Our World is Changing in Ways We Would Rather Deny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A not very cozy welcoming to the new abnormal Looking back at 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. Over the years, such extreme events are occurring in increasing frequency and intensity, magnifying the human and financial cost of these disasters.

“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 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.

The megadrought in the Western U.S., the region’s worst in 1,200 years, is threatening America’s cattle heartland: withering pastures, wrecking feed harvests, and endangering a quintessential way of life. New data on heat risks forecast an “extreme heat belt” will emerge in large parts of the country by 2053.

As of August 8, 97.52 percent of California is in a state of “severe” drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, while 99.76 percent is in at least “moderate” drought. This time last year, 95.56 percent of the state was classified as under “severe” drought.

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.

Western Snowpack Has Shrunk by 23% Since 1955

Change in April snowpack in the Western US, 1955–2022

Nowhere is the Southwest’s worst drought since the year 800 more evident than Lake Powell and Lake Mead, the pair of artificial Colorado River reservoirs whose plunging levels threaten major water and power sources for tens of millions of people.  States along the Colorado River have missed a federally imposed deadline to develop a new water-sharing agreement, and the federal government announced Tuesday it will reduce water allocations, including nearly 25 percent in cuts to Arizona.  There is no escaping the reality of climate change.

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.

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

Extreme heat kills more people each year in the U.S. than 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.

Global warming is causing more frequent and longer heatwaves. 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 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.”

Wildfire 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.

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 polyfluoroalkyl 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.

By 1960, humans were already using around 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

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.

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.”

We Are Ruining The Planet –- Fires, Hurricanes, Floods How Can We Help From Caring What’s In Store For Us and Our Children

The climate is heating faster than at any point in hundreds of millions of years.  

So fast that it is shattering scientists’ worst predictions —making our reality seem like a sci-fi movie with people dying by the millions.

Following global warming. come hurricanes and tornadoes.  Hurricanes have been posing increasing threats to infrastructure in East Coast cities, hitting subways particularly hard. Last month’s Hurricane Ida flooded New York City’s subway tunnels, shut down Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, and washed out a commuter line in Philadelphia.

Why this Matters: Storms and hurricanes will only get worse as climate change intensifies, and our cities will have to prepare — quickly. Hurricane Ida dumped 75 million gallons of water into New York City subways almost a decade after Superstorm Sandy hit the coast, which prompted billions of dollars to be invested to protect the East Coast from flooding. Despite such spending, the Regional Plan Association projects more than 400 subway entrances could still be affected by heavy rainfall.

Pollution is the world’s leading cause of death, ahead of tobacco use, drug, and alcohol use, and even war. Roughly five million deaths each year are attributed to polluted air, mostly from outdoor sources in urban and industrialized areas. (The Global Alliance on Health and Pollution study).

Fully 15 percent of all deaths come from car tailpipes, coal-fired power plants, and toxic waste dumps, claiming more than eight million lives around the world in 2017 alone. But that figure is a vast undercount because the occupational pollution data excludes workers in the informal economy, like casual farm laborers, domestic workers, and trash pickers. Sectors like small-scale artisanal gold mining employ millions of people, mostly in Africa, and expose them constantly to illness caused by mercury vapors.

The pollution epidemic is maybe even worse than it sounds. Omitted from the study:  plastics, pesticides, chemicals that act as endocrine disruptors, mercury, and pharmaceutical wastes. Occupational hazards, which are specifically related to the work environment, cause about 800,000 deaths through “occupational carcinogens, second-hand smoke, particulates, gases, and fumes. A new study affirms that the United States ranks number seven, with some 197,000 deaths due to pollution.   More out of three people,   many of them in Africa, lack access to safe water, while nearly double that number do not have access to safe sanitation services. Nearly 42,000 sources of toxic chemicals put our drinking water at risk.

Death by Smog. Smog-related deaths could rise by 80 percent over the next 20 years.

The US has emitted 410 gigatons of carbon since industrialization.   China’s emitted about 220 gigatons —half of America’s emissions. By comparison, France has emitted less than 40.  The lifestyles of around three average Americans create enough emissions to kill one person, and the emissions from a single coal-fired power plant are likely to result in more than 900 deaths.  Higher concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere produce more and ragweed.

Rising temperatures are exacerbating the problem of dirty air. Summer” isn’t what it used to be. The daily news is filled with news of:

Hurricanes double in number each year; floods and “megafloods” in Europe and Asia.  Record-breaking heatwaves and drought on the  West Coast leave forests victims of wildfires. Mega-fires force hundreds of people to evacuate and can turn into fire tornadoes. Thunderstorms with lightning, damaging hail, and the potential for tornadoes are increasing.  “Record-shattering” heatwaves, even worse than the one that recently hit Pacific north-west America and in Australia, and more are more likely to occur in the future posing risks to lives and livelihoods.  The West’s megadrought is so bad, authorities are airlifting water for animals.

The world has yet to see anything close to the worst impacts possible, even under the global heating that had already happened. Scientists expect a possible doubling of heat stress in the US by 2100 because current climate models do not capture the slow-moving and very persistent nature of the extreme weather phenomena seen in the Pacific north-west heatwave and German floods recently.

Hotter and more frequent heatwaves put the work and lives of countless essential workers at risk.

The summer of 2021 was devilishly hot across much of the U.S. Just five minutes in an attic guest room with no air conditioning could be enough to leave a person drenched in sweat and lightheaded, as one of us discovered during a heatwave in Washington state. It’s the kind of heat where it’s impossible to move, to think, to do anything.

In parts of the U.S., people work in heated workplaces and then go home to heat all summer long. Research shows that chronic heat exposure is a growing threat to health and productivity

Fire season is getting longer and more destructive, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The smoke from large fires fills the air with tiny particles, and when those particles settle low enough, they can be harmful to humans to breathe. This summer, smoke from Western wildfires triggered air-quality alerts in cities such as D.C., Boston, and New York as the wind blew toward the Northeast.

Wildfire smoke causes more than 33,000 deaths a year across 43 countries, according to a new global study.  Wildfire smoke causes more than 33,000 deaths a year across 43 countries, according to a new global study.

The researchers said the rare record-shattering events in the past had huge impacts, such as the Russian heatwave of 2010, which killed 55,000 people and wiped out $15 billion of crops, and the European heatwave of 2003, which led to 70,000 early deaths. Temperature records were being smashed in North America and devastating floods in Europe and China this summer.

The LA Times found  3,900 Californians have died of heat exposure in the last 10 years. That’s six times more than the official statistics report.

75% of the town of the historic town of  Greenville, California was destroyed by the Dixie wildfire.  The fire consumed more than 320,000 acres and with almost 27,000 people under evacuation orders. This massive blaze in northern California now is the state’s second-largest wildfire in recorded history.  Officials said the fire was running parallel to a canyon that acted as a natural chimney, elevating temperatures and creating erratic localized winds that make the fire’s spread unpredictable.

Raging California wildfires jumped across the oft-snowy Sierra for the first time in recorded history. Lytton, a town in British Columbia burned down after setting a Canadian heat record, topping out at a scorching 121.2 degrees.

The five hottest years on record have all happened since 2015. Three greenhouse gases − carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide − set records for atmospheric concentration in 2020 and again in 2021.  In April carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached a ratio of 416 parts per million,   the highest monthly global average ever recorded. New climate models find that heatwaves that smash previous records by roughly 5C would become two to seven times more likely in the next three decades and three to 21 times more likely from 2051–2080 unless carbon emissions are immediately slashed. . It is 120 degrees in Sicily which may be an all-time European heat record! Such extreme heatwaves are caused by global heating.

Smoke from Russia’s Siberia region, where wildfires are running rampant, has reached the North Pole for the first time ever — according to NASA.
Siberian wildfires are worse than all other current wildfires across the globe combined, which includes record-breaking fires in California.

A New Dust Bowl in the Southwest

The United States experienced the hottest summer ever, breaking the record set in 1936 when the Dustbowl took hold
amid extreme heat, drought, crop failures that upended the country. Many major cities in the Southwest may become uninhabitable for humans this century. This will be due to the Heat Island Effect. This effect happens when central parts of a city with lots of concrete and asphalt have higher temperatures compared to the surrounding more rural areas.  Cities lose their tree canopies, so that sunlight is absorbed and held in roads and rooftops, which are typically darker in color. When the air is finally released, it goes back heated, so the temperature is increased experienced by the people in those urban environments. When you look at a thermal map of many cities, the temperatures inside the central parts of a city resemble an island. The Heat Island Effect is worsened by climate change.

Obviously, the effect is apt to be direr in desert cities like Phoenix. There will come a day when the temperature will not fall below 100 degrees in Phoenix during the nighttime. Scientists predict that by 2060, Phoenix will have 132 days — over a third of the year — with 100-degree temperatures. Extreme heat limits the ability of airlines to take off and causes heat deaths. 172 people died of heat in 2017, which will undoubtedly be cooler than 2060. One wonders if anyone will want to live there by then.

Portland hit 116 degrees – 9 degrees above its record. A new study, published July 26, 2021,  shows how record-shattering, long-lasting heat waves are growing increasingly likely.  Global warming is connected with these heat extremes.

Heat Waves Produce Disease

There are more than 30 new or resurgent diseases in the last three decades as mosquitoes, ticks, mice, and other carriers are surviving warmer winters and expanding their range which translates into more allergies and asthma, and the spreading of diseases like malaria in Africa, South America,  Western Europe, Russia, and more Cholera, Lyme Disease, West Nile Virus, and Dengue Fever.

Heatwaves increase strokes and heart disease. Atherosclerosis develops more quickly at warm temperatures. 150 people die each year according to the World Health Organization from global warming.  Respiratory diseases like childhood asthma, which already costs an estimated $23,573 per case, will worsen.

Extreme heat is now the leading weather-related killer in the United States. Hundreds of people died in June from a record-shattering heatwave that battered the Pacific Northwest, a region where many people don’t have air conditioning. A team of scientists found that the brutal heatwave would have been “virtually impossible” without climate change.

Each year with each one-degree Celsius increase as many as 20,000 air-pollution related deaths may occur worldwide. Rising temperatures and ocean acidification could alter the chemical composition of some pollutants.

Projected long-term ripple effects include rising rates of infectious diseases such as malaria, and aggravate antibiotic resistance, raising the risk of public health crises.

Melting Ice is Causing Rising Sea Levels  and Flooding

Less ice in the Arctic enables the northwest passage to become a reality which means that hostile nations will be closer to one another as they compete or battle for scarce resources.

Glaciers are now losing 31% more snow and ice per year than they did 15 years ago. Greenland is melting. The ice shelves in Antarctica and Canada are collapsing.  Grass is growing in Antarctica; as Glaciers melt in the Swiss foothills, they threaten Swiss Villages; and Florida’s National Marine Sanctuary is in trouble.  The amount of Greenland ice that melts in one day can cover Florida in 2 inches of water.  Scientists are warning that the  Gulf Stream may be collapsing. In August, researchers at the National Science Foundation’s Summit Station observed rainfall at the peak of Greenland’s rapidly melting ice sheet for the first time on record—an event driven by warming temperatures.

Sea-level rise is caused primarily by two factors related to global warming: the added water from melting ice sheets and glaciers and the expansion of seawater as it warms.  In the US alone, 13 million people could be forced to relocate due to rising sea levels by 2100.

When the ice in Greenland melts, it will swamp every coastal area in the world, permanently. The breaking off of enormous ice shelves in the Antarctic would do the same. This will totally change much of the planet.

The melting of polar ice is not only shifting the levels of our oceans, it is changing the planet Earth itself. As glacial ice from Greenland, Antarctica, and the Arctic Islands melt, Earth’s crust beneath these landmasses warps, and this can be felt ct that can be measured hundreds and perhaps thousands of miles away

If the Gulf Stream, which is warm combines with a constant flood of cold fresh water from the Greenland ice melt,  much of Northern Europe and northeastern North America would experience a permanent ice age. Germany, Russia, the Scandinavian countries, and Great Britain would be engulfed in cold and snow year-round, along with parts of Canada and the US. Germany’s deadly floods were up to 9 times more likely because of climate change.

“Sea level rise will affect every county in the US, including inland areas,” said the associate director of USC’s Center for AI for Society. Everybody should care about sea-level rise, whether they live on the coast or not. This is a global impact issue.”

The West’s megadrought is so bad, authorities are airlifting water for animals More than 5 million people were impacted by hurricane  Henri, the first hurricane in thirty years to hit Long Island.

Climate scientists have warned for decades that global warming would cause more heavy rain. Now, with Earth almost 2 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than it was in the late 1800s, scientists are observing the amount of rain falling during the heaviest storms increased by almost a third in the Southeast U.S. between 1958 and 2016.

In Tennessee, 22 people have been killed and dozens more have been declared missing after flash floods inundated the state. Emergency workers are searching door-to-door for missing persons. The amount of rain falling during the heaviest storms increased by almost a third in the Southeast U.S. between 1958 and 2016, t. This is also the second major flooding event in Tennessee this year.

As a result, cities throughout the country will grapple with new populations. Effects could include more competition for jobs, increased housing prices, and more pressure on infrastructure networks.

Large-scale migrations due to global warming turning already dry environments into deserts, causing the people who live there to migrate in massive numbers to more livable places.

Conflicts over food and water with increased border tensions are inevitable. Reduced water supplies and hotter temperatures will result in more fights over the world’s water. There will be more wars in places like Somalia; in the Nile Basin, water supplies in Yemen, conflict over the Euphrates-Tigris in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, boundary water disputes between Afghanistan and Iran, and over dam projects in the Mekong River Basin.

More refugees both within and across borders. Christian Aid Estimates are the number of refugees around the world will top a billion by 2050.

The darkest red indicates areas worst struck by drought.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Western Water Cuts

Federal officials declared a water shortage at Lake Mead yesterday, the first time such a designation has been made within the Colorado River basin. The declaration is expected to trigger cuts in water allocation in southwestern states beginning next year.  Arizona will see its allocation fall by 18%, Nevada by 7%, and Mexico by 5%. If water levels continue to fall, other states, including California, will see reductions.

The nation’s largest reservoir by capacity, Lake Mead sits at 35% of its full capacity, the lowest on record. The Colorado River, which feeds the lake, recorded its driest 12-month period on record between May 2020 and April 2021.  The river system fuels the Hoover Dam, producing hydroelectric power for roughly 1.3 million users. The dam will keep producing electricity though less efficiently.

The Amazon absorbs up to 10% of the greenhouse gases we dump into the atmosphere daily. Now it is starting to leak carbon dioxide, which is a threat to us all.

Predicting relocation areas

Within just a few decades, hundreds of thousands of homes on the US coast will be flooded as coasts rise by three feet or more. In fact, by the end of the century, 6 feet of ocean-level rise would redraw the coastline of southern Florida, parts of North Carolina and Virginia and most of Boston and New Orleans.

The greatest effects of sea-level rise migration will be felt by inland areas immediately adjacent to the coast, as well as urban areas in the southeast US.

The most popular relocation choices will include land-locked cities such as Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, and  Austin as the top destination for climate migrants from the southeastern coast. Suburban and rural areas in the Midwest will get influxes of people. Sea-level rise could also reroute people relocating from unaffected areas. Counties surrounding Los Angeles could see tens of thousands of migrants whose preferred coastal destinations are now flooded flocking to them.

When migration occurs naturally, it is a great engine for economic activity and growth, but population movement under climate change will not necessarily follow previously established patterns. When migration is forced upon people, economic productivity falls and human and social capital are lost as communities are broken apart.

Water Rivers and Lakes

The Oceans are turning acidic.  Combined with higher sea temperatures,  coral reefs are threatened upon which more than 500 million people depend for fisheries, tourism, and storm surge protection.

Coral reefs become stressed when temperatures around them rise just 1 C (1.8 F) above their tolerance level. With water temperature elevated from global warming, even a minor heatwave can become devastating. Bleaching doesn’t just affect the corals – entire reef systems and the fish that feed, spawn and live among the coral branches suffer. One study of reefs around Papua New Guinea in the southwest Pacific found that about 75% of the reef fish species declined after the 1998 bleaching, and many of those species declined by more than half. Coral reefs are like the canary in the coal mine.

The Mediterranean Sea is turning into a dead sea. There will be suddenly vanishing lakes, the Ganges and African Rivers Drying Up; the Great Barrier Reef disappearing. Humans have collapsed other ecosystems before through overfishing, overhunting and development, but this is the first unequivocally tied to climate change. It’s a harbinger of what can happen to other ecosystems as they reach their survival thresholds

 Animals, Birds, and Sea Life

Industrial farming, extraction of resources, and the expansion of human civilizations have destroyed 83% of wild mammals and half of the plants. Of the birds left in the world, 70% are poultry chickens and other farmed birds. Of the mammals left in the world, 60% are livestock, 36% are pigs, and a mere 4% are wild. We are determining the animals and plants that remain. Ruminant livestock has grown past 4 billion. By weight, the mass of cattle and sheep outweigh all humans and all wild mammals combined. Some scientists are saying the Earth is experiencing its sixth mass wave of extinction, with billions of local animal populations endangered around the world. Sea turtles are ingesting more and more plastic.

As of now, there are just under 8 billion of us sharing the globe, a number that’s projected to reach 9 billion by 2040. Our fast proliferation translates to the displacement of wildlife species around the world.

The world stands to lose 40 percent of the world’s species- many becoming extinct including koala bears, most polar bears, gray whales, emperor penguins, frogs, snails, and walruses, the arctic fox, many birds species There will homeless sheep, goats, bears, deer, and marsh rabbits, more stray kitties, and more jellyfish attacks.  30% of the earth’s tree species are nearly extinct.

 

A series of recent research papers from a McGill-led team has found that the herbicide glyphosate—commonly sold under the label Roundup—can alter the structure of natural freshwater bacterial and zooplankton communities.

A series of recent research papers from a McGill-led team has found that the herbicide glyphosate—commonly sold under the label Roundup—can alter the structure of natural freshwater bacterial and zooplankton communities. Notably, the researchers found that for zooplankton, aquatic concentrations of 0.1 mg/L glyphosates were sufficient to cause diversity loss.

Starvation, Famine, and Food Shortages

65 countries are likely to lose over 15 percent of their agricultural output by 2100.  Developing countries, many with average temperatures that are already near or above crop tolerance levels, are predicted to suffer an average 10 to 25 percent decline in agricultural productivity by the 2080s.

Gone from our tables may be French wines, Pinot Noir, light and dry wines.
guacamole, almonds and walnuts, French fries, cod, salmon dinners, and
lobster dinners.

Darker areas indicate food shortages

From Everyday Life, Outdoor Living and Sports

Disappearing will be Christmas trees, baseball bats, meadows of wildflowers pretty lawns, Alaskan spruce forests, fly fishing, ski competition, and ski vacations, snorkeling, tropical island vacations, and mangrove trees. It takes 100 million tons of trees per person to produce just 650 pounds of paper. When you consider how much trash we put at our curbs or take to a dump, we throw away a lot of trees. Their main concern?
dry mountain forests in California and other Western states will likely see ever-worsening fires for the next decade, followed by a period of fewer fires with less intensity. The area might not have enough trees left by the next decade.

Pests and Weeds

Over 600 pest species have developed resistance to pesticides.  Expect more mosquitoes and Poison Ivy and other weeds to grow “taller, lusher, and more resilient.

Discretionary spending may become a thing of the past. The U.S. economy is about 80% consumption. The cost of what we consume is artificially cheap – made by offshoring production to countries with cheap wages and by poisoning water tables, rivers, and oceans.  

The British government showed global warming could cause a Global Great Depression, costing the world up to 20 percent of its annual Global Domestic Product. Ignoring global warming can end up costing $20 trillion by 2100. A study by the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University.

Noise

Noise can provoke people to murderous extremes, especially when rackets disturb people at home. People have shot neighbors over loud music and noisy parties. Noise is never just about sound.

Darker yellow indicates noise pollution.

Sound sleep is a casualty to the rumble of trucks downshifting outside because your adrenal glands are pumping stress hormones, your blood pressure and heart rate are rising, your digestion is slowing down. Your brain continues to process sounds while you snooze, and your blood pressure goes up in response to clatter as low as 33 decibels— the hum from the fans in your refrigerator-freezer. Irritating to many people are the high-pitched sounds produced by data centers.

Experts say your body does not adapt to noise. Large-scale studies show that if the din keeps up—over days, months, years—noise exposure increases your risk of high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and heart attacks, as well as strokes, diabetes, dementia, and depression.

Noise is an irritant. A 1969 study suggested that test subjects exposed to noise, even the gentle fuzz of white noise, become more aggressive and more eager to zap fellow-subjects with electric shocks. Uncontrollable noise relates to feelings of powerlessness. Because of our anatomy, we cannot close ourselves off to noise. Noise is a violation we cannot control, People often discount the grating effect noise can have.

Scientists have known for decades that noise—even at the seemingly innocuous volume of car traffic—is bad for us. “Calling noise a nuisance is like calling smog an inconvenience,” former U.S. Surgeon General William Stewart said in 1978. In the years since, numerous studies have only underscored his assertion that noise “must be considered a hazard to the health of people everywhere.”

Most Oxygen in the World is Produced in Ways That May Be Disappearing

The Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest is only responsible for a piddling 6 percent of the world’s oxygen production. Brazilian Amazon deforestation hits highest Level in a decade.  About 71 percent of the Earth is covered by water, so it’s reasonable to say that the Sun is shining more on the water than on the land.

Algae produce most of our oxygen, the total percentage of oxygen that’s produced from tiny, modest single-celled critters ranges from 50 to 85 percent.  A significant amount of this oxygen doesn’t go directly into our atmosphere but stays absorbed in the oceans. This is how fish can breathe.

The problem is not the living algae, but what happens algae die. The algae grow out-of-control — and then dies.  Death leads to rotting algae that are consumed by bacteria, using up far more oxygen than the algae produced in the first place.  This is often caused by fertilizer runoff or some other effect of climate change.

When huge numbers of algae grow, clogging the water, in a “bloom.” The algae may produce toxins that can kill fish and wildlife by covering them and suffocating them.

As the fuel for the bloom runs out, the algae die in huge quantities. The dead algae lead to huge growths of bacteria, which consume oxygen from the water as they feed on the rotting algae.

If an algal bloom is large enough, it leaves behind an area of the ocean, sometimes many square kilometers, that no longer contains enough oxygen in the water to support life. These regions are known as “dead zones.”

Dead zones have a whole host of problems — they cannot support fish, they may spread if there’s still more fertilizer, sewage, or other pollutant runoff contributing to them, and they can wipe out important species that we need to maintain the ocean food chains.

Trees and forests look verdant and brimming with life, but they contribute only a small fraction of the total oxygen in the atmosphere. Most of this oxygen comes from modest, single-celled algae that grow in the ocean. The sheer surface area of the ocean means that these little blobs of green fuzz are the biggest overall producers of oxygen on the planet.

 Negative environmental effects of fracking

Carlsbad, New Mexico has been transformed from a sleepy desert town to a booming outpost of the oil and gas industry’s expansion into the Permian basin. Spanning western Texas and southeastern New Mexico, The basin, rich with fossil fuels, is a key reason the US is becoming one of the world’s top petroleum producers. This is done with fracking, which poisons groundwater, pollutes surface water, impairs wild landscapes, and threatens wildlife.

From Dry to Wet

The word monsoon comes from the Arabic word mausim, or season. Its most traditional use is to describe the large-scale wind shift into the Indian subcontinent from the ocean that coincides with intense summer rains there. But monsoons also occur in Africa, Australia, and South America, as well as in Mexico and the southwestern U.S.

Floods in the Desert

Monsoon thunderstorms occur when clouds develop over mountains during the day, producing rain in the afternoon and early evening. They create unique and severe dangers in the desert environment.

Flash flooding occurs when dry soil can’t quickly absorb short-lived, high-intensity downpours. Washes and arroyos – drainage channels that are dry except during heavy rainstorms – can turn into raging currents within minutes, strong enough to carry away cars and people.

Strong thunderstorms can generate microbursts – strong surface winds that gust near hurricane force. They may also trigger dust storms known as haboobs – giant walls of dust a mile or more high that reduce visibility to near zero.

Covid-D Effect

At their peak, the pandemic-related lockdowns led to an increase of solar energy at the top of the atmosphere of about 0.23 watts per square meter, which is a measure used by climate scientists to quantify the amount of solar heat entering and leaving Earth’s atmosphere. In contrast, the Australian fires temporarily cooled the globe by almost a watt per square meter, By circling the Southern Hemisphere and lingering in the atmosphere for months, the smoke particles disproportionately cooled the southern half of the planet. As a result, the disparity between hemispheric temperatures displaced tropical thunderstorms farther to the north than usual. For perspective, the average intensity of solar energy at the top of the atmosphere directly facing the Sun is about 1,360 watts per square meter.

When scientists analyzed the events that influenced the world’s climate in 2020, they took into account the pandemic-related lockdowns that reduced emissions and led to clearer skies over many cities. But they found that an entirely different event had a more immediate impact on global climate: the devastating bushfires that burned through Australia from late 2019 to 2020, pumping plumes of smoke that reached the stratosphere and circled much of the southern hemisphere.” The main climate forcing of 2020 wasn’t COVID-19 at all,” said John Fasullo, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the lead author of the new study. “It was the explosion of wildfires in Australia.”

Over the past year as the use of disposable plastic products has shot up as we embraced disposable products in an effort to protect ourselves from germs and new strains of Covid-D amid the pandemic, the increased use of single-use plastics has had negative effects on environments around the world.

What We Should Be Doing

We should call this global warming, which what it was called until Frank Luntz, the Republican strategist invented the term climate change.  Why? Because “global warming” sounded too ominous. Luntz’s rebranding worked vividly. Media and people around the world began using climate change. He propagated this term to create the impression that there was some “debate” on this topic. Doubt had to be manufactured by organizations like the Sutherland Institute, a Utah think tank. When you call it “climate change,” why pay attention to global warming?  The right’s think tanks fed the idea that nothing could be done.

Founded to “trumpet” conservative principles, Sutherland has received more than $1 million from Koch Brothers-linked foundations and millions more from other wealthy benefactors to muddle public recognition of climate problems. Sutherland is a member of the State Policy Network of influential conservative ideological groups.

Calling it climate change is using the vocabulary of global-warming deniers, stalling our dealing with an existential crisis upon which our lives and prosperity depend. These threats are getting much worse, faster. Instead of unifying us, we are increasingly politically polarized.  Should we not expunge this term from our vocabulary?  If in doubt, think about 5oo people in British Columbia who died of the heat this year.

Calling it climate change is using the vocabulary of global-warming deniers, stalling our dealing with an existential crisis upon which our lives and prosperity depend.  Should we not expunge this term from our vocabulary?  If in doubt, think about 5oo people in British Columbia who died of the heat this year

The effects of global warming are as toxic as nuclear war. The Center for Naval Analyses defines that as a national security threat.  Poor people have the most to lose under dire predictions of wrenching change in weather patterns. If  CO2 emissions start falling immediately and rapidly,  the risk of record-shattering extremes is cut by about 80%. “The United States has the technology and financial capacity to stop the worst impacts of pollution inside and outside its borders. Do we have the political will? Global emissions are not yet falling.

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change new report says the world has rapidly warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial levels.  We are now careening toward 1.5 degrees warmer.
Unlike previous assessments, the August 9  state-of-the-science report concludes it is “unequivocal” that humans have caused the climate crisis and confirms that “widespread and rapid changes” have already occurred, some of them irreversibly.  The assessment found average global surface temperatures over the past decade rose almost 1.1 degrees Celsius compared to the average between 1850 and 1900—only 2%-3% of which came from natural drivers of temperature rises. Similarly, the panel noted that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are at the highest point in 2 million years, including a 47% increase since 1750. See how the greenhouse effect works here.

Ongoing extreme weather events—floods, droughts, wildfires, and more—around the country are more likely due to human influence, the panel found. While rising temperatures are not the primary cause, rising average temperatures increase the chances the weather events occur more frequently and at increased intensity and duration.

“Bottom line is that we have zero years left to avoid dangerous climate change, because it’s here,” Michael E. Mann, a lead author of the report.

If there is a political will to address the problem, we already know what works. The Clean Air Act has resulted in exposure to atmospheric particulate matter declining significantly between 2003 and 2015, and historically, been credited with dramatic reductions in ozone, lead, and the toxins that cause acid rain. Electric vehicles will overtake gasoline-powered vehicles. New technologies to remove carbon from the air are being developed. But governments are conflicted by economic considerations that prevent moving as fast as is required and while several international agreements have been agreed upon, atmospheric CO2 and other GHG concentrations have more than doubled and are still rising at record rates.

The big oil companies decided in 1998 to actually systematically challenge the science, with of course big money: altogether almost a billion dollars a year now flows into an organized climate change counter-movement. In the US, climate science, like the Covid-19 pandemic itself, has become a party political issue.

The alternative to doing too little is to leave a world to our children and their children much, much worse than at any time in recorded history.