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: After Ian It’s Time for Biden to Declare a Climate Emergency
Dear Dairy. Yes, you’ve heard this tune before. Don’t get me wrong, President Biden and Congress have done more for climate change mitigation than any of his predecessors, mainly because of the Inflation Reduction Act, but given the scope of the problem, that’s not enough. In the wake of Ian, we should strike while the iron is hot (pun intended):
Many climate activists, including yours truly, have longed for Biden to declare a climate emergency so that this nation and the world can do everything humanly possible to avert a true catastrophe for humanity going through the rest of the time our species is on the planet. So, what exactly would declaring an emergency entail and why would doing so be better than just standing pat with accomplishments that have been made during 2022?
I had the pleasure of meeting and saying hello to Dr Mustafa Santiago Ali back in the spring of 2019 at Al Gore’s Climate Reality Training Conference in Atlanta, giving him a copy of my kids climate book, World of Thermo…Thermometer Rising. Dr. Ali remains a strong advocate for climate mitigation with his base of operations being in New York City. Here are his thoughts on what Biden should do from The Guardian.
America’s hardest-hit communities need Biden to declare a climate emergency
Wildfires, floods, heatwaves, hurricanes and drought are not waiting for politicians to act – the president must step in
Wed 28 Sep 2022
Millions of people across the United States have witnessed, often tragically, how the climate crisis is here and levying steep costs on communities. Black, Indigenous, and other frontline communities, including those in my home state of West Virginia, are experiencing these impacts – measured in lives lost, homes destroyed, and livelihoods upended – first and worst.
Hurricane Fiona, which has washed away mothers and fathers from their children and left nearly all of Puerto Rico without power, and the remnants of Typhoon Merbok, which destroyed homes and inundated western Alaska with historic levels of water, underscored this reality more than a week ago. And Hurricane Ian, which is about to push into Tampa, Florida, will underscore it again as it leaves entire communities in Florida and the Southeast inundated with water and likely without power and access to essential services.
We need to help these communities and others rebuild stronger and more resilient to climate-fueled storms. And to do so, our leaders in Washington must build upon the investments made through the Inflation Reduction Act and the bipartisan infrastructure law to reduce carbon emissions over the long term and address the real, immediate, and devastating impacts of the climate crisis.
By declaring a national climate emergency, President Biden could unlock additional authorities to address climate impacts
President Biden should step into the breach and declare a climate emergency.
Mother Nature is not waiting for the president or Congress to declare a climate emergency. She’s showing us in real-time here in the United States — with wildfires, floods, heatwaves, hurricanes, and drought.
Long before the recent hurricanes and storms hit Alaska, Puerto Rico, and soon Florida, this summer’s historic heatwaves and strings of record-breaking temperatures underscored the need to act.
UN researchers estimated that 1,300 people die in the United States every year due to extreme heat. This assessment, based on data from 2006 through 2010 is stunning – and the conditions that led to these figures have only worsened since then. In one of the most extreme examples, the 2021 heatwave in the Pacific Northwest, which shattered heat records for the region, killed more than 600 people than would have normally died. The latest UN climate assessment predicts that these numbers will continue to grow each summer until we take action.
The impacts of these climate-fueled heatwaves invariably and tragically fall first and worst upon Black and other frontline communities. People of color disproportionately die prematurely from heat-related causes. Heatwaves also exacerbate the heath challenges disproportionately facing communities of color, which suffer high rates of heart disease and diabetes. Extreme heat also poses a deadly risk to the lives and health of our babies and pregnant mothers of color who are disproportionately impacted by pollution and climate impacts.
The Guardian view on Biden’s green deal: leadership after Trump’s denialismRead more
Heatwaves also disproportionately affect urban areas, where tree cover and green space that can provide relief on the hottest days are hardest to find in Black neighborhoods due to decades of redlining and underinvestment.
These tragedies may go unnoticed in the air conditioned, marble hallways of Washington, DC, but they highlight the broader environmental justice crisis that is intertwined with the ongoing climate emergency. These deaths are especially painful for communities across the United States because they are entirely preventable.
By declaring a national climate emergency, President Biden could unlock additional authorities to address these and other climate impacts. This declaration also would set the tone heading into the COP27 gathering in Egypt, which will be focused on the global climate crisis.
An emergency declaration also could unlock funding to hasten the transition to a clean economy and help communities and wildlife populations cope with the changing climate. Under an emergency order, Fema and other agencies could accelerate investment in climate-resilience and preparation for climate-fueled disasters like we witnessed and thousands endured throughout Appalachia this summer.
Could the president achieve these ends through normal rule-making processes? Potentially, but we know industry-funded litigation would drag the process out for years, delaying the sweeping, necessary changes our communities and wildlife so desperately need today. And could Congress also step into the breach? They should, but we cannot afford to wait for congressional gridlock to break yet again.
My grandmother used to say if you know better, do better. The president gets it when it comes to the threat climate change poses to Black people and other frontline communities. He now needs to show Congress, the states, and the world what doing better looks like in practice.
Our lives depend on it.
- Mustafa Santiago Ali is executive vice-president for the National Wildlife Federation
Here are some “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks:
Here is some September 2022 climatology:
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. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)
(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.)
Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”