“Those of us who spend our days trawling - and contributing to - the scientific literature on climate change are becoming increasingly gloomy about the future of human civilisation,” said Liz Hanna, convener of the human health division at the Australian National University’s climate change Adaption Network. ‘We are well past the time of niceties, of avoiding the dire nature of what is unfolding, and politely trying not to scare the public. The unparalleled setting of new heat extremes is forcing the continual upwards trending of warming predictions for the future, and the time scale is contracting.”
Just a few items from the past week:
- Australia shattered records for extended period of high (over 39C) temperature — as the #BigAussieHeat struck the entire continent. (Eight of the top twenty days in Australia’s temperture record have come in 2013 — eight days in a row.) And, a new color (purple) had to be added to the weather reporting to report temperatures above 50C (122F). (For compelling images from the #BigAussieHeat.)
- NOAA (US) reported that 2012 was the hottest year in US history — by over 1 degree F on average — with massive numbers of new high (and new max low) temperature records in the lower 48 with zero (ZERO) new cold temperature records recorded.
- The Obama Administration released, on a Friday where it was less likely to make lots of noise, the Federal Advisory Committee Draft Climate Assessment Report for public review. (For a taste, Philip Bump provides the 32 most alarming charts from it.) To say that this report presents a scary future (9-15 degree F higher temperatures by 2100) for America and Americans is a terrifying understatement. To make matters worse, this report almost certainly understates the actual seriousness of the situation.
- Beijing is immersed in pollution that, somewhat like Australia’s temperatures, goes off the charts. (Images … and from space.)
- A study was released that shows high temperature records have gone up by five times due to climate change.
- As 2013 opens, it has been 27 years since the world experienced a month that was colder than average.
- The US drought continues (on, for example, Texas and Oklahoma), with predictions for a damaged winter wheat crop, continued threats to navigation on the Mississippi River, water restrictions in more areas, …
- And, for a positive note, research released showed the potential for serious climate mitigation action to avert 20-60% of the damage from BAU practices.
- Etc …
This list is US dominated and isn’t even complete for just the United States — and yet this is not dominating the public discussion, “The Village” seems at best blase (with more concern over the Fiscal Cliff molehill than the Climate Cliff fissure), and the situation isn’t being addressed (essentially in no country — although some are better than others) with anything like the urgency required. Should anyone wonder why those with the most extensive knowledge about climate change science are “gloomy” at the global inaction?
Several months ago, President Obama stated, in a press conference,
So what I’m going to be doing over the next several weeks, next several months, is having a conversation, a wide-ranging conversation with scientists, engineers and elected officials to find out what can — what more can we do to make short-term progress in reducing carbons, and then working through an education process that I think is necessary, a discussion, the conversation across the country about, you know, what realistically can we do long term to make sure that this is not something we’re passing on to future generations that’s going to be very expensive and very painful to deal with.
Last night, amid consideration of Hurricane Sandy relief financing in the House, Republican after Republican trotted out global warming denier nonsense with scant regard for truth and disdain for truthful engagement in policy discussions.
While those most knowledgeable are becoming increasingly “scared” and”gloomy” (if not outright terrified) and climate chaos devastation mounts around the globe, Anti-Science Syndrome suffering Haters Of a Livable Economic System gloat in their power in the House of Representatives and we are treated to rumors about a “bipartisan summit”.
Action is required … we have long had an imperative for working to avert catastrophic impacts from climate change. We are, in fact, already suffering what any reasoned person would view as catastrophes (Sandy, anyone …?). We have the potential for reducing future impacts and for averting human civilization’s hurtling over the Catastrophic Climate Chaos Cliff if we begin to treat the situation with the urgency and seriousness required.
Rumors about bipartisan summits doesn’t meet this necessity nor do they pass any sanity check about seriousness for engaging in the fight to protect humanity from Climate Disruption.
Is there any wonder that those concerned about Climate Change are driven to White House petition appeals for a declaration of war on Climate Change, Pray-Ins on the Climate Cliff outside the White House (with likely civil disobedience arrests), and the need for mass protests (such as the 2013 Presidents’ Day #ForwardOnCLimate)?