If you live in New Zealand or Western Europe, your grandchildren will face a climate 10°C to 15°C hotter. For Farenheit-minded folks, imagine adding 50°F to 59°F to today's temperature.
A new study has warned that unless we mitigate current levels of carbon dioxide emissions, Western Europe and New Zealand could revert to the hot tropical climate of the early Paleogene period -- 56-48 million years ago.
… carbon dioxide levels (around 1,000 ppmv) are similar to those predicted for the end of this century.
… annual land temperatures in Western Europe as well as New Zealand were actually higher than previously thought -- between 23 and 29 °C -- this is currently 10 to 15 °C higher than current average temperatures in these areas.
Does that sound crazy to you? TV news surely would have covered that, right?
David Wallace-Wells says,
… it has been a month of historic, even unprecedented, climate horrors. But you may not have noticed,…
The major networks aired 127 segments on the unprecedented July heat wave, Media Matters usefully tabulated, and only one so much as mentioned climate change.
… leaving aside the far more dramatic story of the total transformation of the planet’s climate system, and the immediate and all-encompassing threat posed by climate change to the way we live on Earth, to tell the pretty mundane story of some really hot days in the region.
… Just over the past few weeks, new studies have suggested heat in many major Indian cities would be literally lethal by century’s end, if current warming trends continue, and that, by that time, global economic output could fall, thanks to climate effects, by 30 percent or more. That is an impact twice as deep as the global Great Depression, and it would not be temporary.
We wouldn't let that happen, you say?
… the federal and state governments are giving the industry tens of billions of dollars to make the production of their dirty, dangerous products more profitable.
Without a price on carbon pollution, Americans are effectively subsidizing the fossil fuel industry for the costs incurred through its products’ climate change damages. For example, think about the added costs to taxpayers for worse wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, and flooding, all amplified by human-caused climate change. In the absence of a price on carbon pollution, the fossil fuel industry doesn’t pay a cent of those costs. Taxpayers pick up the whole tab.
These costs can be estimated via the ‘social cost of carbon.’
… (some recent research pegs the value at ... about $200bn per year for America and $1.3tn globally.
On the personal scale, I just filed up my Prius gas tank, and watched our next door neighbor install a new gas heater. <sigh>
We all know about the oncoming deadly heat. This is over a year old.
"Deadly heat waves could begin within as little as a few decades to strike regions of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, including the fertile Indus and Ganges river basins that produce much of the region's food supply,"…
"summer heat waves with levels of heat and humidity that exceed what humans can survive without protection".
Are you doing something to say. "Enough!"
"Without a price on carbon pollution, Americans are effectively subsidizing the fossil fuel industry for the costs incurred through its products’ climate change damages. For example, think about the added costs to taxpayers for worse wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, and flooding, all amplified by human-caused climate change. In the absence of a price on carbon pollution, the fossil fuel industry doesn’t pay a cent of those costs. Taxpayers pick up the whole tab.
These costs can be estimated via the ‘social cost of carbon.’
… (some recent research pegs the value at ... about $200bn per year for America and $1.3tn globally."
Just stop and think about it, $200,000,000,000 per year that could be put into educating people, repairing the infrastructure of buildings, schools, hospitals, highways & bridges, of health care for all, getting off fossil fuels, stopping wars, building peace, and getting tRump out of power!
A new study tells us that the densely populated Northern China Plain will undergo the deadly combination of heat and humidity, measured as the “wet bulb” temperature (WBT), by 2070.
The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, found fatal WBTs of 35C would strike the north China plain repeatedly between 2070 and 2100, unless carbon emissions are cut. Shanghai, for example, would exceed the fatal threshold about five times and the “extreme danger” WBTs would occur hundreds of times. Even if significant carbon cuts are made, the “extreme danger” WBT would be exceeded many times.
Ruth, you prepared us for the probable future climate change and now the reality begins to hit our conscious awareness. This article is worth the time to read it and soak it in. Human caused increase of moisture mixed with heat, also cause by humans, leaves a grim picture of a possible 400 million refugees. Where will they go? How will the people of China survive with their Breadbasket becoming a steam filled heat oven?
With huge crowds of people living in such conditions invites the infections and diseases that will undoubtedly come with climate changes.
"North China Plain is the heartland of modern China. This fertile plain has experienced vast expansion of irrigated agriculture which cools surface temperature and moistens surface air, but boosts integrated measures of temperature and humidity, and hence enhances intensity of heatwaves."
:“China is currently the largest contributor to the emissions of greenhouse gases, with potentially serious implications to its own population,” he said. “Continuation of current global emissions may limit the habitability of the most populous region of the most populous country on Earth.”
Thank you, Ruth, for keeping us updated on the most important challenge facing living things.
Which regions of the US will get clobbered by heat wave increases first?
A March study from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that communities in the West, Midwest and Great Lakes region will experience significant increases in heat waves as soon as the mid-2020s if the nation continues its current pattern of fossil fuel consumption.
In addition, increasingly dangerous and frequent heat waves could cut the wages of the 15 million U.S. workers whose jobs require them to work outside. [emphasis mine]
As I attempt to work in the greenhouse and garden, I am forced in by the heat, sweat running down my face, each strand of hair on my head becomes a sop drenching my T-Shirts. I am able to come inside to the air-conditioned air and take a nap. Not so for those who toil building houses, repairing highways, farmers, and many other occupations.
"increasingly dangerous and frequent heat waves could cut the wages of the 15 million U.S. workers whose jobs require them to work outside."
If you must work in the heat, know the prevention, symptoms, and treatment of heat-related threats.
Thanks for relating these distant threats to your personal experience, Joan. You're good at making tangible what for many seems abstract.
Ocean life will fare even worse. Robert Scribbler has long warned us of the dangers marine hydrogen sulfide in a warming world. A new study quantifies that risk.
If our current CO2 emissions continue, by 2100 the atmosphere will resemble the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum 55 million year ago. At that time Earth didn't just get hot, oceans were poisoned by hydrogen sulfide.
"Increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations go hand in hand with oxygen loss in the ocean, and this is the first demonstration that the CO2 release from human activity could be large enough to turn parts of the ocean into a toxic brew," said Wortmann.
While the researchers cannot say how long it would take for the impact of increased CO2 levels to become evident, they say the transition would be quick. [emphasis mine]
This map shows the most vulnerable areas in blue.
Long before century's end, corals will have died from a combination of acid and heat. New research shows that acidified water will keep tropical corals from migrating toward the poles to stay cool.
... it is extremely worrying to find that tropical corals are so vulnerable to ocean acidification, as this will stop them from being able to spread further north and escape the damage caused by water that is too hot for them."
Regions of toxic water chemistry deplete the ozone shield.
...hydrogen sulfide producing bacteria may well be the most dangerous organism ever to have existed on the planet — largely responsible for almost all the great extinction events in Earth’s deep history. For hydrogen sulfide itself is directly toxic to both land and ocean-based life. Its deadly effects are increased at higher temperatures. And not only is it directly toxic in both water and air, if it enters the upper atmosphere it also destroys the ozone layer."
I should point out that these regional losses will damage all of Earth's oceans. Coral reefs have been the nurseries for far ranging marine life.
Regions of toxic water chemistry also deplete the larger ocean of dissolved iron, forming mineral deposits. Iron is critical for photosynthesis. Marine productivity worldwide will drop along with the iron levels, as water circulates between oceans.