Kay likened this to how people in medieval times would throw their trash and sewage into the streets.
“We ask, ‘How could they have done that?’ Well, we’re doing the exact same thing,” said Kay.
Kay said that the largest source of global warming is the burning of fossil fuels, and that the Earth’s temperature is rising every year, with a 72 percent chance that 2020 will be the hottest year on record. She also explained that climate change is resulting in an increase of new infectious diseases.
“This year, we are setting new records, and these are not records we want to see,” said Kay.
Grothe spoke about climate change in the context of COVID-19, and how CO2 levels have changed in Virginia.
“With the major economies locked down for months at a time, you’ve heard about the cleaner air, the clearer skies, and the reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, despite the lockdowns the pandemic will really have no effect on climate change,” said Grothe.
Grothe explained that the atmosphere is like a bathtub and CO2 emissions are the faucet.
“We may have turned the faucet down just a bit, but fossil fuels are still being burned, so they’re still accumulating in the atmosphere. It takes tens of thousands of years for carbon in the atmosphere to cycle through. This is why this is an emergency and the problem won’t just go away,” said Grothe.
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