Disastrous Climate Change Exposed In One GIF

The media is missing something very important as the general election draws closer and both Democrats and Republicans start freaking out that it'll be the end of the world if the other party gets into the White House. The media is completely ignoring the fact that unless we do something right now to fundamentally change what fuels our economy, it actually will be the end of the world as know it.

For the fourth time this year, NASA announced that last month was the warmest such month on record, with sea and land temperatures at 1.11 degrees Celsius warmer in 2016 than the average April temperature between 1951 and 1980. It was also the seventh month in a row to be at least 1 degree warmer than the monthly average from 1951 to 1980.

In other words, the planet is getting warmer and warmer, and we're setting more and more planetary records with every passing month.

And now we're starting to see the front end of runaway climate change and getting a glimpse at the disasters that lay ahead unless we immediately stop burning fossil fuels.

Just last week, research published in "Environmental Research Letters" showed that five uninhabited Pacific Islands, part of the Solomon Islands off the coast of Australia, are now completely under water They're gone!. On six other islands there, large swaths of land have washed into the sea, destroying entire villages and forcing people on two of the islands to relocate.

On the other side of the planet in Alberta Canada on Monday, 8000 workers were evacuated from oil camps near Fort McMurray, where wildfires have already forced more than 80,000 people to flee. That fire has already destroyed more than 2000 structures, and Fort McMurray still hasn't been repopulated because the air quality there is so bad that it registers a 38 on a scale that normally only runs from 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst. That wildfire has been fueled by unusually dry and hot air that has sat over the region because of atmospheric blocking patterns that are connected to the rapid retreat of Arctic sea ice over the last few decades.

And that's just what we've seen in terms of climate in the last week, just for starters.

But what's really alarming, why each and every report about monthly and yearly climate records is so important, is perfectly encapsulated in this graphic put together by climate scientist Ed Hawkins. In the graphic, each year is represented by 12 monthly data points forming one rotation around, and you can see that from the 1850s until the 1910s, the circles stayed basically the same size with just a little variation. In the 1920s, the circles start slowly growing bigger and bigger, until the 1980s when the climate clearly starts to "runaway".

Then, in the last two decades, we see a clear "amplification" as the global temperatures start magnifying year after year, the circles growing larger and larger without retreat. That amplification is a terrifying thing to see visualized, because it's what a "tipping point" looks like, it's a graphical representation of real, documented, runaway climate change.

It's a concise way to show runaway climate change, but even at that, it sanitizes the reality.

Runaway climate change doesn't really look like a hockey stick or a spiral that gets bigger and bigger.

Runaway climate change looks like the 4.8 million Syrian refugees and 6.5 million people displaced within Syria who are desperate to survive and desperate for stability.

Reaching the tipping point means a constant state of global instability and never-ending resource wars, it means that 1.3 BILLION people will be put at risk by 2050, according to the World Bank.

Reaching the tipping point means increased violence as climate refugees desperately flee to places where they might be able to survive, and countries struggle to "keep their borders secure".

Runaway climate change looks like dead oceans deprived of oxygen, it means deserted coastal communities, out of work fishermen, and barren, bleached coral reefs.

Runaway climate change looks like deserted villages, fields of crops that won't grow, and droughts that cause millions to go hungry, like we're already seeing in Zimbabwe, and in India.

Reaching the tipping point means superstorms like Sandy, Katrina, and Jonas, will become more frequent as Greenland's ice melt dumps more water into the Atlantic Ocean, the "Great Conveyor Belt" shuts down, and the Atlantic Ocean gets warmer and warmer.

The science behind climate change can sometimes be described neatly in graphs like Michael Mann's hockey stick and Ed Hawkins' spiral.

But the reality of runaway climate change means horrible suffering and desperation for billions of people, at the cost of hundreds of trillions of dollars.

The reality is that we're already seeing the victims of climate change, we see them in the death tolls in Syria and Northern Africa, we see them starving in India and drowning in the Pacific Islands, we see them evacuating their homes in Alberta, tilling drought-stricken fields in California, and rebuilding Atlantic City and New Orleans.

There's no time to wait and debate what we need to do.

We're already seeing the climate tip.

It's time for our politicians and business leaders to make tackling climate change their biggest priority: we need to put a tax on carbon, and we need to fundamentally transform our global economy to be 100% fossil-free. Now.


crestview2 6 years 44 weeks ago

... AND, EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, if we do not change what fuels our bodies, none of the CO2 reduction from more efficient cars, industries, etc will be even close to sufficient.

Humans must move quickly to whole foods, plant-based (WFPB) nutrition worldwide in order to have any chance to stem the tide of climate change in time. The daily climate impact of consumption of meat and dairy products (methane/nitrous oxides) is "two to three times greater" than the daily climate impact of all the CO2 from all the tailpipes of the world.

Moving quickly to WFPB nutrition worldwide will have positive side effects well beyond mitigating climate change: 1) vastly improving human health outcomes; 2) providing plant-based food for the hungry of the world; and 3) promoting animal health and welfare.

A person living a WFPB (Vegan) lifestyle uses 1/6th of an acre for nutrition;

A person living a Vegetarian lifestyle uses 1/2 of an acre for nutrition;

A person living a meat and dairy based lifestyle uses 3 acres for nutrition (18 times greater!)

Please see the documentary "Cowspiracy" for a true awakening: (www.cowspiracy.com for the trailer.)

Yours in health ...

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 6 years 44 weeks ago

I've said many times that we need to reduce the population growth, because our runaway growth is HALF the environmental problem. Well, it looks like Mother Nature is going to implement Her own population reduction strategies; and we humans will, involuntarily, do the same.

We knew this was coming...we just refused to see it.

Ocean Pete's picture
Ocean Pete 6 years 44 weeks ago

As a paleoclimatologist, retired from the petroleum industry, and long time live aboard, two points: One; climate changes as a "punctuated equlibrium" system whereby we have very sudden changes such as ten-cm S.L. rises per decade, also referred to as RCCs or rapid climate changes; separated by long periods of equilibrium as during past five thousand years.

Two; the fossil fuel industry only finds and produces the stuff "our dreams are made of" (Bogart in Malteese Falcon) but it is we (i.e. you and I) the consumers who create the problem by burning those hydrocarbons. We, in the U.S. who have burned about 40% of all fossil fuels discovered on Earth to date could very easily trim our consumption overnight to half their current value... try it, you'll like it, and possibly delay the sixth extinction and demise of civilisation. (Google "carbon Footprint")

Mankind's destiny is to drown in his own feces. (misquote from Chief Seattle)

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 44 weeks ago

The media is ignoring climate change because the primary function of our "news" media is to disseminate conservative propaganda instead of for example, science that could save our planet. Conservative propaganda is often anti science in order to keep the god and gun voters misinformed and confused to the extent they continue to vote against their own best interests and instead in favor of the interests of billionaires like Don Trump.

I'll offer a solution to this problem. Designate a non profit "we the people" network to be totally dedicated to only social, economic, and political truth. It should be entirely government funded and bipartisan. All programming must deal with such things as the workings of our government, things like spot lighting congressional voting records, cutting edge science as it relates to health and well being of people and the planet, so no big pharma ads, no big oil ads, etc.

With a "we the people" network, events like senate republicans filibustering legislation regarding ending tax breaks for companies shipping jobs overseas, would become public knowledge. Things like the entire republican house of representatives in denial of climate change, would be made public and discussed openly. We would no longer be stuck with one sided conservative propaganda shows such as Meet the Press. There would be an option for unbiased info....just the plain not for profit truth.

The network would be the whole truth and nothing but the truth....an end to Fox News!

Queenbeethatsme's picture
Queenbeethatsme 6 years 44 weeks ago

Sadly, it is already too late Thom. We were at the "tipping point in 1973 and we are only now experiencing the devastation from the 1970s. Even if all emissions stopped today, we could NEVER survive the fallout from our runaway use of fossil fuels in the1990s and the 21st Century.

At this time, we cannot unring the bell and have no idea how to stuff that toothpaste back in the tube.

What does the crisis look like closer to home? Wild fires, drought, erratic weather that lessens the amount of crops..potentially the Exodus of over 43 milion Californians as they are relocated and the resultant fallout as those who live in each state have to share dwindling resources with outsiders.

Ultimately, it looks like mayhem and chaos with insurance companies shirking on payouts and jacking up prices.. Maybe martial law and lots of imminent domain ..but if some scientists are correct..it looks like the end of most species including a viable gene pool for mankind by 2040.

Queenbeethatsme's picture
Queenbeethatsme 6 years 44 weeks ago

If you are not new to this issue then you already know the time for a grass roots movement was in the 1960s. We were not even aware of our effect on the planet until the late 80s. If we are already in the methane clathrate positive feedback loop, then this is unstoppable and we are already too late.

Imagine that.

Queenbeethatsme's picture
Queenbeethatsme 6 years 44 weeks ago

First, I already eat vegan. Second, everyone has their pet projects so FAIL to see a bigger picture.

Methane is already being released from the ocean and we are already in runaway global warming.

Most reputable scientists have warned that once global warming is in a positive feedback loop, there is NOTHING humans can do except die like everything else.

Humans have so much hubris that we cannot imagine a story not only without a happy ending but without us.

Most of us are in such a state of denial that all we can do is plug along touting our own personal cause.. Eat vegan..hard to grow veggies without water.. Hang on..the IPCC has stated that one of the key problems (,world wide..not just in Africa and Asia) will be lots of drought and other weather anomalies making it impossible to optimally grow food.

We are like people on the Titanic arguing over room decorations or the right attire for drowning as the ship goes down.

The world is NOT going to switch over to veganism. Nice thought but not a very pragmatic one. The world will END fo most of us before that happens... As a matter of fact, we don't plan on finishing fossil fuel use either... Denial is a bear...

Food doesn't grow well without water and sunlight or with cold temperatures. Where I am, so far this Spring we have had less than a week of sunny weather and less than 5 days of temps above 65 and I am in the Midwest.

Queenbeethatsme's picture
Queenbeethatsme 6 years 44 weeks ago

"Mankind's destiny is to drown in his own feces" while blithely declaring it is :

A. Chocolate
B. Feces are full of nutrition
C. only temporary and sooner or later he will be able to tread feces or magically, a scientist will conveniently create a feces breathing apparatus.

D. Not our real problem.. We should reduce our population or go vegan or go to Mars or stop consuming so much..NONE of which address the issue that humans think their feces don't stink, and that wishful thinking and a tv remote equals a better outcome.

cccccttttt 6 years 44 weeks ago

US government has a huge black budget.

Miles of tunnels and massive underground facilities have been built..

The elite will survive.

You and your children will have to make other plans.


Kilosqrd's picture
Kilosqrd 6 years 44 weeks ago

Reply to #1

Sorry to disappoint you Crestview but I will eat as much meat as I want. So will my family and friends.

Neither you or anyone else will tell me I can't or shouldn't.

Intermittent Instigator's picture
Intermittent In... 6 years 44 weeks ago

Just checked the weather report.

looking pretty good.. ...mostly sunny, no rain 'til next week.

hope you'all enjoy it (whatever it is, over by there).

Bernie or Bust!!!

(bust referring to busting the corrupt Democratic Party and replacing it with...)

Intermittent Instigator's picture
Intermittent In... 6 years 44 weeks ago

maybe if the "non profit "we the people" network" was tri-(more or less)-partisan...

Joe321's picture
Joe321 6 years 44 weeks ago

Thom, I know this is a favortite subject of yours, but please, you are smarter than this, to think we can turn the ship around on climate change. The ship has already hit the iceberg. All we can do now is slow down the rate of change by a few percentage points, and even that may well be naive! Serious but rarely quoted studies have said "Climate change is largely irreversible".

Let's take it to a larger frame, like you often encouage us to do. I am a liberal. But this is a major flaw in liberal thinking - that we can control our entire environment, if we simply educate and focus our efforts and spend. Not always true. We would need to return to an agrarian lifestyle this afternoon, stop ALL carbon emissions, and still there is no guarantee that climate change would reverse, just hopeful thinking.

We are way beyond where driving a Prius or eating vegan for the masses - wishful thinking at best - will make any difference. At this point the conversation needs to focus on ADAPTING to climate change. Make the electric cars, it's the right thing to do, but few can afford them for now. Eat vegan, but don't force it on others - that's fascist. And let's stop the talk about population controls. The only part of the world with a population problem is India and parts of Africa.

Let's get you back on the radio in Portland !

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