A Great LTE February 19, 2010 : 5:27 PM

Paul Epstein, Associate Director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, wrote an exceptional letter to The New York Times last week:

“That fossil fuel industry-financed forces are continuing their campaign to undermine the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and its chief scientists should not distract us from what we know about our climate.”

“Two physical findings stand out. In the last 50 years the world ocean has accumulated 22 times as much heat as has the atmosphere (data provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce). It is this repository of heat -- through processes like evaporation and ocean overturning -- that drives the changes in weather we are experiencing: heavier precipitation events, sequences of large storms, bitter cold spells and prolonged droughts in some regions.”

“The I.P.C.C. 2007 report also found that winds have changed -- specifically circumpolar westerly winds (those blowing from the west) in both hemispheres. This ominous sign means that weather fronts and weather patterns are less stable.”

“Our society, security and the health of the global economy depend upon a stable climate. Getting off fossil fuels is the first, necessary step toward achieving climate stabilization.”