There is little that is humorous about climate change, unless it’s fantasizing about what it would mean in a day to day way. Like how funny would it be to be playing golf in December at the Sugarloaf Golf and Country Club, on the land that used to be a ski resort back in the old days when snow graced the mountains of Maine from December to March.

Bob Kalish observes life from a placid place on the island of Arrowsic (motto: You’re not in Georgetown yet). You can reach him at [email protected]

And aren’t those ticks that have been showing up in larger and larger numbers the past few years, aren’t they funny? What aren’t funny are the bacterial and viral diseases they carry. With names like babesiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever they spread truly disturbing sicknesses that are no laughing matter if you’re the one suffering. Conjecture about whether the climate is changing and it is our fault just serves to kick the can further down the street.

It boils down to two issues: One, is the climate truly getting warmer and two, what can we (and should we) do to take steps to slow down the process. The second issue is the one causing most of the conflict. The first issue seems obvious: The earth is getting warmer and that is no longer an opinion but a fact. NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have recently come out with a study showing that 2016 was the warmest on record.

Experts in the field suggest that when talking about the Earth’s warming temperatures we use the words “climate change” rather than global warming. The point is, you can call it whatever you want, but it is still happening within our lifetimes. Here are a few examples:

NASA and NOAA data show that global averages in 2016 were 1.78 degrees fahrenheit warmer than the mid-20th century average.

Seventeen of the 18 warmest years have occurred since 2000.

Eleven percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans are caused by deforestation — comparable to the emissions from all of the cars and trucks on the planet.

An area of coastal ecosystems larger than New York City is destroyed every year, removing an important buffer from extreme weather for coastal communities and releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

On Oct. 2, a heat wave broke 63 high temperature records from the gulf coast up through the northeast; at least two dozen more October records were set. A quarter of the U.S. saw temperatures in the 90s on those days from Oct. 2-5.

The reason it was so hot was that a hot air mass over the eastern two-thirds of the country produced temperatures 20 degrees above normal from New Orleans to New York City. Montgomery, Alabama hit 100 degrees while Atlanta reached 96, only to be followed the next day by a low temperature in Atlanta of 17 degrees.

Nature was acting strangely, to say the least. In addition to the weather, the country experienced a wet and cool spring, some massive forest fires, and flooding from rivers running over their banks.

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