6 Horrible Things We Have to Face Because of Climate Change
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Global warming is here, it’s happening now, and, frankly, nothing we can do can change the fact that we are already screwed. Nero fiddles while Rome burns. At this point, we can only mitigate the damage, not prevent it. A United Nations report in 2013 noted that greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere were at a level not seen in 800,000 years. Each of the last three decades has been warmer than any decade since 1850. In the northern hemisphere, the last three decades have been warmer than it has been in the last 14 centuries. CO2 levels are 40% higher than when the Industrial Revolution began back in the 18th century. Methane levels are 150% higher. Not only are we spewing tons and tons of carbon into the air via cars, coal-generated power plants, and airplanes, but we are also wiping out rainforests, which would normally be removing the CO2 from the atmosphere. To add fat to the fire, we are replacing the rainforests with cattle farms stocked with cows farting methane (an even more potent greenhouse gas than CO2) into the air. Earth’s average temperature will rise between 2 and 11 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember, that’s an average. Imagine a cold New England winter and it is so hot elsewhere that the average world temperature still goes up! Greenhouse gases do not break down quickly. Even if we stopped pouring them into the air this very second, the damage we have done already will persist for hundreds of years. If we don’t figure it out, if we keep following the path we are on, places like Southern California will have temperatures in the 100s on a daily basis. We are not talking about some distant future. These things will happen in your child’s lifetime unless we act. Here are six real-life horrible scenarios global warming will bring:
1. Jesus, it's hot!
Temperatures worldwide could rise 10 degrees Fahrenheit or more. If you enjoy a nice walk in Death Valley, then this super-heated world’s for you. To get a clearer picture, Climate Central, a non-profit organization in New Jersey has been compiling information in a report, “1,001 Blistering Future Summers,”and it has some eye-opening numbers. An average 78 degree Boston summer day today will be a Miami-like 89 degrees by the year 2100. Miami, in turn, will have risen to an average 94 degrees, similar to an average Harlingen, Texas summer day today. Harlingen, meanwhile, will have risen to an average of over 100 degrees. And so it goes. You can check how hot your city will be here.
2. It's "The Grapes of Wrath" all over again.
As the Earth heats up, and weather patterns change, drought conditions plaguing the country for the past several years will become more and more commonplace. In the early 20th century, when ill-advised farming practices led to the removal of natural wind-breaks and grassland, wind erosion caused massive dust storms in the American southwest. The Dust Bowl as memorably written about by John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath, and photographed by numerous photographers. Droughts today, caused by global warming, are creating similar conditions in the Great Plains. "If the drought holds on for two or three more years, as droughts have in the past, we will have Dust Bowl conditions in the farming belt," Craig Cox, an agriculture and natural resources expert with the Environmental Working Group, told Scientific American. "It could be in a sense an invisible Dust Bowl—not like the big storms before, but withered crops, dry streams and other disasters that accompanied the Dust Bowl. Wind erosion is tremendously damaging and hard to control. A lot of practices that control wind erosion require growing things, and if those weren't in place when the drought hit, it's almost impossible to put them in place now."