WASHINGTON — The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years, according to a sweeping federal climate change report awaiting approval by the Trump administration.
The latest, from a blog called Arctic News, warns that by 2026 — that’s just nine years from now — warming above the Arctic Circle could be so extreme that a massively disrupted and weakened jet stream could lead to global temperature rises so severe that a massive extinction event, including humans, could result.
In the Paris climate treaty, nearly every world country agreed to try and limit global warming to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial temperatures, and preferably closer to 1.5°C. But a new study published in Nature Climate Change notes that the agreement didn’t define when “pre-industrial” begins.
The Paris climate agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius (ºC) is well above temperatures experienced during the Holocene — period of human settlement over the last 11,700 years — and is far from safe because “if such temperature levels are allowed to long exist they will spur “slow” amplifying feedbacks… which have potential to run out of humanity’s control.”
Three Californian communities have launched legal action against some of the world’s biggest oil, gas and coal companies, seeking compensation for the current and future costs of adapting to sea level rises linked to climate change.
San Mateo and Marin Counties, coastal communities in northern California, and Imperial Beach, a city in San Diego County, have filed complaints against 37 “carbon majors”, including Shell, Chevron, Statoil, Exxon and Total.
Even if we meet our most ambitious climate goal — keeping global temperatures within a strict 1.5 degrees Celsius (or 2.7 degree Fahrenheit) of their preindustrial levels — there will still be consequences, scientists say. And they’ll last for years after we stop emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
I worked for over 35 years in the environmental field, and one of the central debates I encountered was whether to "tell it like it is," and risk spreading doom and gloom, or to focus on a more optimistic message, even when optimism wasn't necessarily warranted.
The controversy over the accuracy of the New York Magazine article "The Uninhabited Earth" expands and deepens. Sixteen scientists examined and commented on the article, and gave it a low rating for "scientific accuracy" on the website climatefeedback.org; normally I agree with ratings from this great website, but NOT in this case.