In the news today we learn that scientists have discovered a potentially habitable planet in our galactic neighborhood, which is good news considered our own planet is gradually becoming uninhabitable due to climate change. The new planet is so close to its own sun that it orbits every 37 days, with minimal rotation, which means one side is bright and hot (160 degrees) and the other is cold (25 below zero) – but in between it’s “shirt-sleeve weather”, according to co-discoverer Steven Vogt of the University of California. It reached 113 degrees in LA this week – until the thermometer broke. But we’re just getting going with this global warming thing, so it’s just a matter of time before Hollywood is forced to move to Antarctica, and eventually off-planet with the rest of us.
We need to finally put politics aside and start listening to the scientists who are telling us that we have to stop putting carbon into our atmosphere at such an alarming rate. The argument that switching to renewable energy sources like solar and wind is too expensive in relation to cheap and abundant coal ignores the exorbitant cost of adapting to a planet with increasingly freakish weather. Cape Wind here in Massachusetts, for example, is facing opposition to the higher cost of the wind energy it will generate. On average, its clean energy will cost Massachusetts’s homeowners a few extra dollars on their electric bill each month. Our summers are getting hotter and hotter. How much extra money are we spending to cool our homes with energy-sucking air conditioners? How much extra money will our towns spend to clear away the snow from the increasingly extreme storms that climatologists are predicting? What will it cost to barricade our coastal areas from the much higher sea levels to come? When you factor in the true cost of fossil fuels, clean energy is a bargain. We need a lot of it, and we need it right now. Cost reasons aside, I’ve grown to like living here on Earth, and I want my kids to be able to live here, too.