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
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
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 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.
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.