Dateline: Friday, June 25
I’ve complained about heat before. It’s what I do. The only reason people think of me as even-tempered is that it’s not usually that hot. That’s been changing fast. Scientists are reluctant to pin any one weather event on global warming because they’re trained to be careful in their conclusions, but we all know the truth. We’re looking at an existential bollixing. And we are both the bollixers and the bollixees.
Today I am filling bird baths and looking out at my bird friends Studley and DooDah and Dickens and Peanut Dave the scrub jay with anticipatory dread on their behalf, and envy that they are, for the moment, oblivious. There’s a forecast out for this weekend for a heat wave so unprecedented that the actual precedents are cowering under the porch and peeing themselves. This never was funny, and it’s not now.
This Monday, in gentle Portland, Oregon, a modest and temperate jewel of a city on a major river within sight of actual glaciers, it is currently predicted to reach 118 degrees. And it will dip all the way down to 82 at night. Up till now you could count our nighttime temperatures above 70–for all time–on one hand. So unless the nearest glacier slides right off the mountain and into our bedroom, we’re screwed.
As regular readers know, I do not have, or believe in, air conditioning, and intend to survive using my prehistoric caveman skills, refined in the sodden swamps of northern Virginia. I do not intend to fire up a box that sucks up more coal power. That’s how we got here.
But I’m beside myself, which is really bad, because both of me are too warm.
It’s only in the nineties today, but I peek out of my closed curtains and think about asteroids. Isn’t it a blessing that no one saw that monster of extinction coming, 66 million years ago? Just chomp chomp chomp like any other day, and then suddenly a blinding light and powdered dinosaurs everywhere.
But here and now, we know it’s coming, we know we caused it, we know what to do about it, and we spend our days talking about trannies in the bathroom and the freedom to infect each other. We’ve known for over a hundred years. We were warned urgently forty years ago. Al Gore pleaded with us twenty years ago and the Libertarian/Republican conspiracy of doom responded by instructing Americans to mock him. They were not about to let anyone interfere with the lucrative rape of the planet.
Every one of them should have to answer, really answer, one simple question: What’s your plan, Skippy? They do not have a plan. For anything. Anything except keeping power and money. They are criminals in the first degree and should be treated as such. Mitch McConnell and every one of the sons-of-mitches, the whole soulless lot of them, should be removed from society before they do any more harm, and punished appropriately. I’d suggest they be roasted at the stake, if there was some way to make that take a few years.
The Washington Post has an opinion headline today saying "It's not the heat, it's the existential dread." Murr, in case no one has reminded you lately, YOU ARE A GOOD AND TERRIFIC PERSON and in no way deserving of having hell's heat domed over you. And your assessment and your anger are righteous.
Yeah. This used to make me cranky but now I'm actually furious. These clowns need to GO.
Living in the mid north of south australia we get temperatures like that every summer. About two years ago we set a new record of 49.5 (121 F) and the media made much of it. Who wants to break records like that? It's not a challenge, people!
We have an air conditioner that we try not to use and knowing that it's there is comfort enough sometimes. We are certainly thankful for it on all the days above 110 or so.But the heat drives me insane at times and the people who drive their air conditioned cars to their air conditioned jobs and to visit the air conditioned shops or gym or wherever and then STILL complain about the heat make me want to scream. They coudn't give a damn about anything except their own comfort. (Sorry, got a bit triggered there)
At least solar energy is a big thing here thanks to all that rotten heat and sunshine…
Ugh. By the way you brought up another thing I don't like about AC–when people have it, they use it all the time. If our current heat dome is not some fluke (and we know it is not), I might want to condition at least one room; but I know the temptation would be to keep it cranked up. Here in Portland a couple of our neighbors have the things going all summer, no matter what. And there's no call for it. (Yet.)
I have neighbors on either side of me who NEVER open their windows. In the summer, they have the AC on all the time; in the winter, the heater. (I have even seen my neighbor wearing a tank top during the winter! FFS!)
That being said, please do not paint ALL people who HAVE AC with the same brush. We have central air, and when the temp gets to 90, we turn it on. When it gets back down into the 80s, we turn it off and open the windows. Same way with heat, but in opposite directions: Goes on when it gets into the low 60s, off when it gets above 68. The way I see it, we are all WAY past doomed by now. I'd be the cancer patient who decides to take oxy and be out of pain (perhaps permanently) rather than suffer through chemo. In this case, however, we are both the cancer patient AND the cancer. Either way, we're fucked, Murr. It started with the Industrial Revolution, and it ONLY took 200 or so years to put us on the path to extinction! Take THAT, you fuckin' asteroid! How long did it take YOU to get here?
Well to be fair it probably came a long way. Hey! I'm just saying if I had AC I might turn it on more than I need to. It's kind of natural. I know that since I got a little gas "woodstove" I flick it on when I could just as easily put on a sweater, but that's all the way upstairs. I imagine I'd be the same with AC. At least, I'd be more like you and less like my neighbors, though.
We have a wood-burning wood stove, as my husband is afraid of gas. Also, we use it as our primary heat source because it is cheaper, plentiful (unfortunately), and it heats our entire ranch house in the winter, except for the wee hours during the colder nights. I hate the fact that we are burning trees, but it seems better than having an oil burner going all the time. Freezing to death is not an option right now, and I'd certainly be more efficient about it if it were. Plus, I have parrots. They need warmth.
But I so much prefer to have the windows open when we can, just because of the bird-sound, the frogs, and what-not, as well as the fountain in our fish pond that's outside our bedroom window. I just love all the outdoor sounds (except, of course, for what passes for music from humans these days.) I open windows whenever I can do so without losing sleep. (Hot, humid nights are a bitch for an insomniac.)
When Raegan took the solar panels off the White House roof that Jimmy had put there, I knew the end was nigh. I truly understand the mind bending aspect of intense heat. The 'dry heat' jokes in Arizona aren't funny anymore.
From Heather Cox Richardson: "Last week, Florida governor Ron DeSantis became the latest Republican governor to sign a bill making it harder for citizens to shift away from the fossil fuels that are changing the climate. The move came after Miami, which is in danger as sea levels rise, proposed cutting carbon emissions by banning natural gas infrastructure in new buildings. The bill was written by lawyers for utility companies, based on a pattern written by the American Gas Association. Lobbyists for the Florida Petroleum Association, the Florida Natural Gas Association and the Florida Retail Federation, the Florida Home Builders Association, and the National Utility Contractors Association of Florida supported the bill."
Love me some Heather…
Our 'representatives' are both immoral and amoral.
Slow cooking the impediments to doing something about the climate is fine, but I would be happy to just get rid of them as quickly as possible.
They really do need to go. If only "the left" were really as murderous as we're claimed to be.
They haven't experienced me on the road. Just cut me off then slow down in front of me, mofo!
If that's what it takes, I'm willing to arrange and watch.
Yes. And I would like to add some stakes for far too many politicians from my country. Including the ones who are currently agitating for more gas and coal mines.
THESE ARE THE STAGES OF GLOBAL WARMING DENIAL. (The order may vary somewhat. So far I’ve seen all the stages displayed by one ex-friend of mine — all but the last two. But just wait.)
1. There’s no global warming
2. OK, there’s global warming but DON’T YOU DARE call it that, we’ll destroy you professionally and politically if you don’t call it “climate change,” and that goes for you in the press and even you (ESPECIALLY YOU) climate scientists.
3. OK, there’s climate change but it’s not anthropogenic, it’s sunspots or the shape of the earth’s orbit or the precession of the earth’s axis or natural progression of the climate continuing from the end of the last ice age or….
4. OK, there’s anthropogenic climate change but it’s only a small factor in the overall pattern.
5. OK, there’s anthropogenic climate change but I think we really need carbon dioxide, don’t knock it.
6. FAR MORE than 3% of climate scientists BELIEVE there’s NO dangerous anthropogenic climate change but they’re afraid to publish or speak publicly their positions because of Political Correctness and no you can’t call what we did in Stage 2 Political Correctness because that term is only applicable if it’s RightWingers who are being pressured and the reason I know that’s their position despite their not having published or spoken publicly is because THEY TOLD ME SO PRIVATELY.
7. OK, there’s a LOT of anthropogenic climate change but it’s great for opening new shipping routes, it will improve our country’s geopolitical position and it won’t do any harm, really. And since in the history of life on earth more organisms have gone extinct than exist today, it follows logically that the current rate of extinctions must be trivial both ethically and in its effects on human life..
8. We NEVER SAID there’s no global warming. How DARE you lie about us like that!
9. OK, we’re fucked, but IT’S YOUR FAULT, DEMOCRATS!
I'm so depressed.
Here in the Sonoran desert outside Tucson, we turn on the AC when it gets over about 100 outside (end of May, all of June and until the monsoon starts sometime in July). It just rained today so monsoon is the earliest I've seen it in almost 20 years. That's a good thing.
We never run the AC at night and never set the room temp below 82. It's a heat pump and we use it for a half hour to knock the chill off the few exceptionally cold mornings in December/January. Our electricity bill to do this is about the same as our fossil fuel bill was to heat our house in winter when we lived in Seattle. It takes about the same amount of energy to drop a house 20 degrees from 102 to 82 as it does to raise it from 48 to 68.
I'm happy being and working outside in the sun up to about 100. I wasn't as happy being and working outside in the PNW when it was 45 degrees and raining. That said, the recent 5 days at 115 was brutal but so is a snow storm in Seattle. You don't want to/can't hardly go anywhere in either.
We part ways about the 45 degrees and raining. I get a LOT done in that! I will admit I am weird, and like winter because bright light bothers me.
I'd forgotten the reason you don't have A/C. Very commendable of you too. I try not to use mine too often, because I know the damage I'm causing, but I do have it and I will use it when I need to.
I didn't know you live within sight of glaciers.
Not that commendable. It's easy, or it should be, in a climate in which you're only uncomfortable for about a week out of the year. Now, of course, we don't know what we're in for. And yes! I can see glaciers on Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood, and on a rare day, Mt. Jefferson from Portland!
Mt. St. Helens is closest as the DooDah flies but its glaciers blew up, I believe. There's a new one but it's inside the crater. I have been to the rim of the crater a few times but I can't see that glacier from Portland.
I also turn it off when I go to bed at night, there's no sense in heating/cooling the living room when I'm not there for the next eight hours or so.
I'm going to figure out ways to heat/cool small areas of the house in the future because I'm small and don't take up that much space all at once.
Heat/cooling small areas with a mini-split is the new hot ticket, so to speak. They're extremely quiet and use less electricity. They work well in older homes because they don't require ducting.
Did you see this? An Exxon lobbyist was recorded talking about Exxon's commitment to blocking any climate change legislation.
I was just talking about mini-splits with a contractor. He was a little hard to understand but he said one of the drawbacks is there's no air circulation. I'm not sure it's a drawback. Anyway, we're due for a new furnace so I'll have to do some (gad) research.
you are just so right.
100% agree with you. There's a lot of blame and a lot of shame to be spread around a certain political party. But let's discuss bathrooms, right?
Dear Murr, yaay you 🙂 about the a/c. While i'm grateful to have the window unit in the bedroom, am way more grateful for plain NOT wanting central air. Having limited funds, would rather save them for other things – like a nice winter coat (one that doesn't look like a glorified hefty bag … yeah, good luck with that :/