Column by Barbara Hirsch
The climate is changing, NO ONE COULD DENY THIS. CO2 levels in the air and oceans, which for millennia were locked under the planet’s surface, are the highest ever. And as long as coal, oil and gas are priced as they are, their extraction subsidized by and controlling our governments (and being well supported by our way of life) these changes will keep having tragic consequences for all creatures.
Here are a few of the many recent weather records broken and extreme weather events:
The first decade of this millennium was the warmest on record, 2010 tied with 2005 as the warmest year.
Australia – 2010 was close to the wettest year on record and 2011 began with flooding of an area the size of France and Germany combined.
Brazil – Heavy rainfall in the southeast caused the deadliest natural disaster in the country’s history. Last year, northern Brazil suffered one if its worst droughts.
Heavy monsoonal rains in eastern Sri Lanka the first two weeks of 2010 were the heaviest on record, causing widespread flooding across the island nation.
Pakistan recorded its warmest temperature (over 128F in May). In the summer, 20% of the country was submerged by heavy rains.
Last winter was Canada’s driest and warmest on record.
In the U.S., summers were the hottest on record in 11 states, snowfall records were broken in D.C. Philadelphia and Atlantic City and Minneapolis, massive flooding occurred in several southern states, and most of us, regardless of our politics, felt…something different.
Perhaps we will reach a tipping point….before the planet does.