In the last 24 hours, historic weather bombs have struck North America and Scotland, powered by unchecked levels of carbon pollution. The freak weather disasters are another deadly reminder to the Durban climate talks that dangerous interference with the climate system is an urgent reality.
Yesterday, Washington, D.C. facd a severe storm that “had it all: heavy mountain snow, raging wind, and severe thunderstorms” that went down as the wettest December 7th on record. In Canada, a nasty snowstorm has left 30,000 without power. Scotland and Britain are facing the fiercest storm since 2007, a “red warning” “weather bomb”:
Scotland battened down the hatches with school, offices and attraction not opening or closing early … The storm’s winds were so strong as its pressure dropped by 44mb, almost double the qualifying amount for a weather bomb, in the 24 hours to 6am this morning. The winds today were stronger than the 80mph gusts seen when Hurricane Katia hit in September … WeatherOnline forecaster Simon Keeling said: ‘The weather machine has thrown absolutely everything at us, from wind to snow. Just about anything that can be mustered has been on the cards.‘
At the Durban talks Environment Minister Peter Kent acknowledged Canada is well past safe temperatures:
Time is really running short in terms of the 2 degrees, and in Canada we’re already past that in the Arctic, and we really do need to find a way to get meaningful significant reductions from the major developing economies.
Back in Canada, Stephen Harper’s right-wing government demonstrated Kent’s words are meaningless. It gave the go-ahead today for a major tar sands project that is the equivalent to 270,000 more cars on the road.
As global greenhouse pollution increases at record rates, the U.S. has experienced an unprecedented 12 billion-dollar weather disasters this year. The extreme weather hitting the countries making key decisions regarding tar sands and pollution regulations serves as a forewarning of the disasters we face with insufficient action on climate action.