Climate Crisis Intensifies Dramatically in 2021


In 2007 an organisation chose its name based on the scientific consensus that 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was the uppermost level to avoid a climate tipping point. We are currently just short of 420pp of carbon and the last seven years have been the hottest on record. 2021 is breaking more records of extreme weather events and the rate of climate change is occurring faster than scientists have predicted. We have clearly passed the tipping point and the impacts are increasingly obvious.

Here is an attempt at an overview, using reputable links (click on them for more detail), of what we are experiencing in 2021 as we move well beyond the tipping point towards a climate armageddon:

RATE OF CHANGE

HOTTEST TEMPERATURES

GLOBAL FIRES

Currently the global death rate for COVID 19 is 530 deaths for every 1,000,000 people. It is predicted that in the next 70 or so years the deaths from increased heat alone (excluding storms and floods etc) will be 850 deaths for every 1,000,000. In a generation we will have more deaths from climate change than infectious diseases. 

FRUSTRATION!

All global citizens should be aware of the growing climate crisis that is already impacting on us all and want to take urgent action. This is not evident where I live. Our farmers protested against the expectation that they should reduce their emissions by driving into town in their massive tractors and utes. The Southland District Council has no climate policy and are enthusiastically supporting the expansion of a coal mine to fuel a Canterbury Dairy factory.

We all live on the same fragile planet but appear to live in parallel universes. Some of us wish to provide a safe climate for future generations and others stubbornly want to maintain fossil fuelled, methane emitting business as usual. Jeanette Fitzsimons analogy comes to mind:

New Zealand may be small as regards our contribution to global emissions but per capita we are the six worst out of almost 200 countries. If we are to pull our weight as global citizens we need to do much more than we are. Other countries are already questioning our lack of substantial action up to now and Climate Tracker assesses our targets as "insufficient".

The recommendations of the Climate Commission are being challenged in court by 300 climate concerned lawyers, backed by scientists. They claim that the Commission applied some creative accounting by inappropriately mixing gross and net emissions that allowed us to take a less urgent path. 

As Jeanette described, we are currently arguing whether to change down a gear (arguing about Utes and EVs and how we can keep our cows), and delaying the urgent action we need. While many farmers are demanding that they should be able to continue as they are, this is actually highly unlikely as the impacts of climate change are already disrupting their lives. 

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