Much of the East Coast is shut down today as residents prepare for Hurricane Sandy, a massive storm that could impact up to 50 million people from the Carolinas to Boston. The storm has already killed 66 people in the Caribbean, where it battered Haiti and Cuba. “This thing is stitched together from elements natural and unnatural, and it seems poised to cause real havoc,” says Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org.
People love to talk about the weather, especially when it’s strange like the mercifully ended summer of 2012. This year the nation’s weather has been hotter and more extreme than ever, federal records show. Yet there are two people who aren’t talking about it, and they both happen to be running for president.
When I testified before the Senate in the hot summer of 1988, I warned of the kind of future that climate change would bring to us and our planet. I painted a grim picture of the consequences of steadily increasing temperatures, driven by mankind’s use of fossil fuels. But I have a confession to make: I was too optimistic.
NOAA: In general, both daytime and nighttime temperature increases “are consistent with what we would expect in a greenhouse-warmed world.”
In North Dakota the waters kept rising. Swollen by more than a month of record rains in Saskatchewan, the Souris River topped its all time record high, set back in 1881. The floodwaters poured into Minot, North Dakota’s fourth-largest city, and spread across thousands of acres of farms and forests. More than 12,000 people were forced to evacuate. Many lost their homes to the floodwaters.
The seas are rising at a faster rate right now than at any point since at least the era of Julius Caesar, and there is a direct link between this increase and changes in global surface temperatures, according to a new study. Rising sea levels could have major impacts on not just marine ecosystems, but the entire planet, as coastal areas are swamped by encroaching waters.
Last week McClatchy Newspapers published a breakthrough article about scientists seeing the links between severe weather and global warming. More of this strong journalism is urgently needed because very little time is left before climate change becomes self-sustaining.
Greenhouse gas emissions increased by a record amount last year, to the highest carbon output in history, putting hopes of holding global warming to safe levels all but out of reach, according to unpublished estimates from the International Energy Agency.
By Bill McKibben
Caution: It is vitally important not to make connections. When you see…
The National Snow and Ice Data Center is reporting that Arctic sea ice appears to have reached its winter maximum for the year, which has tied 2006 for the lowest in the satellite record.
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