You’ve probably heard the story of the frog in boiling water. If you drop a frog in boiling water he will jump out. But, if you place a frog in cool water and slowly bring it to a boil, by the time the frog realizes the danger he’s cooked.
Most of the world (with the exception of Trump and most of the Republican Party) understands the globe is slowly warming and realizes that we must turn down the heat immediately if we want to avoid boiling like a frog.
The world’s scientific community is warning that the continued burning of fossil fuels is blanketing the planet in a thickening layer of greenhouse gases. The world’s population is seeing and feeling the visible signs of that warming in rising sea levels, extreme weather events, massive forest fires with record heat and drought.
Last week’s climate news dialed up the heat on the need to act on climate before the world passes the temperature tipping point of no return. The latest news on climate change arrived from scientific reports arriving from such far flung locations as Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Incheon, South Korea; and Stockholm, Sweden. Their combined message was further reinforced as the latest climate change-enhanced Hurricane Michael devastated coastal cities on America’s gulf coast.
In Cedar Rapids, over 200 Iowa scientists from 37 Iowa colleges and universities presented their annual 2018 climate statement entitled, “Designing Buildings and Communities for Iowa’s Future Climate.”
“Climate change is already here, and it is affecting people, plants, animals, and large sectors of our economy” an excerpt from the 2018 Iowa Climate Statement reads. “U.S. climate scientists project that by mid-century heat wave temperatures in Iowa will increase by 7 degrees F for the average year and by 13 degrees F once per decade compared to late 20th century heat waves. The strongest rainfall events of the year (annual maximum daily widespread precipitation) covering areas as large as a third of Iowa are projected to double in intensity (daily total rainfall) by mid-century, with most of this change coming before 2025. We must start now to adapt our built environment, including buildings and flood mitigation systems, to this changing climate.”
From South Korea the world received a new and more ominous warning from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The latest statement from the IPCC stated the increasing danger for failing to act on climate.
“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” said Panmao Zhai, Co-Chair of IPCC
In Stockholm the 2018 Nobel Prize for economics was awarded to William Nordhaus and Paul Romer based on their work on climate change and sustainability.
Professor Nordhaus, Yale economist, has spent four decades trying to persuade governments to address climate change, preferably by imposing a carbon tax that will lead to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Professor Romer said his research shows that governments can drive technological change. He pointed to the success in the 1990s at reducing emissions of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons.
The world’s climate message last week was clear; we must act on climate now while we still have the ability to avoid boiling. Who we vote for will be the deciding factor in whether we act decisively or continue to deny the facts. Democrats are leading on climate action both locally and nationally.
Washington’s Democratic Governor Jay Inslee, a leading advocate in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the Chair of the Democratic Governors Association, was in Iowa last week. In a meeting with local climate activists, Inslee assured them that Fred Hubbell will be that climate leader in Iowa. Electing Iowa Democrats up and down the ticket will assure climate action won’t be denied or ignored.
by Rick Smith