Pick up your morning newspaper. Tune in to your favorite television news station. Chances are that among major stories about the economy, jobs and the Presidential campaign will be information about tornadoes, forest fires, floods and drought.
If man ever had any control whatsoever over the planet, we seem to have lost it. If you are in doubt, ask some of our brave firefighters out in the American West. Or, ask your farmers about what the drought has done to their crops.
Stories abound about out-of-control fires racing through neighborhoods destroying forests and homes in the Rockies. The power of nature is evident from all of the destruction.
But, you do not have to read about Colorado, step out your own door and the 100-plus degree heat will hit you in the face. Atlanta 104 degrees, Nashville 109 degrees, Washington, D.C., over 100 degrees. Records have been set in June for the warmest weather ever recorded.
Some of our officials tell us to expect more extreme weather because of climate change. We have received warnings to take better care of our planet or else face dire consequences in the future.
Skeptics still do not embrace the idea of global warming. They give their own reasons why man is not a contributor. Come to think of it, many do not wish to impose reduction of greenhouse gases on the United States unless the same rules apply to other nations. What is feared is by imposing new rules and adopting new laws, we will harm our economy further. We can appreciate this view even if there is a growing consensus in the scientific community that people must get more serious about global warming.
Climate experts say man's activities have resulted in an accumulation of carbon in the atmosphere which increases the risk for extreme weather. Look back recently and notice how we have become more vulnerable to storms, fires, floods and drought. The United States is responsible for 19.9 percent of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide. Human activity has contributed to our problems. Extreme weather events are more common. The World Health Organization blames 150,000 deaths per year on the effects of global warming.
The way things are going, more nations should take greater interest in protecting the planet and their own nests. Leaders in every nation need to stop arguing about whether climate change is real. We need to move positively to combat the imminent threat global warming poses mankind. Planet warming is a serious threat to the economy and to the quality of life. Since man contributes to the problem, he can adopt policies to limit greenhouse gases. What will it take to convince him?
Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.