Global climate change, anyone?

It’s hot out there Jersey! The season’s fourth heat wave has officially arrived, and it means for the next couple of days, we’ll get to enjoy temperatures about 10 degrees warmer than they should be.

This is commentary from political blogger and cartoonist Rob Tornoe.

It’s hot out there Jersey! The season’s fourth heat wave has officially arrived, and it means for the next couple of days, we’ll get to enjoy temperatures about 10 degrees warmer than they should be.

Global climate change, anyone?

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I know, I know — those of you out there wearing yellow t-shirts with snakes on them will call me a naive liberal tree hugger to believe the overwhelming scientific consensus that the globe is warming, and that we contribute.

Pointing to a single weather event, like the ungodly heat, and attempting to make the case for global temperature trends is as laughable as denying it when there’s snow on the ground.

Which is why I’ve done some reading, and assembled a few facts that point to a clear trend in the direction our state — and planet — are going.

A recent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report found that 56 percent of the continental U.S. is currently experiencing drought conditions, the worst in 24 years. More than 1,000 counties in 26 states (nearly two-thirds of the land in the continental U.S.) have been declared natural disaster areas. 

In addition, the average temperature of the planet last month was the fourth warmest since 1880, when record keeping began.

According to the International Energy Agency, we’re on pace to warm the planet by nearly 11 degrees by the end of the century. 11 degrees! That would turn even the most pleasant summer day into an unbearable oven of heat and humidity. 

We’re only halfway through 2012, but already 90 percent of the U.S. has already experienced record high temperatures, as opposed to 10 percent that have experienced record lows. Compare this to the 1950s, when the numbers were 52 percent and 48 percent, respectfully.

I know what you’re saying — I’ve got air conditioning, so why does it matter?

According to a report in The Star-Ledger, rising sea levels are predicted to “more than triple the likelihood of devastating coastal flooding by the year 2030, putting more than 230,000 beach and bay-side residents in the flood zone.”

“New Jersey is going to be a battleground well into the future and long after other areas are given up on,” said David Robinson, the state climatologist at Rutgers University, to the Star-Ledger. “And we’re not just talking about the major storm, the storm of 1962. What we’re talking about here is that a run of a mill storm could become much more of a problem.”

Last year at a Rutgers University conference on state climate change preparedness, the prognosis was bleak for the Garden State. Rising tides will threaten Atlantic City and Long Beach Island by 2050. Farmers will have to find replacements to traditional crops that can no longer grow in a warmer climate. Increasing pollution mixed with the oppressive heat and humidity will cause all kinds of respiratory problems.

And on and on and on.

Unfortunately, we have a governor whose first appointment to the Board of Public Utilities turned out to be a global warming skeptic. Christie also put industry representatives in water-quality positions, pulled out of a regional program with nine other states to reduce greenhouse gases and vetoed a bill that would have banned hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in the state. I guess he likes the idea of New Jerseyans lighting their tap water on fire.

I’m sure if you asked Christie about the heat and climate change, he’d call you a “Corzine Democrat” and come after you for shootin’ your mouth off. At least he’d have that ice cream cone to keep him cool, because his environmental policies certainly won’t.


Rob Tornoe is a political cartoonist and a WHYY contributor. See more of his work at, and follow him on twitter @RobTornoe.

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