in our backyards, people are paying more attention to it.

Honestly, from a global perspective, if the U.S. drought and heat waves of the past couple of years were occurring in isolation, they would mean very little. But, they are not occurring in isolation. Parts of Europe have experienced unusual heat waves in 2003 and 2006. There was a broad stretch of unusual heat in Asia, from Russia, through Pakistan, India, China and Japan in 2007. Australia had a couple of heat waves in 2009. I'm not sure how much hotter it can get in the Amazon, but the area had major droughts in 2005 and 2010. I think most of us have already heard of the 2010 Russian heat wave which hit their wheat harvest so hard they simply banned all exports in order to ensure they could feed themselves. China is currently having a drought in a major grain producing region. The land area impacted by these events and the frequency of the heat waves have been increasing globally over recent decades, and now it looks like it is our turn.

GeorgeOfWesternKansas recently commented that it has been raining a lot in England. This is true. It is also true that this is compatible with the predictions made decades ago that there would be more rain, but that it would be concentrated it less area, and there would be a general movement of the rain bands toward the poles. Climate change is complicated, but recognizing that there is a problem doesn't have to be.

I came across a talk that summarizes the problem in a simple way very well. I'd encourage you to spend 15 minutes on it if you have the time.

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