Climate change, schlimate change, what a bunch of hooey, because, brrr, it's cold! Clearly, that means there's no global warming, right? Wrong.
Psst! Weather is not the same as climate, denier geniuses:
: the state of the air and atmosphere at a particular time and place : the temperature and other outside conditions (such as rain, cloudiness, etc.) at a particular time and place
: bad or stormy weather
: a region of the earth having specified climatic conditions
a: the average course or condition of the weather at a place usually over a period of years as exhibited by temperature, wind velocity, and precipitation
Now that that's settled, let's take a little peek at how increasingly extreme weather conditions, likely caused by overall climate change, are affecting more than what we wear. As we speak, we are seeing an alarming economic impact. As I read my morning Los Angeles Times, several articles scattered throughout the Business section caught my eye, and not in a good way:
Stocks were pounded by discouraging data released Monday on manufacturing, auto sales and construction spending.
You're probably asking, "Yeah? So? What does that have to do with climate change?" Plenty:
Arctic-like weather across much of the nation put a freeze on January auto sales. [...] General Motors said Monday that its U.S. sales fell 12% in January to 171,486 vehicles compared with the same month a year earlier. [...] The automaker said its sales were the worst in the South, Midwest and Northeast, all areas that suffered from the extreme cold. [...]
Ford Motor Co. said its January fell 7% to 154,644.
“Given the difficult weather in our largest sales regions, we are fortunate to have held in at retail as well as we did,” said John Felice, Ford vice president, U.S. marketing, sales and service. [...]
Toyota reported January sales results of 146,365 vehicles, a 7.2% decrease from what it sold in the U.S. in the same month a year earlier.
“January was off to a solid start, but the weather conditions slowed industry sales in key markets late in the month,” said Bill Fay, Toyota’s division group vice president and general manager.
"A number of comments from the panel cite adverse weather conditions as a factor negatively impacting their businesses in January," said Bradley Holcomb, chair of the Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.
Consumers will have less time to get their hands on California citrus this year because of a cold snap in early December that damaged $441-million worth of fruit in the San Joaquin Valley, an industry study released Monday said. [...]
An estimated 40% of the [mandarin orange] crop that remained on trees were lost. That amounts to 4.7-million 40-pound cartons and $150 million in lost revenue. [...]
About 30% of the navel crop was lost in the valley, the heart of the state’s agriculture industry. That amounted to 22 million 40-pound cartons or $260 million worth of navels.
Valley lemon producers lost 20% of their crop, equal to $24 million in lost revenue.
5. 'Polar vortex' wallops fliers' wallets:
Flights canceled in January's "polar vortex" inflicted $2.5 billion in costs on stranded travelers, according to a new analysis. The $2.5-billion figure represents lost productivity, hotel expenses and meals, MasFlight reported. The airline industry lost $75 million to $150 million. [...]
To avoid the hefty fines, airlines are now more likely to cancel flights during bad weather. [...] [T]he weather woes could take a bite out of the bottom line for some of the nation's biggest airlines.
"They'll definitely take a financial hit," Counter said.
All of those stories appeared in just one day, in one section of my paper.
And while all this is taking a financial and emotional toll, we have the filthy, "game over," disaster-in-waiting Keystone XL tar sands pipeline looming.
Hope the weather's good wherever you are, because the overall climate-- whether economic, psychological, political, or meteorological-- is chilling.