A new study finds that we are headed towards a near future that will look like something out of a Hollywood disaster movie.
In the coming decades, the world face wildfires, superstorms, heat waves, floods, droughts, and city-destroying sea level rise occurring all at once. Some major coastal areas would be subjected to as many as six simultaneous climate catastrophes the study warns.
As the 23 authors of the new Nature study — entitled “Broad threat to humanity from cumulative climate hazards intensified by greenhouse gas emissions” — explain, such a future is inevitable on our current path of the unrestricted carbon pollution.
But, if we act aggressively to keep total global warming below 2°C (3.6°F), then the number of areas facing simultaneous disasters will be sharply lower.
Tragically, United States has a climate science denier for President who is doing everything in his power to undermine domestic and global climate action — and who thinks “raking” is the answer to the devastating wildfires California suffers every year. Fires that are becoming worse due to climate change.
When President Donald Trump was asked on Sunday if seeing all the devastation from the wildfires changed his opinion on climate change, he said, “No, no…. I want great climate. We’re going to have that.”
In reality, Trump is doing the opposite. He is working toward destroying our climate, as this new study’s release this week made clear — it was based on a review of over 3,000 scientific peer-reviewed scientific papers.
The authors warn that on our current emissions path, New York could be facing four major climate hazards a year by century’s end — at the same time Los Angeles and Sydney would be facing three a year, Mexico City four, and the east coast of Brazil five.
In such a nightmare scenario, the richer nations of the world probably won’t be offering much help to the poorer ones, since they will be busy dealing with their own disasters.
We are already seeing glimmers of this grim future. “The collision of cumulative climate hazards is not something on the horizon, it is already here,” explained lead author Camilo Mora of the University of Hawaii. “California is currently experiencing ferocious wildfires and one of the longest droughts, plus extreme heatwaves this past summer.”
In 2017, we saw the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, followed by that of Irma, followed by that of Maria. “It’s just one after another,” Trump said last September.
Even three hurricanes proved too much for Trump, as his administration completely botched the effort to restore Puerto Rico’s power after Maria.
These were then swiftly followed this year by Hurricane Florence, which turned parts of North Carolina into islands due to the flooding, and Hurricane Michael, with winds at landfall like a giant tornado.
What kind of legacy will we be leaving the nation and the world, where every year has the colliding climate catastrophes of 2017 and 2018 combined — and not just in this country but in many, many others?