Our World is Changing in Ways We Would Rather Deny

 

Welcome to the new normal: It’s called a Polycrisis  to describe multiple crises occurring simultaneously. The term polycrisis illuminates how global crises are interconnected, entwining and worsening one another. It, of course, includes  America’s summer of heat, floods, and climate change. The United States is hardly alone in its share of climate disasters. 2022 wasn’t just a freak summer. Arctic sea ice algae is heavily contaminated with microplastics;  Fast-warming Europe risks more droughts as Alps glaciers melt at a record rate. Nearly 1 in 5 Americans live in communities with harmful air quality.  The ocean warming study is so distressing that scientists don’t want to talk about it.

Breathing in any smoke can cause damage to one’s lungs, heart, and brain, but fireworks contain many harmful particles that are different from other sources of air pollution. In addition to the fine particulate pollution, they contain a mix of metals, which produce the colors in the “rockets red glare” but can also be toxic to people — like lead, the EPA said.

This July 4, 2023, the average global temperature reached 62.92 degrees Fahrenheit, setting a new single-day record, according to data from the U.S. National Centers for Climate Prediction analyzed by the institute. This surpassed the previous record set just a day earlier on July 3, 2023, when temperatures averaged 62.62 degrees.

The Washington Post’s Heat Index Forecast estimated that 57 million people were exposed to dangerous temperatures on Tuesday. Experts warn that more record-breaking temperatures may be on the horizon. Robert Rohde of the University of California, Berkeley explained on Twitter that this is due to the combination of El Niño and global warming and that even warmer days may be expected over the next six weeks.

Nearly one in five Americans live in communities with harmful air quality. The most severe impacts are felt in the Western United States, where increasing wildfires have worsened air pollution. People of color are also disproportionately affected.

Elevated levels of toxic metals detected in popular drinks.  A new study led by Tulane University has found that various commonly consumed beverages, such as single and mixed fruit juices, plant-based milk, sodas, and teas, contain toxic metals exceeding federal drinking water standards.

By measuring the concentrations of 25 toxic metals and trace elements in 60 beverages frequently found in grocery stores, the experts discovered that five contained such potentially dangerous substances above federal drinking water standards.

Giant blobs of seaweed are hitting Florida. Heat waves fueled by climate change topple records around the globe. Underwater heat waves could be reshaping the weather around the world.

Over the years, such extreme events are occurring in increasing frequency and intensity, magnifying the human and financial cost of these disasters. We’re headed for 4 degrees of global warming and looking at a future where we cannot stop climate change. A colossal iceberg trapped near Antarctica’s ‘Doomsday Glacier’ for 20 years is finally on the move.

There has been a devastating’ melt of Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. A once-stable glacier in Greenland is now rapidly disappearing.  The unexpected melting of Greenland Glacier could double sea-level rise projections.

The current climate path will lead to the collapse of life on Earth, say scientists. Failing to limit the global temperature to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels could trigger tipping points and lead to the collapse of life on Earth, two climate scientists have warned.

He also said that how the Earth’s natural systems behave after 1.5C is unknown and that it will likely trigger five tipping points which would see the Earth heat uncontrollably towards disaster.

The five tipping points identified are the melting of the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, the melting of permafrost in the far north, a mass die-off of tropical coral reefs, and melting sea ice in the Bering Sea.

A study of almost 2,000 lakes, covering 95 percent of the world’s lake water, showed that they lost 53 percent of their water storage in over 30 years — three times more than previously estimated. Climate change caused about 36 percent of this loss for natural lakes. For both natural and human-made lakes, climate change and human consumption accounted for 47 to 65 percent of the loss, the study said.

The research also found that one in four people worldwide lives near a lake that is drying up, highlighting “the need to include climate change and sedimentation impacts in sustainable water resources management.”
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A recent study by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has found that we are headed toward a sixth mass extinction. The study, which analyzed more than 70,000 species across the globe, found that 48% of these species are declining in population size, with fewer than 3% seeing increases. The IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species classifies about 28% of species as under threat of extinction.

The main drivers of this extinction crisis are destroying wild landscapes to make way for farms, towns, cities, roads, and climate change. Climate change is already significantly impacting many species and is predicted to have an increasingly worse impact as the world warms.

The IUCN study is a stark warning of the consequences of human activity on the natural world. If we do not take action to protect our planet’s biodiversity, we could lose millions of species in the coming decades.

‘Frightening’: record-busting heat and drought hit Europe in 2022

El Niño is coming, and ocean temps are already at record highs – that can spell disaster for fish and corals

The threat of climate change is real and urgent. It affects our lives in many ways, such as higher temperatures, more extreme weather, and more frequent natural disasters. Global weather patterns are changing due to climate change, and the future looks grim. For example, California has experienced severe droughts, floods, blizzards, and winds in the past few months, causing deaths and damages.

The state has also recorded the highest snowpack ever, which raises questions about how a warmer climate will impact it. Meanwhile, scientists warn that deadly tornadoes that have struck parts of the US are a sign of more damage from global heating. These tornadoes and storms have killed over 50 people in Alabama, Illinois, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Massive amounts of methane gas spew from wildfires.

Climate report: Earth just had its second-warmest March on record

Globally, March 2023 was the second-warmest March in the 174-year NOAA record. The year-to-date (January–March) global surface temperature was the fourth warmest on record. According to NCEI’s Global Annual Temperature Outlook, it is virtually certain (>99.0%) that the year 2023 will rank among the 10-warmest years on record, and there is a 96% chance it will rank among the top five.

Coinciding with the release of the January 2023 Global Climate Report, the NOAA Global Surface Temperature (NOAAGlobalTemp) dataset version 5.1.0 replaced version 5.0.0. This new version includes complete global coverage and an extension of the data record back in time an additional 30 years to January 1850. While anomalies and ranks might differ slightly from what was reported previously, the main conclusions regarding global climate change are similar to the previous version. Please see NOAA’s Commonly Asked Questions Document and web story for additional information.

Our overheating world is likely to break a key temperature limit for the first time over the next few years, scientists predict.

Researchers say there’s now a 66% chance we will pass the 1.5C global warming threshold between now and 2027.

The chances are rising due to emissions from human activities and a likely El Niño weather pattern later this year.

If the world passes the limit, scientists stress the breach, while worrying, will likely be temporary.

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Hitting the threshold would mean the world is 1.5C warmer than it was during the second half of the 19th Century, before fossil fuel emissions from industrialisation really began to ramp up.

And breaking the limit even for just one year is a worrying sign that warming is accelerating and not slowing down.

The 1.5C figure has become a symbol of global climate change negotiations. Countries agreed to “pursue efforts” to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Going over 1.5C yearly for a decade or two would see far greater warming impacts, such as longer heatwaves, more intense storms, and wildfires.

But passing the level in one of the next few years would not mean that the Paris limit had been broken. Scientists say there is still time to restrict global warming by cutting emissions sharply.

Our overheating world is likely to break a key temperature limit for the first time over the next few years, scientists predict.

Researchers say there’s now a 66% chance we will pass the 1.5C global warming threshold between now and 2027.

The chances are rising due to emissions from human activities and a likely El Niño weather pattern later this year.

If the world passes the limit, scientists stress the breach, while worrying, will likely be temporary.

Hitting the threshold would mean the world is 1.5C warmer than it was during the second half of the 19th Century before fossil fuel emissions from industrialization began to ramp up.

And breaking the limit even for just one year is a worrying sign that warming is accelerating and not slowing down.

The 1.5C figure has become a symbol of global climate change negotiations. Countries agreed to “pursue efforts” to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Going over 1.5C yearly for a decade or two would see far greater warming impacts, such as longer heatwaves, more intense storms, and wildfires.

But passing the level in one of the next few years would not mean that the Paris limit had been broken. Scientists say there is still time to restrict global warming by cutting emissions sharply.

Implausible heat is everywhere. Looking at historical data from 1959 to 2021, we found that 31% of Earth’s land surface has already experienced such statistically implausible heat (though the Pacific Northwest heatwave is exceptional even among these events). These regions are spread all across the globe with no clear spatial pattern.

Socioeconomic factors, including population size, population growth, and level of development, will exacerbate these impacts. As a result, we factor in population and economic development projections in our assessment of the regions that are most at risk globally.

The first is that statistically implausible heatwaves can occur anywhere on the Earth, and we must be very cautious about using the historical record in isolation to estimate the “maximum” heatwave possible. Policymakers across the globe should prepare for exceptional heatwaves that would be deemed implausible based on current records.

The second is that there are many regions whose historical record is not exceptional and, therefore, more likely to be broken. These regions have been lucky so far, but as a result, they are likely to be less well-prepared for an unprecedented heatwave in the near future. These regions must prepare for more intense heatwaves than they have already experienced.

Republicans have been lying to their voters in the Midwest and South for decades, and now those same voters are dying as a result of unprecedented severe weather that ties directly back to those lies. As more and more people are killed by extraordinarily severe weather in places where it used to be unusual, it will get harder and harder to keep Red State citizens from finding out how badly the unholy alliance between Republicans and oil barons has screwed them.

The record-breaking temperatures seen in the summer of 2022, with temperatures exceeding 40ºC for the first time here in human history, brought unprecedented numbers of heat-related deaths, wildfire incidents and significant infrastructure disruption.. Climate change means many weather extremes driving these impacts will continue to get worse for several decades at least.”

Breaks Summer Heat Record Set During Dust Bowl in 1936: NOAA

The United States in June, July, and August were the hottest since records began, including the Dust Bowl summer of 1936. The combination of high temperatures with drought in some regions and high precipitation in others led to a summer of weather extremes all closely tied to global warming and the climate emergency.

Just months ago, one of the biggest environmental stories out of California and much of the western U.S. was a drought — megadrought to be exact. According to the Forest Service, 9.5 million trees died last year in California, mostly fir and pine died. Now as the region has been drenched with record rains and snow in recent weeks, California is having its 12th atmospheric river this winter following the historic drought. Though the wet weather is not without its problems, including flooding and landslides, scientists say it has started to fill up some of the country’s biggest reservoirs that were previously dangerously low.

Climate change added at least 10% more rain to Hurricane Ian, a study prepared immediately after the storm shows. MIT hurricane researcher Kerry Emanuel said in general, a warmer world does make storms rainier.

Scientists have predicted that droughts and floods will become more frequent and severe as our planet warms and climate changes.   Now a new NASA-led study confirms that major droughts and pluvials – periods of excessive precipitation and water storage on land – have indeed been occurring more often.

In the study published March 13, 2023, in the journal Nature Water, two NASA scientists examined 20 years of data from the NASA/German GRACE and GRACE-FO satellites to identify extreme wet and dry events. Floods and droughts account for more than 20% of the economic losses caused by extreme weather events in the U.S. each year. The economic impacts are similar around the world, though the human toll tends to be most devastating in poor neighborhoods and developing nations.

The scientists also found that the worldwide intensity of these extreme wet and dry events – a metric that combines extent, duration, and severity – is closely linked to global warming.

From 2015-2021 – seven of the nine warmest years in the modern record – the frequency of extreme wet and dry events was four per year, compared with three per year in the previous 13 years. This makes sense, say the authors because warmer air causes more moisture to evaporate from Earth’s surface during dry events; warm air can also hold more moisture to fuel severe snowfall and rainfall events.

“Climate change is sometimes misunderstood as being about changes in the weather. In reality,  it is about changes in our very way of life.” – Paul Polman. The West is running out of water. Lake Mead and Shasta Lake are running dry and are projected the water supply is headed toward catastrophic failure. Entire cities like Las Vegas and Phoenix exist because of these waters. They sustain California’s agriculture, which is America’s breadbasket.

The world is facing an imminent water crisis, with demand expected to outstrip the supply of fresh water by 40% by the end of this decade, experts have said on the eve of a crucial UN water summit.” in the next seven years, we are going to run out of water. This finding — demand exceeding supply by 40% — comes from a new report by the Global Water Commission. It’s the first of its kind from this organization.

We now face the prospect of a 40% shortfall in freshwater supply by 2030, with severe shortages in water-constrained regions. And fundamentally, as the science and evidence show, this mismanagement of water has pushed the global water cycle out of balance for the first time in human history. We have breached the planetary boundaries for water that keep the Earth’s system safe for humanity and all life.

The U.S. is facing scorching heat in the summer of 2022 with more than two dozen states experiencing heat warnings and many Americans being exposed to temperatures higher than 90 degrees. The deadly weather is severe on its own, but it’s also a sign of what’s to come as the planet heats up due to climate change. A quarter of the U.S. will fall inside an extreme heat belt. Breathing is going to get tougher as hotter temperatures mean more air pollution.

Here are the 10 cities with the worst air pollution in the United States:

10. Central areas in Birmingham, Alabama
9. A semi-circle of neighborhoods in central Atlanta
8. Semi-rural areas in central Pennsylvania
7. A swath of the St Louis Metro Area
6. A large portion of Houston
5. A central swath of Indianapolis, Indiana
4. North-west Indiana industrial zones
3. Chicago’s South and West Sides
2. South Los Angeles
1. Bakersfield, California – The area around Bakersfield, an agricultural town in California’s Central Valley 100 miles north of Los Angeles, has the most unhealthful air in America.

The last eight years have been the warmest on record, researchers say
Concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane have continued to rise despite an urgent need to reduce them.

Last year was the fifth hottest ever recorded on the planet, the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service announced Tuesday. It was part of an unabated broader warming trend as humans continue to pump massive amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Extreme heat waves in Europe, Asia, and the United States — which stemmed in part from more than a century of burning fossil fuels — helped drive 2022’s unusual warmth, researchers found. Twelve European countries broke temperature records in 2022.

Europe sweltered through its hottest summer on record and its second-hottest year overall, researchers said. Pakistan experienced catastrophic flooding as a result of extreme rainfall. In February, Antarctic Sea ice reached its lowest minimum in 44 years of satellite records and the Arctic sea ice is melting worse and faster than expected, studies show.

Rising temperatures and pollution have led to an explosive growth of harmful algal blooms, contaminating drinking water and harming human health.

The year “2022 was yet another … of climate extremes across Europe and globally. These events highlight that we are already experiencing the devastating consequences of our warming world,” Samantha Burgess, deputy director of Copernicus, said in a statement announcing the annual findings.

The world is facing an imminent water crisis, with demand expected to outstrip the supply of fresh water by 40% by the end of this decade, experts have said on the eve of a crucial UN water summit.

Governments must urgently stop subsidizing the extraction and overuse of water through misdirected agricultural subsidies, and industries from mining to manufacturing must be made to overhaul their wasteful practices, according to a landmark report on the economics of water.

Nations must start to manage water as a global common good because most countries are highly dependent on their neighbors for water supplies, and overuse, pollution and the climate crisis threaten water supplies globally, the report’s authors say.

Johan Rockstrom, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and co-chair of the Global Commission on the Economics of Water, and a lead author of the report told the Guardian the world’s neglect of water resources was leading to disaster. “The scientific evidence is that we have a water crisis. We are misusing water, polluting water, and changing the whole global hydrological cycle, through what we are doing to the climate. It’s a triple crisis.”

As the water gets more scarce and the land becomes hotter, drier, and harder to live upon, the discontent of MAGA Republicans could very well metastasize into violence — especially if California discourages the rebuilding of fire-destroyed towns. Likewise, flooding in seacoast towns all over America results in governments refusing to rebuild in these areas all but certain to be devastated by hurricanes again.

Drought has become a way of life in some parts of the United States. Long-term shifts in streamflow could signal a fundamental change in climate that scientists believe the country’s infrastructure is not designed to endure. Wells are running dry in the drought-weary Southwest as foreign-owned farms guzzle water to feed cattle overseas.

Water levels at one of the UK’s largest reservoirs has dropped to just 20 percent of its capacity amid fears of shortages this winter in England.

For small islands, climate change is life and death. Some islands will be swallowed up. The effect on lost cities from the U.S. coastline is even more dramatic.

Political conflicts occur when idealogy is at odds with reality. Florida congressmen are requesting emergency funding to make repairs resulting from Hurricane Ian. In the month before Ian, they opposed legislation that provided billions in disaster relief.  They can’t have their cake (their ideological rigidity) and eat it, too. More anger, more potential for violence.

Solutions to growing water shortages are hard to achieve. A proposal to use ocean water to desalinate seawater in Mexico, at the Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortez, and send it north across the border. The panel concluded that California shouldn’t pursue such a plan, citing costs estimated in the tens of billions of dollars, harm to the coastal environment, and a construction timeline that would take many years before any water would reach the lake.

Scientists have long warned that climate change will adversely affect weather patterns and living conditions around the world. These warnings are now turning into a painful reality. Worse, the range of possible outcomes has proven to be increasingly “fat-tailed”: extreme weather events such as heatwaves, severe storms, and floods are more likely than normal statistical distributions would predict.

California produces more than one-third of U.S. vegetables and three-quarters of domestic fruits and nuts.

The drought is echoing through beef supply chains, resulting in higher prices for consumers for at least the next two years – and likely be the last straw for many small family-run cattle herds that are a key part of the cattle industry.

What lies ahead are inevitably higher food prices and shortages.

In California, desalination offers only a partial solution to growing drought
As the water in the Western U.S. becomes an increasingly rare commodity, the driest states are grasping at solutions for an even drier future — investing heavily in technologies to maximize the conservation, and creation, of the region’s most precious resource.

With more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Ocean coastline, California appears to have access to a wellspring that other arid states lack. The technology to transform that unlimited sea supply into potable drinking water has existed for decades, through a process called desalination. Yet while two new desalination plants have received approvals in the past couple of months, California’s coast isn’t exactly teeming with such facilities.

That’s because the technology, which is both expensive and energy-intensive, can leave behind a mammoth-sized footprint on both surrounding communities and marine life, even as it helps quench the thirst of a parched citizenry.

 

Seattle

Portland

Boise

Shasta

Lake

Salt Lake

City

Lake

Oroville

Denver

San Francisco

Lake

Powell

Las

Vegas

Lake

Mead

Albuquerque

Los Angeles

Phoenix

San Diego

100 mi

100 km

Source: EPA

The big picture: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 600 people in the U.S. each year are killed by extreme heat, though other studies put the figure much higher.

A 2020 study looking at counties representing about 62 percent of the U.S. population found that in those alone, there were an average of 5,608 heat-attributed deaths each year between 1997 and 2006.

The Arctic is warming at a more rapid pace than previously thought — and four times faster than the world at large, according to research published in the journal Communications Earth & Environment. A heat wave at -37˚C? that’s bad news at the South Pole
Arctic’s Last Ice Area May Disappear During Summer Months
Melting the Antarctic could impact oceans ‘for centuries.’

Because of the killing heat, crops are beginning to fail. like everything from cocoa to coffee to wheat to sugar to mustard is beginning to decline.

Extreme heat kills more people each year in the U.S. than in any other kind of natural disaster. A recent study found that more than a third of all heat deaths worldwide can be pinned on climate change. Parts of the U.S. are feeling the danger now.

Extreme heat uncovers lost villages, ancient ruins, and shipwrecks

In an eerie twist, volatile weather and heat-induced drought are unearthing glimpses of lost archaeological treasures and forgotten history.

 The U.S. is responsible for about 25 percent of all planet-warming emissions currently in the atmosphere, while Guatemala, for example, has contributed roughly 0.0002 percent. But more 75 percent of the heat deaths in that country can be linked to climate change.

Blistering heat waves have smashed temperature records around the globe this summer, scorching crops, knocking out power, fueling wildfires, buckling roads and runways, and killing hundreds in Europe alone.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, 96 large active fires have burned 690,030 acres in eight states so far this summer, mostly concentrated in areas spanning the Northwest, Great Basin, and Northern Rockies. Smoke from the fires has been compromising air quality.

The sudden shift from an abstract threat to reality has many people wondering: is climate change unfolding faster than scientists had expected? Are these extreme events more extreme than studies had predicted they would be, given the levels of greenhouse gases now in the atmosphere?

Every day, car tires produce vastly more particle pollution than exhaust. Tire particles contain a wide range of toxic organic compounds, making them subject to regulation.

A new poll in 2022 finds that the majority of households in the U.S. have been affected by extreme weather events, which have led to health and financial problems for some.  some report serious health problems (24 percent) or financial problems (17 percent). Fourteen percent of them say that they’ve had to evacuate from their homes and 14 percent say that they’ve suffered damage to their home or property.

Heat and Melting Ice

Global warming is causing glaciers and ice sheets to melt. Nearly 1 in 3 Americans experienced a weather disaster this summer. The expanding reach of climate-fueled disasters, a trend that has been increasing at least since 2018, shows the extent to which a warming planet has already transformed Americans’ lives. The American West is in the hottest and driest 23-year period in at least 1,200 years. The frequency of extremely hot weather and record temperatures and rainfall has increased around the world as a result of global warming, according to an international research project. Extreme heat kills more Californians every year than any other extreme weather event.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) declared 2021 was one of the planet’s seven hottest years since records began. It was a year of weather extremes. The year was about 1.11℃ above pre-industrial levels—the seventh year in a row that the average global temperature rise edged over 1℃. The WMO report echoes two separate official US analyses released last week that found 2021 was the sixth hottest year on record, tied with 2018.

Arctic temperatures soared to an unprecedented 100 degrees in 2020. 2021 experienced a tornado that is the longest one on record in the United States in a month in which tornadoes do not usually occur. Many of these events were exacerbated by climate change. Scientists say there are more to come – and worse – as the Earth’s atmosphere continues to warm through the next decade and beyond.

Heat-related deaths are occurring in regions that typically have milder climates, according to a University of Washington study published in August 2022 in the journal Atmosphere.

Global warming is causing more frequent and longer heat waves. Extreme heat causes crop losses, power failures, and school closures, and will test the “limits of human survivability.”

Based on the number of greenhouse gases humans have already added to the Earth’s atmosphere, the world is already guaranteed to experience  5 feet of sea-level rise in the coming decade. The first country to be swallowed up by the sea will be Kiribati, a small nation on a Pacific atoll. 64 percent of Americans live in places that experienced a multi-day heatwave in the past three months of 2021.  Mountain glaciers hold less ice than previously thought – it’s a concern for future water supplies but a drop in the bucket for sea-level rise.

Environmental threats are among our greatest risks by likelihood and severity of consequences.  This has been brought home by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic’s severe storms, fires, hurricanes, coastal storms, and floods. The eight worst wildfire weather years on record happened in the last decade. The rise in pollutants from forest fires in the Western states is reversing a decade of clean air gains in the U.S., according to a new study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Extreme winds, topography,  and vegetation influence the severity of mega-fires.

The climate crisis is turning the Arctic green. In northern Norway, trees are rapidly taking over the tundra and threatening an ancient way of life that depends on snow and ice.  The changes ahead may also bring the beginning of the end – a final termination – for many glaciers north and south,

Humidity

When it comes to measuring global warming, humidity, not just heat, matters in generating dangerous climate extremes, a new study finds. Researchers say temperature by itself isn’t the best way to measure climate change’s weird weather and downplays impacts in the tropics. But factoring in air moisture along with heat shows that climate change since 1980 is near twice as bad as previously calculated. The energy generated in extreme weather, such as storms, floods, and rainfall is related to the amount of water in the air. So a team of scientists in the U.S. and China decided to use an obscure weather measurement called equivalent potential temperature — or theta-e — that reflects “the moisture energy of the atmosphere.”

Wildfires in Colorado raged through the end of 2021. More than 500 families may enter a new year having lost their homes after runaway grass fires bore down on the region northwest of Denver. Approximately 34,000 residents of the towns of Superior and Louisville in Boulder County fled the “life-threatening” situation Thursday as 100-mph-plus winds acted like a turbine fanning the flames.. Residents remained barred from some adjacent municipalities as the Colorado State Patrol warned that flames were still present.

Climate change has destabilized the Earth’s poles, putting the rest of the planet in peril. These warm conditions are catastrophic for the sea ice that usually spans across the North Pole. This past summer saw the second-lowest extent of thick, old sea ice since tracking began in 1985. Large mammals like polar bears go hungry without this crucial platform from which to hunt. Marine life ranging from tiny plankton to giant whales is at risk.  The Greenland Ice Sheet Shrunk for 25th Year Straight in 2021, Report Shows.

Biden has told the nation “We can’t wait any longer to deal with the climate crisis. “We see it with our own eyes and it’s time to act.”

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said “Floods in New York are a reminder of what is at stake if we do not build resilient infrastructure while meeting the climate crisis. “American transit doesn’t just need repairs, it needs upgrades to withstand the climate challenges of the 21st century.”

Trapped under Earth’s permafrost – ground that remains frozen for a minimum of two years – are untold quantities of greenhouse gases, microbes, and chemicals, including the now-banned pesticide DDT. As the planet warms, permafrost is thawing at an increasing rate, as reported by the Environmental News Network.  A paper published earlier this year in the journal Nature Reviews Earth & Environment looked at the current state of permafrost research. Along with highlighting conclusions about permafrost thaw, the paper focuses on how researchers are seeking to address the questions surrounding it.

Infrastructure is already affected: Thawing permafrost has led to giant sinkholes, slumping telephone poles, damaged roads, and runways, and toppled trees. More difficult to see is what has been trapped in permafrost’s mix of soil, ice, and dead organic matter. Research has looked at how chemicals like DDT and microbes – some of which have been frozen for thousands, if not millions, of years – could be released from thawing permafrost.

The risk of infectious diseases is now ranked at Number One, while in 2020 it came in 10th place.  Regardless of where COVID-D came from – passage from animals to humans or in a laboratory, we can expect new variants like Delta and Omicron named a “variant of concern”  and new diseases, like the Havana Syndrome.    COVID-19 is spreading to animals.  15 species in the U.S.—including cats, dogs, tigers, lions, hyenas, hippos, and white-tailed deer— have contracted the virus that causes COVID-19 so far. Might it spread to animals we use for food?

The U.N. climate summit, known as COP26 this year, brings officials from almost 200 countries to Glasgow to haggle over the best measures to combat global warming.

Drought

The American West has spent the last two decades in what scientists are now saying is the most extreme megadrought in at least 1,200 years. In a new study, researchers also noted that human-caused climate change is a significant driver of the unprecedented drought parching the U.S. Southwest since 2020.  They found the drought would not have reached its current punishing intensity without the extremely high temperatures brought by human-caused global warming. destructive conditions and offered a grim prognosis: even drier decades lie ahead. 

As part of their analysis, the team compared observations of precipitation and temperature across six southwestern states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah—for the 20-month period from January 2020 through August 2021. Many areas in the region experienced three successive “failed” wet seasons; the 2019-2020 winter wet season, the 2020 June-August North American monsoon, and the 2020-2021 winter wet season were all below average.    The cumulative precipitation for the 20-month period was the lowest on record, dating back to 1895. That left almost the entire western half of the contiguous United States in some level of drought at the end of August. 2021.  Drought in the breadbasket states of the midwest.

Lake Powell, the country’s second-largest reservoir and a key source of water and power for much of the West, is more parched than ever. In March 2022 month, the lake dropped below 25% capacity, the federal government said and has also lost 7% of its total potential capacity since 1963.

California has adopted drought rules outlawing water wasting, with fines of up to $500. In an effort to discourage wasteful water practices such as hosing off driveways or allowing irrigation water to run down streets, California water officials have imposed new drought rules for cities and towns throughout the state.

Water Shortages Rise to Crisis

Farmers use a majority of our groundwater, but corporations like Nestle and Coca-Cola in making their products, and companies like Google, who use billions of gallons of water a year to cool their servers.

We drink water to survive, to make food, to bathe, to wash our clothes, and use the bathroom. Every time you flush the toilet, it uses at least a gallon of water — and that’s an efficient model. Older toilets use six or seven gallons.

We already pay for our water.   Besides all that is sold in stores, if you live in a house, you have a water bill. If you live in an apartment, it’s factored into your rent.

Pure, clean drinking water will become one of the most valuable assets on earth worth more than oil. Imagine if the only way you could afford water was from public fountains and restrooms.

Groundwater accounts for nearly half of the domestic and agricultural water supply in the United States. Our current consumption of water vastly outstrips the water table refill rate, and demand is only expected to increase in the coming decades.; every nation on Earth is scrambling for freshwater reserves. The United States is not alone in this problem. The more groundwater we use, the less there is. This is because surfaces on the ground from which water has been extracted settle and close spaces once occupied by groundwater.

It is not only water that is being overly consumed; this applies to all types of commodities.  For example, Germany needs three planets for all it consumes.

In 2018, Cape Town came perilously close to ‘Day Zero’  that is, four million city inhabitants would have been left without water. Now another city, Nelson Mandela Bay, is facing acute water shortages and risks approaching its own Day Zero.

In increasingly dry western Kansas, underground water makes everything possible. Irrigation for crops. Stock water for cattle. Drinking water for towns. In increasingly dry western Kansas, underground water makes everything possible. Irrigation for crops. Stock water for cattle. Drinking water for towns. The Ogallala Aquifer provides 70-80% of the water used by Kansans each day. But the aquifer is drying up at an accelerating rate. Aquifer water levels across western and central Kansas dropped by more than a foot on average this past year. That’s the biggest single-year decrease since 2015, according to the Kansas Geological Survey’s annual report.

And while the aquifer is losing that foot of water, it’s barely being refilled. In most of western Kansas, less than one inch of water seeps underground to recharge the aquifer each year.

Water Moves

Water is moving away from dry regions towards wet regions, causing droughts to worsen in parts of the globe while intensifying rainfall events and flooding in others. In other words, wet areas are getting wetter, and dry areas are getting drier.  Because around 80 percent of global rainfall and evaporation happens over the ocean, while land gets drier, the oceans get fuller. In dense cities, only around 20% of rain actually infiltrates the soil. Instead, water drains and pipes carry it away.

In addition to obvious consequences like crop and sanitation failure, groundwater depletion can lead to disastrous social conflicts and even war. Between 2007 and 2010, drought in Syria drove millions of rural people into cities, where tensions quickly mounted and civil war ensued. Competition among nations for freshwater will only intensify.

There is a worldwide movement that seeks to restore water’s natural tendency to linger in places like wetlands and floodplains instead of tightly confining rivers with levees, putting buildings or parking lots where water wants to linger so it can be used, or erecting dams. In China, the idea of giving water space has been elevated from a fringe concept to a national mission.

Scientists are using the geological record of the deep sea to discover that past global warming has sped up deep ocean circulation. This is one of the missing links for predicting how future climate change may affect heat and carbon capture by the oceans. More vigorous ocean currents make it easier for carbon and heat to be “mixed in.”

Microscopic marine organisms called plankton use this dissolved carbon to build their shells. They sink down to the seabed after they die, sequestering the carbon. These sedimentary deposits are from the Earth’s largest carbon sink.

Maps indicate that over the last 13 million years as the earth progressively cooled and developed expanding inland ice caps, sediment breaks gradually became less frequent—a tell-tale sign of deep-sea circulation becoming more sluggish.

At the same unusual flooding is afflicting communities around the nation.

Water Quality 

91% of Pennsylvania schools that tested drinking water found lead in their water—only 9% of the schools removed it.  EWG researchers collected and reviewed results from water contaminant tests conducted by water utilities and regulators from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. After combing through the data from almost 50,000 water systems serving tens of millions of American households, the researchers found sweeping drinking water contamination from numerous pollutants such as arsenic, lead, per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), radioactive materials, and pesticides.

Since the 1960s, the extent of an open ocean with low oxygen has increased by roughly the area of the European Union. More than 500 low-oxygen sites have been identified in coastal waters. These “dead zones” can cause mass killings of fish and are contributing to climate change. The problem starts on land with chemical pollution.

Compared to the previous (2019) update to the database, which identified 268 chemicals in America’s water utilities, the new database added 56 new chemicals. These substances are new PFAS or emerging pollutants, such as pesticides and radioactive material, that are currently monitored by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the agency’s Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule. However, these substances have yet to receive any legal limits, thwarting the water systems’ impetus to tackle the contamination, according to EWG.

Currently, the EPA regulates more than 90 contaminants in drinking water, a fraction of the agency’s inventory of more than 85,000 chemicals that fall under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The EPA’s Office of Water has not added any new substances to its regulated list since 2006.

Even for substances that are regulated by the EPA, their “legal limits were set based on outdated science,” Uloma Uche, an environmental health scientist at EWG who helped construct the tap water database, told EHN.

“We are not being exposed to just one contaminant when we’re drinking water,” said Uche. “We’re being exposed to multiple contaminants.”

The EPA’s water regulations “assure that public water systems are monitoring and taking actions to achieve meaningful reductions to human health risks from contaminants in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act,” an EPA spokesperson told EHN. The agency also “has evaluated a number of unregulated drinking water contaminants” under the Safe Drinking Water Act and is taking actions to update its regulations, said the spokesperson.

Consumers can enter their ZIP code into the tap water database and see a report of toxic contaminants in the area’s drinking water as well as safety assessments put together by EWG scientists. In many areas, various dangerous contaminants have been uncovered in water samples, although they were still in compliance with federal health-based drinking water standards.

Although your water is below the legal limit, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is safe from contaminants.

Air Pollution

Exposure to air pollution is linked to the increased severity of mental illness. The most comprehensive study of its kind., involving 13,000 people in London, found that a relatively small increase in exposure to nitrogen dioxide led to a 32% increase in the risk of needing community-based mental health treatment and an 18% increase in the risk of being admitted to hospital.

Other research has shown that small increases in dirty air are linked to significant rises in depression and anxiety and increased suicides.  It reduces intelligence and is linked to dementia. A global review concluded that air pollution may be damaging every organ in the human body.  More than two million people worldwide died of causes attributed to air pollution.  Methane in the atmosphere is at an all-time high; it has more than doubled in the atmosphere since 1750. Fossil fuels emit 70% more methane than governments admit.

The rate of major depression in adolescents increased more than 50% between 2005 and 2017, and the rate of moderate to severe depression in college students nearly doubled between 2007 and 2018.

A Harvard study links air pollution from fracking to early deaths. Among nearby residents. The researchers studied more than 15 million Medicare beneficiaries living in all major fracking regions and gathered data from more than 2.5 million oil and gas wells.

as air pollution may help predict people’s chances of dying from conditions like heart attack and stroke.

Exposure to above-average levels of outdoor air pollution increased the risk of death by 20 percent and increased the risk of death from cardiovascular disease specifically by 17 percent, the survey published in PLoS One  in June 2022.

The use of wood- or kerosene-burning stoves for cooking and heating homes without proper ventilation increased death risk by 23 percent and 9 percent respectively — raising the specific risk of death by cardiovascular disease by 36 percent and 19 percent, the study determined.

Extreme Heat

Extreme humid heat has more than doubled in frequency since 1979 raising the risk of heatstroke. If the hot air is too humid, heat exchange is blocked, and the body loses its primary means of cooling itself. When your body temperature gets too high, your body cooks to the point that your body’s proteins break down, enzymes stop regulating your organs’ functions. and your organs start shutting down. These are heat strokes.

Increased heat, drought, and insect outbreaks, all linked to climate change, have increased wildfires. Increasing global warming and land-use change are driving a global increase in extreme wildfires, with a 14% increase predicted by 2030 and a 30% increase by 2050, according to a UN report. and up to 52 percent by 2100. If emissions are not curbed and the planet heats up more, wildfire risks could rise by up to 57 percent by the end of the century.

Declining water supplies reduced agricultural yields, increased ill-health in cities due to heat, and flooding and erosion in coastal areas are additional concerns.

The city of Abbotsford in British Columbia, just north of the US border near Vancouver, recorded its hottest day ever in late June when temperatures climbed to 109 degrees Fahrenheit during an unprecedented heatwave.

Just 140 days later, it smashed another record: The city observed its wettest day with nearly four inches of heavy rainfall in less than 24 hours.

Depleting Our Reserves

To get an idea of the imprint, humans have made on our planet, consider that all the structures we have built − roads, houses, skyscapes, schools, and churches outweigh all the animals and plants on Earth put together. People and our domestic animals now add up to 95% of the mass of all vertebrates – wild mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians constitute the remaining 5%.

As many as a million species could soon disappear from the face of the Earth in what amounts to the planet’s sixth mass extinction. Two-fifths of the world’s plant species are endangered.  Wetlands mismanagement is endangering 40,000 small but vital plant and animal species, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.  Already wildlife populations have plunged by an average of 69% in just under 50 years as humans continue to clear forests, consume beyond the limits of the planet, and fail to curb pollution.

73% of the planet’s regenerative capacity: that is, what we use for fuel and housing was still within the limits of sustainability. By 2016, the demand for food, fuel, and housing had grown to an unsustainable 170% resulting in around 700 to 800 million people starving, and another one to two billion children and adults malnourished.  Antarctica’s ice is falling into the ocean and this will lead to higher food prices.

Alarming stories from Antarctica are now more frequent than ever; the ice surface is melting, floating ice shelves are collapsing, and glaciers are flowing faster into the ocean.

Antarctica will be the largest source of future sea-level rise. Yet scientists don’t know exactly how this melting will unfold as the climate warms.

Our latest research looks at how the Antarctic ice sheet advanced and retreated over the past 10,000 years. It holds stark warnings, and possibly some hope, for the future.

The Current Imbalance

Future sea-level rise presents one of the most significant challenges of climate change, with economic, environmental, and societal impacts expected for coastal communities around the globe.

While it seems like a distant issue, the changes in Antarctica may soon be felt on our doorsteps, in the form of rising sea levels.

Complex models now gauge the impact of climate change on global food production. Climate change is a “threat multiplier,” with alarming results. It makes hunger emergencies worse. Crop yields could plummet, faster than expected. If crops fail, especially in two or three major breadbasket regions at the same time, as some models began to suggest, millions of people could starve.

Tomatoes are the most popular vegetable in the U.S. The time is approaching when there won’t be enough tomatoes. For the past 30-plus years, on average, the Central Valley would get five to seven days with temperatures above 100°F. This is the physiological threshold beyond which tomato plants cease producing By the end of the century, there could be 40-50 days that ho days per year.

More enormous storms are happening with greater frequency.  Kentucky in December 2021 was battered by another huge storm three weeks after tornadoes killed 80 and injured 100.

Hurricane Ida didn’t inundate New Orleans, but it did its surrounding communities that did not have the massive flood protection systems New Orleans has. How much money for infrastructure can go to save land destined for certain flooding?

Greenland’s immense ice sheet has lost enough ice in the past 20 years to submerge the entire United States in half a meter of water. The climate is warming faster in the Arctic than anywhere else on the planet and melting ice from Greenland is now the main factor in the rise in the Earth’s oceans, according to NASA.

More than two million people have been killed by storms, floods, droughts, and heatwaves since 1970, according to WMO data, as Reuters reported. The data showed that these weather-related natural disasters resulted in $3.64 trillion in damages worldwide. Since the 1970s early warning systems for extreme weather helped reduce the number of people killed by natural disasters by 76 percent, Reuters reported.

As wildfires worsen and sea levels rise, growing numbers of Americans are moving to places such as Vermont and the Appalachian Mountains. These are seen as safe havens from climate change. This population movement will intensify in the coming decades.

Since measurements began in 2002, the Greenland ice sheet has lost about 4,700 billion tonnes of ice, said Polar Portal, a joint project involving several Danish Arctic research institutes.  This represents 4,700 cubic kilometers of melted water — “enough to cover the entire US by half a meter” — and has contributed 1.2 centimeters to sea-level rise, the Arctic monitoring website added.

Civil Unrest

Population growth sparks both civil unrest and international conflict and ever-higher global average temperatures exacerbate the desperation of people and willingness to resort to violence.   It is predicted that between 25 million and 1 billion people will be driven from their homes by drought, poverty, civil war, flooding, or heat extreme by 2050.

The pandemic has produced cascading effects: more people are working at home than ever, supply bottlenecks are creating the worst inflation in 30 years, and people are more ill-tempered than ever.

In October, the American Psychiatric Association released a study showing a dramatic increase in anxiety among Americans, hitting 62% of all Americans, up from ~35% over prior years. The main causes were their families’ safety (80%), systemic racism (76%), COVID-19 (75%), their health (73%), gun violence (73%), and the looming presidential election (72%). Youth suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 10 – 24.  According to Gallup, 51% of Americans can’t think of a news source that reports the news objectively.

The climate of fear created by the prosecutions has already pushed some talented scientists to leave the United States and made it more difficult for others to enter or stay, endangering America’s ability to attract new talent in science and technology from China and around the world.
Lawmakers say these findings are “alarming.”

Unruly passengers on flights and the mounting surliness of customers toward service workers are resulting in many workers not returning to jobs after the pandemic. School shootings have become regular occurrences: Columbine High School, West Nickel Mines Amish School, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Sandy Hook Elementary School.

A record 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in September as workers took advantage of the surge in job openings across the country, a sign of how labor market imbalances continue to complicate the economic recovery 20 months into the pandemic. This is being called the Great Resignation. The number of people quitting in September constituted a whopping 3 percent of the workforce, according to the monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics survey. That number is up from the previous record set in August 2021 when 4.3 million people quit their jobs — about 2.9 percent of the workforce. In February 2020, before the big wave of pandemic-related layoffs began, 2.3 percent of workers quit their jobs.

The pandemic has deepened the rifts that exist between people from marital to work conflicts.  We are witnessing bad behavior acted out every day in our lives and on the news and with people being injured.  School and supermarket massacres are reflections of the disquiet.  Public officials are receiving death threats for performing their duties as Congressmen, election, and health officials. The movie Unhinged starring Russell Crowe shows the rage and fury manifested during the January 6 insurrection.

that the climate of fear created by the prosecutions has already pushed some talented scientists to leave the United States and made it more difficult for others to enter or stay, endangering America’s ability to attract new talent in science and technology from China and around the world.
Lawmakers say our findings are “startling.”

The new statistics reflect how severely in flux the labor market remains after the pandemic upended the course of business and life across the country in 2020.

How Americans feel about the economy roughly translates to how they feel about their politics. Factory workers, nurses, and school bus drivers are among the tens of thousands of Americans who walked off jobs in October, 2021 amid a surge of labor activism that economists and labor leaders have dubbed “Striketober.” The strike drives stem from the new leverage workers hold in the nation’s tight job market.

Shortages and Supply Lines

Climate change leads to changes in economic life. The same is beginning to hold true for everything from electronics to energy. What’s going on here? 

People are once again hoarding resulting in shortages on grocery shelves because of the supply-chain crunch.  Gas prices are high.

Consumer prices surged 6.8 percent in the year leading into November and 0.8 percent last month alone as a roaring economy overwhelmed struggling supply chains and fueled inflation, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department.

Consumer prices surged 6.8 percent in the year 2021 leading into November and 0.8 percent last month alone as a roaring economy overwhelmed struggling supply chains and fueled inflation, according to data released by the Labor Department.

You can search the keywords “supply chain management” on this database.

The continued and expanded use of nonrenewable natural resources will lead to their growth in shorter supply with sharply rising prices, or pricing above what most people can pay will worsen the economies of the world.  Some commodities may not be obtainable. China controls the supply of all 16 strategically critical rare-earth metals. In fact, 96% of global mining output for rare-earth metals comes from within China’s borders.

On the horizon is robots doing all production work, including manufacturing replacement robots. This can lead to massive unemployment, and the reduction in the share of income going to human labor, probably accompanied by increasing inequality. The economy is undergoing such massive changes there’s a big mismatch at the moment between the jobs available and jobs workers take.  Why does America have 8.4 million unemployed when there are 10 million job openings?

Consumers no longer instinctively trust the words of companies from which they have previously purchased goods or services. Instead, businesses need to demonstrate efforts towards key initiatives before consumers reach for their wallets. 85% of consumers have changed their minds about purchasing from a company because they felt it did not do enough to properly address climate change,

Shortages of semiconductor chips,  crucial materials, and staff are delaying the deployment of 5G infrastructure. What’s happened? Three factories — each hit in a different way. The one in Japan caught fire due to an equipment malfunction The one in Texas was hit by a historic snowstorm, which knocked out power for days. The one in Taiwan is being affected by the worst drought in half a century — and microchips require huge amounts of water to manufacture. Supply chain disruptions are stalling the delivery of goods, ranging from computer chips and medicines to meat and lumber. These shortages have been caused by the pandemic.

The “chip shortage” is something that the world doesn’t really grasp yet, in its full importance and magnitude. It is the first climate catastrophe-related shortage to hit us at a civilizational, global level. In a world of stable temperatures, guess what, we’d probably still have microchips to power our cars and gadgets and AV studios because factories wouldn’t be losing power or be so parched they don’t have enough water. But they are — and so we do have a microchip shortage that has been caused by climate change, aka global warming.

As the price of energy rises, the price of everything has to rise, too. Our economies are still about 80% dependent on fossil fuels. The problem isn’t the electricity grid, as you might think. It’s that making things like steel and cement and glass still use gas. The world has just one fossil fuel-free steel factory so far.  The Energy Information Agency forecasts that by 2023, the nation will set a new annual record for oil extraction: 4.6 billion barrels. Plans to build more than 200 new natural gas power plants are in the works.

In October 2021 the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach hit a fresh record of 100 vessels floating off the coast waiting to dock and unload, data from the Marine Exchange indicated.

The pandemic has hastened the disruption of supply lines.  Microchips, the sets of circuits hosted on small flat pieces of silicon, are intrinsic to industrial civilization: they are used in computers, cars, mobile phones, home appliances, and virtually all other electronic equipment. Chipmakers were usually able to keep pace with the growing demand for chips in products like automobiles and home electronics.  We already had a shortage of microchips because of COVID-19. Roughly 91% of the contract chipmaking business is located in Asia with a handful of foundries that account for most of the world’s chip fabrication.

As the world shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many factories closed with it, making the supplies needed for chip manufacturing unavailable for months. Increased demand for consumer electronics caused shifts that rippled up the supply chain. A recent report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, explains that this “will clearly lead to delays in the distribution of microchips and will presumably have an adverse impact on the semiconductor and computer industries. Now we are learning that new car production is in suspense because of chip shortages.

Shortages are immediately felt because of long supply lines. Beginning in the 1970s, major corporations went to China, India, Brazil, and other places far away from where goods could be produced at a much lower cost. That is why we have long supply chains.

The U.S. inventory restocking cycle is being dragged out by power constraints in China. Output from factories is being curtailed by widespread electricity rationing due to a shortfall of natural gas and coal supplies — making it even more likely that the U.S. inventory replenishment cycle will persist well into next year.

The raw materials required to create EV batteries – lithium, cobalt, and nickel – are up. Lithium carbonate alone has gone up 400% in the last year alone. Then, with demand for EVs and energy storage on the rise, are ticking prices skyward. The inflection point for EV battery prices to become competitive with gas-powered vehicles is about $100/kWh.

“How long will this last? Until bottlenecks are removed at the ports. It will probably not return to pre-pandemic normalcy.

We are changing in other ways, too. Women now make up close to 60% of US college enrollees, a record, The Wall Street Journal reported. NYU professor Scott Galloway told CNN that the gap is leading to a “mating crisis. This will leave many unmarried and lonely.

Agriculture

The Department of

Agriculture lists the ways climate change threatens America’s food supply: Changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, more pests and disease, reduced soil quality, fewer pollinating insects, and more storms and wildfires will combine to reduce crops and livestock.Wildfires are likely to increase by a third by 2050, warns the United Nations.

 

To address those challenges, the department calls for more research into climate threats and better communication of those findings to farmers.

The plan is also candid about the limits of what can be done. In response to drought, for example, farmers can build new irrigation systems, and governments can build new dams. But irrigation is expensive, the department notes, and dams affect the ecosystems around them.

Transportation

Climate change also threatens Americans’ ability to move within and between cities, restricting not just mobility but the transportation of goods that drive the economy. In a list of potential effects from climate change, the Department of Transportation notes that rising temperatures will make it more expensive to build and maintain roads and bridges.

And the experience of getting around will become slower and more frustrating. As hotter days cause asphalt to degrade, congestion will increase as traffic slows. Severe weather events will “require flight cancellations, sometimes for extended periods of time,” and more heat will force planes to fly shorter distances and carry less weight.

 

Some of the effects the transportation department anticipates are dangerous. They include “more frequent/severe flooding of underground tunnels” and “increased risk of vehicle crashes in severe weather.”

 

Even the quality of driving could get worse. The plan warns of “decreased driver/operator performance and decision-making skills, due to driver fatigue as a result of adverse weather.”

 

Cars swept over a bridge by heavy rains and flooding in Waverly, Tenn., in August.

 

Even the quality of driving could get worse. The plan warns of “decreased driver/operator performance and decision-making skills, due to driver fatigue as a result of adverse weather.”

Sometimes, the plans demonstrate how much work remains. The Department of Energy, for example, said it has assessed the climate risks for just half of its sites, which range from advanced research laboratories to storage facilities for radioactive waste from the nuclear weapons program.

“DOE’s nuclear security mission is critical to national security and is also largely conducted at DOE sites that are vulnerable to extreme weather conditions,” the department’s plan says. “DOE’s environmental mission could also experience disruptions if facilities dedicated to radioactive waste processing and disposal are impacted by climate hazards.”

The department says it’s able to address that threat but doesn’t go into specifics. “DOE has a well-established hazard assessment and adaptation process focused on its high-hazard nuclear facilities. This process ensures that the most critical facilities are well protected from climate risks,” the plan states.

COVID-D

Despite what is approaching five million deaths from of COVID-19, the Global Risks Report 2021, it is global warming that makes up the bulk of this year’s list of risks, which the report describes as “an existential threat to humanity.”  It is a sad commentary on the stubbornness of the unvaccinated to get vaccinated than unvaccinated people have an 11 times higher risk of dying from COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people, according to data posted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

With the loss of wilderness comes the reduced pollination of crops, the depletion of soils, poorer air, and water supplies becoming scarce.

The lockdowns caused a drop in carbon emissions, but as economies start to recover, emissions will soar.

Most people have difficulty grasping the magnitude of the environmental calamities that we likely face.   Saving ourselves will require the most significant technological change in history. We need technology to replace the extractive and polluting industries that will produce the food and resources we need to live.

It means ending the use of fossil fuels and replacing them with renewable energies such as solar, wind, and battery storage that are much cheaper than we thought years ago. Solar panels will be everywhere. By 2050, 96% of vehicles will be electric, supported by a national network of charging stations. Virtually all energy in homes will be electric. Gas may disappear completely from kitchens and its use will be reduced for hot water systems and household heating.

Controlling CO2 output must be done; however, some impacts of global warming are not reversible things like sea-level rise. Human activity is producing irreversible damage to several environmental constraints necessary to human life.  These are biodiversity loss, nitrogen cycle change, groundwater depletion, ocean acidification, and peak phosphorous.

We rely on a host of organisms for food, medicine, shelter, and clothing; but as biodiversity diminishes, so do our basic necessities.  Climate change is forcing some animals to move. Up to one million plant and animal species are facing extinction due to human activity.

We are overfishing, overhunting, and over-harvesting the earth. Overexploitation destroys biodiversity. Deforestation is another contributor to biodiversity loss; human demand for land development, fossil and wood fuels, and building materials result in the loss of 18 million square acres of forest each year.

Life on earth depends on balance.  The Earth and its atmosphere maintain an energy balance by either absorbing incoming radiation or reflecting it energy back into space.

Nitrogen 

78% of the earth’s atmosphere is nitrogen. All organisms — including humans — require nitrogen for survival. The natural nitrogen balance incorporates nitrogen into the peptides and amino acids essential to life.   Agricultural and industrial practices have dramatically altered the earth’s natural nitrogen cycle.

Synthetic fertilizers, industrial pollution, combustion of fossil fuels, vehicle exhaust doubles the natural conversion of nitrogen to ammonia and nitrates every year.  Nitrous oxide is the greenhouse gas N2O that results in photochemical smog covering large regions.

Fertilizers Cause More Than 2% of Global Emissions

Unlike organic fertilizers, which come from plant or animal material, synthetic fertilizers are made by humans using chemical processes.

Unlike organic fertilizers, which come from plant or animal material, synthetic fertilizers are made by humans using chemical processes.

Production and transportation cause carbon emissions, while agricultural use of these fertilizers leads to the release of nitrous oxide (N₂O) – a greenhouse gas 265 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO₂) over a century.

The research team – from the Greenpeace Research Laboratories at the University of Exeter, and the University of Turin – found that the synthetic nitrogen fertilizer supply chain was responsible for emitting the equivalent of 1.13 gigatonnes of CO₂ in 2018.

This is more than 10% of global emissions from agriculture, and more than the emissions from commercial aviation in that year.

The top four emitters – China, India, USA and the EU28 (European Union countries plus the UK) – accounted for 62% of the total.

The excess of nitrogen results in losses of soil nutrients, such as calcium and potassium, essential for soil fertility, the mass killings of saltwater fish, thus reducing the food supply and oceanic biodiversity. It increases the acidification of soils, streams, and lakes greatly increases the transfer of nitrogen through rivers to estuaries and coastal oceans.

The consequences of human-caused changes to the nitrogen cycle appear grim.

Human activity is producing irreversible damage to several planetary limits necessary to human life are biodiversity loss, nitrogen cycle change, groundwater depletion, ocean acidification, and peak phosphorous.

We’ve already lost 33% of the Earth’s topsoil

Alone, each of these crises is enough to precipitate widespread human suffering. Together, along with climate change, they present the gravest threat in the history of humanity to the survival of our species.

Biodiversity Loss

Biodiversity is the variety of life on earth. Human beings rely on a host of organisms for food, medicine, shelter, and clothing; as biodiversity diminishes, so do our basic necessities.

Deforestation is a principal contributor to biodiversity loss; clearing land and using timber for building materials, fossil and wood fuels results in the loss of 18 million square acres of forest each year.

A 2014 study estimates that roughly 30 percent of both the world’s languages and animal species have declined between 1970 and 2009. Up to one million more plant and animal species are facing extinction due to human activity, according to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

Overexploitation — such as overfishing, overhunting, and over-harvesting — also threatens the earth’s biodiversity.

Ocean Acidification

The world’s oceans absorb roughly 30% of the carbon dioxide that human activity releases into the atmosphere. Because of oceanic CO2 absorption, ocean acidity has increased 30% globally since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Shellfish are particularly vulnerable to rising seawater acidity. Over a billion people currently rely on marine life for protein. Unless the world converts to clean energy in the immediate future; the world’s climate and food reserves are equally at stake.

Peak Phosphorus

Carbon emissions affect more than global temperatures.  While nitrogen contamination imperils ocean life, phosphorus pollution threatens freshwater fish. Phosphate ores primarily come from ancient salt deposits in seabeds and are used to make artificial fertilizers and detergents.

Phosphorus is also a key ingredient in human bone. We derive phosphorus in protein foods such as milk and milk products and meat, beans, lentils, and nuts. Grains, especially whole grains provide phosphorus. Phosphorus can be derived in smaller amounts in vegetables and fruit.

In the long run, phosphorus always returns to the oceans, but phosphate deposits replenish at a rate drastically slower than we consume it. Without it, malnutrition is the result. Global phosphorus shortages are predicted by as early as 2040. Peak phosphorus is, therefore, an even more pressing problem than climate change.

Global warming is just one of the crises to our survival. Biodiversity loss, the nitrogen cycle, groundwater depletion, ocean acidification, and peak phosphorus each threaten our existence, and taken together could potentially spell our extinction. Carbon sequestration is just one of the technologies we must master to survive the coming environmental crises.

Homeland Security

 

For the Department of Homeland Security, climate change means the risk of large numbers of climate refugees — people reaching the U.S. border, pushed out of their countries by a mix of long-term challenges like drought or sudden shocks like a tsunami.

Defense

 

Climate change will lead to new sources of conflict, and also make it harder for the military to operate, the Department of Defense wrote in its climate plan.

Water shortages could even become a new source of tension between the U.S. military overseas and the countries where troops are based. At DOD sites outside the United States, “military water requirements might compete with local water needs, creating potential areas of friction or even conflict.”

But learning to operate during extreme weather should also be viewed as a new type of weapon, the plan says, one that can help the United States prevail over enemies. “This enables U.S. forces to gain distinct advantages over potential adversaries,” the plan reads, “if our forces can operate in conditions where others must take shelter or go to ground.”

The Department of Commerce, which runs the U.S. Patent and Trade Office, said that as the effects of climate change become more severe, it expects a surge in applications for patents for “climate change adaptation-related technologies.” Such a surge “would impact the department’s ability to process such applications in a timely manner.

 

Climate Chaos Has Arrived

I watched a movie last night showing the world entering a new ice age. The movie was made in 2004. Ten, twenty, thirty years ago, today’s headlines were the predictions of fringe extremists. Now they’ve come true. The proof is all around us.  C The cascading impacts of climate change will affect every sector of the economy. Some sectors including fossil fuels, utilities, travel and leisure, housing, forestry, mining, and agriculture can be expected to be particularly hard hit, with the financial sector deeply linked to them all.

The Arctic Is Sweltering

Temperatures in Siberia climbed to 118ºF this year — an almost unthinkable level of heat. Marine life is migrating to cooler waters. Arctic sea ice reached its lowest levels in the last two years. Between 1979 and 2020, the report found the Arctic lost an area of ice about six times the size of Germany.

 Extinctions and Plagues Are on the Rise

Warmer waters are also causing the populations of some sea-dwelling species to shrink. It found that sole, European lobster, sea bass, and edible crabs were being adversely affected by extreme heat fluctuations in the North Sea.

Toxic microbial blooms thrived during the Great Dying, the most severe extinction in Earth’s history, and they are proliferating again due to human activity. Fish die as a result of algal blooms in Florida.

Millions of mice have created havoc for Australian farmers. In recording its wettest November on record, the humid conditions enlarged the rodent population creating a boom in snake and spider numbers.

Snake numbers increased after wet, humid weather. Snakes prey on mice. Wet weather is also the perfect climate for bugs and frogs, food sources for hungry snakes or spiders. It’s a perfect storm for mice, snakes, spiders, bugs, and frogs, and a plague on people.

Power Lines and Crucial Infrastructure Are Melting

In the Pacific Northwest, where temperatures are reliably in the 70s and 80s, temperatures have exceeded 100º in the past few weeks. Citizens all across the region lost power— 9,000 in Spokane, Washington alone.

Roads are buckling as the heat melts asphalt.

Buildings Are Collapsing

Experts believe that the collapse of beachside condos is due to the rise of the sea level directly underneath the foundation of those beachside condos. Miami faces the worst risk of any coastal city in the world, per a recent report.

Alaska is Experiencing Ice Quakes

Because of the heatwave across Alaska, the state is reporting “icequakes” — seismic activity triggered by glaciers melting too fast. Ice melting, refreezing, and expanding enough to cause quakes. 25 miles off of Juneau, the magnitude of the ice quake was 2.7.

Detroit’s Streets Became a River

Last week, Detroit experienced a storm that flooded the city with 7 inches of rainfall in only a few hours. More than 1,000 cars had to be abandoned in the highway flooding as they had no other choice.

Hydropower Plants in Danger as Reservoirs Drain

One reservoir, in particular, Lake Oroville in California (the state’s second-largest), announced it would be forced to shut down the connected hydropower plant for the first time ever.   Intense dry heat and unrelenting drought lower the water levels in the reservoir and it simply cannot sustain the plant.

We can’t change weather patterns once they’re already happening. We can’t, for example, reroute Detroit’s rain and give it to California.

The climate crisis is here in spades. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that the key 1.5 degrees Celsius  (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) threshold in the fight to stop climate change will be crossed within the next 15 years.

Now the world must come together to confront these multiple crises. It’s in this context that the Biden infrastructure proposals make sense. It’s a matter of survival. We’re already dealing with calamitous weather events and so we have the choice of immediate sacrifice or near and long-term peril.

Here are some of the terms and key issues that will be discussed at the event ran from Oct. 31 to Nov. 13. The  Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. First held in 1995, it also serves as the meeting of parties to the 1992 Kyoto Protocol that first committed countries to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and those that signed on to the 2015 Paris Agreement. Governments meeting in the French capital six years ago agreed on a target of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), ideally no more than 1.5C (2.7F), by the end of this century compared with pre-industrial times.

Faced with new research showing a significant gap between current commitments to cut planet-heating emissions and the Paris agreement’s 1.5°C target, negotiators from nearly 200 countries on Saturday struck a deal that critics say falls short of what is needed to tackle the climate emergency.  The failure of the countries of the world to put their full efforts into financing climate transformation — including mitigation, adaptation, and losses and damages — weakens our chances of avoiding the most calamitous effects of global warming.

More movies and fiction and non-fiction books and games will make water their central theme as the environmental crisis is recognized and commercialized.

More than two million people have been killed by storms, floods, droughts, and heatwaves since 1970, according to WMO data, as Reuters reported. The data showed that these weather-related natural disasters resulted in $3.64 trillion in damages worldwide. Since the 1970s early warning systems for extreme weather helped reduce the number of people killed by natural disasters by 76 percent, Reuters reported.

As wildfires worsen and sea levels rise, growing numbers of Americans are moving to places such as Vermont and the Appalachian Mountains. These are seen as safe havens from climate change. This population movement will intensify in the coming decades.

Healthy ecosystems such as forests, wetlands, and grasslands have an amazing ability to remove planet-warming emissions from the atmosphere and lock them securely underground. Experts call them “nature-based solutions” to climate change. To save Earth 30 percent of the planet must be protected. Such conservation efforts must double by 2030 to prevent dangerous warming and unraveling of ecosystems.

Extremely uneven and inequitable impacts of climate change mean that it affected people differently based on their location and people may respond in radically different ways. The burden weighs us down and curtails opportunities and possibilities.  This requires addressing both violence and material shortages and other outcomes like contamination.

The latest climate report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recommends a 2x increase in investment in climate technologies. This goes beyond producing more paper straws.

Eliminating air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels would prevent more than 50,000 premature deaths and provide more than $600 billion in health benefits in the United States every year, according to a new study by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers.

Published in the journal GeoHealth, the study reports the considerable health benefits of removing from the air harmful fine particulates, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides produced by electricity generation, transportation, industrial activities, and building functions such as heating and cooking. Highway vehicles make up the largest single share.

 

These economic activities from coal, oil, and natural gas are also major sources of carbon dioxide emissions that cause climate change, so cutting back on their emissions provides additional benefits.

 

 

“We are trying to shift mindsets from burdens to benefits,” said Jonathan A. Patz, a professor of health and the environment at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

 

“Our work provides a sense of the scale of the air quality health benefits that could accompany deep decarbonization of the U.S. energy system,” said Nicholas A. Mailloux, lead author of the study and a graduate student at the Nelson Institute. “Shifting to clean energy sources can provide enormous benefit for public health in the near term while mitigating climate change in the longer term.”

The study uses models from the Environmental Protection Agency, notably its CO-Benefits Risk Assessment, or COBRA, to look at the impact of local, state, and national policy on separate areas around the country. It shows that while the cost of overhauling energy industries can be local, so, too, are the benefits.

“Between 32 percent and 95 percent of the health benefits from eliminating emissions in a region will remain in that region,” the study says. On average, slightly more than two-thirds of the health benefits of removing emissions in a region stay in that region.

 

The Southwest, for example, would retain 95 percent of the benefits if it moved alone to eliminate fine particulate matter. The Mountain States, however, would retain only a third of their benefits, which would flow to large population centers downwind.

What we do is look at all at once, if you were to remove fossil fuel emissions from these different sectors, how many lives would be saved, how many emissions avoided, and the numbers are pretty big,” Patz said.

“The report highlights the air quality benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by transitioning the energy system away from fossil fuels,” said Susan Anenberg, director of George Washington University’s Climate and Health Institute, who was not involved in the study. In addition, she said, “it helps us to think about policies and what level of policies are needed to address this problem.”

Patz said that “people look at this as such a huge challenge, but when you look at the health repercussions of switching to clean energy, the benefits are enormous.”

The U.S. plummeted in international rankings of action on climate change due to the rollback of environmental protections during the Trump Administration. In particular, the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement weakened methane emissions rules, according to a report released on June 1, 2022, by Yale and Columbia University researchers.

U.S. cities last year announced 21 projects to turn “brownfields” which include transformed closed landfills and other contaminated lands into solar farms, also called “brightfield.” Brownfields are often located in “economically distressed communities. Transforming these into sources of clean power, jobs, and economic opportunity can play a key role in revitalizing these neighborhoods.

The Supreme Court has dealt another blow to the Government’s ability to o regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse-gas emissions by the  Environmental Protection Agency/

A 6-3 ruling by the Supreme Court restricting the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to limit power plant emissions is the latest blow to U.S. efforts to fight climate change, contributing to a renewed sense of pessimism that the U.S. political system will address the issue at the federal level.  In its ruling, the majority said, ” Only Congress has the power to make “a decision of such magnitude and consequence.”

The decision is likely to have broad implications. While the EPA will still be able to take some action in regulating emissions, more wide-reaching programs, like setting emissions caps to encourage a shift away from coal, will be constrained in the future. The ruling deals a major blow to the federal government’s ability to take action on climate change as the world continues to set new emissions records and makes changing the composition of the Supreme Court more imperative.

Congress has adopted the first climate change measure in our history.   It invests in technologies that would bolster various types of energy including fossil fuels, renewables, nuclear hydrogen, and energy storage.  It also invests in reducing both domestic emissions of planet-warming carbon and methane, and in global emissions reductions.

Meanwhile, blackouts are growing more frequent in the United States.

What are chemical pollutants doing to our bodies? It’s a timely question given that last week, people in Philadelphia cleared grocery shelves of bottled water after a toxic leak from a chemical plant spilled into a tributary of the Delaware River, a source of drinking water for 14 million people. And it was only last month that a train carrying a suite of other hazardous materials derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, unleashing an unknown quantity of toxic chemicals.

There’s no doubt that we are polluting the planet. To find out how these pollutants might be affecting our own bodies, we need to work out how we are exposed to them. Which chemicals are we inhaling, eating, and digesting? And how much? The field of exposomics, which seeks to study our exposure to pollutants, among other factors, could help to give us some much-needed answers

Republicans are fighting a social movement directed at the financial sector to address systemic issues like climate change. Regressive initiatives in Florida, West Virginia, and Texas are targeting powerhouse Wall Street firms they say are engaging in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing, which they view to be harmful to their states’ economies. Some state and regional regulators often have political incentives to fight against changes to the power grid.

Climate change is man-made. So man can undo or mitigate much of what we have done. We can choose to save our lives and those of our children and their children. Future cities composed of fire-resistant, high-tech wooden buildings can counter the climate impacts of the coming urbanization boom. Half of the world’s population currently lives in towns and cities, a number that is expected to increase to 85 percent by 2100.

The study in Nature Communications builds on a growing architectural and engineering movement that sees wood as not only a more sustainable building material than concrete and steel — but in many ways a superior one.

Housing this many people in 20th-century-style mid-rise buildings would mean a staggering hike in carbon emissions, as it would lead to huge increases in the production of concrete and steel — the production of which is already the source of large amounts of greenhouse gasses.

The alternative is housing the growing urban population in mid-rise buildings — is four to ten stories — made out of wood.”

One of America’s great waterways, the Mississippi River is pretty much gone. In Memphis, there’s nothing left but a dry river bed. It looks like a desert. It’s so low that ships can’t pass. They’re running aground.  The Mississippi River is a pillar of the American supply chain and the agriculture industry. This is bad.

Reversing Roe Deletes Rights It Took a Century to Achieve

In overturning Roe, the Supreme Court’s case relied on  the 1873 Comstock Act, officially titled “An Act for the Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use.” This law explicitly prohibited materials related to abortion and imposed severe penalties for their dissemination. Despite subsequent amendments, the Act’s original language remains intact, fueled by a 1930 court ruling that seemingly rendered it obsolete.

Over decades, Comstock zealously pursued pornography across the country, sharing his findings with members of Congress and targeting women he deemed promiscuous.

Sara Rosenbaum, a health law and policy professor at George Washington University, described how pregnant patients have faced neglect in emergency departments due to extreme abortion restrictions in certain states. She recounted incidents where pregnant individuals were turned away or provided inadequate care, leading to dire consequences.

For example, at Falls Community Hospital in Texas, a woman nine months pregnant was refused care by the doctor on duty, who claimed the hospital lacked obstetric services. Federal investigators later concluded that the hospital violated the law. Similarly, at Sacred Heart Emergency Center in Houston, staff refused to help a woman in labor, resulting in a miscarriage in the emergency room lobby.

These cases are part of a larger pattern revealed in documents obtained from Freedom of Information Act requests. Despite federal laws mandating emergency care for pregnant patients, numerous complaints were lodged against hospitals for failing to provide adequate treatment. The penalties for such violations, including hefty fines and potential loss of Medicare funding, serve as deterrents, but enforcement varies.

The Biden administration has pledged to uphold these laws, emphasizing the importance of emergency medical care for all individuals, including pregnant patients. However, ongoing legal battles and the potential weakening of these protections could exacerbate the problem, leading to more instances of neglect and denial of care.

A record-high 69 percent of Americans in a Gallup poll released Wednesday said that abortion should be legal throughout the first trimester of pregnancy.

Support for abortion access in the second and third trimester of pregnancy also reached an all-time high, according to the survey, despite remaining significantly lower than support for the procedure during the first trimester.

While 37 percent of respondents said abortion should be legal in the second trimester, 22 percent said it should be legal in the third trimester, pollsters found.

A slight majority — 52 percent — said they identify as pro-choice, compared to 44 percent who said they identify as pro-life. Another 52 percent also said they view abortion as morally acceptable, while 41 percent said they view it as morally wrong.

Abortion is recognized as a matter of health care to be decided by women and their doctors.

More than half of Americans strongly oppose the Supreme Court’s decision to end constitutional abortion protections, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll released in May, 2023

Forbidding abortion undermines the financial security of women. The Economic Policy Institute has found that women denied an abortion have a higher chance of living in poverty, a lower possibility of full-time employment, and an increase in unpaid debt and financial distress.

Middle-class families can expect to spend more than $230,000 on food, shelter, and other necessities to raise a child through the age of 17, according to data from the Consumer Expenditures Survey.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the end of Roe v. Wade represents a “major loss of rights” for women, a Washington Post-Schar School poll finds. A large and bipartisan majority of Americans, about 8 in 10 overall, say states that ban abortion should not be allowed to outlaw people from traveling elsewhere to access the procedure — an idea gaining steam among some antiabortion groups and Republican lawmakers. Those opposed include 64 percent of Republicans, 85 percent of independents .and 89 percent of Democrats.

Another indication of how a large segment of the American population is that pro-abortion-rights posts get more views than antiabortion videos on TikTok.

Nearly two years after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the majority of Americans continue to support access to abortion.

According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, about 6 in 10 Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. This marks a 4 percentage point increase since 2021.

The survey reveals a stark contrast in views between Democrats and Republicans. A significant 85 percent of individuals identifying as Democrats or leaning towards the Democratic Party support legal abortion in all or most cases. Conversely, just over 40 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning respondents hold the same view.

However, there has been a gradual rise in support for abortion across the political spectrum over the years. In 2007, 63 percent of Democrats or Democratic-leaning individuals and 39 percent of Republicans or Republican-leaning individuals believed abortion should be legal in all or almost all cases.

The survey also highlights that a sizable portion of Americans have strong opinions on abortion. Roughly two-thirds express absolute views, with 38 percent in favor of abortion being legal in most cases and 28 percent advocating for it to be illegal in most cases.

Regarding the decision-making process, a majority of Americans (54 percent) believe that the decision about whether to have an abortion should rest solely with the pregnant woman. On the other hand, 35 percent subscribe to the belief that human life begins at conception, thus granting embryos personhood rights.

Interestingly, Pew found that 32 percent of Americans see merit in both statements, suggesting a nuanced perspective on the issue.

Despite political differences, approximately 6 in 10 Americans perceive obtaining an abortion in their area to be relatively easy, while 4 in 10 consider it to be challenging.

About 1 in 4 women will have an abortion in their lifetime. It’s not surprising that forty percent of Americans list abortion as one of the most important issues in the country, according to a Marquette Law School Poll.  U.S. Catholics are majority pro-choice according to many polls!

Few Americans hold absolutist views on abortion: Only about 1 in 5 say it should be legal in all cases, and fewer than 1 in 10 say it should be illegal without exception, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

A USA Today-Suffolk poll found that 31 percent of American voters said a state banning abortion would make the state less desirable to live in; 5 percent said it would be more desirable. 6 in 10 voters said a state abortion ban would not affect their thinking on a state’s desirability as a place to live.

Overwhelmingly, Americans support people’s right to cross state lines for an abortion, polls are finding.. One showed 77 percent of Americans and even 64 percent of Republicans oppose laws that would ban residents from traveling to another state for an abortion. Another showed even more resistance to such laws: 78 percent overall, and 73 percent among Republicans.

Throwback Republicans

Republicans were not always anti-choice. California Governor Ronald Reagan signed into law the nation’s most permissive abortion regulation in 1967, six years before the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision.  Reagan’s 1980 running mate, former Texas Congressman George HW Bush, had supported Planned Parenthood — including abortion rights — all the way back to the 1960s.

Then Reagan discovered a growing backlash to Roe v Wade and led the Republicans to victory, capitalizing on general Republican mistrust of the Supreme Court dating back to the 1954 Brown v Board decision desegregating public schools.  This locked Republican candidates into an anti-choice position, appeasing the prejudices of angry Americans.

Blake Masters, a Republican candidate for the Senate in Arizona, wants a national abortion ban, women to stay home from work, and a federal law that says life begins at conception.

The Maga Republicans’ zeal to pass stringent forced-birth laws and their pining for a national abortion ban — as the party’s candidates scramble to erase evidence of their antiabortion views from their campaign websites — reveal how little they think of women.

Women are supposed to forget that Republican candidates have been at the forefront of the effort to deny them personal agency and to intrude on their most intimate healthcare decisions. They’re supposed to forget which party has consigned pregnant people to physical and mental suffering.

Sending America Back 70 Years

By reversing Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court takes America back 70 years. Health and Human Services Sec. Xavier Becerra insists that the country “can no longer trust” the Supreme Court. America is moving toward an abortion regime that brutalizes and sometimes kills pregnant women while ignoring the most promising opportunities to prevent abortions.

The reversal of Roe produced cognitive dissonance in a generation that grew up when abortion was legal. It was a shock to our collective intelligence when this was released, and it likely accounts for some of the divisiveness and disaffection in today’s population.

Alioto’s opinion is dangerously wrong on its face and when extended, could end many of the rights we take for granted. Alioto asserts, “For the first 185 years after the adoption of the Constitution, each State was permitted to address this issue in accordance with the views of its citizens.” To put this another way, abortion was not illegal in some states until the 1800s.

To reach his conclusion, Alioto reached back to English common law, relying on Sir Matthew Hale, an influential 17th Century jurist who is best remembered for his belief that women could be witches, assumed women were liars, and thought husbands owned their wives’ bodies. He permitted the execution of two women accused as witches. Even then, Alioto misconstrues Hale, who wrote abortion was a crime “if a woman be quick or great with child.” Note Hale used the conditional precedent of “if.” Quickening is the moment when a pregnant woman first detects fetal movement, which can happen as late as 25 weeks into pregnancy.
Except for misogynists, what sense is there in giving credence to a jurist whose views of women are as dated as lobotomies? By roughly a margin of 2-to-1, Americans want women to have the right to bring or not bring a child into the world. It’s not surprising that Roe v. Wade was decided with a 7-2 majority.

The ninth amendment states: “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage other retained by the people.” The plain meaning of this is that a right, such as the right to marry, does not need to be enumerated to be recognized.

The Roe decision was in line with earlier decisions of the Court. For decades before Roe, the Supreme Court held that the Ninth Amendment granted rights such as the right to marry, the right to procreate, the right to use contraception, the right to control the upbringing of children, and the right of every person to choose “whether to bear or beget a child.”
So a fair question is the U.S. Constitution a living document? A living constitution evolves and adapts to new circumstances, without being formally amended. It’s been calculated that the rate of change accelerates every decade. So, 20 years from now, the rate of change will be 4x what it is today.

Common sense tells us there is no realistic alternative to a living constitution in a rapidly changing world.  Does it make sense for the technologies of everyday life to change but our personal liberties will shrink? Will Alioto’s decision pave the way to abrogating other rights that are not explicitly stated, as Clarence Thomas stated, “In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.”

  • The right to marry
  • The right to have children
  • The right to travel
  •  The right to a fair trial
  •  The right to a jury of your peers
  • The right to have judicial review
  • The right to privacy includes the right to be left alone, to the care of your body, and, the right not to have your health information made public.
  • The right to health care has gained the support of 70.1% of the American public. COVID-19 and the probability of other pandemics to come have made explicit the need for health care.
  • Right to contraceptives
  • LGBTQ rights

An indication of this throwback court’s limited concept of our rights is contained in the words of Justice Kavanaugh, “For example, may a state bar a resident of that state from traveling to another state to obtain an abortion? In my view, the answer is no based on the constitutional right to interstate travel.”

The Supreme Court as now constituted does not reflect the values of most Americans. In another blog, I propose that Justice Thomas be forced to resign. This can be the beginning of changing the direction of the Supreme Court.

13 GOP AGs want a ‘fugitive slave act’ to track their states’ abortion and trans felons.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has plans to add $57 million to his proposed state budget in preparation for a possible influx of out-of-state patients who are seeking abortions (Axios). Pro-choice states, including New York, are budgeting accordingly.

The draft ruling published by Politico in May would give individual states authority over abortion access. According to the abortion rights advocacy group Guttmacher Institute:

Abortion is now banned (or close to it) in 15 states, according to a Washington Post abortion tracker.

In the United States, 58 percent of women of reproductive age live in states taking away abortion rights, according to the Guttmacher Institute (The Guardian).

The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed country. In total, about 700 women die every year of pregnancy-related complications in the U.S., and about 3 in 5 of those deaths are preventable, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A University of Colorado study found there will be abortion a 21% increase in the number of pregnancy-related deaths overall and a 33% increase among Black women, simply because staying pregnant is more dangerous than having an abortion. Back alley” abortions will be the last resource for women with no access to safe and legal services, and the horrific consequences of such abortions will become a major cause of death and severe health complications for some of the most vulnerable women in this country.

All across the nation, people are voicing their anxieties about a right that for decades has been taken for granted.  In cities across the country, thousands of Americans have turned out to rally for abortion rights in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin,  Cleveland, St. Louis, Denver, St. Peterburg, Florida, and 200 communities across the country.

Men have a stake in Roe vs. Wade.  Abortion is usually a joint decision between a man and a woman. With earning a living an ever-present challenge, one in five men have been involved in an abortion, as men have been involved in an abortion, one study finds.

The Washington Post has reported that Republicans plan to pass a national ban on abortion if they win back control of Congress. This would include even the blue states where abortion rights remain legal and protected. And if the Supreme Court gets away with overturning Roe v. Wade, it means the odds are they would let Congressional Republicans get away with banning abortion nationwide. America is out-of-step with reproductive rights being recognized by more nations.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has said he will oppose a Democratic bill to guarantee abortion access nationwide, indicating that it was too broad to get his vote. Manchin proves himself once more to be a  demi-Democrat.

Meanwhile, opponents of abortion are already using methods like license plate tracking, body cam recordings, and Wi-Fi networks designed to find people so they can direct them to anti-abortion arguments and if states to criminalize abortion, this data could be used by anti-abortion activists to try to prosecute people seeking abortions.

As the dissenting judges said, reversing Roe vs. Waderemoves a right nearly 50 years old and is at odds with polls that show consistent public support for Roe.

But more, the dissenting justices said, the opinion “breaches a core rule-of-law principle, designed to promote constancy in the law … It places in jeopardy other rights, from contraception to same-sex intimacy and marriage. And finally, it undermines the Court’s legitimacy.”

All 13 states that have GOP-controlled legislatures — Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming — have “trigger laws” that functionally banned abortion as soon as the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated it as a right.

 

Alabama

The 2019 Human Life Protection Act, which had been held by an injunction, was allowed to go into effect Friday. It makes it unlawful “for any person to intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion” unless “an abortion is necessary in order to prevent a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother.”

Alaska

The right to an abortion is protected by state law and constitution. Gov. Mike Dunleavy has said, though, the overturning of Roe v. Wade will cause “renewed conversation” on the issue of abortion rights in the state.

Arizona

Arizona has a law enacted 48 years before Arizona became a state, making helping a woman with abortion is criminalized without exceptions. The individual who enacted the 1864 Arizona law prohibiting abortion, Jones, was described in a 1990 article in the Journal of Arizona History as a “prevaricator, a poet, a politician, and someone who pursued young females.”

Arkansas

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge signed the state’s trigger law into effect Friday, banning abortion in the state following the overturn of Roe v. Wade. The Arkansas Human Life Protection Act makes performing or attempting to perform an abortion a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. The only exception is if the mother’s life is in danger.

California

The right to abortion is protected by updated state laws.

Colorado

The right to abortion is protected by updated state laws.

Connecticut

The right to abortion is protected by updated state laws.

Delaware

The right to abortion is protected by updated state laws.

Florida

A law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy will go into effect July 1.

Georgia

A law prohibiting abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy was signed in 2019 but not in effect following legal challenges.

Hawaii

The right to abortion is protected by state law.

Idaho

A trigger law making abortion illegal goes into effect 30 days after Roe is overturned.

Illinois

The right to abortion is protected by state law.

Indiana

Indiana became the first state after Roe was reversed to ban abortion.

Iowa

The Iowa Supreme Court in June reversed an earlier court ruling that the state constitution guaranteed the right to abortion.

Kansas

The right to abortion is protected by state law. Voters will decide on Aug. 2 whether to change the state constitution to say there is no right to abortion.

Kentucky

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced Friday that abortion is now banned in the state after a trigger law went into effect. Under the law, anybody who performs or attempts to perform an abortion will be charged with a Class D felony, punishable by one to five years in prison. The only exception is if the mother’s health is at risk.

Louisiana

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said Friday abortion is banned in the state after a trigger law went into effect following the Supreme Court’s decision.

Earlier this week, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a bill into law that strengthened the 2006 trigger law that went into effect Friday. The new law increases the penalties abortion providers face: prison terms range from one to 10 years and $10,000 to $100,000 in fines.

The state constitution also bars the right to abortion, and lawmakers recently approved a bill to ban abortion after “fertilization and implantation.”

Maine

The right to abortion is protected by state law.

Maryland

The right to abortion is protected by state law.

Massachusetts

The right to abortion is protected by state law. On Friday, Gov. Charlie Baker signed an executive order to “further preserve” abortion rights in Massachusetts and protect “reproductive health care providers who serve out of state residents.”

Michigan

pre-Roe v. Wade law bans abortions, but a judge ruled in May the state government cannot enforce the law as a lawsuit Planned Parenthood filed against the state plays out. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is also working to protect the right in the state.

A Michigan judge Friday blocked county prosecutors from enforcing a 91-year-old law banning abortion in the state while courts consider a lawsuit seeking to overturn the law. The ruling means abortion will remain legal in Michigan for the foreseeable future. The 1931 law bans abortion for all women, and doesn’t include exceptions for rape or incest.  and calls for the prosecution of reproductive care providers.

The ruling comes after the state Court of Appeals earlier this month cleared a path for county prosecutors to enforce the 1931 law by ruling they were not covered by a May order.

“It is clear to the Court that only one group is harmed by this statute- women, and people capable of carrying children,” Oakland County Judge Jacob Cunningham said during his ruling.

The 1931 abortion ban doesn’t pass constitutional muster, he said.

Minnesota

The right to an abortion is protected under the state constitution.

Mississippi

A trigger law banning nearly all abortions would go into effect immediately after Roe is overturned. In addition to its 15-week abortion ban at the center of the Supreme Court case, Mississippi has a 6-week abortion ban.

Missouri

Missouri ended the right to abortion following the Supreme Court decision. On Friday, Gov. Mike Parsons tweeted that he signed a proclamation activating the Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act, ending elective abortions in the state.

Montana

The right to an abortion is currently protected under the state constitution.

Nebraska

The right to an abortion is neither protected nor barred in the state constitution. Gov. Pete Ricketts has said he will push for the state legislature to pass a total abortion ban if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Nevada

The right to an abortion is protected under the Nevada Revised Statutes, the codified laws of the state.   However, Montana voters will vote to dramatically reverse women’s rights at the ballot box in November when they vote on an anti-abortion ballot measure. That measure, known as LR-131, would require “health care providers to take necessary actions to preserve the life of a born-alive infant” or face up to 20 years in prison.

New Hampshire

The right to an abortion is not protected by state law.

New Jersey

The right to an abortion is protected under the state constitution.

New Mexico

The right to an abortion is neither protected nor barred in the state constitution.

New York

The right to abortion is protected by updated state laws.

North Carolina

The right to an abortion is not protected by state law.

North Dakota

A trigger law is in place to make abortion illegal. After Roe is overturned, the Legislative Council must approve a recommendation from the state’s attorney general that the ban on abortion is constitutional.

Ohio

A 6-week ban on abortion that had been previously blocked was allowed to go into effect Friday.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor announced Friday the state trigger law banning abortions went into effect after the Supreme Court voted to strike down Roe v. Wade. Prior to the ruling, Oklahoma had a near-total ban on abortion.

Oregon

The right to have an abortion is protected in the state constitution.

Pennsylvania

The right to an abortion is not protected by constitutional or statutory laws.

Rhode Island

The right to abortion is protected by updated state laws.

South Carolina

The right to an abortion is not protected by state law.

South Dakota

A trigger law was in place to make abortion illegal. After Roe was overturned, it went into effect immediately without further action required.

The law makes all abortions illegal “unless there is appropriate and reasonable medical judgment that performance of an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant female.”

Tennessee

A trigger law is in place to make abortion illegal that goes into effect 30 days after Roe is overturned with no further action required. The state constitution bars protection of the right.

Texas

A trigger law is in place to make abortion illegal that goes into effect 30 days after Roe is overturned with no further action required. The state already has a 6-week ban in effect.

Utah

Most abortions are now illegal in Utah after the trigger law ban was put into effect. The law does allow for exceptions for rape, incest, averting maternal death or impairment, and lethal fetal deformity.

Vermont

The right to abortion is protected by updated state laws.

Virginia

The right to an abortion is not protected by constitutional or statutory laws.

Washington

Under the Code of Washington, individuals are not allowed to interfere with a pregnant person’s right have an abortion.

West Virginia

A state constitutional amendment bars the protection of the right to an abortion. Abortion is still legal in West Virginia, but there is an 1882 law on the books that makes performing abortions a felony punishable by three to 10 years in prison. It’s unclear if it will go into effect follow Roe’s overturn. Gov. Jim Justice said Friday he is meeting with the Legislature and his legal team to decide if the state’s abortion laws need to be updated.

Despite abortion still being legal in the state, the only clinic said in a statement on Facebook it will not be performing the procedure “until further notice.”

Wisconsin

Wisconsin has a pre-Roe law dating back to 1849 making an abortion a felony that could go back into effect if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

Wyoming

A trigger law is in place to make abortion illegal. It would require certification by the governor, advised by the Attorney General within 30 days of the Supreme Court ruling.

The consequences of reversing Roe are becoming evident.

A Florida court ruled that a 16-year-old wasn’t ‘sufficiently mature’ enough to have an abortion.

In Texas, a woman says she was denied an abortion for a medical emergency.

The Kentucky Supreme Court declined to block the state’s near-total abortion ban while it reviews legal challenges to the law.

The President laid out the fastest and best way to return women to their rights:

“Let me be clear. While I wish it had not come to this, this is the fastest route available,” Biden said. “The fastest way to restore Roe is to pass a national law codifying Roe, which I will sign immediately upon its passage on my desk.”

A vivid illustration of the grief that is being caused by the Roe reversal is a 10-year-old girl from Ohio who was raped and traveled to Indiana for an abortion. The girl’s doctor was afraid she was too far into her pregnancy to get an abortion, even though she was only six weeks and three days along — meaning she had probably just learned that she was pregnant. This was due to an Ohio law banning abortions once fetal cardiac activity is detected (sometimes as early as six weeks). This was reported by, the Indianapolis Star.

This case is showing how dangerous the Court’s ruling is becoming. The Republican Attorney General says he is looking into the licensure of the physician who provided abortion services to the 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio.  Rokita, the Attorney General, appeared on Fox News and called the doctor “an abortion activist acting as a doctor.” He accused her of having a history of failing to report abortions and that an investigation into the physician and her license is underway.

Another casualty of Roe is sex education coincides with abortion restrictions and a movement to stop educators from discussing gender and sexual orientation.

Seventeen members of Congress — including Democratic Reps. Cori Bush (Mo.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (Minn.) — were among dozens of abortion rights protesters arrested  outside the Supreme Court in a rally demanding immediate action to protect abortion following the court’s decision  to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Thirty-five people were arrested for crowding, obstructing or incommoding, a D.C. code often cited when arresting protesters during peaceful, planned, and coordinated actions of civil disobedience such as the demonstration on Tuesday. Those arrested were ticketed and released on-site, as is standard practice during events such as this, said Capitol Police spokesman Tim Barber.

Among those arrested were members of the Democratic Women’s Caucus and including Assistant House Speaker Katherine M. Clark (Mass.) and Reps. Bush, Omar, Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Barbara Lee (Calif.), Jackie Speier (Calif.), and Carolyn B. Maloney (N.Y.), according to their offices.

Can women be prosecuted for crossing state lines to get an abortion?
As a general rule, this should not happen. Even Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote that it would be a step too far to ban women from traveling across state lines to seek care. The Constitution protects interstate commerce, and that means it also protects interstate travel, he wrote, calling it “not especially difficult as a constitutional matter.”
In the year following the Supreme Court Dobbs decision, the abortion landscape in the United States became more fractured than ever.

 

Abortions increased nationwide, according to a new report from #WeCount, a research project led by the Society of Family Planning, the average monthly change in the 12 months post-Dobbs compared to the two months pre-Dobbs adds up to about 2,200 more abortions over the course of a year.

 

But the trends diverged sharply based on state policy, with abortions all but stopped in states with bans and significant increases in many states where abortion remained legal.

 

There were about 115,000 fewer abortions in the 17 states with total or six-week bans in effect – plummeting 98% in banned states and dropping 40% in those with 6-week gestational limits, according to the new report. About a third of the overall decline can be attributed to Texas.

 

The remaining 33 states where abortion remained legal, along with the District of Columbia, recorded nearly 117,000 more abortions – a 14% increase year-over-year.

 

“This is a sign of increasing inequality of access,” said Caitlin Myers, a  professor of economics at Middlebury College. Her research has focused on abortion trends, but she was not involved in the new analysis.

“Whether somebody who wants to access abortion can actually do so depends more than ever on where they live,” she said.

Much of the increase in states where abortion remains legal were among patients who traveled from states with bans or restrictions, experts say. The new report doesn’t capture how widespread the need to travel for an abortion has become, but local data suggests a clear trend.

Earlier research has shown that travel is a significant barrier. And even if additional resources help reduce the burden on patients, it shouldn’t be the gauge of success, experts say.

“It’s really not a public health triumph that people have to mobilize the financial and social resources to travel, sometimes hundreds of miles away from their home, to obtain basic health care,” said Dr. Alison Norris, co-chair of #WeCount and association professor at The Ohio State University’s College of Public Health. “That’s really a public health crisis.”

17 members of Congress were arrested and subsequently released at an abortion rights protest outside the Supreme Court on July 19. (Video: The Washington Post)

In the weeks following the Supreme Court’s decision, confusion surrounding new abortion-related laws has led to patients being denied much-needed maternal health care.

Confusion post-Roe spurs delays, denials for some lifesaving pregnancy care

At the time of the decision to overturn Roe, 13 states had “trigger bans,” designed to take effect to prohibit abortion within 30 days of the ruling. At least eight states banned the procedure the day the ruling was released.

Now, common complications, including incomplete miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies, have now been scrutinized, delayed, and even denied, according to the accounts of doctors in multiple states where new laws have gone into effect.

The supporters of reversing Roe claim they want to protect life. Following the decision in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the once constitutionally protected right to an abortion, young women and others across the country have increasingly requested sterilization, according to obstetrician-gynecologists who have seen upticks in Arizona, North Carolina, Texas, and Florida.

Because of the overturning of Roe, is causing women to undergo major surgery and take on the complications and risks that come with it just so they don’t have to worry about carrying an unwanted pregnancy.

Access to abortion meant women could pursue a child-free life if they chose. But lawmakers appear determined to take away their choices.

Another foreseeable consequence of reversal is that the number of men seeking vasectomies is on the rise.  People’s needs and choices are not stopped by a regressive court decision.

Signs of resistance are becoming commonplace. Seventeen members of Congress — including Democratic Reps. Cori Bush (Mo.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), and Ilhan Omar (Minn.) — were among dozens of abortion rights protesters arrested Tuesday outside the Supreme Court in a rally demanding immediate action to protect abortion following the court’s decision last month to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Also at risk is the right to love whomever a person chooses. By 2121  half of Americans supported marriage equality, according to Gallup’s data, which show support growing by an average of 1% to 2% per year since the mid-1990s. By the time the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 issued its marriage equality decision, Obergefell vs. Hodges, support had grown to about 60%.

Since then, same-sex marriages have become routine. The Census Bureau last year estimated that 980,000 same-sex households exist in the U.S., roughly 1.5% of all households in the country, of whom about 58% were headed by married couples. The share of the public that supports equal marriage rights now surpasses 70%.

Reaction to the Roe’s fate has been convincing and swift. Kansas, a red state, resoundingly rejected an amendment that would have led to abortion bans. Democratic voters especially turned out in higher numbers, and the ballot measure was rejected by a huge margin.  Corporations are recognizing their responsibility to their employees. Walmart, the largest U.S. private employer, expands abortion coverage for staff.

The results prompted President Biden to call again for Congress to codify abortion protections into federal law, and on Wednesday he signed an executive order to help patients travel across state lines for abortion care.

Changing the Constitution is one of the most difficult processes in all of governing. There are a couple of different ways to do it. One of the most common requires a two-thirds vote in Congress and then three-fourths of states (38 states) to ratify it.

Take the Equal Rights Amendment: Congress passed it in 1972 and sent it to the states for ratification. But only 35 states ratified it before the deadline passed (three-fourths have now ratified, but a few did so after the deadline), so it still hasn’t been added. So it’s highly unlikely that a more controversial amendment, such as one enshrining the right to abortion or banning assault weapons, would make it through such a rigorous process, especially at a time when states are so divided on these policies.

With the  Supreme Court so clearly on the wrong side of history and one of the justices so clearly corrupted, it may be easier to bring pressure on some judges to resign, particularly Justice Thomas.

22 states have laws or constitutional amendments on the books now poised to severely limit access to abortion or ban it outright. Even before the Supreme Court issued its decision, states with more restrictive abortion laws had higher maternal mortality and infant mortality rates. Now, experts are predicting at least a 21% increase in pregnancy-related deaths across the country.

1 in 3 American women has already lost abortion access. More restrictive laws are coming.

 Two months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, about 20.9 million women have lost access to nearly all elective abortions in their home states, and a slate of strict new trigger laws expected to take effect in the coming days will shut out even more.

Texas, Tennessee, and Idaho all have existing restrictions on abortion, but the laws slated to begin Thursday will either outlaw the procedure entirely or heighten penalties for doctors who perform an abortion, contributing to a seismic shift in who can access abortion in their home states.

At least 11 other states have banned most abortions, prohibiting the procedure with narrow exceptions from the time of conception or after fetal cardiac activity is detected, at about six weeks of pregnancy, with legislation known as “heartbeat” laws. Five more states have similar bans temporarily blocked by the courts. If those injunctions are lifted, abortion could soon be inaccessible for millions more — in total, 36 percent of U.S. women between the ages of 15 and 44 would be largely unable to obtain an elective abortion in the state where they live.

The rapid pace of change has shocked even the closest observers.

“I just thought there would be a little more time to help providers and patients cope with these changes,” said Elizabeth Nash, who tracks abortion legislation in the states for the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit research center that supports abortion rights. “It was very clear that that sort of grace period was not going to be provided.”

Advocates and doctors in favor of abortion rights fear that the newest trigger laws — which in Texas will carry a potential life sentence for doctors who perform an abortion — will have a chilling effect on helping people who either need an abortion because they are facing life-threatening complications or are trying to travel and get one elsewhere. The stiffer laws come as patients and providers navigate a confusing tangle of policies amid ongoing legal challenges that at times have made abortion accessible one day and completely illegal the next. Even more changes are on the horizon as lawmakers in South Carolina and West Virginia consider new bills during special legislative sessions.

Patients in states such as Tennessee have rushed in recent days to try to make last-minute appointments before they lose access to abortion completely — some only to be turned away, ineligible for an abortion because of the state’s “heartbeat” law.

Kaydria, a 28-year-old from Jackson, Miss., started researching the changing abortion laws as soon as she found out she was pregnant in mid-August. With abortion already banned in her home state, she decided to drive three hours to Memphis.

She knew she’d have to hurry: On Aug. 25, all elective abortions would be banned there, too.

“I needed to go ahead and take care of it,” said Kaydria, who spoke on the condition that only her first name be used to protect her privacy. “I knew I didn’t have time.”

Roughly 14 states have bans outlawing most abortions, with varying exemptions and penalties for doctors. In all, nearly 21 million — about 1 in 3 girls and women in the United States between the ages of 15 and 44 — have lost access to the procedure, according to U.S. census data. The restrictions apply to both medication and surgical abortions.

The states that bar abortion from conception tend to be located in the South and the Midwest, including Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Wisconsin has conflicting laws that leave the legality of abortion uncertain, but clinics stopped providing abortions in the state after the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, effectively ending abortion within its borders. Georgia, Idaho, Ohio, and Tennessee have bans that begin when fetal cardiac activity can be detected, which can occur before many people realize they are pregnant.

The Austin City Council passed a resolution that seeks to decriminalize abortion care. The move was especially urgent given that Texans, who have already been living under a draconian abortion law for nearly a year, face a full “trigger” ban with harsh criminal penalties and an attorney general eager to prosecute. The proposal is now spreading across Texas—and beyond.

A shimmer of light in these dark times, municipalities like Austin are creatively harnessing their local power and uplifting their progressive values to fight back against onerous state abortion laws and, importantly, proving that we can find pockets of hope, determination, and optimism in our communities amid what often feels like perpetual doom in life after Roe.

Religion claiming restrictions on the legitimacy of abortion imposes on most people’s sense of what is right or wrong.

Marjorie Taylor Green introduced a bill to make gender-affirming care for transgender youth a felony. Demonstrating where the Republicans really stand, Senator Lindsay Graham on Tuesday, August 23 introduced a bill that would ban abortions nationally after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Can the Republicans be more tone-deaf? Graham, the quintessential hypocrite previously said abortions should be left to the states.

America is the only industrialized country without some form of universal health care – it’s the poor who suffer the most. Survey data shows that nearly 50% of women who seek abortions live under the poverty line. What pregnant women deserve is free abortion on demand, under any circumstance.

How telling it is that having gotten Roe reversed, Republicans, are not talking about increasing the life chances of children being born only because of Roe’s reversal.  It’s time the United States join other developed countries in providing universal health care. Doing so would raise the life chances of Americans.

In Texas, U.S. District Judge James Hendrix halted emergency abortion guidance that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued last month’s administration that requires doctors to provide abortions in emergency medical situations even if doing so would run afoul of state law.

The government urged the court to find that a 1986 federal law known as the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) superseded some restrictive state abortion laws passed in the wake of the demise of Roe vs. Wade.

The EMTALA law requires a hospital to provide stabilizing care to any patient that presents with an emergency medical condition.  The Biden Administration maintains that abortion qualifies as stabilizing care under the law.

A federal judge in Utah August 24 temporarily blocked Idaho’s abortion ban from taking effect during medical emergencies, ruling that it conflicts with federal law. This was the first court win in the federal effort to assure women needing medical attention can get it regardless of state law.

The National Association of Evangelicals called climate action a Christian responsibility in a 50-page report in August 2021, a call to action for a demographic that is less likely than the general population to consider climate change a threat.

The NAE’s report, entitled “Loving the Least of These,” addresses the scientific evidence for the reality of climate change and the role of greenhouse gas emissions in driving it, as well as examining and debunking common arguments against the objectivity of climatologists.

The report goes on to address the issue from a theological and personal perspective, outlining biblical arguments for environmental stewardship.

“The earth brings glory to God, and God continues to care for and sustain the natural processes of the world. The psalmist says: ‘Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, my soul’ (Psalm 103:22),” it reads. “Because God’s glory is revealed in creation, we should be intentional about caring for his artistry.”

The report also cites Matthew: 22’s edict to “Love your neighbor as yourself” in the context of the human suffering caused by climate change and environmental disasters, and outlines personal experiences and examples of the human toll of those ongoing disasters.

The organization, which represents 45,000 evangelical churches, has acknowledged the existence of climate change.

It’s ironic that suffragettes celebrated a major victory 102 years ago today: A proclamation was signed that added the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving some 26 million women voting rights for the first time.

When the Founding Fathers were drafting the earliest laws, Abigail Adams encouraged her husband, then-Vice President John Adams, to “remember the ladies” — yet the resulting Constitution omitted the word “women.” Seneca Falls, New York, hosted the inaugural women’s rights convention in 1848.

Three decades later, a women’s suffrage amendment was introduced in Congress, and more than 40 more years later a suffrage bill finally passed in the House and Senate. Afterward, 36 states needed to ratify the amendment for constitutional inclusion. An indecisive 24-year-old, Representative Harry T. Burns, cast the deciding vote, ultimately favoring ratification at the behest of his mother giving women the right to vote.

The laws of some states place our country outside the pale of what is internationally acceptable. If the U.S. does not change course on women’s rights, the U.S. will be the subject of international scorn and sanctions.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has a new rule making the agency an abortion provider. The VA has already started providing abortions to pregnant veterans and VA beneficiaries in the limited circumstances set out in the rule, which took effect when it was published on Sept. 9.

  • The VA’s rule would allow abortions for those who became pregnant as a result of rape or incest, or if a pregnancy endangered the “life and health” of the person seeking an abortion.
  • There are still questions about how “health” will be interpreted. VA officials have said it will be up to veterans and doctors to determine whether health is endangered on a case-by-case basis.

Republicans have questioned the legality of the rule and promised to give the department a tough time if the GOP regains control of Congress in the fall.

It has now been 100 days since the Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to abortion, triggering states across the country to enact restrictive abortion laws. Since the high court’s June decision, dozens of clinics across 15 states have been forced to stop offering abortions.

People are still getting abortions. With its Dobbs v. Jackson decision in June, the Supreme Court overturned the half-century-old Roe v. Wade and effectively made abortion illegal in nearly half of US states. New data from the Society of Family Planning shows that the number of clinician-provided abortions in those states has plummeted. (It’s important to remember that data wouldn’t include self-managed abortions, where women take abortion pills at home.)

What’s perhaps more interesting is the notable jumps in abortion in states surrounding those where abortion is illegal, suggesting that women are traveling to get medical care. In Kansas, the number of abortions rose 36 percent from April to August; abortion became illegal in neighboring Oklahoma during the same time. North Carolina, which is surrounded by the less abortion-friendly South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee, saw a 37 percent jump.

Those jumps show up in national numbers. Despite declining by 100 percent in a number of states, the number of recorded abortions in the US only declined a modest 6 percent nationwide, from 85,020 in April to 79,620 abortions in August 2022. Of course, traveling to another state can be prohibitively expensive for many, meaning that poorer people will have a harder time terminating pregnancies in states with strict abortion laws.

Now men can have birth control. The Pill went on the market for women in the 1960s. And The Pill went on the market for women in the 1960s. And the male contraception pill? Researchers would joke that it was “a couple of years away for 50 years.”

But now, new forms of birth control for men finally seem within reach. Not just male hormonal pills but gels and implants. Many of these developing products are more convenient and foolproof than condoms or easily reversed than vasectomies.
Is this a new “Woke” issue for the Right?

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked a decision by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, which had paused FDA approval for the abortion pill mifepristone. That’s a great victory for abortion rights advocates, right? Nope! As part of its decision, the appeals court also rolled back major FDA changes which made mifepristone easier to obtain —  blocking the drug from being sent by mail, forcing patients to go to doctors for their prescriptions, and making them undergo multiple in-person examinations while taking the medication. Also, it can now only be administered 49 days into a pregnancy, down from the 70 days set by the FDA.

As a lawyer for a conservative legal group, Matthew Kacsmaryk, in early 2017, submitted an article to a Texas law review criticizing Obama-era protections for transgender people and those seeking abortions.

The Obama administration, the draft article argued, had discounted religious physicians who “cannot use their scalpels to make female what God created male” and “cannot use their pens to prescribe or dispense abortifacient drugs designed to kill unborn children.”

But a few months after the piece arrived, an editor at the law journal who had been working with Kacsmaryk received an unusual email: Citing “reasons I may discuss at a later date,” Kacsmaryk, who had originally been listed as the article’s sole author, said he would be removing his name and replacing it with those of two colleagues at his legal group, First Liberty Institute, according to emails and early drafts obtained by The Washington Post.

Now, six years later, as Kacsmaryk sits as a judge in Amarillo, Tex., his strong ideological views have grabbed the country’s attention after he ruled this month that sought to block government approval of a key drug used in more than half of all abortions in the country — an opinion that invoked antiabortion-movement rhetoric and which some medical experts have said relied on debunked claims that exaggerate potential harms of the drug.

Legal abortions probably increased in the United States in the first half of the year compared with 2020, an analysis of new estimates shows, as states with fewer abortion restrictions welcomed patients traveling from those with bans and access to abortion pills through telemedicine grew. New research from the Guttmacher Institute gives the latest picture of legal abortions since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision last year changed access to abortion nationwide and allowed more than a dozen states to prohibit or limit the procedure.

There are no estimates yet of women who were turned away from abortions or those who could not get them. The increases in most states may also hide the number of abortions stopped by the bans. “Abortions had started rising before Dobbs, and they may have risen even faster than observed if not for the bans,” Dr. Myers said. The Guttmacher Institute’s report is based on a survey of physical abortion clinics and telehealth and virtual providers. The institute, which supports abortion rights, does not contact all clinics in each state but uses a sample to estimate the number of abortions.

The report does not include abortions obtained outside of the formal health care system, such as pills mailed into states with bans from other countries or states where abortion is legal. Other data suggests that thousands of people, especially those living in states with bans, have ordered abortion pills online from abroad. Large states like California, Florida, Illinois, and New York had the most abortions. Because the researchers used a statistical model, they reported a range of uncertainty in their counts, and there was more uncertainty in states with more abortion providers. Data was not collected from the 14 states with abortion bans in effect in the first part of the year.

What Lies Ahead if Trump Has a Second Term

Allies of former President Trump are aiming to tighten restrictions on abortion if the GOP frontrunner secures another term in the White House later this year.

While these plans originate from the Heritage Foundation rather than the Trump campaign directly, the influential think tank’s Project 2025 represents the most comprehensive pre-transition planning effort thus far.

The detailed proposals from Heritage highlight conservatives’ longstanding discontent with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), particularly regarding abortion policy, at a time when they could wield significant influence over such matters under a potential Trump re-election.

Recent attention to the issue stemmed from a New York Times column referencing Heritage’s extensive 887-page document titled “Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise,” released last year.

Within this document, Heritage advocates for the HHS to revert to its former title of the Department of Life, explicitly rejecting the classification of abortion as healthcare. Additionally, Heritage proposes amending the department’s mission statement to prioritize the health and well-being of all Americans “from conception to natural death.”

As part of its “Life Agenda,” Heritage also calls for the removal of the HHS Reproductive Healthcare Access Task Force, established by the Biden administration shortly before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Instead, Heritage suggests establishing a pro-life task force to ensure that all HHS divisions prioritize promoting the life and health of women and unborn children.

However, it’s important to note that neither Trump nor his campaign have endorsed Heritage’s document, according to the New York Times. The campaign has emphasized that unless a second-term priority is explicitly articulated by President Trump himself or officially communicated by the campaign, it is not authorized.

It appears that Republicans have little regard for the well-being of women, especially if they happen to be teenagers and sexually active.
This sentiment is underscored by a recent and profoundly disturbing scientific study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network titled “Teen Pregnancy and Risk of Premature Mortality.”
The study, which examined over 2.2 million women who experienced teen and pre-teen pregnancies, revealed a shocking finding summarized in a New York Times article: “Teenagers who had babies were twice as likely to die before age 31.”
This critical statistic is not likely to be highlighted on Fox News or in right-wing media, which often champion a narrative promoting childbirth, even in cases of sexual assault.
Recall the troubling incident involving Republican Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio, who compelled a 10-year-old rape victim to seek an abortion in Indiana, despite his Attorney General dismissing the story as a fabrication. DeWine’s reluctance to advocate for the girl’s right to choose reflected a disturbing trend among Republican officials.
Similarly, figures like Congressman Jim Jordan and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem have downplayed the importance of abortion access for victims of sexual assault, disregarding the profound physical and psychological toll pregnancy can have on young girls.
Contrary to popular belief, teenage pregnancies are not merely life-altering but also life-threatening, as highlighted by the JAMA Network study. This issue is particularly prevalent in Republican-controlled states, which consistently report the highest rates of teen pregnancies.
Even after adjusting for pre-existing health conditions, income, and education levels, the study found that teenagers who carried pregnancies to term were still more than twice as likely to experience premature death later in life.
Meanwhile, rapists in these states, emboldened by restrictive abortion laws, continue to victimize vulnerable women with impunity.
Recent legislation and court rulings further exacerbate the situation. In Texas, for instance, strict abortion bans have led to a surge in rape-related pregnancies, with thousands of survivors left without access to reproductive healthcare.
Additionally, conservative judges and lawmakers are actively working to restrict access to birth control, particularly for teenage girls. Efforts to dismantle federally-funded Title X clinics and enforce archaic laws like the Comstock Act threaten to roll back decades of progress in women’s reproductive rights.
The Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025 lays bare the GOP’s agenda, which includes surveilling and controlling women’s bodies under the guise of moral righteousness. From limiting access to contraception to criminalizing abortion, Republicans are determined to strip women of their autonomy and dignity.
In stark contrast, President Joe Biden’s recent executive order and funding initiatives aim to prioritize women’s health and well-being. With expanded funding and a renewed focus on research, the Biden administration is taking concrete steps to address the systemic barriers women face in accessing quality healthcare.
The choice is clear: women must be vigilant in safeguarding their rights and resisting the regressive agenda pushed by Republican lawmakers. The future of women’s health hangs in the balance, and it’s up to us to ensure that progress prevails over oppression.

The landscape of abortion in the United States appears to be evolving in two seemingly contradictory ways. On one hand, there has been a surge in attacks on abortion rights, with nearly half of the states implementing or planning to implement bans on the procedure since June 2022. However, despite these restrictive measures, the overall incidence of abortion has increased significantly. Recent data from the Guttmacher Institute reveals that there were more abortions in the formal US healthcare system in 2023 than in any year since 2011, with approximately 1 million abortions performed, marking a 10 percent increase over 2020.

Several factors contribute to this increase in abortions despite the tightening restrictions. One factor is the rise in out-of-state travel for abortions, as more than 160,000 individuals crossed state lines to terminate pregnancies in 2023, nearly double the number from 2020. Additionally, residents living in states without restrictive abortion laws are increasingly seeking abortions, driven by improved access policies such as telehealth services, sliding-scale payment options, and expanded Medicaid coverage.

Another significant factor contributing to the rise in abortions is the increasing popularity of medication abortion, which involves the use of mifepristone and misoprostol. Medication abortion accounted for 63 percent of all US abortions in 2023, up from 53 percent in 2020. Reasons for choosing medication abortion include limited access to in-person abortion clinics, preference for privacy, and lower cost compared to surgical abortion.

Despite efforts by the anti-abortion movement to restrict access to medication abortion, advocates for abortion rights have made strides in expanding access to the medication, even in states with total abortion bans. Shield laws, e-commerce platforms, and international providers have facilitated easier, faster, and cheaper access to abortion medication nationwide.

However, there are still unknowns regarding the increase in abortion incidence. It remains unclear whether shifting childbearing decisions, such as a decrease in the desire to have children or a preference to delay childbearing, contribute to the rising abortion rates. Additionally, data on individuals who desired to terminate pregnancies but were unable to do so is challenging to collect.

With uncertainties surrounding future legal and funding landscapes, the trajectory of abortion trends in the United States remains uncertain. However, ongoing monitoring and research will provide insights into the factors driving the evolving landscape of abortion access and incidence in the country.

The Comstock Act, a federal law enacted in 1873, was named after Anthony Comstock, a fervent advocate for what he considered moral purity. The Act criminalized the use of the postal service for the distribution of obscene materials, contraceptives, and abortion-inducing products.

Recently, during a Supreme Court session, Justices Sam Alito and Clarence Thomas, along with Erin Hawley, highlighted the Act’s potential relevance to current debates on reproductive rights. They suggested that the Comstock Act could be used to challenge the distribution of abortion-related drugs like Mifepristone. This invocation of the Comstock Act signals a possible judicial revival that could impact the future of reproductive healthcare in the United States.

Trump’s stance on abortion has undergone a shift. Previously boasting about dismantling Roe vs. Wade, he now seems to advocate for both sides, positioning himself as an anti-abortion advocate while also supporting states’ rights on the issue. This apparent flip-flop appears to be a strategic move to mitigate political risks.

Support for strict abortion restrictions has become a contentious issue in the election, particularly among women and independent voters, according to recent polls. Trump’s advisors recognize the potential electoral impact, especially in swing states, where small margins could sway the outcome.

Trump’s attempt to divert attention from reproductive rights is viewed as a calculated maneuver, though its effectiveness remains uncertain. Despite his efforts, criticism persists, particularly from his own supporters, indicating skepticism about his sincerity.

Today marks the launch of an unprecedented effort to expand abortion rights across Europe, led by advocacy groups from eight different countries. The My Voice, My Choice campaign aims to gather 1 million signatures to urge European Union leaders to support individuals facing barriers to ending unwanted pregnancies in their home countries.

While legal abortion is generally accessible in Europe, exceptions exist, such as near-total bans in Poland and Malta, and limited access in Austria and Germany. Additionally, some doctors in countries like Croatia and Italy refuse to provide abortion services. The campaign seeks to address these gaps by providing financial assistance for individuals to access abortion care internationally if necessary.

Led by Slovenian activist Nika Kovač, the campaign emphasizes solidarity and aims to mobilize support across Europe. Despite the challenges of collecting such a large number of signatures in a short time frame, organizers are optimistic, drawing on their collective experience in advocacy and mobilization efforts.

The proposed European Citizens’ Initiative would enable member states to opt in and receive financial support from the EU to provide abortion services for those in need. By positioning the initiative within the EU’s supporting competence, activists aim to challenge the notion that reproductive rights fall solely within the jurisdiction of individual member states.

The initiative’s success depends on the support of the European Commission and the stance of candidates running for European Parliament. Nevertheless, activists are determined to push for concrete action to address the needs of individuals across Europe facing barriers to accessing safe and legal abortion.

How did the current zealot push against women’s rights begin in the United States? In 2011, amidst the rise of the Tea Party and a seemingly robust pro-choice movement, an unexpected proposal emerged. Evangelical activist Janet Porter championed a bill aiming to ban abortion once a fetal “heartbeat” could be detected, typically around six to eight weeks of pregnancy.

This concept was considered radical at the time. Established anti-abortion groups like Ohio Right to Life and the state’s Catholic conference viewed it with skepticism. They favored a gradual approach, fearing such a seemingly extreme bill could backfire and hinder their cause.