Record setting temps signal the arrival of... climate change

Michael O'Leary

Record setting temps signal the arrival of... climate change

Question: What's wrong with this picture of Haystack Rock at Pacific City? Answer: 77 degrees in March.

Just this weekend I took some out-of-towners for a sightseeing trip so they could enjoy the Oregon coast.

Turned out it was, well, unprecedented, in terms of being such a nice warm day.

And that leaves me concerned.

Not only did this weekend set record high temps in Eugene, Salem, Hillsboro, Downtown Portland, and, yes, Pacific City, turns out that this spring was one of our driest ever, too.

Being an old timer, imagining a bank of dense chilled fog stretching inland for miles, I naively told my friends to bring a coat and a blanket, and expect a 20 degree temp drop from what they had left behind in Portland.

Instead we got 77 degrees and blue skies. And I got a sunburn.

Great problem to have - said every lobster in every pot.

The pollsters tell us that Hurricane Sandy, flooding New York City just a few months ago, has done wonders for public acceptance that something wicked this way comes, but needed plans for dealing with the impending changes are either far over the horizon, or being actively counter-programmed by lobbyists for big freeways, big oil, and big coal.

Good folks are plugging away, though.

The Oregon Conservation Network just held a fantastic lobby day in Salem, where they pushed to keep Oregon on track for implementing some of the best clean fuel standards in the nation.

In just two more weeks the Blue Green Alliance meets in DC to lobby for green energy family wage jobs.

And yet another proposed coal terminal has bit the dust.

There’s a lot to be excited about being a part of.

But let’s be honest. Some seriously badness has got us by the tail here.

When Oregon’s rainfall and snowpack drops, we lose the stored water we rely on for all our cities, and the big factories along the Willamette will run out of the industrial water supply they need to keep fueling their jobs so many still rely on.

It’s time to take it up a notch folks.

We’re a long time beyond Al Gore’s Uncomfortable Truth, but not far enough ahead.

Let’s work on what it’s going to take to preserve the cold and rainy climate that makes this place so special.

Those outta towners can still learn to enjoy our sunshine like the rest of us have come to accept: between July 4th and Labor day.

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