Climate change just hit a new and frightening marker.
If you ever needed another reason – and there are so many – not to vote for Donald Trump, here’s one you may want to consider: climate change and the extinction of the human race.
Sure, Trump and his insane ideas about nuclear weapons could spark World War III and make a quick end to things. But even on the off chance that he should win the presidency, nobody in the military will allow him to carry out his ridiculous threats. We’d see a military coup for the first time in this country before that would happen. Nope, I rather doubt the Trumpster would be able to lead us off that kind of cliff.
But he’d have a willing coalition in the Republican Party, backed by people like the Koch brothers, when it comes to fossil fuels. The man – and the Party – that has proclaimed climate change a hoax would open the floodgates of additional carbon pollution, and our children and grandchildren would be the ones to pay the terrible price.
Two separate reports provide evidence that we are headed for some serious shit and there is no way we will be able to turn the tide in our lifetimes. We can turn it; it’s just going to take a long, long time to do so. The clock is ticking and the longer we fail to act, the worse the chances are that we will reach a tipping point that no matter what we do, it will be an effort taken too late.
Don’t get me wrong: The earth will survive. It’s just that we won’t.
The Halley Research Station in Antarctica, as well as a monitoring post at the South Pole, has announced that carbon dioxide levels have exceeded 400 parts per million. Pieter Tans, lead scientist for the Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, stated that this is the highest level reached in at least 4 million years. In fact, every observatory on the planet has reported that the carbon dioxide levels are the highest they’ve been in those past millions of years. Every one of them.
Because most of the pollution emanating from carbon emissions due to burning fossil fuels occurs in the more populated northern hemisphere, it takes a while for that pollution to reach the South Pole. But reach it it has, and a press release from the British Antarctic Survey confirmed it:
This is the first time a sustained reading of 400 ppm, over a period of a day, has been recorded at a research station on the ice.”
Meanwhile, NASA, NOAA and the Japan Meteorological Agency have all issued reports that so far, 2016 is unrivaled in modern climate history.
According to NOAA, April 2016 was the 12th consecutive month to set a new record for the hottest average temperature in the 137 years records have been kept. That is unprecedented. 15 of the hottest 16 years have occurred in the 21st century. The Arctic has been the recipient of the most extreme heat and this summer’s ice cap is on track to be the smallest on record. If it keeps on going this way, the Arctic ice cap will disappear and the ocean currents will be disrupted and then who knows what will happen? Another ice age? Or continued warming of the planet at an even faster pace because the Arctic Ocean will absorb the heat from the sun rather than reflecting it off the ice cap until it’s just too hot to sustain human life? Whatever happens, it doesn’t bode well for the human race.
Looking at pictures of the charts and graphs puts me in mind of the charts and graphs illustrated by Al Gore in his Academy Award winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth. That much maligned warning of things to come is proving to be true.
Denying climate change will not make it go away. That’s just a fact. I know there are certain people who have difficulty dealing with facts they don’t like, but that doesn’t change reality.
We are standing on a dangerous precipice. How we deal with it will dictate the future of the planet and the future of the people on it.
It’s our call. Let’s make the right one.
Photo credit: By NASA Scientific Visualization Studio – https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov / Goddard Space Flight Center – https://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons