With about half of America thinking of climate change as a hoax, it’s good to see that it’s being taken seriously by many. Robert R.M. Verchick, the director of Loyola University’s Center for Environmental Law and Land Use, is on leave working as a deputy associate administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency, “where a big chunk of his time is devoted to developing a national plan for adapting to climate change.” [Oops, there goes his credibility. The EPA is blamed for a good share of what's wrong with America, I learned last week.]
The New York Times Dot Earth blog includes a recent interview with Verchick:
Why is Nature so mad all of a sudden? The truth is, a lot of this is our fault. The population is expanding, and we are building where we shouldn’t — in flood plains, on fragile beaches, in valleys, and on muddy hillsides. As we develop, we are destroying much of our protective “natural infrastructure,” too — the marshes and swamps that protect New Orleans, the mangroves that protect Myanmar from cyclone surge, the forests that prevent mudslides in the Himalaya.
These happen everywhere, but the problems are most acute in poor countries. Did I mention climate change? You can’t attribute any single weather-related event to a hotter planet. But climate change is almost certain to lead to more frequent and/or more intense extreme events like fires, floods, and storms. It’s not R.E.M.’s “end of the world as we know it” — not yet — but we had better shape up and get with the program.