For those who think the recent cold snap proves that global warming is not real, you are in error.

There are three reasons for this:

1. A weather event (the cold snap of a few days ago) is not necessarily related to climate.

If the cold weather should linger for a few weeks, a few months or a few years, at that time it MIGHT be related to climate. Since this area has now returned to more seasonable weather, it is unlikely that the recent cold has anything to do with climate.

A weather event is short-lived; climate is a trend over a long period of time. For instance, recently my wife and I spent a few days high up in the Rocky Mountains, and we knew in advance that we would experience cold and snow. That is the climate there, is to be expected, and it occurred.

2. Global warming is planetwide in nature, and if one takes a look at the West Coast (Los Angeles or Sacramento), Australia (Perth or Sydney) or any city in South America, it will quickly be learned that those areas or cities were considerably warmer than usual.

Apparently, there are those with limited vision who believe that what happens in Columbia happens everywhere. Not so.

3. Global warming is measured in increments. It does not happen all at once. Towns in the Midwest or about anywhere give a good example: If the temperature is 1 or 2 degrees above “normal,” it would not be noticed. After all, it doesn’t really matter whether the temp is 14 degrees or 16 degrees; it is still danged cold.

One heat wave or one cold snap proves nothing. Back to No. 1: These are weather events and are not necessarily related to global warming.

All of the climate deniers put me to mind of Sen. Jim Inhofe and his infamous snowball, which he showed and then threw inside Senate chambers, claiming that because it was snowing and accumulating, global warming could not be occurring.

What really happened was that his ignorance was showing. He basically ignored all three of the above reasons. One snowfall means nothing when global warming is considered.

While I do not at all claim to understand this, there are scientists who assert that the recent arctic weather was the result of global warming. Something to do with the Arctic climate becoming warmer and allowing cold air to move south.

So while we bundle up and shiver, we can rest assured that the cold weather will end and we can safely put away the long johns and down parkas until January, when the normal climate indeed is cold (but not as cold as 100 years ago).

The climate does not change quickly, but this does not mean that we can relax.

In May 2019, the carbon dioxide level in the upper atmosphere was 407 parts per million. It is probably a bit higher now. That level was last reached 800,000 years ago (NBC News states 3 million years).

If we cannot reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide is one of the most prevalent, but methane has more of an impact), human life is doomed. The Earth would continue to be inhabited by cockroaches and rats, both of which would thrive without us.

President Trump, a few days ago, announced the intent to withdraw this country from the Paris Agreement (which called for nations to commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions).

Mayors of U.S. towns and cities, aware of the dire threat of global warming, banded together and announced that if the present administration was going to continue being in denial, they would take action. To that end, Columbia Mayor Brian Treece formed a group, and we now have a Climate Action and Adaptation Plan.

No doubt, the recent cold weather was most uncomfortable. But, for the reasons listed above, it has nothing to do with climate change.

About opinions in the Missourian: The Missourian’s Opinion section is a public forum for the discussion of ideas. The views presented in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Missourian or the University of Missouri. If you would like to contribute to the Opinion page with a response or an original topic of your own, visit our submission form.

Ken Midkiff, formerly the director of the Sierra Club Clean Water Campaign, is now chair of the city’s Environment and Energy Commission and serves on the board of directors of the Great Rivers Environmental Law Center.

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