Several reports this week signal bad news for life as we know it. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released a report Tuesday finding greenhouse gasses set a record. Also the Drought Monitor reported Wednesday that the U.S. drought is worsening. And on top of that we are running out of water.
No one wants to hear this stuff around the holidays, but that does not mean it is going away.
The concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere hit a record high in 2011, the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported.
The most prevalent heat-trapping gas is carbon dioxide (CO2). That is the biggest culprit behind global warming. Carbon dioxide levels reached about 390.9 parts per million last year, which is 140% of the pre-industrial level of 280 parts per million and nearly 2 parts per million higher than the 2010 carbon dioxide level, according to the WMO report.
The international body estimates that about 413 billion tons (375 billion metric tons) of carbon have been released into the atmosphere since 1750, primarily from fossil fuel combustion. About half of this atmospheric carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere, and much of it will linger for centuries, causing the planet to warm further, WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud warned.
Another report sheds some light on the affect of greenhouse gasses. The U.S. Drought Monitor Report showed that the worst U.S. drought in decades has deepened again after more than a month of slowly improving conditions.
More than half of the continental U.S. has been in a drought since summer. Rain storms appeared to be easing the situation but that ended with the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report showed that 60.1% of the lower 48 states were in some form of drought as of Tuesday, up from 58.8% the previous week. The amount of land in extreme or exceptional drought — the two worst classifications — increased from 18.3% of the U.S. to 19.04%.
Not only does it cost us more money for everything we eat and wear, the drought is hurting our economy. And worse, global droughts are causing us to run out of water. We can not survive without water.
Some experts are saying that we are facing an even more severe crisis — the scarcity of fresh water. The scarcity, these analysts say, can no longer be avoided as the effects of a world water shortage will have life-threatening and global economic consequences.
“We’re already in a water crisis here in the U.S.,” said Mark LeChavallier, director of innovation and environmental stewardship for American Water, a water and wastewater utility company. “It’s big in areas on the West Coast and only getting bigger in areas like the East Coast. It’s almost taken for granted that we will have water, but we can’t do that anymore,” he said.
It’s not just the U.S. that’s facing a severe water shortage. India, China, Russia and parts of Africa and elsewhere in Asia are just a few of the regions facing increasing water scarcity, according to a report by Deloitte. A major reason for the water shortage is drought.
While drought grips much of the nation, the East coast is still dealing with too much water. Ironically, climate change is behind that as well. As people try to get their lives back together a big question emerges. Should they re-build or will it happen again? It will happen again thanks to warm oceans.
The media is fixated on the fiscal cliff and what Congress will do. That is a big problem for our economy, and it could impact millions of Americans. However, even if the worst case scenario for the fiscal cliff materializes, the impact will be relatively short lived—2 to 5 years
Climate Change on the other hand will change our lives for decades if not for our lifetime or even longer The cost of the fiscal cliff is not even a drop in the bucket to the costs of the damage climate change will cause. Why then do we not even talk about it? Why do so many politicians deny its existence?
Perhaps someday society will have enough and realize all this carbon we pump into the air is going to kill us. Will we realize it before it is too late?
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