Which, of course, makes this the perfect time to ponder global warming.
When it's this cold, in the dead of winter, it's hard for a lot of us to appreciate the dire warnings of scientists about climate change. Are they serious? Turns out: yes. They are.
A major reportis coming out this week from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) meeting in Paris. The draft that's been reported on the wires is unbelievably grim, and frightening: droughts have gotten longer, seas have warmed and expanded and carbon dioxide levels have risen sharply. And the forecast for the rest of this century? You better sit down. It's worse. Don't leave home without an umbrella, or lots of sunscreen: it's anticipated that it's going to get hotter, and lot rainier, with sea ice melting and ocean levels rising. There's more and more evidence that much of this is not just a freak of nature. It's man-made.
If that weren't enough to keep you up at night, there's the news yesterday from Washington.
To quote the AP:
"Climate scientists at seven government agencies say they have been subjected to political pressure aimed at downplaying the threat of global warming.Democrat Henry Waxman and Republican Tom Davis both say the White House is refusing to hand over documents on climate change.
The groups presented a survey that shows two in five of the 279 climate scientists who responded to a questionnaire complained that some of their scientific papers had been edited in a way that changed their meaning. Nearly half of the 279 said in response to another question that at some point they had been told to delete reference to "global warming" or "climate change" from a report."
Said Waxman: "We know that the White House possesses documents that contain evidence of an attempt by senior administration officials to mislead the public by injecting doubt into the science of global warming and minimize the potential danger."
Given the news that is coming out of Europe this week, it seems more urgent that we all know what is happening and why. No one from either party should be playing politics with the planet.
After all, it's the only one we've got.