When it comes to connecting the dots between climate change, extreme weather and health, the lines are clear.
The earth is saying something with record heat, drought, storms and fire. Scientists are telling us this is what global warming looks like.
It's time to listen – and take action. There's plenty we can do.
Carbon pollution is the main reason our planet is getting hotter, increasing the chances of weather disasters, drought and flood and hurting our health.
There are solutions. For starters, we can cut carbon pollution by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and increasing our use of clean, renewable energy. And we can implement policies that help us prepare for flooding, drought, storms and other consequences of climate change.
But first, we need national leadership that will stop ignoring what the earth and scientists are telling us about climate change -- and instead start ignoring those who continue to deny it is happening.
• The hottest January to June ever recorded in the continental United States.
• More than 22,000 daily high temperature records tied or broken.
• The largest drought declaration in over 50 years, with more than two-thirds of the continental United States in drought at the end of July.
• One of the most destructive freak derecho storms in history.
• Fires in Colorado that have destroyed more than 700 homes.
Unfortunately, the first half of 2012 is not the exception. It's becoming the new normal. In 2011, for instance, an unprecedented 14 disastrous weather events resulted in an estimated $53 billion in damage –- not including health costs. But the trend goes back much further. In fact, the 13 warmest years ever recorded have occurred since 1997, according to the United Nations World Meteorological Organization. June 2012 also marks the 328th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average.