Denizens of Washington DC are reeling from a catastrophic storm that knocked out power for 100,000, toppled trees, and flooded streets. Much of the Gulf Coast is under flood warnings, and the central United States is sweltering under 110-degree heat, following an early summer of record heat and rainfall across much of the United States. Severe weather fueled by global warming pollution is having an even more devastating impact around the world:
— Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic face millions of dollars of damage after flooding rains last weekend carved a “swath of destruction,” killing at least 11 people and damaging hundreds of homes and businesses.
— Russia’s unprecedented heat wave, which has killed thousands and caused $15 billion in damage to the country’s economy, may be the “first disaster unequivocally attributable to anthropogenic climate change.”
All of these disasters were predicted by climate scientists as a consequence of greenhouse gas pollution from burning fossil fuels.
The Associated Press‘ Charles Hanley writes:
But not everyone is willing to act.
The U.S. remains the only major industrialized nation not to have legislated caps on carbon emissions, after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last week withdrew climate legislation in the face of resistance from Republicans and some Democrats.
The U.S. inaction, dating back to the 1990s, is a key reason global talks have bogged down for a pact to succeed the expiring Kyoto Protocol. That is the relatively weak accord on emissions cuts adhered to by all other industrialized states.