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Delaware in jeopardy due to climate change

October 8, 2020

We live in Sussex County; why do we care about the Paris Accord?  What the heck is the Paris Accord anyway?  The Paris Accord (or more accurately) the Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping the global temperature rise in the 21st century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

OK, what does that mean in plain English? It means dealing with greenhouse-gas emissions to help lower the increasing temperatures on earth.  It’s for sure, the earth is getting hotter, and we humans are the cause. Observations of the world’s annual average temperature made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration compare each year’s temperature to the average over the entire century. In recent decades, the years have always been hotter.

If there were no long-term temperature trend, you would expect a mix of hot and cold trends throughout the record. That’s not what we see. 

We, the people of earth, are in this together - there is no Planet B.  The Paris Agreement brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.  It charts a new course in the global climate effort.  Each nation proposed its own actions and goals to the other members - no one ordered the nations to do anything specific, just to pledge to lower carbon emissions.  The Paris Agreement entered into force Nov. 4, 2016. 

Great, you think, we, the citizens of earth are working together to address this critical issue. The United States was a signatory and participant. However, was is the key word, as one of the first actions of Mr. Trump was to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, and he has a continuous history of scaling back environmental laws, regulations and treaties designed to fight the devastating effects of human-caused climate change. 

Why do we, living in Sussex County, care?  The earth is getting hotter, the ice caps are melting, there is more water in the oceans. Delaware is called the First State for being the first to ratify the Constitution, but it also ranks first in flatness. Delaware has the lowest mean elevation of all the U.S. states, at 60 feet. Its elevation ranges from sea level at the ocean beaches to…

Wait - that’s us in Sussex County at sea level - so who is going to have firsthand experiences with flooding due to global warming - we are in Sussex County!

Vote Nov. 3 as if your life and your property depended on it, because guess what - they do!

Claire A. Simmers, Ph.D.
Bethany Beach
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