No one needs to tell you that it’s been an oppressively hot summer. But what you may be unaware of is the fact that July 2019 has officially replaced July 2016 as the hottest month on record. What’s more, meteorologists, including those from the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Programme which analyzes temperature data from around the planet, believe that global temperatures will continue to rise – and break records – if we fail to address the challenges of global warming and change current ways of life that put the entire planet in jeopardy.
In fact, as the head of the Copernicus program recently noted, “with continued greenhouse gas emissions and the resulting impact on global temperatures, records will continue to be broken in the future.”
So what, you ask? Consider that 2015 through 2018 now stand as the four warmest years on record, April, May and July this year all ranked among the warmest on record for those months and this June was the hottest ever. Simply put, we are rapidly approaching what’s called the “crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees” which will precipitate the risk of extreme weather events and food shortages for hundreds of millions of people. Some 200 countries and the E.U. (European Union) have pledged to keep the global temperature below a level as determined in the 2015 Paris Agreement and promised to meet their respective government’s obligations.
But America, under Donald Trump, has pulled out of the Paris Agreement. Further, our president and some of his fellow Republicans and White House staff want us to believe that lodging concerns about global warming is tantamount to “crying wolf.” They even challenge scientific data and reports – information carefully compiled by experts in the field – alleging “fake news.”
If you think it’s been hotter than you can remember along the East Coast, at least you can find solace in that we have not suffered alone. All of Europe has baked in the excessive heat this summer, breaking records in at least a dozen countries. Anchorage also marked its hottest month ever while wildfires raged in the Arctic, setting off massive melting of Greenland’s ice sheet.
Some of America’s leaders may want to bury their heads in the sand, or assert that they have other, more important issues on their plates. But climate change is real – it’s not science fiction. It’s happening now and will grow even worse in the future without urgent and immediate climate action.
We only have one world. If we don’t demand that our leaders wake up, we face the inevitability of handing down to our children and their children a world in which humanity, animals and plants face perilous, life-threatening conditions. Are we that ignorant and selfish?
If we’re not careful, future generations will only be able to read about places like Osaka, Japan, Rio de Janeiro or Miami because they’ll no longer exist or be inhabitable – unless humans develop the ability to breathe underwater.