Earth Day warning: 10th hottest month in a row requires action

Our planet Earth has just witnessed its 10th hottest month in a row since humans began recording temperatures, according to experts.

The record is partly due to human-caused warming, combined with the El Niño climate pattern. “The heat over the past 12 months has pushed global average temperatures to an unprecedented 1.58 degrees Celsius (2.84 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than preindustrial levels,” reports the Washington Post. The Antarctic sea ice coverage is 20 percent below average.

It’s likewise alarming that ocean heat has shattered records. “There have been record temperatures every day for more than a year,” reports the New York Times. An earlier, more turbulent hurricane season is foreseen.

The lack of political will — including the sabotaging of climate change mitigation for partisan reasons — is endangering the 2016 Paris climate agreement requiring emissions to be sharply reduced by 2030. President Biden’s one-year-old Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is a historic investment in clean energy, climate action and job creation. One of its goals is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1 billion tons by 2030. In the past year, more than $110 billion in new clean energy manufacturing investments have been made by the private sector, adding more than $70 billion in the electric vehicle (EV) supply chain and more than $10 billion in solar manufacturing.

At a recent speech well-known area meteorologist Bob Lindmeier made to Madison, Wis.-area members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, he called climate change “simple, serious and solvable.” The threat to our planet and future generations is incontestable. Projected consequences of uncontrolled climate change include food supplies being disrupted, the growth of insect-borne diseases and the displacement of more than 400 million people in urban areas exposed to severe drought. Rising ocean levels could turn 2 billion people — one-fifth of the world’s population — into climate change refugees by 2100.

As Lindmeier noted, we have the tools to solve the climate-change threat. He noted that such measures as charging a fee on fossil fuels at the source would make a huge dent. The inflation this might create could be mitigated by giving the dividend to taxpayers. Moving away from natural gas to facilitate energy-efficient building will also have major positive consequences.

Efforts individuals can take, Leidmeier notes, include:
• Eating less meat and more plant-based foods.
• Voting for individuals, at every level of government, who will take action on climate change.
• Replacing lights with LEDs.
• Adding solar panels if applicable.
•  Reducing transportation emissions. Buy an electric vehicle (EV) when replacing your car — take advantage of the up to $7,500 rebate the IRA provides now. Use public transportation, biking and walking whenever possible. (Watch Lindmeier’s presentation on FFRF’s “Ask an Atheist” to hear more tips.)

We atheists, agnostics and the religiously unaffiliated have a special role to play in mitigating climate change because “the Nones” are the most likely to recognize that human activity is the culprit. A major survey by the Pew Research Center of more than 10,000 adult Americans finds that “Americans with lower levels of religious commitment are much more likely than those with medium or high levels of religious commitment to say the Earth is getting warmer because of human activity.” Nine in 10 atheists understand that human activity is causing climate change, compared to a narrow majority (53 percent) of Americans overall.

We freethinkers and nonreligious Americans, now nearly three in 10, must quit acting timid about our secular views and demand that public officials reflect our values.

“We must make every day Earth Day not only for our children and our children’s children,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor, “but in order to save the amazing and endangered diversity of life on our shared home, which helps make Earth a true paradise.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with more than 40,000 members across the country. FFRF protects the constitutional separation between state and church and educates about nontheism.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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