The Grand Portage Reservation is at the northeastern tip of Minnesota. The Air Quality Program has many ongoing projects in order to maintain healthy indoor and outdoor air. These projects include monitoring for regional haze and particulate matter, indoor air quality, invasive plant removal, public outreach, environmental education, alternative energy, and climate change.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Happy solstice everyone! Today is the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, so from now on we will be getting a few more minutes of daylight each day as we begin the long, slow climb towards summer. There was a nice light snowfall last night, enough to make the forest here look like a Christmas card. Many species of plants and animals that call Grand Portage home depend on having enough snow during the winter, so I welcome it. It also adds some insulation for the ground against the cold yet to come, so it will help keep wells and septic systems from freezing.
There has been a lot of news and analysis about the climate change summit last week in Copenhagen, and if President Obama has done enough to push deeper cuts in carbon emissions. I think it is a major step to get China and India and the other major emitters on board with a framework to cut emissions, but there needs to be a strong and binding agreement ready for next years summit in Mexico City. Sorry deniers but the existence of snow does not disprove global warming any more than night disproves the existence of the sun. In fact we can expect even heavier snow events in the future because warmer air can hold more water vapor. The desperation of the defenders of business as usual is clearly shown by the hacking of the CRU e-mails. There is nothing in those e-mails that undercuts the science of climate change, because it is a robust theory with thousands of scientific papers as a foundation. Scientists take great care to get the science right, since they know that a sloppy paper will get eviscerated by other scientists. I am sure most of them would love to be proved wrong about climate change since the consequences are so dire. Science is a powerful tool that can show us how our planetary systems operate, and while it is not perfect, it is still the best method our civilization has devised to understand our world.