In mid-August, the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a report documenting the continuing warming of Earth and the perils implicit therein.
But, the fate of the planet and everyone upon it doesn’t hold the attention of most people or their idle-chatterer news readers as much as ongoing royal soap operas or celebrity couplings, uncouplings and recouplings. And, who WILL host Jeopardy?
Almost coincident with the IPCC report, Massachusetts Institute of Technology experts issued a report of its own, explaining how a warming Earth feeds upon the increased heat.
“It’s fair to say, that the Earth system becomes more volatile, in a warming sense,” according to co-author Daniel Rothman, as reported by Science Daily: “Global warming begets more warming, new paleoclimate study finds.”
Other scientists have been as diligent. In April, Science Daily cited a report from Northumbria University that indicated the possible “collapse of the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet” due to warming temperatures. Professor Hilmar Gudmundsson explained the significance:
“Should the glacier enter unstable irreversible retreat, the impact on sea level could be measured in meters, and as this study shows, once the retreat starts it might be impossible to halt it.”
In Antarctica, the loss of the ice would threaten the existence of emperor penguins, whose famed marching would be toward oblivion. Elsewhere, NBC’s Patrick Smith reported:
“Island nations across the world are warning that they face catastrophic consequences of rising sea levels and possible extinction, after a landmark U.N. report (that of the IPCC) warned of the effects of a warming world.”
And the 24 million people in Lagos, Nigeria may be forced to higher ground as well, according to CNN.
Furthermore, Science Daily reported that Newcastle University “climate experts have shown there will be a significant future increase in the occurrence of slow-moving intense rainstorms. The scientists estimate that these slow-moving storms may be 14 times more frequent across land by the end of the century. It is these slow-moving storms that have the potential for very high precipitation accumulations, with devastating impacts, as we saw in Germany and Belgium.”
I think the people in Waverly, TN, who saw 17 inches of rain in 24 hours would concur.
And if the Gulf Stream feeding warm water high into the northern hemisphere collapses amid the climate chaos?
The warnings are dire, ongoing and more serious with each new study.
Iceland’s Vísir newspaper reported Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir (an actual Green Party member holding a high national office) saying that the IPCC report showed, “the report is crucial that the goals set by the nations of the world are not enough.
“This report is absolutely crucial in that the goals that the nations of the world have set for themselves are not enough. They are not enough to achieve the goals we have agreed on to keep warming within 1.5 degrees and if we just look at the goals that are currently in force, we are still looking at three degrees of warming.
“This is a very important urgency,” she added, “and calls for both the Icelandic government to review its goals and what we can do better, but of course it also calls for these big nations and big emitters, big companies to take this on board.”
(Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party: scdpok.us or facebook.com/SCDPOK/.)