*June was the hottest month ever recorded. At the G20 meeting in Osaka, Japan, U.S. President Donald Trump refused to sign a joint statement by the other 19 members on combating Man-made global heating. In the meantime, baking, starving and flooding are accelerating globally with vengeance.
Last week, France recorded its all-time hottest temperature, 114.6F (45.9C). Scientists reported that the recent European heatwave was at least five times more likely and 7.2F (4C) hotter due to global heating from burning planet-destroying fossil fuels.
Meanwhile, Alaska has been baking for months. The Bering and Chukchi sea ice collapsed and melted in late winter unleashing fierce oceanic heat, disrupting the polar jet stream. Ocean temperatures have been 10 to 20 degrees (5.5-11C) above normal. Incidentally, this year was the hottest March ever recorded in Alaska.
Iconic tufted puffins of the Bering Sea and elsewhere along Alaskan and British Columbian coastlines “fly” under water for their prey. These beauties consume krill and small fish, up to 50 percent of their body weight daily. No ice. No krill. No small fish. Thousands of Alaskan puffins have starved to death.
In addition, missing sea ice is disastrous for amphipod populations that feed on krill, which, in turn, feed Gray whales. So far this year, 171 emaciated Gray carcasses are strewn along western North American shorelines. No food. No whales.
Allow me to remind you that whales are renowned oxygen farmers. Burning global heating fossil fuels has caused atmospheric oxygen to dramatically decline for more than three decades. So why then is it politically acceptable for Japan’s subsidized whaling fleet to annihilate with impunity our intelligent, sentient, sapient brethren? Ecocide!
Every day during June, the thermometer was above normal across the parched Last Frontier. On Independence Day, the mercury in Anchorage spiked to a record-breaking 90F (32C). Across the state more than 120 firestorms have charred 650,000 acres, the amount of forests usually burned in an entire season.
It’s so hot and dry that Alaskan animals are moving north trying to escape the heat and find food, only to discover that it, too, is hot, bone-dry and lacking sustenance.
…unless Man quickly embraces a zero combustion global economy… a doomsday scenario will occur within our lifetime.”
3,000 miles south, global heating has lambasted a 150-mile stretch of northern California coastline. A million mussels baked to death in their shells in the worst mass die off in decades. At low tide, the dark colored shells roasted the mussels’ alive, 100F (37.7C).
The loss of mussels is catastrophic. They are ecosystem engineers. They filter the water of fungi and bacteria, and enable algae and insects an essential habitat to cling onto. Moreover, mussels feed fish. Those fish feed larger fish including sharks. No mussels. No fish.
We are witnessing accelerating climate-driven ecological breakdowns with massive deleterious planetary consequences.
It is disgraceful that at the latest climate talks in Bonn, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Russia and Kuwait tried to “erase the science” on keeping the world below the 1.5C target while profiteering on the roasting and ransacking of Earth.
From scorched to submerged: On July 2, 1.1 million Japanese were evacuated from Japan’s southern island, Kyushu. More than three feet of rainfall dumped across that island suffocating thousands of animals and millions of insects. It was reminiscent of last July when two million inhabitants were evacuated and 200 people died across western Japan during the worst flooding in decades.
On that same day in July, thousands of Russians failed to receive flash flood warnings from the Hydrometeorological Centre. At least 18 dead, 13 missing, 191 hospitalized and thousands of homes were washed away in the southern Siberian region of Irkutsk from torrential rainfalls exacerbated by mountain snowmelt. Despite these unimaginable deluge conditions, intrepid animal carers saved hundreds of creatures from drowning.
On the one hand, our life support planetary systems are indisputably broiling to death from burning fossil fuels. Yet on the other hand, sneering avarice bankers are funding $2 trillion for more natural gas (LNG) facilities and 202 new port terminals (116 exporters and 86 importers). That LNG investment is on top of another $1.9 trillion for developing more fossil fuel reserves since the signing of the Paris Agreement.
Which planet are the wealthiest 10,000 people intending to inhabit? Because unless Man quickly embraces a zero combustion global economy, switching from measuring rapacious GDP growth to “well-being of citizens,” a doomsday scenario endorsed by a retired Australian admiral will occur within our lifetime.
City of the Angels to the rescue: Los Angeles Department of Power and Water has consummated the largest and most inexpensive solar and battery storage project in the world, 200MV. It will generate and power seven percent of the megalopolis’s electricity for 1.9¢ per kilowatt-hour for solar and 1.3¢ from batteries. That’s half the estimated costs of power from a new subsidized natural gas plant.
It is now fiscally feasible to prevent Earth from becoming uninhabitable. We have the affordable technologies. We have the money. We have the global work force. The world’s leaders, $5.2 trillion annual fossil fuel subsidies, legions of repugnant bankers and a handful of planet-killing resource oligarchs are the bottleneck. It’s long overdue to depose every last one of them – for the children and our other brethren, too, the animals!
Goodnight fossil fuels.
Dr Reese Halter is an award-winning broadcaster, distinguished conservation biologist and author.