A relatively unedited set of links, graphics and and comments on our still growing climate crisis.
A physicist’s thoughts on our excursion down the highway to our possible extinction Earth’s Hothouse Hell.
“Climate change is a highway, not a cliff, and we can still take the exit ramp. (Michael E. Mann | September 14, 2023)”: something I have written many times. The trouble is, humanity doesn’t seem to be making any effort to slow down enough to make the turn onto what is likely to be a narrow and difficult road back up the hill…..
It is also important to recognize that climate change isn’t a cliff that we go off at certain thresholds of planetary warming such as the oft-discussed 1.5°C (2.7°F) warming level, though it is often framed that way. Climate action isn’t a binary case of “success” or “failure.”
A better analogy is that it’s a dangerous highway we’re going down. We need to take the earliest exit ramp possible. Dangerous climate change impacts, as we have seen, are already being felt — in the form of devastating droughts, heatwaves, wildfires, floods, and superstorms. Supply chains have been disrupted through a combination of a pandemic — which is likely at least in part a result of ecological destruction — and more extreme weather, sometimes with disastrous consequences, such as shortages of baby formula. Extreme heat is leading to substantial decreases in worker productivity, costing the US economy alone nearly 100 billion dollars a year. Dangerous climate change cannot be avoided. It’s already here.
So, it’s a matter of how bad we’re willing to let it get. Worse impacts can be avoided if we limit the warming below 1.5°C (2.7°F). But if we miss that exit off the carbon emissions highway, 2°C (3.6°F) is certainly preferable to 2.5°C (4.5°F). And if we miss that exit, 2.5°C (4.5°F) is certainly preferable to 3°C (5.4°F). Consider, for example, the matter of species extinction. The IPCC estimates as much as fourteen percent of species could be lost at 1.5°C (2.7°F) warming and eighteen percent at 2°C (3.6°F). Tragic for sure, but greater rates of extinction are expected from other unchecked human activities, including habitat destruction and human exploitation of animals.
However, the number climbs to twenty-nine percent at 3°C (5.4°F), thirty-nine percent at 4°C (7.2°F), and forty-eight percent at 5°C (9°F). Half of all species would, by any reasonable standard, constitute a sixth extinction event rivaling the great extinctions of Earth’s geological past. But that is avoidable in a scenario of meaningful climate action.
Despite the breathless claims of climate-driven mass extinction that one sees all too often in today’s headlines, we are not yet remotely committed to such a future. We can avoid catastrophic climate impacts if we take meaningful actions to address the climate crisis. Yes, that’s an important “if.” But the science actually tells us it’s doable. …
My only complaint here, is that Mann is not a biologist with much knowledge of species extinctions and ecosystem collapses accompanied by all kinds of chaos intertwined with the breakdown of complex dynamical systems. The side roads he lists are not smooth easy roads like the superhighway.
1 October – we’re off to a fast start on the downhill run to oblivion
Burning of the North American boreal forests
CBC NEWS: Five charts to help understand Canada’s record-breaking wildfire season
Taking a look back at the impacts of the country’s unprecedented fire season
For the complete article see: https://www.cbc.ca/news/climate/wildfire-season-2023-wrap-1.6999005
Record breaking global warming isn’t over yet by any measure.
Lethal humidity driving more extreme extremes: Mexico’s major Pacific Coast resort city of Acapulco, comprehensively trashed by Otis!
The result of a 30 hour rapid intensification of a tropical storm into a category 5 killer hurricane is the near destruction of this famous resort city followed by total social breakdown of its million inhabitants leading to mass looting of the necessities of life not directly destroyed by the storm. Some 80% of the luxury highrise hotels and condominiums have been damaged – many to the extent that their innards have literally been blown out the windows. Cut off by avalanches and washed out roads and broken communications systems, the Mexican government has reported 39 deaths, while numerous social media videos show highrises with their innards literally blown out through their walls. Having visited Acapulco a couple of times in the course of fieldwork for my PhD thesis, like the situation in Derna, I find the extent of the recent damage difficult to comprehend.
Almost completely lost in the news is the fact that Cabo San Lucas (the tip of the Baja California Peninsula) was also being trashed by Cat 1 hurricane Norma almost simultaneously with the destruction of Acapulco