Climate news that has caught our attention.
Heat Waves Increasing in a Warming World. It has been a hot summer for many in the United States with stretches of record-breaking heat. Are heat waves becoming more frequent? Climate science seems to say yes. Here’s an excerpt of a post at Axios Twin Cities: “…That heat wave 85 years ago was really something. It hit 108 on July 14, 1936, and 51 people died from the heat on that day alone, according to a Pioneer Press story. “It was so oppressive that notorious criminal Alvin Karpis pleaded guilty to kidnapping St. Paul brewery president William Hamm Jr., preferring to face a possible life sentence instead of enduring a trial in the stifling federal courthouse (now Landmark Center),” the paper reported. Meteorologist Paul Douglas, who warned of a hot and dry summer weeks ago, is doubling down, saying the climate models “predict excessive heat into August.” “One of the most robust conclusions of climate studies is that as average temperatures increase, heat waves are becoming more likely and more severe not just in the Upper Midwest, but worldwide,” said Axios’ Andrew Freedman…”
Atmospheric CO2 Now 50% Higher Than Pre-Industrial Levels: Climate Nexus has headlines and links: “The planet’s atmosphere held more carbon dioxide at its annual May peak than at any time in the last 4 million years, and 50% more than prior to the Industrial Revolution, NOAA reported Monday. Scientists said the rate of CO2 increase, fueled primarily by the combustion of fossil fuels, showed “no discernible impact” of any pandemic-induced slowdown. Atmospheric CO2 levels peak cyclically every May before vegetation in the Northern Hemisphere wakes up from winter and pulls carbon out of the atmosphere, but overall CO2 levels keep rising because humans keep pumping 40 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution to the atmosphere every year. “Reaching 50% higher carbon dioxide than preindustrial is really setting a new benchmark and not in a good way,” Cornell University climate scientist Natalie Mahowald, who wasn’t part of the research, told the AP. “If we want to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, we need to work much harder to cut carbon dioxide emissions and right away.” (AP, Washington Post $, Axios, The Hill, E&E $, Bloomberg $, New York Times $, The Verge, Newsweek, Reuters, USA Today)
Compared with Seven Western Peers, U.S. Adults Least Alarmed About Climate Change. Here’s an excerpt from Morning Consult: “77% of Italians say climate change is a major threat and 18% say it is a minor threat. The United States is the only country surveyed in which a majority of adults do not say climate change is a major threat, at an even 50%. About 7 in 10 French, Spanish and German adults view climate change and environmental pollution as major threats. Climate change and environmental degradation do not necessarily observe the limits of borders, with emissions bleeding across national boundaries regardless of differing policies. As such, the global community has made a routine of meetings and treaties that attempt at collective action, with varying levels of success...”
Keystone XL Pipeline Terminated: Headlines and links courtesy of Climate Nexus: “Canadian pipeline company TC Energy announced it was terminating the Keystone XL pipeline on Wednesday, marking a major win for Indigenous and environmental groups who have been fighting the project for more than a decade. The long-embattled pipeline has largely been considered dead since President Biden revoked a key permit on his first day in office. Even before that, the project faced legal issues after a court ruled in 2018 that the Trump administration did not perform an adequate environmental review of the project when it issued a permit. The news was met with disappointment from the American Petroleum Institute, the Chamber of Commerce, and some Republicans in Congress. Climate activists, on the other hand, were pleased by the move and believe it will add momentum in the fight against other fossil fuel projects. The decision comes just days after thousands gathered in Northern Minnesota to protest the Line 3 pipeline, another tar sands pipeline that would bring oil from Canada. “The termination of this zombie pipeline sets precedent for President Biden and polluters to stop Line 3, Dakota Access, and all fossil fuel projects,” said Kendall Mackey, a campaign manager with 350.org.” (Washington Post $, New York Times $, AP, CNN, Buzzfeed, BBC, Reuters, NPR, USA Today, Bloomberg, The Verge, The Hill, Wall Street Journal $, Washington Examiner)
Kamala Harris Told Migrants “Do Not Come” but Didn’t Address the Biggest Cause of Displacement. Grist explains: “Vice President Kamala Harris had a simple message for migrants seeking relief during her first international trip in the role: “Do not come.” Harris, who gave a press conference with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei after private talks about U.S. President Joe Biden’s goals to curb migration at the southern border, named corruption and human trafficking as among the most pressing causes of migration from the Central American country. What she failed to mention, however, was 2020’s biggest driver of migration: severe weather, which makes the “do not come” instruction nearly impossible to follow. Nearly 600,000 people from Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua were displaced last year due to Hurricanes Eta and Iota…”
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