Two things we know for sure about climate change: One, unusually huge, destructive hurricanes the past few years are some of its effects; and two, it’s a hoax.

We know the giant hurricanes are effects of warming because thousands of scientists have figured out the mechanisms that have set it up. We also know it’s all a hoax because politicians (mostly Republican), media pundits (mostly on Fox News) and some businesspeople (not all tied to the oil industry) say so.

For example, a Maine Republican legislator (on her authority as a businessperson) explained to one of her constituents recently that “More carbon dioxide means more heat and more heat means more plant growth with which to feed our growing population. … (I)f I were a scientist who received grants that were supportive of a particular viewpoint, I may be likely to wish to perpetuate data along those lines to increase my chance of continued economic support.”

Not sure who provided her with the information about the carbon dioxide and plant growth, since she admits she has “limited scientific knowledge”; but anyway, the points are that global warming is a benefit and also a hoax coordinated by tens of thousands of scientists, who she believes are probably dishonest because in their shoes, she would be too.

President Donald Trump himself has declared that: One, global warming is a (specifically) Chinese hoax; and two, anyway, no one knows what causes it. As if to prove the point a third way, his National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently issued a draft environmental impact statement specifying that the Earth is on track to warm by 7 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, a rise greater than most scientists predict, that would have catastrophic effects.

Because of this extreme warming, the impact statement argues, there’s no point in maintaining federal fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks; the overall reduction in greenhouse emissions from such standards would (by themselves) have no noticeable impact on warming that is already out of control.


In other words, we’re burning the place down, suck on that.

Most scientists think it’s not too late, but what do they know? Here’s your periodic rundown of what’s happening in the world of suicide by climate change.


• This summer tied with the summer of 2016 for the warmest on record for Maine, WCSH-WLBZ meteorologist Keith Carson told me.

• Last month was the fourth-hottest September on record worldwide, according to NOAA. The five hottest Septembers on record are 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

• Maine’s summer of 2018 was the most humid ever recorded “in terms of number of days with a dew point over 70 (Fahrenheit) and the numbers of hours with such a dew point,” Carson said, adding that this unusual humidity is probably linked to climate change, even though it may not occur regularly.


• In the Gulf of Maine this summer, sea surface temperature rose to nearly 11 degrees warmer than normal during a “marine heat wave.” According to researchers, temperature in the Gulf of Maine in the past 15 years has risen by seven times the global average rise.

• This year Norway recorded its hottest, driest summer ever, including the highest temperature ever there, 92.3 F.

• A report this month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that in order to hold global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius over the next roughly 40 years, human-made carbon dioxide emissions in 2030 will need to have declined by 45 percent from what they were in 2010 and reach net zero by 2050.

• Researchers found that the arthropod biomass (bugs, basically) in Puerto Rico’s rain forest showed decreases of up to 60 times measurements taken in 1970. Populations of lizards, frogs and birds that eat arthropods have declined comparably. The researchers say that “climate warming is the driving force behind the collapse of the forest’s food web.” Other studies in other parts of the world are making similar findings.


• In September, the U.S. Interior Department loosened a regulation requiring the oil and gas industry to capture leaking methane gas on federal land. Methane is one of the most powerful greenhouse gases contributing to warming.


• The Environmental Protection Agency suspended its 20-person Particulate Matter Review Panel, which advises the agency on what levels of pollutants are safe to breathe.

• The EPA is dissolving its Office of the Science Advisor, which assists the EPA administrator in assessing research pertinent to health and environmental regulations.

• This month Jeffrey Bossert Clark was confirmed as U.S. assistant attorney general for environment and natural resources. His background includes representing BP in lawsuits over the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster of 2010, and helping the U.S. Chamber of Commerce challenge the government’s authority to regulate carbon emissions.

• The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the EPA to ban the use of chlorpyrifos, a pesticide first developed as a nerve gas during World War II. Former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt in March 2017 had denied a petition by environmental groups to ban chlorpyrifos use on food crops.

• Current EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler is expected to continue Pruitt’s work to rescind or block environmental protections.

• The Unity Area Regional Recycling Center in Thorndike stopped accepting No. 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 plastics, as have other recycling operations in Maine. Center manager Stanley Besancon told me he, like me, is chagrined by this. But it was unavoidable because China earlier this year crashed the market for recycled plastic by sharply curtailing its acceptance of it. More than 40 percent of plastic is used just once, then tossed. Most of the rest of it ends up in the ocean or a landfill or a field near your house, too. How much longer can this go on before it causes disasters?

For the sake of your own backyard, maybe you want to vote in the next election. Just sayin’.

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

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