Climate Change: The Stakes
Although still to early to know, preliminary data so far indicates 2020 is the hottest year on record. If the phrase “hottest temperatures on record” sounds familiar, it should. That particular record has been broken with each new year for over a decade with some slight variation.
The dire consequences of ignoring climate change are starting to take shape. If action is not taken, humanity faces it’s literal demise. All of the data cited here is easy to find and freely available:
Abnormal weather is quickly becoming the norm as climate change’s effects grow more pronounced. At the start of 2020, a full 40% of Australia was on fire, an entire continent. 100 or even 1000 year storms have been occurring every few years because of changes to the climate. In the US alone, nine of the ten most costly hurricanes in history have occurred since 2004. California has experienced consistent drought since 2011 and massive wildfires have become an annual occurrence. Since 2015, wildfires in California have caused 51 billion in damage and covered 8,797,662 acres of land. They seem to be getting worse too, with the 2020 wildfires total area equaling the previous two largest combined. The increased severity of winter storms throughout the country have been apparent to anyone paying attention. Freak weather events like Iowa’s 2020 derecho have become an annual occurrence in all regions of the United States and the world.
The effects of climate change get exponentially worse when certain grim benchmarks are met. An example is the destruction of mangroves (tropical sea vegetation). Mangroves are hugely important in containing C02, holding up to 10 times as much as rainforests. Climate change has caused 2 million acres of mangroves to disappear yearly, with estimates showing they will be eliminated entirely by 2100.
Another line of defense is the world’s rainforests-a major natural resource in containing C02. Deforestation has been a major problem that has only accelerated since the UN Food and Agriculture program started monitoring the situation in the 1960’s. An estimated 1.3 million kilometers of rainforest is cut down every decade.
The melting of the polar ice cap is another problem directly tied to climate change. When most people think of melting glaciers, the immediate problem that comes to mind is the subsequent rise in global sea level.
In actuality the melting will unleash a whole slew of interconnected problems, many of which will be less…