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Climate Doom Is Out. ‘Apocalyptic Optimism’ Is In

The author writes, “While Americans are less likely than their counterparts in the developed world to appreciate the threats that climate change poses, recent polls show that a significant majority of Americans now agree that climate change is real and a smaller majority agree that it is human-caused and harmful. And yet almost no expert believes that we are doing enough. … Intimations of doom have failed to motivate us. Perhaps we will work toward a better future if we trust that one, with or without mutants, is possible. When it comes to climate catastrophe, is our best hope hope itself?”

Climate Change Played a Role in Killing Tens of Thousands of People in 2023

The author writes: “At nine years old, Carter Vigh loved soccer, his friends, and dancing to music. ‘He was just the kid that everybody wanted to hang out with, and he was always willing to make the time for anybody and willing to stand up for anyone that was being bullied or sad,’ said Carter’s mom, Amber Vigh. ‘He was tiny but mighty.’ Carter also had asthma. The hot temperatures and dense wildfire smoke that enveloped the Vighs’ British Columbia home, 100 Mile House, in the summer of 2023 exacerbated his asthma and killed him.”

‘It’s Not Game Over — It’s Game On’: Why 2024 Is an Inflection Point for the Climate Crisis

The author writes, “In 2024, global climate trends are cause for both deep alarm and cautious optimism. Last year was the hottest on record by a huge margin and this year will likely be hotter still. The annual global average temperature may, for the first time, exceed 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels — a threshold crucial for stabilizing the Earth’s climate. Without immediate action, we are at grave risk of crossing irreversible tipping points in the Earth’s climate system. Yet there are reasons for hope.”

Tracking Biden’s Environmental Actions

From The Washington Post, “President Biden pledged early in his tenure to use every corner of the federal government — and every lever at his disposal — to combat climate change with ‘a greater sense of urgency.’ Last summer, as much of the country sweltered under intense heat and faced severe wildfires and drought, Biden and his party ushered through an unprecedented level of climate funding while his administration pressed ahead with other policies aimed at curbing planet-warming pollution. In the months ahead, he will focus on executive action — including finalizing new regulations and implementing the Inflation Reduction Act, which he signed last August. … The story of Biden’s time in office so far is one not just of doing, but also of undoing. Biden has now targeted or overturned three-quarters of the Trump administration’s deregulatory actions.”

Climate Crisis: Average World Incomes To Diminish by Nearly a Fifth by 2050

The author writes: “The climate crisis will mean that average incomes will fall by almost a fifth within the next 26 years compared with what they would have been if there was no such crisis, according to a study that predicts the costs of damage will be six times higher than the price of limiting global heating to 2C. Rising temperatures, heavier rainfall, and more frequent and intense extreme weather are projected to cause $38tn (£30tn) of destruction each year by mid-century, according to the research, which is the most comprehensive analysis of its type ever undertaken, and whose findings are published in the journal Nature. The hefty toll — which is far higher than previous estimates — is already locked into the world economy over the coming decades as a result of the enormous emissions that have been pumped into the atmosphere through the burning of gas, oil, coal, and trees.”

Produce Without Pesticides

From Consumer Reports: “When it comes to healthy eating, fruits and vegetables reign supreme. But along with all their vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients can come something else: an unhealthy dose of dangerous pesticides. Though using chemicals to control bugs, fungi, and weeds helps farmers grow the food we need, it’s been clear since at least the 1960s that some chemicals also carry unacceptable health risks. And although certain notorious pesticides, such as DDT, have been banned in the U.S., government regulators have been slow to act on others. Even when a dangerous chemical is removed from the market, chemical companies and growers sometimes just start using other options that may be as dangerous.”

The Flooding Will Come ‘No Matter What’

From ProPublica: “Another great American migration is now underway, this time forced by the warming that is altering how and where people can live. For now, it’s just a trickle. But in the corners of the country’s most vulnerable landscapes — on the shores of its sinking bayous and on the eroding bluffs of its coastal defenses — populations are already in disarray.”

FROM 2021: The Earth After Humans

From Noema Magazine: “In 1989, Bill McKibben published a rallying cry to fight on behalf of the future. His book, ‘The End of Nature,’ would propel conservation action, attempts to mitigate climate change, and more. And similar books would follow, such as David Wallace-Wells’ “The Uninhabitable Earth.” These books were important and useful, but in one important way they were wrong: All this does not spell the end of nature. Our end is far nearer than is nature’s end. All the worst things we can imagine doing to Earth — nuclear war, climate change, massive pollution, habitat loss, and all the rest — may affect multicellular species like us but are unlikely to lead to the extinction of most major lineages on the evolutionary tree. … Nature — the existence of life on Earth, the diversity of ancient lineages and the ability of life to continue to evolve — is not going anywhere any time soon. What is under threat are the lifeforms that we most relate to and that are most integral to our own survival.”

From Our Archives

Photo credit: Pete Linforth / Pixabay

We’ve Become Plastic!

March 18, 2024: “It seems that Japanese researchers have established that tiny bits of plastic are present in clouds. Clouds. That ephemeral stuff of dreams. At sunrise, they embody hope. At sunset, their poignance inspires a hushed sense of awe. Ice cream castles in the air. On a more plebeian level, if plastic has found a home in the clouds, it is surely in the coffee I picked up from the deli this morning. I just learned that exposure to hot water releases microplastics in the lining of even paper cups. … And maybe it’s in your brain already. Scientists found that, only two hours after they are ingested, tiny bits of plastic get into mouse brains.”

COP28: No Final Solution, But the Writing Is on the Wall

January 6, 2024: “The COP28 international climate change extravaganza that adjourned in Dubai in December left activists hoping for an immediate transition away from fossil fuels and oil producers concerned about inevitably losing the principal source of their income in the future. Neither side got what it wanted, but both could see the writing on the wall. Sooner or later, either fossil fuels or, in a worst-case scenario, life on the planet will face extinction. Oil producers can only hope that the end will come later rather than sooner.”

On EVs and Climate Change, Trump and GOP Are Stuck in Reverse

October 5, 2023: “That Donald Trump hates President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which is key to Biden’s fight against climate change, is hardly surprising. That Trump, who has an odds-on chance of being the Republican candidate in the next presidential election, hates electric cars is even less of a surprise. At his recent rally in Clinton Township, MI, Trump urged automobile workers not to trust Biden or his strategy to reduce US reliance on fossil fuel. ‘He’s selling you out to China,’ Trump told the gathering. ‘He’s selling you out to the environmental extremists and the radical left.’”

Diabolical GOP Plan Would Guarantee Global Warming Wins

August 7, 2023: “A mind-boggling, nefarious GOP plan that, if they take power in the next election, would wipe out all efforts to stop climate change. I don’t think this is ringing the alarm bells to the extent it should. Compared to all the other news, this is significantly different. The most ‘sophisticated’ members of the traditional Republican funding core — and not some wild-eyed MAGA insurrectionists — are basically announcing their plan that would effectively end our world. That’s right, though it sounds crazy. And is.”


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