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posted: 11/14/2012 4:40 AM

Blame climate change for Sandy

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Hurricane Sandy is a terrible example of how climate change makes natural weather storms extreme. That storm had a combination of a high tide with a full moon -- normal events, but with a 5-degree warmer sea surface due to climate change.

The Union of Concerned Scientists describes this as a nightmare combination.

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Climate change has been warming the seas as well as the earth, and that evaporates more water so there is more rain and snow in some areas, but some land areas are just hotter and drier. The fossil fuel industries have spent billions to deny, confuse, and slow us from taking action that will regulate them so we can all live together. They say humans "can just adapt" to warmer temperatures, drought, higher sea levels, extreme weather events.

And many are listening because it is confusing, and easier to ignore problems than take action.

The changes are sometimes slow and subtle, and like most of us, easy to ignore until something like Hurricane Sandy kicks in. And until 40,000 weather records are broken in one year. And until we have 12 years in a row with average temps winter and summer higher than ever before.

I like to ignore problems I can't solve, and I think this is a survival tactic until it hits home. But individuals can take energy efficiency and sustainability steps to reduce our waste of energy at home anywhere from 15 to 66 percent. And the savings will be permanent.

President Obama's new regulations on fuel efficiency for cars and trucks will do wonders for reducing emissions. Last but not least, natural gas if regulated could be the miracle fuel on the horizon until renewables are in place.

Lots more to do and individuals have to do it while we wait for the government to follow our grass roots actions.

Sandra Kaptain

Elgin

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