The global response to climate change is incapable of addressing the catastrophic consequences to a planet dependent on burning fossil fuels for energy, spewing greater volumes of the greenhouse gases that are boosting temperatures at an accelerating rate.
This gloomy assessment is based on new scientific studies that describe, with increasing certainty, the arrival of severe climate disruption sooner and with greater intensity than scientists had predicted even a few years ago.
Another day, another U.S. media outlet wakes up to the grim reality of a world where the climate deniers and delayers reign. This time it’s the The Salt Lake Tribune, with it’s powerfully headlined editorial:
Nothing really new for Climate Progress readers, but it is always good to see reality taking hold in more places — especially in a state whose House of Representatives actually passed a resolution doubting climate science in 2010 (see also “Utah: Still the right wing place“).
The World Bank and the International Energy Agency are warning that if current climate trends continue unabated, the rate of global warming will increase temperatures by an alarming 4C to 6C, with rising sea levels swamping coastlines, and widespread famine, storms and heat waves forcing widespread human migrations….
A study published Thursday in the journal Science found that the polar ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are losing three times as much ice as 20 years ago, threatening low-lying coastal areas with rising sea levels. Julie Brigham Grette at the University of Massachusetts Amherst told The Washington Post that as the oceans warm and expand, and polar ice melts, sea level is expected to rise by about 40 inches before the end of the century. “It’s not like it’s going to happen in the future,” she said, “it’s happening now.”
And they quote the World Meteorological Organization on its annual state of the climate statement:
“Climate change is taking place before our eyes and will continue to do so as a result of concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which have risen constantly and again reached new records,” Michel Jarraud, head of the World Meteorological Organization, said in a statement Wednesday.
He pointed to the dramatic rate of melting of Arctic ice over the summer to its lowest level since satellite records have been available. “The trend is not only continuing but accelerating. The more it melts, the faster it will melt,” Jarraud said in a New York Times report.
Sea levels rise as the ice melts, and are almost 8 inches higher than a century ago, when a deadly storm such as Hurricane Sandy would not have carried the same destructive punch, he said.
And the Utah news outlet even points some fingers at the deniers who tend to dominate Utah politics:
Sadly, far too often in Utah government leaders and others dismiss global warming as a scare tactic by environmental activists with agendas that include cleaner energy sources and mass transit as substitutes for the fossil fuels that power the state and national economies.
Such ignorance, blind or willful, has transformed climate change into a political issue rather than the global threat it clearly is proving to be. Somehow, achieving American oil independence is seen as an imperative far more compelling than reducing carbon emissions that, at their current rate of production, will profoundly alter the lives of our grandchildren and their posterity.