The Gulf Coast of the United States is being slammed with dangerous flooding this week. Hurricane Nicholas, which was downgraded to a tropical depression over the weekend, has dumped up to 10 inches of rain in some areas and caused widespread flooding. The National Weather Service released its latest forecast for Wednesday morning: “most areas will see 3-5″ of rainfall while isolated pockets could get as much as 8”. This comes after a record-breaking heat wave that hit the Gulf Coast over the weekend, causing temperatures to peak as high as 95F in Florida. It also comes on the heels of Hurricane Matthew, which ravaged Haiti and is now heading towards Florida.
This is likely only a taste of what is to come as the Atlantic hurricane season is expected to pick up in the coming months. The US is still recovering from Hurricane Matthew, which killed over 1,000 people and displaced tens of thousands more after making landfall in Haiti last week.
The World Meteorological Organization released its latest report on Monday showing that carbon dioxide levels are approaching an ominous milestone at 405 parts per million ppm. The global temperature record expanded by almost 0.5 degrees Celsius last year, which is the highest increase in the 160-year temperature record. Flash floods and landslides are becoming more common as a result of climate change, according to experts see related article below.
The Sierra Club released its latest report on Tuesday showing that over half of US coal plants are already violating the Clean Power Plan. The report, which was authored by a former FERC environmental analyst, found that many US coal power plants will not be able to comply with the 2020 deadline for phasing out greenhouse gas emissions. This is largely because the price of natural gas has fallen considerably since President Obama introduced his plan in 2015 and because solar prices have fallen even faster.
This week may go down as the beginning of human civilization’s fight against climate change, if only by default. Scientists are warning that it will likely take global economic devastation to convince governments to act on climate change, which means this is just the first round of what will become an ever-escalating war against global warming.
The next round appears to be coming sooner rather than later, which means this week may go down as the beginning of the end for human civilization if we continue to ignore climate change at our own peril. In a commentary featured in The Guardian, two academic researchers warn that it will likely take major economic devastation before governments tackle the climate crisis. This means that this is just the first round of what will become an ever-escalating war against global warming over the course of the century, which would require escalating forms of economic protest to avert major catastrophe. That’s why it’s so important now for people to shout about climate change until their voices are hoarse and their faces are red.
“Most people would probably agree that a 3C warmer world by 2100 would be a dangerous one,” wrote Benjamin Sovacool, a professor at Aarhus University in Denmark and Kirstin Matthews, an associate professor at Macquarie University in Australia. “But few realize that we are headed toward the same level of warming within this century, and that such a world has not existed for the past 2m years.”
The scientists warn that even if the Paris Agreement is implemented to perfection, we’re headed toward 3C of warming by 2100. The reality is that we’re already inching towards this scenario with every passing year without major policy changes. In fact, the world has already warmed by more than 1C, with 2016 on pace to be the hottest year on record.
This will bring about drastic changes in how humans live together on this planet. The research shows that only 0.5C of warming so far has caused some regions of the world to experience extreme weather events once every five years, instead