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New Vital Issue #1: Climate Change

We’ve been touting for some time Water Supply as the # 1 vital issue facing humans, and calling for voters to challenge political candidates to face the issue in the 2016 national elections. It’s now clear that water supply and other vital issues will depend on how humans respond immediately to Climate Change. So we now list Climate Change as our #1 vital issue, with Water as #2.

Climate Change: Reports and Responses in Late 2015


Which way will we go?

In early November, three significant reports have come forth emphasizing the global dangers from Climate Change:

  1. Observances of the earth’s surface warming, along with a collection of international studies on severe weather events.

A Pennsylvania State University climate expert told The New York Times that current global warming of 1.5 degrees Farenheit “(and somewhat more over North America and the Arctic) ‘has fundamentally influenced all meteorological events,’ not just those that get written up in a study,” the Times reported Nov. 5 of its interview with Dr. Michael Mann.

The Times report also noted:

A new collection of studies examined extreme weather events last year, including drought, floods and storms, to look for signs that climate change was a cause or contributor — and found mixed results.

The set of 32 studies were published by The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. It’s the fourth in a series of annual reports. It determined that half of the serious weather events occurred from climate change. The Times explains:

The papers suggest that ‘human-caused climate change greatly increased the likelihood and intensity of heat waves’ in some regions, including Argentina, Europe, China, the Korean Peninsula, Australia, and the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The researchers also say that climate change probably had a role in the unusually large number of tropical cyclones that hit Hawaii last year.

Researchers also concluded that “the Syrian drought was made worse by a lack of rainfall linked to climate change.”

2. A United Nations weather unit has reported that in 2014 greenhouse gases reached historic highs. China America Television (CNTV) offered two reports on this here and here.

3. The World Bank, in a Nov. 8 report, warned that climate change could push more than 100 million people into poverty by 2030, with the world’s poorest regions — Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia — being the most affected.

The 227-page report titled Shock Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty, and its summary offer “a way out”:

This requires that poverty reduction and development work continue as a priority while taking into account a changing climate.  It also means taking targeted action to help people cope with climate shocks – such as developing early warning systems and flood protection, and introducing heat-resistant crops.  At the same time, efforts to reduce emissions should accelerate, and be designed to protect the poor.

John Roome, Senior Director for Climate Change at the World Bank Group, stressed, “We will need to act fast, because as climate impacts increase, so will the difficulty and cost of eradicating poverty.”

That leads to a problem in the United States, where the Millionaire Congress (Republican and Democrat) and Millionaire president would rather fund the military-industrial complex and invade countries than truly deal with climate change and poverty.

The U.S. and other countries will indicate their desire for solutions at the end of this month. The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference will take place in Paris from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11. As Wikipedia explains:

The conference objective is to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world. Leadership of the negotiations is yet to be determined.

Yet to determine leadership of negotiations with only 20 days left until the meeting? Perhaps the politicians have been too busy trying to back their pro-corporate trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Also of concern, the UN appears to have eased greenhouse gas emission goals, according to The Christian Science Monitor. You can read that report here.

It could be that, if any progress is going to occur on climate change, you may have to think globally and act locally, i.e., get organized, get educated, and get active in making your elected politicians act to protect you and your children. And look to replace the politicians in 2016 if they don’t.

Roger Armbrust

Roger Armbrust's articles and columns have covered labor and management, Congressional legislation, and federal court cases, including appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. He formerly served as national news editor of Back Stage in New York City, where he also taught a professional writing course at New York University. His recent book of sonnets -- oh, touch me there: Love Sonnets -- is available from Amazon and other book sites. He is an associate curator of The Clyde Fitch Report. He is also co-founder and co-curator of reality: a world of views.

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