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Letter: What does this winter’s bitter cold say about climate change?
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Ice and snow collected on roads in Hall County and nearby counties on Jan. 17, 2018. - photo by Nick Bowman

We all have been shivering from the recent bitter cold, as has much of the eastern U.S. Does this mean there is no global warming? 

On the contrary, climate experts have been saying for several years that this will happen more often in a warming world. The science is clear on this. The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the earth, and this allows the polar vortex of arctic air to flow further south, causing areas under the vortex — most recently the United States — to be much colder, while other areas of the world are much warmer. 

We should not confuse weather with climate. Weather refers to short term changes over a certain area, while climate change refers to long-term changes over the entire globe. Weather is variable, but climate change continues to show a definite warming trend. 

The last four years have been the warmest in recorded history, and we are now almost 2 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial temperatures. 

However, we should start this new year on a hopeful note. Prices of wind and solar energy continue to drop, and the conversion to a clean energy economy is increasing. America’s grid is proving more resilient as more alternative energy comes on board. 

Adoption of a climate fee and dividend plan would be the simplest, most effective way to speed up this process. Not only would it markedly decrease greenhouse gases, but it would also add millions of new American jobs and make America more prosperous. 

We are America, the greatest nation on earth, and I believe we will unite to combat climate change, one of the greatest problems of our age.

Vernon Dixon

Hiawassee

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