Frances Beinecke, President of NRDC, New York City
The summer of 2012 has come to a close, but it won’t be forgotten anytime soon. It delivered one extreme weather event after another, from heat waves to freak storms, wildfires to drought. People lost their homes and livelihoods, yet even as they try to pick up the pieces, more powerful weather systems are looming on the horizon.
Extreme weather is a hallmark of climate change. Scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other leading groups confirm that climate change is contributing to the frequency and power of 2012’s weather events. Climate change creates stronger storms, including hurricanes like Isaac, and more potent heat and drought.
Climate change used to seem remote to many people. But this summer, we just had to look out the window or turn on the Weather Channel to see what global warming is doing to our communities.
It started with extreme heat. Rising temperatures made June the smoggiest month in five years—making it hard for people with asthma and other respiratory problems to breathe. As many as 131 million Americans were under some form of heat advisory as temperatures ...
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