More Horrifying News on the Climate Crisis

The World Bank's latest warning on the climate crisis:

Climate change is already having an effect: Arctic sea ice reached a record minimum in September, and extreme heat waves and drought in the last decade have hit places like the United States and Russia more often than would be expected from historical records, the report said.

Such extreme weather is likely to become the "new normal" if the temperature rises by 4 degrees, according to the World Bank report. This is likely to happen if not all countries comply with pledges they have made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Even assuming full compliance, the world will warm by more than 3 degrees by 2100.

In this hotter climate, the level of the sea would rise by up to 3 feet, flooding cities in places like Vietnam and Bangladesh. Water scarcity and falling crop yields would exacerbate hunger and poverty.

Extreme heat waves would devastate broad swaths of the earth's land, from the Middle East to the United States, the report says. The warmest July in the Mediterranean could be 9 degrees hotter than it is today -- akin to temperatures seen in the Libyan desert.

At least someone is doing something about it:

Last year, the Bank doubled its funding for countries seeking to adapt to climate change, and now operates $7.2 billion in climate investment funds in 48 countries.

But here in America -- one of the top producers of carbon emissions -- we'd rather have our gigantic SUVs and our equally gigantic slabs of beef. Sure, we'll weep and pray and donate whenever the TV shows us rock stars singing sad songs about the latest disaster, but will we ever change?

  • D_C_Wilson

    You’re never going to convince Americans to do anything to protect future generations so long as there is a substantial population who believes that Jesus is going to beam all the believers up and burn everyone else during their lifetime.

    Why not completely fuck up the planet now when you don’t even believe that there will be any future generations?

  • rob black

    PBS is running Kens Burn’s “The Dust Bowl” this week. For those dupes of the “extractor class” who would continue to argue that …”well maybe the climate is changing, but man has nothing to do with it”, I say, with a dead pan, please tune in.
    In any case, as someone currently forced to live in that area, it is interesting to observe the short sighted political evolution that comes about in the face of man made catastrophic climate change.
    The gist of the lesson being that, when it comes to making a choice between altering their behavior (being less greedy) and making less in the near term, vs. doubling down on the bad practices that are exacerbating the problem….well guess which choice was made…..and is being made today?
    Post WWI wheat prices kicked off a “wheat boom” where farmers used the new invention of the tractor to essentially plow up the massive delicate ecosystem, nature had spent millions of years evolving on the great plains. For a brief few years, they enjoyed record profits on wheat, plowing up more grass lands each year, until having flooded the market with wheat, the bottom dropped out. As prices fell, they doubled down and plowed up even more grasslands to make up on volume for the price decline….then it stopped raining.
    Old area ranchers and environmentalists warned that plowing up the grass was a bad idea, but land speculators, and other paid hacks told people things like “rain follows the plow” ….or in more modern terms…… “Drill baby drill”!!

    One of the states that lived through that horror…
    1. Is currently in its third year of record drought (not seen since the dust bowl),
    2. would have seen massive starvation had it not been for federal government intervention at the time (Governor spoke at most recent republican convention with a “we built that state with no federal govt.” message)
    3. Has a Senator that calls climate change “the biggest hoax” in the history of man
    4. Is angry at the President for not expediting a pipe line to carry “tar sands” oil (the dirtiest most carbon emitting form) through the state…
    5. Once again had no county go for the only Presidential candidate who acknowledged climate change, or may do something to attack carbon emissions.

    The parallels and ironies arising from these two man made disasters are a stunning object lessons in short sighted greed.

    • D_C_Wilson

      It’s ironic that some of the states that are already seeing the impact of climate change are home to the biggest denialist movements.

      Once it reaches the point where it can no longer be denied, though, they’ll blame it on Obama.

  • Ned F

    “but will we ever change?”. As long as corporate profits depend on Not changing, no.

    • bphoon

      It won’t happen until this has a direct, measurable and sustained impact on everyone’s pocketbooks, especially major corporations. Until then, the GOP narrative of how a “carbon tax” will cost everyone their jobs will prevail since the prospect of a “measly” 4-degree (that’s Celcius, mind you) rise in average temps tends to pale in comparison. The expectation that it will impact future generations, especially when measured against the prospect of becoming unemployed in a down economy, makes it that much easier to kick that can down the road.

      By illustration, I remind you of the action on the part of consumers spurred by the Arab Oil Embargo of the early ’70s. Gas prices spiked (from ~$.20/gal all the way up to ~$.85!), supplies were squeezed and long gas lines were on every news cast and everyone’s minds. Energy consumption declined every year from then until the mid ’80’s when world oil prices collapsed. Energy became relatively cheap, people by then were fairly adjusted to the reality of $1+/gal gas prices and everyone started loading up in SUV’s. People will only go into broad action when something slaps them in the face.

  • Draxiar

    Again, people can complain and bitch about CO2 regulation and what it would do to the economy…but that is nothing compared to what a few degrees can do to it.

    Like it or not we are the current stewards of this floating spherical garden we call Earth and home. If we hurt it we hurt ourselves and everything else that has as much right to live as we do.