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Paul's Extra Point: Does climate change scare you?

NOAA's newest data certainly should, but it's not too late to make changes that could ensure we leave this world better than we found it.

You may not have heard of Robert Baden-Powell, but you are certainly familiar with something he wrote. The founder of the Boy Scout movement is survived by a line in his last message to the Scouts: “Try and leave this world a little better than you found it.”

Admittedly, that’s not something we’ve been very good about. In a micro-sense, sure, but on a macro scale, not so much.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) just released new data on global climate trends and it is terrifying.

2018 was the fourth-hottest year since humans started keeping track of such things in 1879. Since then, the average surface temperature on planet earth has risen two degrees Fahrenheit. The past five years are, collectively, the warmest years. Period.

It’s important to note that these measurements are a global average, so any Valley cold spells or Midwest polar vortexes are offset- they’re outliers.

Weather is not the same as climate, either (although higher temperatures do intensify weather-related disasters like storms, floods, and droughts).

According to the National Climate Assessment, we are the number one cause of global warming. At our current rate of fossil fuel consumption, humanity is, quite frankly doomed. By 2100, temperatures will have gone up eight degrees Fahrenheit.

Some of us will still be around then!

We’ll notice the air will be unbreathable in some places, more wildlife will be extinct, and sea levels will have risen to four feet, flooding New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami.

That’s not exactly leaving the world a little better than we found it!

But fortunately, it’s not too late to stave off the direst consequences of climate change. You can make a small personal impact by recycling, driving an electric vehicle, or changing your diet.

You can also support legislation that helps ensure a zero-emission future. Yesterday, members of congress introduced the “Green New Deal” resolution.

Its goals can be distilled into a sentence: ensuring a carbon-neutral future by creating millions of high-paying jobs, in an effort to meet 100% of our power demands with clean, renewable energy.

The Green New Deal isn’t ready to be worked into a bill yet, but when it is, this might be our best shot at stopping the train before it goes off the tracks.

Let’s be clear: I’m not stumping for politicians or parties here.

Climate change is our collective crisis; it’s not a partisan issue, as much as the topic has become a battleground split by traditional party lines.

It’s a human issue. It’s going to affect you regardless of your affiliation, income, color or creed. And if we don’t agree to fix the mess we’ve made, we won’t be leaving a very pleasant place behind for the next generation.

If nothing else, that’s really going to bum out the Boy Scouts.