There are three options in tackling climate change. Only one will work | Mayer Hillman:
Remarkably, public expectations about the future indicate that only minor changes in the carbon-based aspects of our lifestyles are anticipated. It is as if people can continue to believe that they have an inalienable right to travel as far and as frequently as they can afford. Indeed, there is a widespread refusal by politicians to admit to the fact the process of melting ice caps contributing to sea level rises, and permafrost thawing in tundra regions cannot now be stopped, let alone reversed. The longer we procrastinate, the greater the certainty of environmental degradation, social upheaval and economic chaos.
National leaders are unable to reconcile the expectations of their electorates for higher living standards by burning fossil fuels, with the absolute need to live within the planet’s finite environmental capacity. Nor, in democracies, can they move too far ahead of public opinion.
In this key area of international policy, the undesirable outcomes can all too often be laid at the door of scientists who inform politicians of the options now open to them. They subscribe to many fallacious assumptions about carbon dioxide emissions that are close to tenets of faith.
Climate change will make hundreds of millions more people nutrient deficient:
Previous research has shown that many food crops become less nutritious when grown under the CO2 levels expected by 2050, with reductions of protein, iron and zinc estimated at 3–17%.
Now experts say such changes could mean that by the middle of the century about 175 million more people develop a zinc deficiency, while 122 million people who are not currently protein deficient could become so.
In addition, about 1.4 billion women of childbearing age and infants under five years old will be living in regions where there will be the highest risk of iron deficiency.
Among other problems, zinc deficiencies are linked to troubles with wound healing, infections and diarrhoea; protein deficiencies are linked to stunted growth; and iron deficiencies are tied to complications in pregnancy and childbirth.
“This is another demonstration of how higher CO2 could affect global health that may not be as well recognised,” said Dr Matthew Smith, co-author of the study from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. “Continuing to keep up our vigilance around reducing CO2 emissions becomes all the more important because of this research.”
Summer weather is getting ‘stuck’ due to Arctic warming:
Rising temperatures in the Arctic have slowed the circulation of the jet stream and other giant planetary winds, says the paper, which means high and low pressure fronts are getting stuck and weather is less able to moderate itself.
The authors of the research, published in Nature Communications on Monday, warn this could lead to “very extreme extremes”, which occur when abnormally high temperatures linger for an unusually prolonged period, turning sunny days into heat waves, tinder-dry conditions into wildfires, and rains into floods.
“This summer was where we saw a very strong intensity of heatwaves. It’ll continue and that’s very worrying, especially in the mid-latitudes: the EU, US, Russia and China,” said one of the coauthors, Dim Coumou from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “Short-term heatwaves are quite pleasant, but longer term they will have an impact on society. It’ll have an affect on agricultural production. Harvests are already down this year for many products. Heatwaves can also have a devastating impact on human health.”
Scientists Have Uncovered a Frightening Climate Change Precedent:
The changes that we’ve already set in motion, unless we act rapidly to countervail them, will similarly take millennia to fully unfold. The last time CO2 was at 400 ppm (as it is today) was 3 million years ago during the Pliocene epoch, when sea levels were perhaps 80 feet higher than today. Clearly the climate is not yet at equilibrium for a 400-ppm world.
Trees That Have Lived for Millennia Are Suddenly Dying:
Common throughout sub-Saharan Africa, the African baobab is one of the biggest flowering plants in the world, and reputedly one of the longest-lived. It’s also known as the upside-down tree, because its bare branches look like roots, or as the monkey bread tree, because of its nutritious and edible fruit. It’s exceptionally long-lived, but recently, several of the oldest baobabs have been dying. Homasi, for example, was part of a grove of seven baobabs, six of which perished within a two-year period.
This isn’t an isolated event. Of the 13 oldest known baobabs in the world, four have completely died in the last dozen years, and another five are on the way, having lost their oldest stems. “These large and monumental trees, which can live for 2,000 years or more, were dying one after another,” says Adrian Patrut from Babes-Bolyai University in Romania, who has catalogued the deaths. “It’s sad that in our short lives, we are able to live through such an experience.”