Hard Rain Journal 7-21-06: Heat Waves in Europe & US are Direct Consequences of Global Warming
By Richard Power
Distraction does not mean deliverance. In most instances, while you indulge in distraction, your doom only deepens. Just as the world's attention was distracted from Afghanistan to Iraq, it is now being distracted from Iraq to Lebanon. In Afghanistan, the Taliban is resurgent and preparing for a major offensive. In Iraq, all hope (if there ever was any) has been lost in chaos and anarchy. Meanwhile, the planet itself is changing, rapidly and for the worse -- because of the burning of fossil fuels, which is, afterall, the very reason behind this struggle for geopolitical hegemony in the Middle East. It is madness.
Sustainability is the only way for us to overcome the challenges of global warming and climate change. And, ironically, it is also the best solution to the world's energy security issues. Yes, those very energy security issues which have aggravated and accelerated global warming and climate change to civilization-threatening intensity. Indeed, sustainability will significantly undercut the real motivation behind current and future conflicts, like the one in Lebanon, which has distracted so many of us from the one in Iraq, which has distracted so many of us from the one in Afghanistan. Madness.
Consider these two reports on the weather in Europe and the US, and then ask yourself what you, your friends and family, and the organization you work for or lead should be doing about global warming and climate change:
The heat wave sweeping Europe is a direct consequence of the warming of the earth's atmosphere, experts say. "We are observing and suffering the first effects of global warming," Hervé Le Treut, meteorologist at the French Centre for Scientific Research told IPS. "The emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, are leading to higher temperatures all over the world, but these are observed in an irregular manner across the continents," he said. "The global weather is clearly disturbed." Record temperatures of well over 35 degrees Celsius were recorded all over Europe this week. On Jul. 20 Paris and Berlin registered 39 degrees. In Belgium, Jul. 19 was the hottest day ever in July, with 37 degrees. The July maximum temperature record was also broken in Britain. The mercury reached 36.5 Celsius at the Royal Horticultural Society's gardens at Wisley in Surrey. The previous record for July, 36 degrees, was set in Epsom in 1911....The heat wave has led to several deaths across Europe...."The heat wave of 2003 reached its climax during August," Le Treut said. "This year temperatures have been over the average already during the spring. The hottest days are still ahead of us." Another reason for the relatively low number of deaths this year is the warning system introduced by health authorities, especially in France. Julio Godoy, Global Warming, Not Just Heat Wave, Inter Press Service, 7-21-06
The journal Nature said in 2004 that “severe heat waves are now four times as likely to occur because of increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.”
A roundup of news coverage from this week’s heat wave in the U.S. and Europe gives a sense of what we can expect in the future:
Nevada: “Reno set a record for heat Sunday, breaking an 81-year-old record, according to the National Weather Service.”
Czech Republic: “The temperature in Prague climbed up to 34.3 degrees centigrade today and beat the 141 year old record of the day by 0.6 degrees.”
South Dakota: “Saturday’s statewide high temperature that unofficially tied a South Dakota record set 70 years earlier is likely to stand, a National Weather Service employee says.”
Britain: “Britain sweltered on the hottest July day for nearly a century as the current heatwave reached its peak.”
California: “Indio (122 degrees), Palm Springs (118), Riverside (108), Sun City-Perris (108), San Bernardino (107), Temecula (106) and Moreno Valley (104) all set record highs Saturday, according to the National Weather Service and records kept by The Press-Enterprise.”
Arkansas: “Another scorcher today after record temperatures were set in some Arkansas cities yesterday. Monticello reached 109 degrees Wednesday and in Little Rock a record of 104 degrees for the date was set.”
New Hampshire: “It reached 95 degrees in Manchester. That beats the previous high for the date of 93 degrees. The old record was set in 1968.”
New York and Connecticut: “Dangerous heat settled over the Central Plains and Northeast for another day Tuesday, producing record high temperatures in New York and Connecticut, said Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman for the National Weather Service.”
North Dakota: “In Bismarck, the temperature broke a record and Dickinson tied a record.”
Kansas: “…a day that saw a record high temperature of 109 for Wichita, topping by 2 degrees the mark set during the legendary heat wave of 1980.”
Germany: “Germany’s national meteorological service said July was on the way to being the hottest since records began
An Inconvenient Truth and An Intolerable Summer, Think Progress, 7-20-06
The political establishment is not providing leadership. The news media is not providing leadership.
Want to participate in the effort to mitigate the impact of global warming? Download "Ten Things You Can Do"
There is a powerful magic in personal commitment.
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Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and http://www.wordsofpower.net. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.wordsofpower.net
Geopolitics, Global Warming, Energy Security, Environmental Security, Alternate Energy, Sustainability, Renewable Resources, Climate Change, Weather, Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth