Wednesday January 1st… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉
Main Topic: Using Diary Entry From The Year 2030 As A Dire Warning For This Decade
Dear Diary. Happy New Year and Decade everyone! Over the last week I’ve seen numerous articles of lists for the most significant weather and climate events of the 2010s from various reputable sources. To mark today, which is very special and should be celebrated with joy and hope but with resolutions for the future, I’m going to pretend that I can use a time machine to go ten years ahead, grabbing an Extreme Temperature Diary entry from January 1st 2030. What will be is not set in stone, so this entry is one from many possible futures, but in which everything went wrong in association with mitigating climate change (and also assumes that I will be around in ten years to make this entry). Let’s use this entry as a warning for this crucial decade for humanity’s sake. So, let’s peer into our crystal ball to see what I’ve written:
Dear Diary. As I begin writing during the start of the fourth decade of the 21st century I have to just shake my head, being very disappointed with my fellow man. There was much hope long ago at the start of the 2020s due to the rise of our Swedish heroin, Greta Thunberg. Climate strikes for the future continued to galvanize youth in 2020, but not enough to prevent Trump from being reelected in the U.S. An apparent great economy lulled many voters into selecting the status quo as President despite impeachment. Of course the Senate acquitted Trump during the spring of that year. Trump’s pro fossil fuel policies would continue through 2024.
It didn’t hurt Trump’s election prospects that despite a broiling summer across the central and southern states there were no major U.S. hurricane landfalls in 2020. Oh, but then came the hurricane seasons of 2021 and 2022. In 2021 category 5 Hurricane Claudette smashed into Miami and then moved north, paralleling most of Florida’s east coast as had been feared from Hurricane Dorian a couple of years earlier in 2019. This time around unlike with Dorian a costly trillion dollar carbon fueled storm came to pass, displacing thousands of South Florida residents for years, with significant damage occurring as far north as the Carolinas as Claudette maintained major hurricane strength, recurving again out to sea, then making another landfall near Charleston.
Then came category four Hurricane Alex in 2022. This early season July storm smashed directly unto New Orleans then sat in southeast Louisiana for days producing in some instances over 50 inches of rain before all was said and done. Essentially Alex acted like Harvey from 2017. Above average temperature Gulf of Mexico waters had fueled Alex allowing the thing to reach category four status in early July. An associated strong heat ridge aloft stalled Alex, holding the hurricane in place near New Orleans until the storm wound down to a depression. What damage wind and storm surge did not do breaks in levees did, flooding New Orleans to the point that it was decided not to rebuild most of the city years later. America lost its first major coastal city to a carbon fueled hurricane that made Katrina look like proverbial child’s play by comparison. America would not recover from Alex and Claudette. These systems would overwhelm the FEMA and taxpayer bank.
I was so disappointed at the continued bickering this last decade. After the U.S. officially pulled out of the Paris Accords in January 2021 the European Union and China pulled out in later years over arguments concerning carbon budgets, the whole treaty falling apart despite pleading from Miss Thunberg. It didn’t help that oil lobbyists continued to water down agreements all throughout the mid 2020s.
Populist governments empowered by Trump, Putin and Bolsonaro kept leading the way towards environmental ruin. Self serving interests from Brazil City to Bombay continued to rule the day during most of the 2020s while globalism faded into history.
The Amazon became a net heat emitter instead of a carbon sync as fires and clearing for crops diminished the areal coverage of the rainforest.
So where did the anger of young climate activists turn to? Why the headquarters of Shell, Exxon, and British Petroleum. These were mainly peaceful, but fearful armed guards did shoot teargas into some crowds. These incidents reminded me of what happened during Vietnam War protests from the 1960s long ago.
My climate scientist friend Dr. Michael Mann, among others, gave up cajoling people and governments into action after Trump was reelected noting that not enough would change during the 2020s in order to avoid catastrophic climate change later in the 21st century and beyond. Now scientists are just measuring how much water is coming into the Titanic trying to determine when the proverbial boat will sink. The carbon budget hill was just to steep to for humanity to climb despite great strides with renewables and individual country commitments.
As of this writing, Dear Diary, the world sits at 440 parts per million of CO2 concentrations, having not prevented rates decreasing from 2.5 ppm increases per year since the dawn of the 21st century. The Earth’s fever sits at +1.4°C above preindustrial conditions as of December 2029, just one tick shy of the +1.5°C lower limit recommended by the Paris Accords. Fires, floods, heat waves, and hurricanes have made people wake up and act during this tumultuous decade, but not enough to prevent the Earth’s fever from rising to a projected by ever more sophisticated models to +3.2°C above preindustrial conditions by 2100. It would be near +4.5°C if it weren’t for green energy inroads, which we can be thankful for.
So, humanity has consigned itself to a future as I write this note in 2030 in which children are less likely to have a bright future with each subsequent generation. Life will get harder as famine wipes out food supplies. Good jobs will remain from new ventures trying to hold back rising seas from slowly retreating coastal cities and new green energy infrastructure, but social unrest will put a strain on all. Financial institutions have been hit hard this decade from disasters, mostly in the insurance sector. Then there is the wildcard of disease moving north from an expanding tropical climate. Will, there be enough able bodied people to meet future needs? I wonder.
Due to the failures of this bad decade many of my climate scientists friends think that humanity will become extinct sometime in the late 22nd or early 23rd century. That’s an awful prospect for people now living to have in the back of their minds and the only great climate debate left. Can we develop a colony on Mars in time to become a two planet species, or should we put all of our remaining efforts into sucking carbon out of the atmosphere before society collapses? We need to decide what to do in a hurry during the 2030s.
I’m not depressed because of all this, Dear Diary, but I think I have failed along with others to ring the bell hard enough to convince enough of the general public to act and demand change ever since dealing with the climate crisis starting in the late 1980s. Perhaps it was not really our fault that people were very shortsighted to start out the 2020s, so elective change was not forthcoming. Human nature may very well be our own asteroid that destroys us like the dinosaurs. It’s not Greta’s and other’s fault for not screaming hard enough. Greta is now an adult in her mid 20s continuing to fight for change and social justice, taking on the mantle of Martin Luther King. I won’t live too much longer but Greta will, probably surviving to see what sea rise can do to civilization in the 2050s and beyond.
So, to start out this new decade in 2030, Dear Diary, I will watch and report as I have always done, hoping not to become a bitter, old man, although some may describe me as that now. I’ll comfort those I love and wish well those who have disagreed with my stances in the past. And then I’ll just fade away along with most of the human populace on this planet. God speed.
Well, jumping back to what is a festive start to the decade, this is quite the dystopian essay to begin the Extreme Temperature Diary for 2020. I hope that it will make a few people think about what’s necessary for humanity to get on track during these ten short, very crucial years ahead of us. If I’m not dead and have my writing faculties, I don’t want to look back on this essay as coming mostly true in 2030. Let’s all work to make what I could write about in 2030 a much rosier read.
Here is more climate and weather news from Wednesday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article.)
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Guy Walton- “The Climate Guy”