Meteorologist Paul Douglas says he isn't your typical voice for action in the climate change debate.
“I'm a Christian, I'm a Republican,” he told an audience of several hundred attendees at the ninth annual Senior Expo in Mankato. “And I believe climate change is one of the greatest challenges we've ever faced. We're just seeing the tip of the iceberg. We're going to be seeing more crazy weather.”
With all the charm that made him one of Minnesota's favorite forecasters, Douglas made a case for taking climate change seriously.
Douglas, who rose to Minnesota fame after getting a job at KARE-11 in 1983, said he noticed in the 1990s that something odd was happening with the planet's weather patterns. More than ever, weather was hitting extremes in a way it never had.
“It was like Mother Nature lost her equilibrium, and now we're floundering somewhat,” he said. “This week, we're gonna go from frost on Mother's Day, to 100 degrees in two days. I've never seen that.”
He says skeptics, meanwhile, will sound their usual refrain: “They'll say, 'Where's you climate change, Paul? It's snowing in May.' To that I say, 'Can you see the entire globe from your window?'”
The problem with most skepticism is that people make judgments about climate change without having the facts, by listening to someone who doesn't have the facts (such as talk radio), or by making assumptions about global weather trends based merely on what's happening in their backyard.
Armed with facts, he says, any reasonable person must conclude that climate change not only is real, but that humans are contributing to it.
Natural weather disasters, Douglas said, have increased by a multiple of three or four times over the past few decades.