To drive the point home in the Fukushima post below, all power sources have their tragic flaws. Are the record high temperatures afflicting much of the nation a result of global warming driven by fossil fuels? Best answer, maybe:
Miami Herald— This is the point in the column where I’m obliged to insert the disclaimer that no one event — no heat wave, no hurricane, no outbreak of tornadoes or freakish storms — can be definitively blamed on climate change. Any one data point can be an anomaly; any cluster of data points can be mere noise.
The problem for those who dismiss climate change as a figment of scientists’ imagination, or even as a crypto-socialist one-worldish plot to take away our God-given SUVs, is that the data are beginning to add up.
Climate is average weather. Average rainfall, average temperature, that kind of thing. It’s easy to play games with averages, cherry picking data and periods of time is a cottage industry for those who desire a certain outcome.
If this kind of weather happens more often over a period of years, then by definition the climate is changing and getting warmer. If that happens world-wide, then it is global warming. To answer the original question, there have been enough hot records and record hot years globally and locally — at a ratio of roughly five to one for local hot records — over the last several decades in the US and world to say yes, North America is being affected by global warming.
Pinning this one heat wave on climate change is like trying to pin one bad roll on loaded dice. Craps players will roll snake-eyes from time to time. Given enough rolls they will eventually even roll it two or three times in a row.
But this kind of weather could become the norm. Because lately, we’ve been rolling snake-eyes a lot.