Bearing Witness to Climate Change May 2019

  • A NPR news report and poll found that most teachers don’t teach or even discuss climate change which is bad news. Many feel either unprepared to do so or feel political pressure not to. The good news is that 4 in 5 parents wish they did.
  • A study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that climate change is widening the gap between wealthy and poor nations of the world. The impact of global warming is thought to lower the value of good and services by as much of 30% in some developing economies like India and Brazil. Cooler nations that are not experiencing extreme weather events are spending less.
  • The U.S. spent more than $90 billion in weather-related and natural disasters in 2018. Already in 2019 over $1B of losses have been experience by record flooding in Nebraska alone. Over $400 of that is for one military base that must be repaired and rebuilt on higher ground. Economists and financial analysts are now starting to ask corporations to disclose risks from how prepared they are to handle disruptions due to droughts, flooding, fires, storms, sea level rise, and agricultural losses. Analysts who follow the ag industry have said that the next 10 years will not look like the previous 10 years.
  • In India a monster cyclone that is the worst in decades is bearing down, only a week after another storm hits Mozambique which was already suffering from a previous cyclone.
  • A new paper in the journal Nature claims that human activity has been affecting drought and rainfall patterns for decades. Scientists used tree rings, The paper concludes that large parts of Eurasia and North America will experience severe droughts.
  • A new study on the thawing of the Arctic permafrost says that a collapse could release between 60 and 100 billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere in the next few centuries. If that happens the Earth’s climate could warm twice as fast as current models predict.
  • The Trump administration is said to have sought the removal of references to climate change from an international statement on Arctic policy. They objected to the inclusion of language which encouraged collective action to reduce the effects of climate change in the Arctic that is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet.
  • In a rare bit of good news the U.S. House voted to keep the U.S. in the Paris Climate Pact which more than 200 countries. Unfortunately, it stand little chance of passing in the Senate that Trump’s Republican Party controls. Will the rest of the world eventually look at the U.S. has having committed the worst crime against humanity? I fear we are committing an atrocity that will be worse than the holocaust, and those who stay silent or don’t resist will be as guilty as those who denied climate change just like the sins of holocaust deniers.
  • Unlike the U.S. after weeks of protest organized by Extinction Rebellion, the U.K. Parliament has declared that a climate emergency exists and that nations of the world must work together to tackle.
  • Some U.S. states, most of which are led by Democrats, are taking on clean energy projects despite the lack of action from the federal government. State legislators have introduced at least 300 bills this year that address carbon emissions.
  • The U.S. pressured a meeting of the Arctic Council to exclude any mention of climate change that kept the diplomats from issuing a joint declaration, the first time in its history. As the arctic warms and the permafrost melts the U.S. under the Trump administration remains an isolated outlier among all nations. Criminal.
  • The southern U.S. experiences heavy flooding from rainfalls in some locations like South Texas and the Louisiana gulf that are 300-600% more in a typical May.
  • Meanwhile, the English Environmental Agency is urging communities to begin preparing for the inevitable flooding and higher sea levels expected with climate change, extremer weather events, and warmer oceans.
  • A 1,500 page report from the U.N. projects that our planet will experience the loss of one million species of plants and animals if humans continue on our current path of population growth and over consumption. We are overfishing the oceans, turning forests and grasslands into farms, polluting land and water with heavy metals and plastics, pouring carbon into the atmosphere warming both the air and water, killing off coral reefs, poisoning humans with chemicals, and destroying the habitats of thousands of species whose existence is threatened.  We are behaving like parasites that destroys its own host.
  • Mexico reports that many of its tourist-filled beaches are now more often plagued by a seaweed-like algae invasion made worse by climate change.
  • Mayors of river towns along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers that are experiencing more floods are struggling with a long-term strategy response when many of their citizens deny the existence of climate change. In St. Louis six of the nine highest recorded river crests have occurred since 1993, with four of these just since 2013.
  • Missouri once again is reported to be one of the top states in the U.S. for coal-generated electricity, over 70% in 2018.