Jay Bookman

Opinion columnist and blogger with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, specializing in foreign relations, environmental and technology-related issues

Gee, has anybody spotted a trend in this climate thing yet?

In a stable climate, the map above would be a rough balance between pale blues and pale reds. It doesn't look like that way, does it. Instead, we see very few patches of blue in a map that is overwhelmingly red verging on crimson.

This is what July 2015 looked like -- the warmest July on record and also the warmest month on record, period.

The map of the previous month, June 2015 -- the warmest June on record -- looked much the same, as did the map of May 2015 -- the warmest May on record. In fact, the seven months of 2015 are the warmest seven months on record, and 2015 is well on its way to becoming the warmest calendar year on record, surpassing the previous record holder, 2014.

Here's what 2015 looks like so far:

Tell me: Has anybody spotted a trend yet?

Now, to hear some tell it, none of this is or should or even could be happening. We are supposedly in a "pause" or "hiatus" in global warming, or by some accounts even in a period of cooling, that proves the vast majority of climate experts have been wrong. I suspect that we'll hear fewer such claims in the future, just I also suspect that those who made such claims will try to pretend they never made them.

We'll also hear that this is just "natural variation," although it's not "variation" when that variation is all in one direction. That is change, change that just by happenstance is occurring in the direction that climate scientists have been predicting since at least 1980. And the pace of this change exceeds the natural pace of change found in a climatological record reaching back millions of years.

The reality is that if this global, planet-altering phenomenon was being driven by, say, higher taxes, those who continue to try to deny the science would instead be rushing to embrace it. Their "skepticism" is founded not on true doubt about the data -- most of them lack the training or expertise to even understand the data -- but by fear of its possible implications.

Given a choice between making pretty minor changes in their own lives or the high risk of a profoundly altered planet for their grandchildren and every succeeding generation of human beings thereafter, they prefer the profoundly altered planet.

Given a choice between violating an absurd tenet of tribal political loyalty and a profoundly altered planet, they again choose the profoundly altered planet.

And meanwhile, month after month, the map turns redder.


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About the Author

Jay Bookman writes about government and politics, with an occasional foray into other aspects of life as time, space and opportunity allow.