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Rudi Kiefer: Upcoming speech addresses military response to climate change
Rudi Kiefer

There are probably few people more tired of hearing about climate change than the ones who teach about the topic every day. But scholars have warned us about climate change since the 1980’s, and predicted that by 2020 we would see the effects. They are becoming visible right now to the point that some experts are calling it “our true national emergency”. 

Next month, local residents will have an opportunity to learn more about the topic from a military point of view. Maj. Gen. Rick Devereaux, USAF (Ret.), former director of Air Force operational planning and policy, and head of strategy at the Pentagon, will discuss how climate change threatens our security and what the U.S. military is doing in response.

Organized by my professional friends at the University of North Georgia and the Citizens Climate Lobby, the Monday, April 8 event takes place at 5 p.m. in the Student Center, Hoag Auditorium, on UNG’s Dahlonega Campus.  It also includes a presentation by Dr. Vernon Dixon from Citizens’ Climate Lobby about the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Bill, HR 763, a free market solution to climate change.

In combination, these two speakers will help eliminate some of the misconceptions that still exist. I’m glad to see the old “global warming” term disappearing.  Even though the adjustments in the atmosphere are triggered by an average warming of the earth, the effects won’t be warmer weather throughout. Last week’s record snowfall in Arizona, and the Hawaii snowstorm two weeks ago, are quite compatible with the new situation. They point to the increased “bounciness” in the atmosphere.

I’m reminded of a fire ant hive in this regard.  Those insects are moving quickly about their business, but not all in a straightforward fashion. Some seem to be drifting back and forth. Tap part of the hive with one foot, and things start going in several directions like crazy.  It’s similar in the atmosphere. The system isn’t organized in straight lines. 

Wind directions change, and ocean currents move warm and cold waters around. But when we add heat and greenhouse gases on the one-third of the world we inhabit, the entire system starts to bounce. It won’t be the end of the world, but “crazy weather” is going to be a more frequent event. It’ll be interesting to hear the military aspects of it on April 8.

Rudi Kiefer, Ph.D., is a professor at Brenau University, teaching physical and health sciences on Brenau’s Georgia campuses and in China. His column appears Sundays and at gainesvilletimes.com.

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