It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here; Let’s Talk Rising Temperatures

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…And taking off all our clothes isn’t exactly going to help (thanks, Nelly!)

The impact of humans on Earth is unparalleled, and with the many developments we’ve made over time, climate change could turn out to be the most devastating consequence of human progress. If temperatures continue to increase, experts forecast catastrophic sea level rises, a surge in hurricanes and cyclones, the spread of lethal disease, drought, wildfires, famine and deadly heatwaves.

Last week, scientists at NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that 2019 was the second-hottest year on record. It was further concluded that the last 10 years were the warmest in modern times — mostly due to the increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

Take Australia, as an example, where there have been an unprecedented number of bushfires that have caused devastation throughout the country since last September. The Bureau of Meteorology recently released a chart which shows how temperatures have soared in Australia over the past century. The country faced the warmest and driest year on record, with very warm years like 2019 now more likely to occur.

But what is the science saying?

Throughout it’s 4.5-billion-year history, the Earth has cycled through periods of cooling and warming, however, it wasn’t until the 1850s that reliable surface temperature records have been available — and it’s been accepted that the planet is, indeed, warming.

Since then, ground temperature has risen by ~1.62F. Most experts agree that greenhouse gases ― which trap heat and prevent it from leaving the Earth’s atmosphere ― are mostly responsible for the temperature spike. However, even with a worldwide emphasis on reduced greenhouse emissions, temperatures continue to climb. According to a recent U.N. report, we are quickly losing the chance to hit the Paris Climate Agreement target of limiting global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees. The world is currently on course for a temperature rise of 3 to 4 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, with potentially disastrous consequences. Reiterating Rep. Hakeem Jeffries’ reference of Notorious B.I.G during the Senate trial of President Donald Trump… “if you don’t know, now you know”!

So, now more than ever, it’s time to act. We need to be thinking of things like regulating carbon markets, focusing on renewables and energy efficiency, and increasing investment into energy transitions, to name a few.

Contrary to popular Craig David belief, if we continue to take our planet for granted, temperatures will not rise and fall.

Lauren Thurin,

Last week, the World Meteorological Organization released a report which found that carbon dioxide levels hit a record high in 2018. The report warns that these levels show no signs of slowing down and are contributing to climate change.

We have 8 years to solve the planet, according to Greta Thunberg who delivered a powerful message at this year’s Davos. Never too young, or late, to make a difference — with a six-year-old in Australia raising AUD $240,000 for animals affected by the wildfires.

Perhaps we all need to resurrect Captain Planet, a TV show that sought to teach us about environmental issues — and inspiring ourselves, and each other, to “take pollution down to zero”.

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