In the beginning of July, I was in Las Vegas, of all places. One big take-away: This thing about “dry heat” is some kind of a civilizationwide joke. No doubt it would have been worse if the humidity had been higher, but really, temperature well into the 100s every day is withering.

You spend all your time in, or seeking, cells of artificially cooled air.

I didn’t go there to play games of chance. My son and little grandson have been living there. It’s them I care about. They’re coming back to Maine soon because the only recreation in Vegas is to gamble or go to gaudy shows. You have to have a hefty bank account, or a big line of credit, to live in that heat.

Maybe the weather this month has been a reminder that we’re all engaged in what might be the biggest gamble in human history. We’re betting that the gigatons of carbon dioxide we pour into the air from planes, trains, automobiles and heating and cooling systems is not actually warming up the atmosphere and oceans.

Anyone who pays attention to reality can see we’re on a roulette wheel here, with all our money on black 20, where climate change and global warming are a colossal, worldwide hoax. On the 35 other numbers, we lose.

Our Republican president and representatives are determined black 20 is going to come up any spin now. The House recently passed a resolution opposing carbon tax plans that would help businesses with the finances of reducing carbon emissions. Most Republicans are evidently not interested in carbon emissions. They’re interested in black 20 paying off. The president’s own name looms over the heat-baked Vegas strip.

Here are some facts from this summer indicating the ball already is slowing down and getting ready to land just about anywhere but black 20.

ON BLACK 20

• Worldwide land and ocean temperatures were the fifth-highest on record for June. Temperatures were 1.35 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average of 59.9. The 10 warmest Junes on record have occurred since 2005.

• May was the warmest ever recorded for the lower 48 states.

• More than 220 heat records were broken in the U.S. during the heat wave in early July. More than 450 places in the U.S. had their warmest-ever low temperatures for given days.

• Portland, Maine, recorded its hottest July 4 ever, 93, breaking the 2010 record of 90.

• Mount Washington tied its record warmest low temperature, 60, on July 2.

• On July 2, Montreal recorded its highest temperature ever, 97.9. At least 54 people died as a result of the heat in southern Quebec.

• On July 5, the hottest temperature ever recorded in Africa occurred in Ouargla, Algeria, 124.3 degrees.

• On July 10, the hottest temperature ever recorded in Taiwan occurred at Tianxiang, 104.5.

• On July 23, the hottest temperature ever recorded in Japan was registered, 106. At least 77 deaths and 30,000 hospitalizations in Japan and at least 10 deaths in South Korea have resulted from the heat.

• In the first week of July, the temperatures topped 90 in Siberia along the Arctic Ocean, 40 degrees above normal.

• On June 29, the world’s highest low temperature ever recorded, 109, occurred in Quriyat, Oman.

• Meanwhile, just before leaving his position at the Environmental Protection Agency after a series of petty corruption scandals, Director Scott Pruitt OK’d a loophole in regulations that will allow an increase in the manufacturing of diesel freight trucks that produce as much as 55 times the air pollution as trucks with modern emissions controls.

• Pruitt’s successor, Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist, is expected to continue efforts to scale back the U.S. Clean Power Plan and Clean Water Rule.

• A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond recently concluded that “rising temperatures could reduce U.S. economic growth by up to one-third over the next century.”

• The state of Indiana, so far, has spent at least $21 million to clean up sites contaminated by leaky oil tanks and other problems after the 2004 closure of Kiel Bros. Oil Co., owned by the family of Vice President Mike Pence. The cleanup and expenditures are ongoing in three states.

• The World Economic Forum has estimated that by the year 2050, the plastic in the ocean will outweigh the fish.

BETS ON OTHER NUMBERS

• The town of Manchester voted to ban plastic bags in retail stores.

• The California Energy Commission has mandated that starting in 2020, all new homes in California must have solar panels.

• Starbucks is going to ban plastic straws from its stores within two years. It uses about 1 billion plastic straws a year.

• McDonald’s announced in March that it plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its operations by 36 percent by 2030.

• From 2013 to 2017, China succeeded in reducing concentrations of fine particulates polluting its air by an average of 32 percent.

• A study in the journal Nature estimates that the benefits of curbing climate change would exceed the costs by about 70-to-1.

QUESTION ABOUT ROULETTE

Couldn’t we all agree to forget about who’s spinning the wheel, and just deal with where the ball probably is going to land, before it’s permanently too hot for my grandson to go outside?.

Dana Wilde lives in Troy. You can contact him at [email protected] His recent book is “Summer to Fall: Notes and Numina from the Maine Woods” available from North Country Press. Backyard Naturalist appears the second and fourth Thursdays each month.

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