Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Crisis -- climate crisis

It's a climate crisis. But if you looked at world leaders, you'd assume it was a climate cruise and nothing to worry about. While leaders remain inactive, even the summer thriller's getting in on the action. Chris Pratty's hit AMAZON film THE TOMORROW WAR traces the emergence of a hostile race not to aliens landing moments ago but to having landed long, long ago and be buried under ice that is now melting. Sadly, recent news headlines can be just as scary as the film.  


Martin Wisckol (OC REGISTER) notes"The steady decline of plants in Southern California’s portion of the Sonoran Desert — which includes Anza-Borrego Desert State Park — is caused by climate change-driven heat increases, according to a new UC Irvine study."  Rachel Ramirez (CNN) reports

The Pacific Northwest heat wave in late June was a mass casualty event, officials said. Hundreds of people likely died in the multi-day, record-breaking heat, and the death toll continues to rise. Officials are still investigating the cause of dozens of deaths that occurred during that time, but at least 83 people died from heat-related illness in Oregon, 54 of which were in Multnomah County, which includes Portland. 

Many of those people were older, living alone, and without functioning air conditioning, according to a a preliminary report on excessive heat deaths released by the county Tuesday. In Washington, at least 78 people died. Across the border in British Columbia, officials counted nearly 800 deaths from June 25 to July 1 -- 500 more than normal for that time period and which they believe are tied to the heat, according to Lisa Lapointe, the chief coroner for the province. In reality, it could be months before we know the final toll. 

Despite the staggering statistics, there was no obvious sense of urgency around the tragedy as it played out -- nothing similar to a hurricane making landfall, a gunman opening fire in a night club or a wildfire destroying a town. They were hundreds of quiet deaths from an invisible disaster: unprecedented heat, which dozens of scientists concluded was "virtually impossible" without climate change. Scientists and psychologists told CNN the response has to do with how humans view crises.  

CBS NEWS reports

Every coast in the U.S. is facing rapidly increasing high tide floods thanks to a "wobble" in the moon's orbit working in tandem with climate change-fueled rising sea levels. A new study from NASA and the University of Hawaii, published recently in the journal Nature Climate Change, warns that upcoming changes in the moon's orbit could lead to record flooding on Earth in the next decade. 

 Through mapping the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) sea-level rise scenarios, flooding thresholds and astronomical cycles, researchers found flooding in American coastal cities could be several multiples worse in the 2030s, when the next moon "wobble" is expected to begin. They expect the flooding to significantly damage infrastructure and displace communities. 


And, to no one's surprise, Justine Calma (THE Verge) observes

Many S&P 100 companies that claim to care about climate change are either ignoring or derailing policies that could provide solutions to the crisis, a new report finds. A whopping 92 percent of companies on the S&P 100 index in 2019 have pledged to cut down their own planet-heating emissions, but just 40 percent are actually pushing lawmakers to address the climate crisis, and 21 percent have advocated against science-based climate policy over the past five years. 

So while companies might sell themselves to consumers as planet-friendly, they’re not necessarily having the same conversations with decision-makers who are most responsible for tackling the crisis. Netflix, for example, plans to slash its greenhouse gases dramatically by the end of next year, but the streaming giant has yet to publicly advocate for any specific science-based climate policies, according to Ceres.


 Not enough concern, not enough urgency.  Is this really the way to address a crisis?


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