Such changes are necessary, officials said, as Maryland and the nation endure a hot, dry summer, the latest in what seems like a surge in severe weather.
In Maryland, it could prove to be the deadliest weather in years — an updated tally shows heat-related deaths reaching 34, equaling last year’s total with nearly two months of summer left. July, which started with recovery from 762,000 power outages amid 100-degree heat, ended up being the fifth-hottest on record in Baltimore.
The latest heat victims were an elderly Baltimore County woman and two elderly men in Wicomico and Montgomery counties, state officials said Tuesday. No other information on the victims was available. The death toll reached 47 in 2005 and 50 in 2002.
The circumstances are not only prompting a push for a closer look at the electricity grid, but for broader initiatives to prepare for extreme heat, snow, storms and flooding some scientists say could be coming.
“We cannot tolerate the type of disruptions we had just a few weeks ago,” Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin said at the hearing. Adapting to climate change should be considered “a public-safety issue,” he said.
Maryland is particularly vulnerable to climate change because it has the fourth-longest shoreline among the states, testified state Natural Resources Secretary John R. Griffin, one of three panelists invited to discuss programs under way and still needed to prepare for climate change. Global warming risks billions of dollars in waterfront property and investment, wildlife and entire Chesapeake Bay islands, he said.
Climate change is still far from a certainty to many. Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama displayed charts showing more low-temperature records set in recent decades than high-temperature records. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, pointed out that Oklahoma Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe has called global warming an elaborate hoax. Sanders asked the scientists if it was a hoax.
The scientists confirmed that most in their field see climate change as an “unequivocal” fact, but some disagree.
“How much can we demand this economy pay to meet [what] is not being proven by empirical fact?” Sessions
You can read the rest of this article at: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2012-08-01/news/bs-md-climate-change-20120801_1_climate-change-climate-change-talks-severe-weather