Everyone is fixated on Hurricane Florence. News networks have sent reporters down to the Carolinas to ride out the storm. And they're reporting -- windblown and soaked to the skin -- every fifteen minutes. But, Michael Harris writes, they're missing the point:
It comes down to this: Warmer air holds more moisture, intensifying extreme weather events like hurricanes.
Higher sea levels from melting ice caps raise the height of storm surges.
Hotter temperatures draw moisture from vegetation, turning forests and brush into tinder. That is partially why California has been fighting wildfires this year that cover nearly two million acres in the state.
And with the thawing of the permafrost in parts of Alaska, a potentially vast amount of greenhouse gases could be released if the process of warming continues.
This kind of weather doesn't happen by accident:
Despite all the global conferences, despite the policies of government, despite a token tip of the hat to alternate energy sources like wind and solar, despite all the hype surrounding electric cars, greenhouse gas emissions are rising. According to the Global Carbon Project, after three relatively flat years, there was a two per cent rise in emission rates in 2017.
Worse, emissions are growing at exactly the point at which radical cuts are needed to escape a 2 C rise in temperature that would plunge the planet into chaos, or even its death throes. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that a 70 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions must be made by 2050 to break the earth’s rising fever.
The planet is experiencing unprecedented droughts, floods, hurricanes and wildfires scientists believe are linked to global warming.
And Earth is heading for a tipping point. We have already passed the dreaded threshold of 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. MIT professor Kerry Emanuel, who is a prominent hurricane expert, thinks that rainfall could go up by a factor of ten in new superstorms.
Justin Trudeau bought a pipeline, Doug Ford got rid of the Green Energy Program, and Donald Trump thinks global warming is a hoax. It's monumental stupidity.