Forget the polar vortex, 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded

Forget the polar vortex, 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded

The facts are in and the global warming deniers are busy studying whatever it is they study to come up with their rebuttals.  Since 1880, when they first starting keeping track of stuff like that, last year was the the hottest year recorded for this planet.  Read more here

Those records only go back 134 years, but they capture data from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.  If you've never heard of the Industrial Revolution  , don't worry.  The jury's still out regarding the outcome of that conflict.

Before 1880, humans lived much simpler lives.  More of us lived in rural areas and farmed the land.  We were just starting to use electricity to light our homes and coal to heat to them.  Most people still had kerosene lamps and wood-burning stoves.

Lush tropical rain forests pumped oxygen into the atmosphere  .

In 1884, the tallest building on the planet was the Home Insurance Building in Chicago.  At 10 floors and 138 feet, it towered over the city.  Two more floors were added in 1890.

In 1880 we were still more than a decade away from the horseless carriage-cars.  We didn't get a gasoline-powered engine until 1893 and it would be several more decades before anyone thought about car emissions.  Catalytic converters didn't become mandatory until 1975.

For car buffs and history fans, the first car race was held in Chicago in 1895.  Of the 100 registered participants, only six vehicles were prepared to start the race and only five completed the course, from Chicago's Jackson Park to Evanston and back.

It was a twelve hour journey, the winning car, powered by a gas engine averaged about 7.5 mph.  Of the five cars completing the race, two were electric, three were German-built gas engines.

While cars have become bigger, more powerful and more sophisticated, the internal combustion engine remains, essentially the same.  It certainly gives rise to thought of what might have been had one of those electric cars won that race back in 1895.

Now, the rain forests are disappearing .  Along with the elephants.  And the glaciers and the ice caps.

I have a cousin who's a bit of a knucklehead and can't seem to acknowledge the simple fact that humans have an increasingly negative impact on the planet.  He sends me email updates when it gets cold in Montana and takes personal pride in any record low temperature anywhere in the world.

A polar vortex  sends him into spasms of euphoria.

People like the aforementioned cousin turn every aspect of reasonable thought into an adversarial challenge to disprove the obvious.  Trickle-down economics is a bust-ask Kansas Governor, Sam Brownback-and the Earth is getting warmer.  Ask anyone.

In the case of global warming, one doesn't need to be a scientist. A historian, maybe, but all you really have to do is open your eyes.

How could anyone who's seen the color of John Boehner's face not think it's getting warm in here?

Global warming does not mean that we are done with winter.  Quite the opposite.  The change in climate suggests that we can expect erratic and extreme weather conditions in all seasons.  A jetstream of cold air-polar vortex-dipping far south from the top of the globe is just one example.

Hurricanes, typhoons, high winds, temperature extremes and earthquakes are others.

As Andrew Shepard said, "We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them."  It's time to turn down the volume on Glen Beck, Rick Santorum and all the other crazies and take a look around.  Let's not wait until the Atlantic Ocean washes over the George Washington Bridge .

At that point, it won't matter what Chris Christie knew or when he knew it.

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