Climate change is also upon us

A new report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that climate change is accelerating at an alarming rate, causin...

A new report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that climate change is accelerating at an alarming rate, causing the heatwaves and weather disruptions that are now part of our weekly news.

News alerts are dominated by stories of wildfires and extreme weather in many parts of the United States and the world – impacts that science says are exacerbated by climate change.

But these global warming events are not only distant. Climate change is also upon us in the Pioneer Valley. The temperature fluctuates from over 20 degrees below normal to over 20 degrees above normal not only during a season, but sometimes within days of each other; local farms no longer rely on predictable production yields due to climate change; and of course the increased severity and frequency of high powered storms, sometimes coming out of nowhere in localized areas, are increasingly a part of our modern lives.

Nineteen of the warmest years have been since 2000, with the exception of 1998. The year 2020 ties in with 2016 for the hottest year on record since record keeping began in 1880 (source: NASA / GISS). In statistics, when you monitor a process, you look at the mean and the range. There is always normal variation in any system, usually on either side of the stable baseline average.

This is not normal when one can observe a constant upward trend, as in the hottest consecutive years, or downward, as in the case of lack of precipitation in a given region. Combine this with extreme events that are outside the normal range of variation occurring at increased frequency, then this is a real indication that a process is getting out of hand and needs corrective action as soon as possible. Everything indicates that this is where we are now with regard to climate change and that strong corrective measures are needed. Carbon pricing is an effective corrective action.

The climatologists who published the IPCC report warn that human activity has already heated the planet by 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) since the 19th century and that the window of action to avoid the worst is expiring. Even with a desire to reduce emissions across the world, we are likely to still achieve 1.5 degree Celsius warming over the next two decades. Any further warming beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius will have catastrophic consequences for humanity with heat waves, food and water shortages, and the growing financial burden of recovery from extreme weather events.

“We have known for decades that the world is warming, but this report tells us that recent climate change is widespread, rapid, intensified and unprecedented for thousands of years,” said Ko Barrett, IPCC vice-chair in a statement. press conference. “It is indisputable that human activities are at the root of climate change.

The proof is clear. If we continue to procrastinate and depend on fossil fuels, the resulting carbon emissions will cause our planet to warm further and further. Every percentage of a degree will threaten our lives, our economy and our health exponentially.

While this is alarming, there is one clear conclusion to take from the report: it is not too late. We still have a small window of opportunity to reduce our emissions and avoid the worst consequences. If we act urgently now, there is still hope.

He was encouraging to see Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren and a bipartisan group of senators leading this issue. Earlier this month, they voted to pass a $ 1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill with more than $ 150 billion in funding earmarked for a clean energy transition, more of electric vehicles, green jobs and climate resilience.

While this is a good start, broader policy is still needed to tackle climate change with the required speed. If the United States is to meet its goal of halving greenhouse gas emissions within 10 years, a solid carbon price, requiring fossil fuel companies to pay for their emissions, must be in place.

As this process unfolds, we call on Markey and Warren and Congressmen Jim McGovern and Richard Neal to support a price on carbon as part of the budget reconciliation negotiations.

In recent weeks, concerned citizens have generated over 63,000 emails and phone calls to their members of Congress, including McGovern, Neal, Markey and Warren of Massachusetts, asking them to support a price on carbon. We will continue to write, call and urge our fellow citizens to do the same.

If the IPCC report tells us anything, it’s that every person, place or passion we hold dear relies on a liveable world in order to thrive. We are counting on our elected officials to ensure that we have a liveable world by putting in place an effective carbon pricing policy to the finish line.

John Piekara of Belchertown is a volunteer with the Pioneer Valley section of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby and an industrial and systems engineer experienced in analyzing process variations. Mark Reynolds is Executive Director of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Climate change is also upon us
Climate change is also upon us
Newsrust - US Top News
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