If the weather forecasters were correct – and they are sometimes – we are emerging from some of our coldest temperatures in years. And it will remain cold this week. I’ve had a heater running under my kitchen sink. I’ve been dripping faucets. I pulled out my flannel sheets and switched to my heaviest quilt.

          So, we can expect Big Oil, the politicians in their pockets and science deniers – the liars, the shills and the dupes – to roll their eyes at the report that 2023 was the hottest year ever recorded on Earth.

          Samantha Burgess, deputy director of the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, said: “2023 was an exceptional year with climate records tumbling like dominoes.” She added that last year’s temperatures “likely exceed those of any period in at least the last 100,000 years.”

          But, profiteers with short-term profit goals – and long histories of knowing better – have convinced many people to choose feigned ignorance over the action required if they acknowledged such global warming evidence as:

          • Our Department of Agriculture has updated its plant-growth climate chart to recognize the survivability of southern flora farther north.

          • The latest ozone hole over Antarctica was the size of North America.

          • Some Alaskan rivers ran orange this summer as the melting permafrost released once-captured minerals. (That permafrost melt also releases trapped greenhouse gases.)

          • The Greenland glacier retreat has doubled over the past two decades.

          These are verifiable facts.

          So, in response, world leaders met for COP28 late last year and did what might be expected with Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, head of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, presiding over the Dubai junket for 7,2000 Big Oil lobbyists and their minions.

          How bad was it? Marshall Islands delegate and former president Hilda Heine resigned in disgust, claiming that Al Jaber was using the summit to push for oil and gas deals.

          But, don’t worry. Next year Mukhtar Babayev, formerly an executive at Azerbaijan’s national oil company SOCAR, will be president for COP-OUT29 in Baku.

          Former Vice President Al Gore said that the fossil fuelers have “captured the COP process.” No honest folks can disagree.

          It has often been proposed that Earth needs the threat of an alien invasion to unite all countries to combat a common enemy. Independence Day displayed that wonderful cooperation.

          Don’t count on it.

          Earth faces the world-wide threat to its basic habitability. Yet, selfishness guarantees a future climate catastrophe that can be foreseen:

          • Once tropical diseases are gaining a foothold in the southeastern U.S.

          • A Penn State study released in October concluded that, “If global temperatures increase by 1 degree Celsius (C) or more than current levels, each year billions of people will be exposed to heat and humidity so extreme they will be unable to naturally cool themselves.” Those desperate people will be seeking new homes.

          • Water scarcity has already seen a spike in violent confrontations.

          In 1992, Gore — still younger than both Joe Biden and Donald Trump – wrote a now prophetic book, Earth in the Balance, detailing the climate change threatening the world. He was ignored.

          The title of his 2006 book and documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, zeroes in on the reluctance to do anything positive to offset our climate-crashing ways:

           We just can’t be bothered.

          Stephens County Democrats will meet Thursday at 7 p.m. in Room 506 of the Morris Building at Red River Vo-Tech on West Bois D’Arc.

            (Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party: <scdpok.us> or <facebook.com/SCDPOK.)

Global warming, right on schedule

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