Bearing Witness to Climate Change June 2019

The Trump administration is said to be trying to change how long-term impact of climate change is reported by limiting how far into the future federal agencies like the USGS they can talk about affects of a warming planet. Are we are witnessing another conspiracy or crime against humanity?

The U.S. breaks a record with 11 consecutive days of dozens of tornados occurring across the country that may approach a total of 500 tornados in a 30-day period.  Meanwhile other locations across the rest of the country are experiencing record rainfalls, river levels, and heat. The Mississippi River in close to all-time highs in the upper Midwest.

In a bit of good news, the U.N. Secretary General says that some 80 countries are willing to accelerate their pledges to reduce carbon emissions. Of course the U.S., which has become an evil force in fighting climate change, is not one of these. May God forgive us.

New research predicts that if the planet warms by 2-3 degrees Celsius heat waves will be even more extreme, more frequent, and more deadly.

While the US government may be in such denial of climate change, American businesses have joined those from around the world in bracing for financial impact of a warming planet with more extreme weather that impacts their supply chain, food production, infectious disease, civic unrest, migration, energy markets, and national security concerns. A group of the world’s largest companies are said to face over $1 trillion dollars in costs over future decades.

A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says that global warming along with acidification of the world’s oceans is on track to reduce sea life by some 17%.

The former EPA heads from three previous Republican administrations joined Obama’s EPA chief Gina McCarthy in stating their concerns to Congress about the Trump’s administration rollbacks that protect the environment and public health.

A new study in the Journal Nature Microbiology says that a warming planet will put several billion more at risk from dengue fever by 2080.

FOI emails this week revealed that the Trump administration sought help from a think tank that disavows climate change to more aggressively challenge the science.

A member of the Federal regulatory board Commodity Futures Trading Commission  said that climate change poses major risks to the stability of financial markets. I 2010 the SEC began requiring companies to disclose financial risks associated with climate change.

In a sign of some progress elsewhere around the planet, under pressure from the Vatican Climate Summit, where Pope Francis called climate change a global emergency, the world’s leading oil companies said they supported the pricing of carbon.

In an act of political and moral courage, outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May has proposed legislation that would reduce Great Britain’s greenhouse gases to zero by 2050. She said it was imperative that other major world economies follow.

Last year the World Bank warned that the impacts of climate change could create over 140 million climate migrants and new refugees by the middle of the century.  A new study from Canada has said that nearly 200 million could be forced to relocate because of rising sea levels by the end of the century.

Record heat is being experienced in California and the west coast where SFO airport experienced the warmest temperature of over 100 degrees ever recorded in June.  In the normally cool Pacific Northwest even Portland had triple digit temperatures. Elsewhere the US has experienced the wettest twelve months on record leaving behind flooded rivers, towns and farmland. Both extreme heat and excessive rainfall alternating with droughts are predicted by the atmosphere of a warmer planet.

Greenland has experienced soaring temperatures as much as 40 degrees above normal that created much earlier melting this year of its ice sheet. This region is warming nearly twice as fast as the rest of the planet.

In India a heat wave has killed dozens with temperatures exceeding 120 degrees. Heat waves are reported to have grown more severe in India over the past decade. More than 6,000 people have died due to heat waves in India since 2010.

After decades of improving, the quality of air in the US is falling under the Trump administration. The nation cities are experiencing more bad air days, over 4,000 events in 2018 from over 500 cities.

How will we ever tame carbon emissions with a world population now projected by the United Nations to reach nearly 10 Billion by 2050, increasing from the current 7.7 billion? The good news is that with falling birth rates it is expected to peak at 11B by 2100. Of course calamities brought on by climate change could dramatically alter these forecasts.

A new report in the journal Sciences Advances find that the melting of glaciers in the Himalayas is accelerating and will likely create huge disruptions to the ecosystems which depend on them.

Gray whales are washing up dead on Pacific Northwest beaches in alarming numbers for unknown reasons. Emaciated polar bears are roaming larger areas searching for food sources, including into Arctic settlements, as their habitats become imperiled by a reduction in sea ice which they use for hunting seals.

In a week after record hear, Republican state legislatures in Oregon have fled the state capitol to keep the Democrat-led body from being able to vote on a climate change bill. The Governor ordered the State Police to round them up and bring them back to the capitol. The bill proposed a free-market  emissions trading system to lower carbon use, what would normally be attractive to Republicans. But they have become held hostage to an ideology that denies science to the detriment of future generations.   A few days later militia’s threatened violence in support of the Republicans on the run, and the Governor closed the capitol for business.

On the East Coast lawmakers in the state of New York are working on the country’s most ambitous goals for eliminating greenhouse emissions to zero by 2050. By 2030 they hope to produce 70% of electricity from renewable sources.

The Trump administration continues to repeal Obama-era Clean Power Plan rules which were moving the US away from coal plants with national restrictions on carbon emissions. The new rules from the EPA are seen as being much more friendly to coal production and coal usage by giving states the authority to set standards. The NRDC said this was a dramatic retrenchment.

Separately, the EPA is planning to impose a new rule that would allow federal appointees to veto freedom of information requests without explanation – just another attempt to limit the public’s right to know about environmental maatters.

Europe is experiencing a historic heat wave with the highest temperatures, up to 114 degrees F., ever recorded in France. Whole countries have been placed on alerts due to impact on public health, roads, transportation, and especially the elderly in regions that have never had air conditioning before.

Flood damage is expected to exceed $2 billion for Mississippi river towns impacted by record flooding this spring.

In the Democrat Presidential debates Climate Change was often mentioned as the greatest threat to the country and planet.  It should have as the city which is hosting them, Miami, experienced record highs the very same week of the debates.

The migrant crisis at the US border continues with more tragedies of parents dying with their children while crossing the border, and reports of inhumane treatment of immigrant families seeking asylum while in US custody. Climate change is said to he contributing to the flood of migrants due to dryer and hotter weather in Central America making economies and communities more fragile.