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October 18, 2019

9/11/2019 1:20:00 PM
Weather, climate changing; will we?
From the editor

Sustained rain has been so rare since April that its sudden abundance sprouts an editorial. There hasn’t been three days of rain and two inches in that short stretch, much less a month, since spring. These rains have ended the County’s burn ban, but farmers know this is too little coming too late.
Drought has been the region’s curse. While western Skagit County is in a moderate drought, the western foothills of the Cascades are classified as “severe drought” by the U.S. Drought Monitor, a multi-federal agency team.
The surprise summer blessing has been the absence of smoke. Wildfires in British Columbia and Washington have hardly been in the news.
Hurricane Dorian, of course, made headlines with the devastation wrought from its sustained strength.
This is all weather chatter, true facts to be monitored and followed and providing an entry to advance from concerns about weather to actions we can take on climate change.
The need to monitor globally and act locally requires action in Washington state. Our state legislature and congressional representatives are generally in the lead, more so in Olympia. Gov. Jay Inslee advocated for larger measures than the legislature enacted.
The legislature has committed utilities, corporations and institutions to end coal generated electricity by 2025 and transition to a 100 percent clean electricity supply by 2045.
Not passed last spring was a low-carbon-fuels bill and not even considered was putting a price on carbon emissions – a tax to increase the cost of fossil fuel use and generate funds for alternative energy programs.
Where are we now? Temporally and geographically, there is a chance of rain the rest of the week, but that is less than 50% The fall forecast is for below normal precipitation.
It is too early to forecast either the political winds or tides out of Olympia next winter. On the national scene, it is an excruciating 14 months till the presidential and state elections. There will be more noise and smoke on both accounts throughout. Not until winter 2021 will anything build or hopes melt.
But it is not all about legislatures and laws. Besides the certainty of future weather disasters, there is the possibility of teens or moms or the combination of whole families deciding that the status quo is too slow and that their imperative is to rise up and stay riled up. One can only hope – and join them.
What remains certain is that the weather will change and climate will change and all the trends point to none of those changes being good for the planet or most of its creatures.

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