Snow in Los Angeles?: The Increasing Threat of Climate Change

On Thursday, February 21st, it snowed in Los Angeles. Known for its sunshine and perfect beach weather, snow in Los Angeles is a rare occasion. In fact, the last time it snowed in Los Angeles was in January of 1962 – over 57 years ago.[1] The snow fell at elevations below 1,500 feet while temperatures were still in the 50’s – not even close to below freezing. The past five years have been the warmest on record in the LA region, so why the sudden snowfall? Snowfall in LA used to occur more frequently, approximately every five to ten years. But in a warming world where snowfall only happens every 50 years, “it’s starting to feel like the cold temperatures are weirder and more unusual.”[2] As the snow fell in Los Angeles, people took to Twitter to express their shock and excitement. One Twitter user, however, stated the following: “Snow in LA is nothing to celebrate … It’s a warning to start serving the planet better."[3]

A day before this unexpected and shocking snowfall, it was reported in an article published by the New York Times that President Trump “is preparing to establish a panel to examine whether climate change affects national security, despite existing reports from his own government showing global warming is a growing threat."[4] The committee would have 12 members, including William Happer, a white house advisor whose views are opposed to the current consensus on climate change, which is that it is a real problem that requires immediate attention. Happer is known in the scientific community for his bold claim that, “carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas that scientists say is trapping heat and warming the planet – is beneficial to humanity” (emphasis added).[5] President Trump has chosen time and time again to ignore scientific findings of the increasing danger and effects of climate change. In regards to Trump’s climate change committee, US Representative Adam Smith (D-WA) made the following statement: “At every turn here they have tried to basically bury the science behind climate change … It is simply not debatable from a scientific standpoint. Climate change will lead to instability in parts of the world that are fairly predictable."[5]

According to the 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment, some hazards of climate change include “extreme weather, higher temperatures, droughts, floods, wildfires, storms, sea level rise, soil degradation and acidifying oceans,” which “[threaten] infrastructure, health, water, and food security."[6] The viewpoints on climate change that President Trump and his committee hold are dangerous and detrimental to the wellbeing of the Earth and all of its inhabitants. The scientific research on the increasingly harmful effects of climate change is right in front of our eyes in the form of unanticipated snowfall in Los Angeles, yet it is still being discounted and overlooked. We have already witnessed numerous wildfires in California that have caused immense amounts of damage and pain within communities, and it is time to treat climate change like the serious threat that it is. According to Robinson Meyer, staff writer at The Atlantic, “The 21st century will be dominated by climate change in the same way that … the 19th century in the West was dominated by modernity or industry … there won’t be an area of human life that is untouched by it."[7]












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