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Global Temperatures Changing Faster

NAPS was established on June 3, 1989 with the following statement: “The general purposes of the Corporation shall be charitable and educational activities to further the orderly and progressive development of Northumberland County’s land and water resources.” The County and especially the world have changed considerably over the past 27 years.

One of the changes is in the global temperature where the World Meteorological Organization reported in November that 2016 will “very likely be the hottest year on record and a new high for the third year in a row. This will be 1.2º C (2.2º F) above preindustrial levels. The countries of the world, based on scientific data, agreed that 2º C was the danger line for humanity.

Extreme weather and climate related events have damaged farming and food security, affecting more than 60 million people, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. The level of CO2 in the atmosphere has also broken records in 2016, with May seeing the highest monthly value yet - 407.7 ppm - at Mauna Loa, in Hawaii. Heat records were set in South Africa, Thailand, India, Kuwait and Arctic Russia. Kuwait reached 54.0º C in July; this is 129.2º F.

According to scientists, the scorching temperatures around the world, and the extreme weather they drive, mean the impacts of climate change on people are coming sooner and with more ferocity than expected. Changes are occurring in the Bay. White shrimp for example, are now prevalent and being netted and other species of fish that prefer the warming water are moving up from the south.

It is not likely we will see the temperature reach 120º F in our County, but without action to significantly reduce carbon emissions; our great grandchildren will be facing massive heat waves during their lifetimes. This is science and physics and not political theory. It has been known since the 1800s that increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will cause significant global warming. Under a business as usual scenario or the stated “drill baby drill” philosophy of the new Administration, the expected increase in fossil fuel emissions will significantly exacerbate the problem.

The “orderly and progressive development of Northumberland County’s land and water resources” is at grave risk. It is incumbent on all NAPS members to educate the public and our legislators to the risks of proceeding down the path of ignorance.

There is a simple four-step process of recognition: (1) the climate is changing, (2) it is caused by us, (3) it is bad; but (4) we can do something about it if we try.

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