Overcast a bit this Sunday afternoon here in California’s Central Valley, yet still hot as shit — just at the century mark temperature-wise right now, which maybe/hopefully will be the high for the day and it’ll start cooling down.
Out in the backyard just a short while ago, and even with the ‘soft’ cloud cover it’s still hot, a slight breeze with air that’s really, really warm.
Extreme weather from the heat all over, to floods in certain spots, to oddities in the air, it’s pretty evident our climate is at a precipice, and whether we go over the edge depends on what happens in the immediate future. And from what I can gather, some drastic measures are needed.
If you follow climate news, then you understand the urgency. I post a lot on climate change, studies, research, new bad data from the Arctic, or whatever, and it all points to Shitsville, and soon, if nothing’s done. Although the Paris climate pact is good, the actual workings, not so — ‘If a grade is awarded to the Paris pact “based on whether we have any prospect of meeting a 2°C target, from that point of view, it’s probably a D or an F,” says Michael Oppenheimer, a climate scientist and policy expert at Princeton University.‘
And that climate-changing heat is at an Olympic level as Japan boils under a “ridiculous” heatwave — Nyjah Huston, a top American skateboarder at the Tokyo Games, on the intense heat and humidity: ‘“It really makes a difference. There’s definitely less energy out there than normal,” said the American skater after finishing the preliminaries of Sunday’s event. “You’re hot, your feet start burning up, you feel kind of crazy.”‘
The Far East looks red as a boiled beet:
Tokyo's average June, July, and August temperature has increased by 2.8 °C (5.04°F) since 1900, almost three times as fast as the world's average. Track the city's air temperature in the @nasa_eyes software as the #TokyoOlympics begin: https://t.co/Z5EyoX0L7K #Olympics2021 pic.twitter.com/TRtyl7ADic
— NASA Climate (@NASAClimate) July 23, 2021
Meanwhile, back here on the Pacific coast of the US, weather is not only hot but fiery red. Two articles from today’s Guardian points to our current standing with our environment, and how most-likely we’re fucked.
The first includes a catchphrase for our predicament from Kate Brown, the governor of Oregon, on the mega-heat-waves and all the wildfires:
“The harsh reality is that we’re going to see more of these wildfires,” she said. “They’re hotter, they’re more fierce and obviously much more challenging to tackle. And they are a sign of the changing climate impacts.
“In the last year, Oregon has had four federal emergency declarations in addition to the pandemic. We had historic wildfires last fall that we are still rebuilding and recovering from. We had terrible ice storms in February. Over a half-a-million people lost power. And then most recently, as you know, we had the heat dome event … we unfortunately lost over 100 Oregonians.
“So climate change is here, it’s real and it’s like a hammer hitting us in the head. And we have to take action.”
The problem, however, is that ‘hammer‘ has been in full view for a shitload of time — and we’re now only recognizing it after it pelts our brains — the second piece at the Guardian pin-points that with Gaya Herrington:
Herrington, a Dutch sustainability researcher and adviser to the Club of Rome, a Swiss thinktank, has made headlines in recent days after she authored a report that appeared to show a controversial 1970s study predicting the collapse of civilization was — apparently — right on time.
Coming amid a cascade of alarming environmental events, from western US and Siberian wildfires to German floods and a report that suggests the Amazon rainforest may no longer be able to perform as a carbon sink, Herrington’s work predicted the collapse could come around 2040 if current trends held.
Research by Herrington, a rising star in efforts to place data analysis at the center of efforts to curb climate breakdown, affirmed the bleaker scenarios put forward in a landmark 1972 MIT study, The Limits to Growth, that presented various outcomes for what could happen when the growth of industrial civilization collided with finite resources.
Now, with the climate crisis increasing the frequency of extreme weather events, and many single events shown to have been made worse by global heating, the Club of Rome, publisher of original MIT paper, has returned to the study.
“From a research perspective, I felt a data check of a decades-old model against empirical observations would be an interesting exercise,” said Herrington, a sustainability analyst at the accounting giant KPMG that recently described greenhouse gas emissions as a “shared, existential challenge.”
“The MIT scientists said we needed to act now to achieve a smooth transition and avoid costs,” Herrington told the Guardian this week.
“That didn’t happen, so we’re seeing the impact of climate change.”
And the rest will be history.
Apparently, one or two-degree shift can be crucial — out of an interview with Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California, LA, and an authority on extreme weather, wildfires, other climate impacts, at Grist on Friday:
“By this I mean, the planet has warmed 1 to 1.3 degrees centigrade so far. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you talk to planetary scientists and particularly people who study extreme events, that’s an enormous shift in the mean state of things already. But the problem is not the mean state shift unto itself. No one really feels 1.3 degrees of warming. The individuals in specific places on earth experience the changes that are happening in day-to-day weather where they actually live, which can be really different if you’re in the Arctic or the tropics or an island nation or the middle of a big continent somewhere.
“So I think it’s important to differentiate between “the climate system is careening out of control faster than we thought that it would” versus “actually, even this amount of warming is a lot more problematic than we thought it was.” And I tend to think that it’s more the latter than the former.”
Anyway, fire and ice Olympic style:
(Illustration out front found here).