Extreme Temperature Diary- Saturday July 29th, 2023/Main Topic: Another Call for Joe Biden to Declare Climate Emergency

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: Another Call for Joe Biden to Declare Climate Emergency

Dear Diary. This is not the first time that various people and organizations have called for President Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency so that we can be on a World War II type footing to combat climate change. However, in light of this summer’s global record heat and fires, he would have great reason to do so.

Ever since Joe Biden came into office, I have wanted him to declare a climate emergency. We have precious little wiggle room to get to net zero carbon output and get polluting trucks and cars off the road. Peter Kalmus, a renowned climate scientist has been proverbially ringing the bell for this action too. Here is a Guardian article that entails what he and I are calling for:

Joe Biden must declare a climate emergency. And he must do so now | Peter Kalmus | The Guardian

Joe Biden must declare a climate emergency. And he must do so now

Peter Kalmus

Biden had the last opportunity of any president to keep the world under 1.5C of heating. Instead he is squandering time we do not have

Published on 7/27/2023

So long as we burn fossil fuels, far, far worse is on the way.’ Photograph: Giota Lotsari/EPA

Opinion Climate crisis

Peter Kalmus

We’ve passed into a ferocious new phase of global heating with much worse to come. Biden must declare a climate emergency.

I’m terrified by what’s being done to our planet. I’m also fighting to stop it. You, too, should be afraid while also taking the strongest action you can take. There has never been a summer like this in recorded history: shocking ocean heat, deadly land heat, unprecedented fires and smoke, sea ice melting faster than we’ve ever seen or thought possible. I’ve dreaded this depth of Earth breakdown for almost two decades, and, like many of my colleagues, I’ve been trying to warn youAs hard as I could. Now it’s here.

And mark my words: it’s all still just getting started. So long as we burn fossil fuels, far, far worse is on the way; and I take zero satisfaction in knowing that this will be proven right, too, with a certainty as non-negotiable and merciless as the physics behind fossil-fueled global heating. Instead, I only feel fury at those in power, and bottomless grief for all that I love. We are losing Earth on our watch. The Amazon rainforest may already be past its tipping pointCoral reefs as we know them will be gone from our planet by mid-century, and possibly much earlier given this surge in sea-surface temperatures. These are cosmic losses. And as a father, I grieve for my children.

Fossil fuels are causing this damage. Therefore, the only way out of this heat nightmare is to end them. No amount of tree planting, recycling, carbon offsetting, or wishful carbon-capture thinking will ever change this. The longer we allow the fossil fuel industry to exist, the more irreversible damage to Earth the people who profit from it will continue to knowingly cause. We are careening toward fossil-fueled heatwaves that will kill over a million people in single events. And it will not plateau there: more fossil fuels, more heat, more death. The only way out is to end fossil fuels.

Biden’s refusal to declare a climate emergency and his eagerness to push new pipelines and new drilling – at an even faster pace than Trump – goes against science, goes against common sense, goes against life on Earth. In the world of politics-as-usual, with its short-term goals and calculus of “safer to follow than to lead”, I suppose there are reasons and rationalizations for this planet-destroying choice. But speaking as a scientist, it seems ignorant and short-sighted. It’s certainly a form of climate denial. And I have no doubt that fossil fuel executives and lobbyists – and those who chose to stand with them – will, in the future, be considered criminals.

Because the stakes could not be greater. Every speck of fossil fuel sold and burnt combusts into carbon dioxide, forcing the planet to heat. Carbon dioxide resides in the atmosphere for a very long time, making the excess heat and other climate impacts basically irreversible on human-relevant timescales. Every bit of extra heat makes climate disasters more frequent, widespread and intense.

Each minute the fossil fuel industry exists, each drilling permit, airplane flight, gallon of gas, fossil fuel adlobbyist’s email, takes us further into irreversible heat catastrophe, socially and physically. These floods and fires and heatwaves and crop failures will keep pushing harder against the systems of our society – insurance, real estate, infrastructure, food, water, energy, geopolitics, everything – until at some point, inevitably, the systems will break. Nowhere is safe.

Using executive orders and federal agency rules, and without needing to involve this failure of a Congress, Biden could end new drilling leases on federal lands and waters, block new pipelines and effectively ban fracking. He could unleash a historic education program to counter fossil fuel industry disinformation, using the bully pulpit to build awareness and support. He could prohibit government financing of overseas fossil fuel infrastructure, end energy department fossil-fuel financing programs, ban new fossil-fuel vehicle sales by 2030, prosecute violations by fossil fuel polluters, commit to veto laws granting immunity to such criminals, and more.

Declaring a climate emergency would unleash additional powers such as banning oil exports and further accelerating renewable energy buildout on a scale not seen since the mobilization for the second world war. It would send an unmistakable signal to investors still living in the past, to universities that have been shamefully slow to divest, to media outlets that have failed to connect the dots, to all the dangerously lagging institutions of our society. And it would be a desperately needed win for climate activists.

Biden had the last opportunity of any president to keep the world under 1.5C of heating. Tragically, this opportunity has now almost certainly been squandered. However, Biden could still choose to pivot and prevent, instead of cause, even greater damage. But will he choose to do so? Or will he continue to champion oil executives and their pipelines?

The planet is desperate for visionary leadership. The planet is desperate for policy that creates an equitable transition away from fossil fuels, and into climate emergency mode as a society.

I have not given up, and I never will. I owe that to my children, to all the good people who don’t deserve this, and to all the life on this gift of a planet. No matter how much we’ve lost, it will never be too late to fight. But the hour is late. It is time to set aside differences and fight together, as creatively and courageously as we can, to save all we still can. Soon, all but the greatest fools among us will realize that nothing was more important.

  • Peter Kalmus is a climate scientist and author of Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution


More on this subject:

Here are some other “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks, as well as any extreme precipitation reports:

Here is more climate and news from Saturday:

(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.)

Today’s News on Sustainable and Traditional Energy from Fossil Fuel:

More on the Environment:

More from the Weather Department:

More on other science and the beauty of Earth and this universe:

If you like these posts and my work on record temperature ratios, 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”

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