I'm a big believer in global warming. But until this weekend the stark reality of what climate change means for everybody on our planet hadn't really hit home for me.
Sure, last September Oregon suffered through devastating wildfires exacerbated by drought conditions and rare high winds. My wife and I breathed a lot of smoke as our furnace filters turned black.
And February of this year saw an unusual ice storm that cut off power to hundreds of thousands of Oregonians. We had no electricity for eleven days and got to be best friends with our wood stove and Honda generator.
Those were extreme weather events. Neither could be directly tied to global warming, though climate change was implicated in each.
Now, Oregon is facing the hottest temperatures in recorded history. Extreme heat is to global warming as an ice cube is to a freezer: they're so closely related, seeing one means seeing the other.
Today Portland broke the all-time record for a high temperature at the airport, 108 degrees.
Tomorrow, Sunday, it's almost certain that Salem will break its all-time high temperature record of 108.
Salem tied its record high temperature for June on Saturday by hitting 105 degrees at the Salem Airport, but the capital's all-time record for heat looks all but certain to fall on Sunday.
Meteorologists said just about every weather model is showing Salem hitting a high of around 113 on Sunday, which would shatter the previous record of 108 that was set in 1981, 1941 and 1927.
Records in Salem date all the way back to the 1890s.
So, yeah, it's time to freak out about global warming, fellow citizens of Salem. (I call us Salemians, because saying Salemites is just flat-out wrong.)
Today the Oregon Senate passed House Bill 2021. It requires Oregon utilities to provide 100% carbon free electricity by 2040, with an 80% reduction in the next ten years. Both PGE and Pacific Power supported the bill.
Yet no Republican senator voted for it. I guess Republicans love making our planet minimally habitable for humans, something most of the rest of us think is a really bad idea.
If I could rule the state legislature pecking order, I'd demand that a bill be passed that requires every legislator who voted against HB 2021 to live in a dwelling without air conditioning.
That way global warming deniers in the Oregon legislature will have to experience what they wrongly claim isn't happening: rapidly rising temperatures and more extreme weather events.
Alternatively, they could be required to wear a heavy coat outside when the temperature exceeds 90 degrees. That's what our dog, Mooka, has to do all the time, given her coat of fur. When we let her out in the yard to pee this very hot afternoon, she instantly laid down and didn't want to get up.
Kind of pathetic that our dog is more attuned to the reality of global warming than Republicans are.