Worldwide climate reporting is literally heating up with frightening news. Global temperatures continue to spike as July was the hottest month ever recorded since records began in 1880. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that the sizzling July record follows the hottest June ever recorded in the last 140 years.
Anchorage, Alaska hit 90 degrees on July 4th, beating the previous high temperature of 85 degrees. A spot north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden topped an unheard of temperature of 94 degrees in July.
Warming ocean temperatures have resulted in an acceleration of the loss of sea ice in the Arctic. Sea ice has declined in volume by 69% from 1980 through 2018.
There’s been considerable talk about Greenland as President Trump suggested he was interested in buying the island. He will have less volume to buy in the future as Greenland continues to warm and loses massive amounts of ice. If all the ice on Greenland melted, global sea levels would rise by 20 feet causing catastrophic worldwide coastal flooding.
Iceland held a memorial last week for the first glacier in the country to be lost to climate change. The glacier called Okjokull is the first to be lost to the warming climate. Iceland’s other 400 glaziers are at risk. Current warming trends would see all Iceland’s glaciers gone by 2200.
The wondrous Glacier National Park in Montana has lost 10 of their 35 active glaciers since 1966. All of the parks glaciers are shrinking. Some speculate that by 2030 the park will no longer have any remaining active glaciers.
Wildfires have raged across the Arctic this summer across Alaska, Russia, Canada and Greenland due to the hot dry conditions. The smoke and soot cover an area the size of Europe. “Carbon emissions from these wildfires could exacerbate climate warming for decades to come,” according to Carly Phillips, of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
In the last month, record fires are raging across the rainforest in Brazil. More than 72,000 fires have burned in Brazil this year, the majority being in the Amazon region. That’s an 80% increase compared to last year. The Amazon is the largest rainforest on the planet and contributes 20% of the oxygen for the earth’s atmosphere.
The Brazilian fires are attributed to the policies of the right-wing Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro. His administration is clearing vast swaths of jungle for farming and development. A close friend of President Trump, he’s referred to as “Trump of the tropics.” Greenpeace called Bolsonaro and his government a “threat to the climate equilibrium” and said his policies would bear a “heavy cost” to the Brazilian economy. The international community is accusing Bolsonaro of creating a climate crisis by allowing the burning the rainforests.
The devastating fires in California last year have insurance companies bailing and refusing coverage in fire prone areas. The insurance industry ranked climate change as the top risk in 2019. Munich RE, a Germany-based reinsurance company, said “man-made climate change” is leading to a rise in wildfire risks and major loses in California. Some insurance companies are selecting high risk fire zip codes and refusing to offer any coverage.
Increased flooding, both coastal and inland, due to climate change have insurance companies spiking rates as well. In coastal areas subject to hurricanes and increasing storm surge, potential damages increase exponentially. Insurance companies are predicting coastal areas will become uninsurable and uninhabitable as sea levels rise.
Increased inland flooding on streams and rivers are causing the remapping of floodplains. Homeowners in Iowa are experiencing that as their properties suddenly become included in new floodplain maps requiring flood insurance.
“We’ve seen floods impact our state throughout the last 10 years increasingly more so,” said Larry Weber, co-founder of the Iowa Flood Center. Iowa experienced record setting flooding on both the Mississippi and Missouri rivers this spring.
With all the frightening news on climate, the presidential candidates are answering with bold climate plans. Governor Jay Inslee who made climate change his central issue, departed the presidential race, but he presented a more detailed comprehensive climate solution the same day. Senator Bernie Sanders just announced a new multi-trillion-dollar climate plan as well.
This week the Democratic National Committee initially rejected a proposed climate debate but both CNN and MSNBC have climate forums scheduled in September. The burning reports on climate will give the candidates plenty to discuss.
by Rick Smith
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