Climate changes: Part 3. The Stakes are high
WHATS IN THIS BLOG:
• Rising sea levels.
• Severe heat waves.
• Political instability.
• Deterioration of ocean life.
This is part of a series on climate change. Information in this article is taken from the book Climate of Hope by Bloomberg and Pope. See pic of book cover below.
CLIMATE CHANGE AND FIRES. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma were in all the news in my last two blogs on this subject (click HERE and HERE). Soon after, California was beset by the Napa Valley fires – the most destructive in the state’s history. The numbers are 41 people dead, 220,000 acres burned, and 2,800 homes burned.
In the following sections, we have excerpted from Climate of Hope.
RISING SEA LEVELS.
• The rising heat in the atmosphere is melting glaciers and polar ice, causing sea levels to rise.
• Since 1900 global levels have risen at about half an inch per decade. Not much! But since 1992 they have risen twice as fast.
• Two-thirds of the world’s population lives in coastal areas. Rising sea levels matters – because 80 % of global GDP is generated by cities.
• If all glaciers in the world melted, sea levels would rise by 230 feet, putting most of the world’s population centers underwater.
SEVERE HEAT WAVES.
- Each of the 16 years of this century have ranked among the 17 hottest years on record.
- The lowest-ever level of Arctic ice was recorded in 2016.
- The heat waves since 2000 have killed 125,000 people around the world.
- Heat waves are the deadliest natural disaster – killing in the USA more people than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods combined.
- In 2015 India’s second-worst heat wave ever killed 2,500 people.
- Russia’s heat wave in 2010 caused 55,000 deaths.
• Like rising sea levels, heat waves of the future may trigger mass migrations from the country to cities, which has the potential to boil over into violent conflict.
• Wheat is the single most important crop for the global food supply. Every 1 C degree rise in temperature will cut global wheat yields by 7%, according to one projection. A small decease in wheat yields could mean lower revenue for farmers, and higher food costs in cities – and cold mean more hunger and poverty.
• The US Department of Defense says climate change may weaken governments’ ability to meet the basic needs of their populations. The DOD’s job is to keep the USA safe by identifying emerging threats.
DETERIORATION OF OCEAN LIFE.
• As we pump CO2 into the atmosphere, some of is sucked up by the oceans. It dissolves and becomes carbonic acid. Human-produced CO2 has increased the acidity of the oceans by 30%, by one estimate. Acidic water dissolves the shells of sea creatures, and can affect the whole food chain including fish.
• The oceans have also sucked up a lot of the heat during the global rise in temperature. A higher ocean temperature can intensify hurricanes. It can also bleach corals. Sadly, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is suffering large-scale coral bleaching. Its not the only one. To read more, click HERE.
• All the bullets above are just the tip of an iceberg. All the data indicate we’re already living in times of more turbulent climate – and if we do nothing, there’s far worse to come.
• Warning of some far-off possible harm doesn’t spur politicians to act, because they’re motivated by short-term interests.
• One forecast by Nicholas Stern showed unchecked climate change would cost the world 5-20% of global GDP. BUT confronting the problem would run only about 1% — a much lower cost.
• The best reason for fighting climate change is not the danger in the future but the deadly reality we face today. For example, 7 million people die from air pollution each year.
• Much of this pollution is caused by the same fossil fuels that are warming our planet – especially coal. Particulate matter from burning coal contributes to strokes, heart disease, lung disease, and cancer. If we could eliminate all the coal-fired power plants in China and India we would save 500,000 lives every year.
• To improve public health around the world, transitioning to clean energy is one of the most important things we can do. This is happening big time in Texas, and a recent article on this can be seen HERE.
POST-SCRIPT: I am indebted to Julian Pfitzner and Mark Schubert who woke up in me a new awareness of climate change. To read their careful analysis of climate change, click HERE.
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The Gray Nomad ….. think well and stay informed
I sought for the Lord, and required Him, and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears….. The Angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him; and each of them He delivers.
[Book of Psalms, chapter 34.]