The trends are apparent to anyone taking the time to really look at the science. No one heat wave, month or year proves anything, but what we have here is a steady trickle of evidence, a gradual accumulation of coincidences that can no longer be denied. Melting glaciers, thinning arctic ice, rising sea levels, an uptick in drought and 1-in-500 year floods are all symptoms. The earth's atmosphere is running a mild fever. The question: do we believe the doctors and treat the patient now, or wait for those symptoms to worsen? It's not ideology, it's not a political litmus test, it's not a "new religion." It's basic science [Paul Douglas, "Thursday Flood Risk (and the most severe 30 days in Minnesota history?)," Minneapolis StarTribune: On Weather, 2010.07.21].
Douglas echoes the sentiment of The Age of Stupid, the speculative documentary the SDSU Sierra Club showed in Brookings last December, when it was awfully cold out. Douglas says a few words about the need to take responsibility for our energy consumption habits that ought to send a chill through the conservative obstructionists who love talking about personal responsibility on every other issue:
Our grandkids are going to be pissed. They will hold us accountable for sitting on our hands, bickering with professional scientists—waiting, hoping for a magic cure or "more evidence." ...I was taught that actions have consequences. We've been binging on oil, coal and natural gas for 200 years, most of the greenhouse spike in the last 50 years. This week China just surpassed the USA as the greatest producer/user of energy on the planet. Think we have a problem now? Just wait 10 years. You haven't seen anything yet [link mine; Douglas, 2010].
So, Senator Thune, keep fighting energy responsibility with every fiber of your being. Then be sure to eat well and use your government health coverage to live a long and happy life... so you can be around to explain to our grandkids why we wrecked their ecosystem and burned up all the easy fuel.