Today, Environment Minnesota held a press conference at WeatherNation to release a new report documenting how global warming could lead to extreme weather events becoming even more common in the future. The report also highlights recent extreme weather events that have impacted Minnesota, our nation, and the globe.
Nationally respected Meteorologist Paul Douglas said, “An extreme weather event is an event that is rare at a particular place and time of year. Such rarities are becoming more common in Minnesota and across the nation. This year, Minnesota has experienced a significantly warmer and more humid than average summer. We have had a record for individual tornado touch-downs (145 as of September), and a potentially record-smashing number of tornado and severe storm watches and warnings. No single event can be linked with climate change, but stepping back, looking at the big picture, there is little doubt that the frequency and intensity of severe weather events are on the upswing worldwide. This is consistent with what climate scientists have been telling us for over 20 years, that a warmer, wetter atmosphere is loading the dice in favor of more extreme weather events.”
Such weather extremes are likely a result of increased ocean evaporation caused by global warming pollution and producing increased precipitation. Increased precipitation has resulted in extreme flooding in the Midwest which has cost tens of billions of dollars in recent years. Global warming pollution is also linked to major droughts, heat waves and wildfires, producing additional financial impacts on the United States in the tens of billions of dollars.
“What I have witnessed firsthand in the Arctic tells me that the signs of climate change are accelerating and the need for individual, and more importantly political action, is imperative. We need strong policy that reduces carbon pollution and puts a price on polluting so that we can prevent future extreme weather events and drastic changes to our climate,” said polar explorer Will Steger.
The report release comes as the Obama administration begins developing new global warming pollution and fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks. If stringent enough, these standards could result in significant cuts in global warming pollution, while slashing oil use and saving Minnesotans money at the gas pump.
“We need state, national and local government to focus on solutions, immediately — we are gambling with our children’s future. The scientific consensus behind global warming is underscored by a recent study which found that 97 to 98 percent of climate researchers agree with the central theories behind global warming. Lack of action has cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars related to flooding, hurricanes and wildfires. The debate is over, it is time for action,” said Environment Minnesota Director Ken Bradley.
Environment Minnesota will be supporting efforts to reduce energy consumption, increase solar energy production and create clean transportation options at the state and local level this year as well.