This summer, a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that coastal flooding and more extreme precipitation were strongly linked to human-induced climate change and are expected to get worse in the future.
Scientists said they could have only "low confidence" about the historic link between hurricanes and climate change. But, the report said, it's likely that heavy rainfall associated with hurricanes will become more intense.
"A changing climate leads to changes in the frequency, intensity, spatial extent, duration, and timing of extreme weather and climate events, and can result in unprecedented extreme weather and climate events," the IPCC report concluded.
Emissions from coal-fired power plants are among the largest sources of global-warming pollution, and scientists have recommended swift cuts in carbon dioxide emissions to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.
In response to the Gazette's question, Democrat Sue Thorn, who is trying to unseat McKinley in the state's 1st Congressional District, said West Virginia needs to "develop safe methods of extracting and utilizing fossil fuels, new ways to increase our current energy efficiency, as well as the efficiency and availability of renewable energy systems.
"Such a transition to a smart grid and a replenishable, never-ending supply of energy will not only mean a slower warming of our planet, but also tremendous job opportunities in construction and energy production for our state and nation well into the future of our kids and grandkids," Thorn said. "The question for us in West Virginia is whether we take a lead in determining our future or leave our future for others to determine for us."
Bob Henry Baber, a Mountain Party candidate running against Manchin, urged West Virginians to help fight climate change by increasing their energy conservation efforts.
"I challenge all of us, myself included, to exercise more, buy less, consolidate trips, turn off the lights, recycle, purchase low-consumption appliances, take advantage of passive solar heat in construction, adjust our thermostats, and quit wasting food and water," Baber said.
Jesse Johnson, the Mountain Party candidate in the governor's race, said, "I'm the only gubernatorial candidate who believes in climate change" and that "the new weather patterns that is has produced are exacerbated by man."
"The time is now for West Virginia to step into a leadership position as a government of, for and by the people," Johnson said. "Government regulates business and enhances its ability to provide for the common good of the people."
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.