To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Wednesday, June 19, 2024


Interconnected Climate Concerns


July 3 was the hottest day ever recorded on Earth – until July 4. Until … until … until. One estimate was that they were the hottest days in 125,000 years.

At the end of June, Nature Sustainability published the findings of four studies it conducted concerning future climate changes. Categorizing its conclusions as catastrophic is probably an understatement.

Coming into play and demanding to be considered are the collateral effects of changing ecosystems upon each other. Most climate modeling examines one specific system. The new research reports, “conventional modeling approaches based on incremental changes in a single stress may provide poor estimates of the impact of climate and human activities on ecosystems.”

Everything is connected. Repercussions spread like ripples across still water.

Nature Sustainability observes, “Recent mention of ‘ghastly futures,’ ‘widespread ecosystem collapse’ and ‘domino effects on sustainability goals’ tap into a growing consensus within some scientific communities that the Earth is rapidly destabilizing through ‘cascades of collapse.’”

Others provide some of the evidence:

Seth Borensteain of the Associated Press reported in April that, “The world’s oceans have suddenly spiked much hotter and well above record levels in the last few weeks, with scientists trying to figure out what it means and whether it forecasts a surge in atmospheric warming.

“Some researchers think the jump in sea surface temperatures stems from a brewing and possibly strong natural El Nino warming weather condition plus a rebound from three years of a cooling La Nina, all on top of steady global warming that is heating deeper water below. If that’s the case, they said, record-breaking ocean temperatures this month could be the first in many heat records to shatter.”

At the same time Catalan News noted, “The sea off the Catalan coast is 1.4 degrees Celsius warmer than it was in the 1970s according to Catalonia’s Meteorological Service [SMC], a phenomenon that has also been occurring in other parts of the Mediterranean and the world.

“This means temperatures in the Mediterranean could increase three to four degrees more by the end of the century, SMC climate scientist Marc Prohom estimates.”

Science Daily reported a dire study from Australia’s University of New South Wales:

“The deep ocean circulation that forms around Antarctica could be headed for collapse, say scientists.

“Such decline of this ocean circulation will stagnate the bottom of the oceans and generate further impacts affecting climate and marine ecosystems for centuries to come.”

And such impacts will stretch far beyond Antarctica as disrupted weather cycles and animal migrations spread in all directions [though primarily northward, of course].

Laura Paddison of CNN brought the situation closer to home in May by reporting:

“More than half of the world’s largest lakes and reservoirs have lost significant amounts of water over the last three decades, according to a new study, which pins the blame largely on climate change and excessive water use …

“While lakes cover only around 3% of the planet, they hold nearly 90% of its liquid surface freshwater and are essential sources of drinking water, irrigation and power, and they provide vital habitats for animals and plants.”

That “excessive water use” includes green lawns, golf courses and large scale agricultural projects in arid and semi-arid regions. If nothing else, humans constantly prove themselves adept at ignoring the effects they have on the planet.

And, of course, much of the blame for climate change lies with the lies fossil fuel polluters and the politicians they have purchased have been telling for decades about what they knew their products were going to do and doing to the only Earth we have.

The inimitable Thom Hartmann wonders, “Will there ever be a criminal trial for the people willfully destroying life on Earth?

“Fossil fuel executives have funded a massive, 50-year-long campaign to lie to the American people, cloud the science, and buy off Republican politicians. Untold millions will die and suffer as a result, but will there ever be one iota of accountability?”

With research links supporting his allegations, Hartmann reports, “For over 50 years, the top executives of that industry have known their products would produce this exact result: a crisis that is killing an average of around 7,500 Americans a year [and over a million worldwide] and promises to kill hundreds of millions within a decade or two.”

Downstream from the lakes and reservoirs, Knowable Magazine wonders, “Is the ‘age of the delta’ coming to an end?”

And Nature Serve details the consequences of this worsening water crisis: “An alarming percent of animal species are at risk of extinction in the United States – 40%, according to our estimate. As a group, species associated with fresh water, including amphibians, snails, mussels, crayfish, and many aquatic insects, have the highest percentage of at-risk species, highlighting the importance of conservation strategies to protect freshwater ecosystems.”

Nature Sustainability warns, “Some even speculate on ‘end-of-world’ scenarios involving transgressing planetary boundaries [climate, freshwater and ocean acidification], accelerating reinforcing [positive] feedback mechanisms and multiplicative stresses.”

Its conclusion offers little hope: ”Prudent risk management clearly requires consideration of the factors that may lead to these bad-to-worst-case scenarios. Put simply, the choices we make about ecosystems and landscape management can accelerate change unexpectedly.”

Dear Prudence, the future looks bleak if it depends upon responsible action from short-term money-grubbers and their lying hired minions.

Gary Edmondson
Gary Edmondson
Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democrats. He lives in Duncan, following a sporadic career as a small-town journalist, mostly in Texas, and as an editor of educational audio-visual materials. Some days he's a philosopher/poet, others a poet/philosopher.