The environment - where are we now?

While a slightly sobering reality - it is important to keep up to date on where we are with the environment

If I had a penny for every time I had heard Donald Trump saying that climate change is ‘made-up’, I would be a rich, rich citizen and would maybe have enough to save some polar bears. 

The undeniable truth however, is that global warming has and will have vast impacts on America and the wider world. This past week marked the release of the fourth National Climate Assessment, coming to the (perhaps unsurprising) conclusion that ‘current and future climate conditions will not resemble the recent past’ (Ch. 28: Adaptation, KM 2). Though gloomy, the readings provide compelling evidence that the warming trend observed over the past century can only be explained by the effects of human activity, particularly emissions of greenhouse gases.  It concludes that ‘the evidence of human-caused climate change is overwhelming and continues to strengthen, and that the impacts of climate change are intensifying across the country, and that climate-related threats to Americans’ physical, social, and economic well-being are rising.’ Already, we have seen changes like the spread of disease-carrying bugs; an increase in flooding; fiercer hurricanes and rising sea levels. On the plus side, wildfires should cause less devastation by 2090 than they do today, but only because the forests most prone to them will have already been burnt to a crisp. Cheery, I know. Some politicians are heeding the warnings of the report, but in order to curb world climate change, it is of the utmost importance that we deploy a global effort. The Paris Climate Agreement, with its 197 signatures, only reaches 1/3 of what is needed to keep warming below 2°C. The solution is not an obvious one – and the constant human struggle between preservation and a need to progress becomes even more critical. What is perhaps important to register, is that progress on a planet that is a smoking husk of what it once was is perhaps not progress at all. 

For anyone who is interested, a really interesting and accessible presentation of the 2018 National Climate Assessment Report can be found on:  

https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/

 

Priya V