The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary 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: How Other Crises, Such As Afghanistan, Can Slow Climate Mitigation
Dear Diary. The press has always been very fickle. Once a big event occurs anywhere on the planet, usually involving death and destruction, prior attention of an issue gets shoved off headlines. The New York Times, for example, will usually not drop a subject, such as the dire IPCC report, but relegate subsequent articles on the climate crisis to back pages, at least until an event like a deadly wildfire or strong threatening hurricane takes place.
The current crisis with Afghanistan may turn out to be a historical blip if evacuations from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul are successful this week without much loss of life. Worse in my book, the humanitarian crisis in Haiti due to a 7.2 earthquake on the Richter Sale that has killed more than 1,300, combined with flooding from Grace over the next 24 hours, will get that item a lead headline for days, and rightly so.
God forbid, there might be other incidents, such as a mass shooting or terrorism before the end of this year, which might get the press focused away from climate. Economic news, such as high gas prices or general inflation, could really be headwinds against climate legislation via the 3.5 trillion infrastructure bill.
All such items get the public focused on other issues like gun control or more substantially, personal pocket book effects. Collectively, other problems vying for attention do take the public’s attention away from longer term problems like climate. Yes, we as a species aren’t very good at being proactive given what we face on a daily basis to have a good life or even survive.
Current humanitarian issues tug at our heartstrings, whether they involve the climate or not. We do give to charities and volunteer our services for non climate crisis related problems, which I’ll state we should continue to do, but this takes away from mitigation. For example, a family with some extra cash might give that money to a charity instead of using it to install solar panels on their home. I know that when I was able to I would not chew gum and simultaneously run because that action would interfere with my breathing, slowing my pace. Let’s hope that other issues won’t sink our climate and humanity because of potential slowing of climate change mitigation.
One big reason to be optimistic, though, is the fact that youth climate organizations will keep at least some attention focused on climate. Congress, I must admit, is stretched thin on time because of a plethora of items vying for attention with most needing to pass via the sticky filibuster process. That logjam will only get worse if the Bidden Administration looses clout because of Afghanistan or from something else down the road:
In summary, I don’t think that new crises, such as Haiti or Afghanistan, will sink our efforts in climate, just water down and perhaps delay some action. Anytime I don’t hear climate in the news these days because it gets bumped off because of another issue, I do get nervous. You should too.
Here are some “ET” reports from the last couple of days:
Here is more climate and weather news from Monday:
(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. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)
Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid COVID-19 pandemic:
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Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”