Editorial Roundup: More work needed to curb turbulent weather

Published 8:50 pm Friday, July 5, 2024

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Minnesota this spring has endured record floods, which followed three years of drought and a variety of turbulent weather.

In Texas and elsewhere in the south, the heat continues to be searing, just as it was much of last summer when the temperatures reached 100 degrees or more for more than 70 days.
Meanwhile, storms along the coasts have been punishing.

As a story in the Sunday Free Press noted, more of the highest annual peaks on rivers in southern Minnesota have been recorded since the 1950s than before. Ten of the 13 highest peaks for water levels on the Mississippi River in St. Paul occurred in the second half of the 130-year record.

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Climate change has increased average temperatures globally and has spurred more frequent erratic weather, including droughts and heavier rains and harsher storms.

This is what climate scientists around the world warned about beginning decades ago, telling us that if the world kept burning fossil fuels we would heat the planet, heat and raise oceans, melt polar ice and cause more killer weather events.

There are fewer and fewer deniers of climate change, although some still claim humans haven’t caused a significant part of it.

In 2015 nearly 200 countries took a big step with a global approach by adopting the Paris agreement, which pushed nations to slash their greenhouse gas emissions.

Last year the United Nations released the first report card on the Paris agreement.

The good news is that many of the worst-case-scenarios we worried about are far less likely to happen thanks to progress made since the agreement.

But the report card also noted that the world needs to seriously ramp up the effort to convert to clean energy if goals are to be met and more damage avoided.

The planet has gotten about 1.2 degrees Celsius hotter since the Industrial Revolution. While a seemingly small number, it’s already caused the extreme weather and related natural disasters the world has seen in recent years.

To keep the problems from getting a lot worse, the Paris agreement aims to limit warming to about 1.5 degrees Celsius.

We all need to continue working to cut greenhouse gasses. And we need to not just respond to disasters like we’ve seen this spring, but begin building better infrastructure, buildings and other developments to have them sustain less damage when more wild weather hits.

— Mankato Free Press, July 2

About Editorial Roundup

Editorials from newspapers around the state of Minnesota.

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