Something really terrible has happened recently. In the northern hemisphere, the temperature, although it was only for a few hours, apparently exceeded the limits: it was more than two degrees Celsius above the “normal” for the first time in the history, and probably for the first time during human civilization.
This is worrying because the world’s governments have set the red line at two degrees Celsius, which we theoretically do our best to avoid. And that’s a concern because much of the hemisphere has not really had a winter. Arctic sea ice is at historically low levels for the season; in New England doctors are already talking about the beginning of the “allergy season.” “
Mercury says a lot … climate change has reached a worrying stage
This strange glimpse of the future is only temporary.
It will take years, hopefully, before crossing the two-degree limit on a regular basis. But the future will clearly come much faster than science predicted. The month of February broke all the old monthly temperature records, which had been set in … January. January broke all the old monthly temperature records, which had been set in … December.
This partly reflects the ongoing El Nino phenomenon – these sporadic events are always causing the temperature of the planet to rise. This phenomenon is related to a cycle of changes in atmospheric pressure between the east and west Pacific, coupled with a cycle of ocean current along the equator. The overthrow of Pacific waters releases huge amounts of heat that have been stored stored over the past two decades of global warming.
And as this heat returns to the atmosphere, the consequences are terrible. In the South Pacific, for example, the highest wind speeds were recorded when tropical cyclone Winston struck Fiji. Whole villages have been destroyed. On the financial side, the storm destroyed ten percent of the country’s gross domestic product, which equates to about 15 Katrina hurricanes.
This was followed by a few windy months with speeds never before recorded in our hemisphere, when Patricia hit the Pacific coast of Mexico.
The messages are clear. First of all, global warming does not threaten the future – it is the current reality, it is not a threat to our grandchildren, but to our current civilizations. In a rational world, that’s what each presidential debate should focus on. Forget the mythical deluge of immigrants – focus on the actual flood.
Secondly, since we’re in a hole, it’s time to stop digging – literally.
We simply have to leave coal, oil and gas in the ground; There is no other solution. There is pending legislation before the House and Senate that would end a new fossil fuel extraction on public lands in America.
Nobody expects presidential candidates to do that, of course. In May, activists from around the world will gather on the world’s largest carbon deposits: Australia’s coal mines, Canada’s oil sands, Russian gas deposits. And they will engage in peaceful civil disobedience, an effort to simply say no. The only safe place for this carbon is to stay deep underground, where it has been for ages.
This is stupid in a sense. It is ridiculous to have to wait for the temperature to rise dangerously to take such measures. Anyone with a thermometer can see that we desperately need solar energy and wind energy to replace carbon.