Climate, Disrupted

November 19, 2013

Sunday evening at least 77 tornadoes touched down across the Midwest, with at least 6 deaths and many more injuries. The tornadoes, which were rare for the Midwest to experience in November, came on the heels of a devastating typhoon in the Philippines – the largest ever recorded – which killed more than 3,900 people. Although we can’t blame any particular weather event on climate change, man-made climate disruption is to blame for the increasing frequency of extreme weather events.

TOPLINES 

We see the weather getting more severe with our own eyes with more frequent and destructive droughts, floods, wildfires, and storms.
There’s no doubt we have a serious problem. Weather disasters and record-breaking heat waves are hurting families in the U.S. and around the world.
Scientists agree climate change is real. If 97 out of 100 engineers warned you to not drive on a crumbling bridge, would you still drive on it? If 97 out of 100 doctors warned you to not eat tainted food, would you still eat it?
We have a moral responsibility to address these problems and protect our planet for future generations.
We can beat this. American businesses are developing amazing energy technologies to harness power from the sun and wind.
They need the U.S. to use more of these technologies and to invest in innovation. America should be leading the world in clean energy solutions, not getting left behind by Europe and China.
Because oil companies fear clean energy will hurt their bottom line, they are rigging the system by spending millions to influence our elections, lobby politicians, and spread doubts about accepted science.
Oil companies are rigging the system against our energy and economic future by holding back progress to protect their profits.

KEY: ● Connect with your audience |  Make your case | Show how your opponents differ


VOCABULARY

USE: Climate disruption. Here’s why:
  • We started with global warming, which is an accurate term — the general trend is that the earth is warming as a result of human activities. 
  • Then there was a shift to the term climate change instead of global warming because climate change better encompasses the full range of environmental effects: not only are surface temperatures trending up, but also climates are getting more extreme.
  • The problem is that climate change is not especially resonant for listeners, because it sounds like a harmless natural event.
  • As a result, increasingly experts are using the term global climate disruption.
  • Climate disruption brings on more blizzards, more tornadoes and more droughts, not just hotter temperatures. The term suggests that the normal range of climate events is thrown out of balance without suggesting in that the only effect of rising CO2 levels is hotter temperatures.

WORTH KNOWING

  • A single event does not constitute a trend. But when we’ve been hit with record storm after record storm, and climate patterns are becoming more erratic and severe, there is little question that this is what climate change looks like. It’s exactly what scientists have been warning us about for decades. 
  • Global losses for extreme weather have risen to nearly $200 billion each year.
  • 97% of climate scientists agree that the warming trends we’ve experienced over the past decade are the result of human activities.
  • 75% of the oil and gas industry’s political donations – which totaled $238.7 million since 1990 – went to Republicans.
  • 2012 was the hottest year on record in the United States ever— by a lot. Last year’s temperature average demolished the previous record by a full degree Fahrenheit. (Remember that with people, even a few degrees increase in body temperature can kill a patient.)
  • Carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere is the highest it’s been in at least 650,000 years overall and at least 800,000 years in some regions.
  • Three-fourths of Americans understand that global warming is affecting weather in the United States and the majority understands that global warming is caused mostly by human activities.
  • Nearly 90% of Americans agree the U.S. should make an effort to reduce global warming, even if it has economic costs.​​
Category: Environment