Environmental Reality-Time Crash: ‘Our Doctor Would Say The Earth Is Really Quite Sick Right Now In Many Areas’

May 31, 2023

Sunshine galore and still on-the-cool-side temperatures this mid-day Wednesday here in Californnia’s Central Valley — a few more days of similar weather, where then the heat and bluster of summer will be upon us.
According to the NWS for our locale, near triple-digit temps due by the end of next week, and on into the seasonal furnace-like landscape.

Contextual on the heating-up weather/climate subject (as we await an insane, mostly-nasty debate and subsequent vote in the House on the debt ceiling suspension — Hakeem Jeffries notes the reality: ‘“House Democrats are going to make sure the country doesn’t default. Period. Full stop”‘), a deadly report out today on the crisis of living in the immediate supportable future of this planet.
The earth is being torched, and we’re lighting the fuse:

The study by The Earth Commission and published in Nature goes beyond the weather/climate into the real existence of humanity here and it doesn’t look good at all. It appears we’re in the for some rough conditions as the environmental situations in living-graciously categories turn shitty.
Details via the Guardian this morning:

Human activity has pushed the world into the danger zone in seven out of eight newly demarcated indicators of planetary safety and justice, according to a groundbreaking analysis of the Earth’s wellbeing.


Prof Johan Rockström, one of the lead authors, said: “It is an attempt to do an interdisciplinary science assessment of the entire people-planet system, which is something we must do given the risks we face.

“We have reached what I call a saturation point where we hit the ceiling of the biophysical capacity of the Earth system to remain in its stable state. We are approaching tipping points, we are seeing more and more permanent damage of life-support systems at the global scale.”

The Earth Commission, which was established by dozens of the world’s leading research institutions, wants the analysis to form the scientific backbone of the next generation of sustainability targets and practices, which extend beyond the current focus on climate to include other indices and environmental justice. It hopes that cities and businesses will adopt the targets as a way to measure the impact of their activities.

The situation is grave in almost every category. Setting global benchmarks is challenging. For climate, the world has already adopted a target to keep global heating as low as possible between 1.5C to 2C above pre-industrial levels. The Earth Commission notes that this is a dangerous level because many people are already badly affected by the extreme heat, droughts and floods that come with the current level of about 1.2C. They say a safe and just climate target is 1C, which would require a massive effort to draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They note it is impossible to stabilise the climate without protecting ecosystems.

To achieve this, the “safe and just” boundary is for 50 to 60 percent of the world to be home to predominantly natural ecosystems. The reality, however, is that only 45 to 50 percent of the planet has an intact ecosystem. In human-altered areas, such as farms, cities and industrial parks, the commission says at least 20 to 25% of the land needs to be devoted to semi-natural habitats such as parks, allotments and clusters of trees in order to maintain ecosystem services such as pollination, water quality regulation, pest and disease control, and the health and mental health benefits provided by access to nature. However, about two-thirds of altered landscapes fail to meet this goal.

Joyeeta Gupta, the Earth Commission co-chair and professor of environment and development in the global south at the University of Amsterdam: ‘“Our doctor would say the Earth is really quite sick right now in many areas. And this is affecting the people living on Earth. We must not just address symptoms, but also the causes.”

Yet the heat is coming forth — this year should ring hot with the arrival of an El Niño as early as late summer, and the temperatures will inflate themselves:

Nutshell on the El Niño effect via Vox yesterday:

El Niño is the warm phase of the Pacific Ocean’s temperature cycle, and this year’s El Niño is poised to be a big one, sending shock waves into weather patterns around the world. It’s likely to set new heat records, energize rainfall in South America, fuel drought in Africa, and disrupt the global economy. It may already have helped fuel early-season heat waves in Asia this year.

“A warming El Niño is expected to develop in the coming months and this will combine with human-induced climate change to push global temperatures into uncharted territory,” said Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, in a statement earlier this month. “This will have far-reaching repercussions for health, food security, water management and the environment. We need to be prepared.”

We know the next El Niño won’t be cheap. The one in 1997-98, one of the most powerful in history, led to $5.7 trillion in income losses in countries around the world according to a study published earlier this month in the journal Science. That’s much higher than prior estimates of as much as $96 billion. It was also blamed for contributing to 23,000 deaths as storms and floods amped up in its wake.

And the heat is on.

A primer on upward earth temperatures per BBC Earth:

Despite the warnings, or not, here we are once again…

(Illustration out front: ‘A Break in Reality,’ by Xetobyte, found here.)

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