Opinion

Climate skeptics can still embrace energy efficiency

Suffering from calendar confusion? You and me both, my friend.

We’re now rolling headlong into May, and the only April showers anybody can remember were snow showers. Talk about nuts: My kids spent part of spring vacation sledding. And opening day of boating season ended up being the last day of ski season.

So what is going on? Mostly, it’s just the fluky, kooky nature of meteorology in the Northwest, where a few degrees difference will switch us from rain to snow faster than you can say “Puget Sound Convergence Zone” (or PSCZ if you appreciate atmospheric acronyms). Lately, though, we’ve been so out of season I’d vote for calling it the “Puget Sound Twilight Zone” where winter and spring are twins. Evil twins.

All of which has led to a bit of correspondence in my mailbag from climate skeptics eager to do a little global warming debunking. They’ll grab a factoid or two from a study here and there, or quote a cynical op-ed piece — and they’ll gripe about our lousy weather of late and take a few shots at the climate change crowd as being out of touch with reality.

No doubt, it’s easy to wonder about “warming” of any kind when the thermometer rarely breaks 60 degrees and Memorial Day is just around the corner. But overall, the science behind global warming is still sound, dreary spring or not.

If anything, the global warming doubters should be leading the way when it comes to energy efficiency, and certainly not lagging behind. What better reason than “global cooling” to bulk up the insulation, install a high-efficiency furnace to keep warm, and start saying, “I told you so.”

For me, climate change is a central and vital reason for being energy efficient. Right after smart transportation choices, energy efficiency at home and in business is the single biggest step we can take to decrease our carbon output and our impact on global warming. However, even if you are a climate change skeptic, what’s good about wasting energy, or anything, for that matter?

Climate change or not, energy efficiency is the best bet when it comes to our region’s economic and environmental health. For your business, it’s a cost-cutting competitive edge. At home, it’s a way to do your wallet a favor.

Seasonal disorientation? Here’s to hoping that a little “normal” weather comes our way soon. Chances are it will, and this drizzly, dumpy spring will be forgotten as soon as the sun comes out — and stays out — for more than five minutes at a time.

Who knows? We could be griping about a heat wave before too long.

Andy Wappler is a senior public relations manager at Puget Sound Energy. He joined PSE in February 2008 after being chief meteorologist at KIRO-TV. Contact: AskAndy@PSE.com.

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