What isn’t common is for a world-renowned scientist to warn that there could be a greater rise than that before 2100 – in addition to a catastrophic two to three-meter rise by 2200, and worsening increases thereafter.
We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors;
we borrow it from our children.
— Native American Proverb
March through June 2014 were the hottest on record globally, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. In May – officially the hottest May on record globally – the average temperature of the planet was .74 degrees Celsius above the 20th century baseline, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The trend is clear: 2013 was the 37th consecutive year of above-average global temperatures, and since the Industrial Revolution began, the earth has been warmed by .85 degrees Celsius. Several scientific reports and climate modeling show that at current trajectories (business as usual), we will see at least a 6-degree Celsius increase by 2100.
In the last decade alone, record high temperatures across the United States have outnumbered record low temperatures two to one, and the trend is both continuing and escalating.
“You really have to work to not believe it,” Dr. Waleed Abdalati says of anthropomorphic climate disruption (ACD, also known as climate change). He should know: More than 20 years ago, Abdalati began observing ACD firsthand in Greenland, as a scientist working on his doctoral thesis, for which he created an algorithm used to remotely detect changes in the spatial extent of the Greenland ice sheet experiencing melt each year.
Abdalati, previously NASA’s chief scientist,is now an associate professor of geography, director of the Earth Science and Observation Center, and a fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado in Boulder. His research interests are in the use of satellite and airborne remote sensing techniques, integrated with in situ observations and modeling, to understand how and why the earth’s ice cover is changing.
Despite the widespread governmental denial of anthropogenic climate disruption, many signs indicate we are already past the point of no return, headed toward a “dead planet.”
“I am poor and naked, but I am the chief of the nation. We do not want riches but we do want to train our children right. Riches would do us no good. We could not take them with us to the other world. We do not want riches.”
- Red Cloud, Oglala Lakota Sioux
At the beginning of June, the Obama administration proudly announced the EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan, the goal of which is to cut carbon pollution from power plants by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. It was trumpeted as the strongest proposal ever put forth by a US president to reign in greenhouse gas emissions.
However, Kevin Bundy with the Center for Biological Diversity‘s Climate Law Institute was unimpressed, commenting, “This is like fighting a wildfire with a garden hose – we’re glad the president has finally turned the water on, but it’s just not enough to get the job done.”
Given the increasingly rapid pace of the impacts of runaway anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD), Bundy’s remark is well placed, and these recent machinations by the Obama administration are clearly too little, far too late.