Monday, 22 Jul 2019

WEATHER | Extreme cold weather grips US, dispelling doubts about climate change


WASHINGTON — A poll released Tuesday showed that more people are starting to believe climate change is credible, partly due to the frigid weather which has gripped the United States.

The poll released by Associated Press showed that 48 percent of respondents found the science of human-induced climate change more convincing when the poll was taken in November 2018 than they did five years ago, compared to 14 percent who thought it less convincing.

Eighty-three percent of those polled who believe in climate change want the federal government to take actions to mitigate it, and 80 percent want their state governments to act, the survey found.

More people than expected supported a carbon tax to help curb greenhouse gas emissions, according to the survey.

“It is striking that 67 percent of respondents support a carbon tax when the funds would be used to restore the environment,” Michael Greenstone, director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), said in a statement.

“These findings appear to run counter to recent efforts by the federal government to step back from environmental protection,” he added. EPIC participated in conducting the poll.

The poll was released as large swaths of the United States have been under a cold spell for the past few days, which has caused casualties, heavy snow and traffic nightmares.

On Monday, extreme cold weather, coupled with strong gusts, swept through the Northeast United States.

Atop the Northeast’s highest mountain, Mount Washington, the temperature fell to minus 31 Celsius Monday morning to minus 35 Celsius later in the afternoon, according to the Facebook page for Mount Washington Observatory, in New Hampshire. According to historical records, the average low temperature for January is registered at minus 20 degrees.

The cold weather resulted in a number of deaths throughout the United States over the weekend.

In Chicago, a 12-year-old girl was killed Sunday in minus 10 Celsius weather after her snow fort collapsed on her. In the eastern U.S. state of Connecticut, a utility worker was killed Sunday after being struck by a falling tree while working on a power line. In the central U.S. state of Kansas, a snow plough driver was killed when he drove off the road and was crushed by the plough.

At least four people were killed after shoveling snow. In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office said a 59-year-old man and a 91-year-old man collapsed and died Sunday in separate incidents after removing snow. In upstate New York, a 70-year-old man died Monday after experiencing a heart attack while shoveling snow. In southwest Michigan, a man in charge of transportation at a school district also died while shoveling snow.

According to flight tracker FlightAware, nearly 6,000 flights were delayed in the United States, and almost 1,000 were cancelled, most of which were due to extreme weather.

The weather improved slightly Tuesday, delaying 4,300 flights and grounding about 1,500 flights.

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