What We Have Recently Learned About Climate Change (And What We're Doing About It)

August 2009

The Arctic Ocean is warming up quickly, ceding tens of thousands of square miles of ice this year, and scientists armed with satellites could log a possible record-low polar ice cap. Walt Meir, of the Colorado-based National Snow and Ice Data Center, tells The Associated Press that "we saw acceleration in loss of ice" in July, adding, however, that the rate of melt has slowed, making the ominous record "less likely but still possible." But, he adds, the past few years have "signaled a fundamental change in the character of the ice and the Arctic climate." Meanwhile, The New York Times reports that global climate change could cause profound national security challenges to the United States. Climate-caused crises, such as violent storms, drought, pandemics, and food and water shortages, could weaken governments, feed terrorist movements, or destabilize regions, according to Pentagon and intelligence experts. Addressing such threats is increasingly being seen as a national interest, and that could spur debate in the Senate next month when the topic of climate and energy legislation, meant to reduce fossil-fuel consumption blamed for global warming, arises. Back home, Coloradans continue to take small steps toward being more responsible. Governor Bill Ritter, for instance, touted the "new energy economy" again this weekend at a Kremmling wood-pellet plant (via Sky Hi Daily News). And in Pueblo, visitors to the Renewable Energy Expo and Solar Tour learned what they can do to become more efficient, writes the Chieftain.