A new U.S. government study is predicting tens of thousands of people in the United States will die prematurely each year from heat waves and other extreme weather events like hurricanes and floods unless the world takes urgent steps to address the climate crisis said the United States President Barack Obama’s senior science adviser,\John Holdren, on Monday, April 4, 2016 at the White House in Washington D.C..
Said Holdren: “The report projects that under middle-of-the-road emissions scenarios, we can see from thousands to tens of thousands additional heat-related deaths in the United States each summer. And the numbers are really very striking.”
Man-made global warming is making America sicker, and it’s only going to get worse, according to a new federal government report.
The 332-page report issued Monday by the Obama administration said global warming will make the air dirtier, water more contaminated and food more tainted. It warned of diseases, such as those spread by ticks and mosquitoes, longer allergy seasons, and thousands of heat wave deaths.
Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy said if that’s not enough, climate change affects people’s mental health, too.
“It’s not just about polar bears and melting ice caps. It’s about our families. It’s about our future,” McCarthy said at a White House event unveiling the report.
Climate change affects more people in more ways than anything doctors have seen in the past, said Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. He said the report allows doctors to better quantify “the sheer number of pathways through which climate affects health.”
That includes air pollution worsened from power plants, pollen and even wildfires, he said.
“Not being able to breathe is one of the most frightening experience” for people, Murthy said. “We’re talking about scary moments for parents and children.”
Asthma is already the No. 1 cause of children going to the hospital and “now we’re seeing it worsening because of the heat, the allergens,” and air pollution, said Lynn Goldman, dean of the George Washington University’s public health school.
White House science adviser John Holdren highlighted heat waves, saying that even with some reduction in emissions of heat-trapping gases globally, “we can see thousands to tens of thousands of heat-related deaths in the United States each summer.”
Centers of Disease Control and Prevention computer simulations of 209 cities show that extra summer heat deaths will outweigh fewer winter cold deaths from climate change, said CDC’s Shubhayu Saha, a study lead author.
Holdren said the report is based on more than 1,800 published scientific studies and new federal research, and was reviewed by the National Academies of Sciences.
“The report clearly establishes that climate change is a major threat to public health in the United States,” said Howard Frumkin, dean of the University of Washington’s public health school, who wasn’t part of the report. He said the government isn’t doing enough. “There is a vast disconnect between the magnitude of the problem, as outlined by this report, and the response of government health agencies”, he said.
Source: from an AP news story by Seth Borenstein, AP science writer – Washington D.C..
Below is the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Outdoor Report summary for March 10, 2016. However, conspicuous by absence is any mention that Wisconsin’s unusually warm weather this month is at all related to human activities that cause climate change. Some of the many sources of fossil and other fuel combustion that emit greenhouse gases to the atmosphere in Wisconsin include: fossil fuel burning in highway motor vehicles (gasoline and diesel oil); jet aircraft (refined oil/jet fuel); electric power producing plants (primarily coal, and natural gas – methane); natural gas burning for heating homes, buildings, churches and other buildings, recreational utility vehicles; road construction vehicles; in cement and asphalt manufacturing; in snowmobiles, boats, motor vehicles used in tractors and other agricultural machinery, in lawn mowing, in logging, and in other miscellaneous motorized products that burn fuel. Other greenhouse gas emissions may come from mining operations including sand and gravel mining and mining for metals, and from animal livestock propagation for food sales.
Despite the findings and recommendations from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which concludes the climate change problem is “urgent”, as does President Obama, Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker and the state’s Republican lawmakers have refused to even hold a citizen hearing regarding the growing threat of climate change, not just to Wisconsin’s future economy, but also the quality of life future residents and visitor to Wisconsin will be provided, as well as the threats of a changing climate to animal and plant life in Wisconsin for generations to come.
Unseasonably warm weather melts snow cover, slows maple tapping efforts
Wisconsin has experienced some unseasonably warm weather in the last week with daytime temperatures in the 50s and 60s and even a low 70 reported in Milwaukee. The warm weather has melted most of the snow cover statewide, with just snow surviving in some forested areas of the Northwoods. Snowmobile and cross-country ski trails are now closed statewide and most will remain so even if the state does experience a late season snowfall.
State park and forest trails that were groomed for skiing are now open again to hiking, but most properties are reporting that rail-trail, mountain bike and horse trails are closed, as conditions are soft and muddy and use of trails in these conditions can cause significant damage to trail surfaces.
With the general inland game fish season now closed except on those waters open to game fishing year-round, only a few panfish anglers have been venturing out, but ice conditions are rapidly deteriorating and many shorelines in southern and central Wisconsin are opening up, making access difficult and dangerous.
Most anglers on Green Bay are removing fishing shelters prior to this Sunday’s deadline as waters are rapidly opening up. Anglers were out in high numbers around Sturgeon Bay last weekend with many limits for whitefish reported. Anglers were open water fishing the Fox River at Voyageur Park for walleye but success rates have been low, though with the warmer weather that is expect this to change.
Raccoon, skunk, muskrat, mink, and opossum activity has increased as temperatures have increased and snow has departed. Wild turkeys have been strutting and starting their spring courtship. Flocks are breaking up and the large groups of toms and jakes have already decreased in size as they establish their spring pecking order.
With the warm weather and south winds there has been a significant increase in spring migrants sighted this week, including red-winged blackbirds, killdeer, robins, song sparrows, swamp sparrows, bluebirds, turkey vultures and more. Other early migrants returning to breeding territories include American woodcock, great blue herons and eastern meadowlarks. There was a heavy waterfowl migration across the southern half of the state, including common goldeneyes, all three mergansers, green-winged teal, pintail, wood ducks, and many others. Greater white-fronted geese are moving through in numbers, as are large flocks of Canada geese and occasional cackling, snow, and Ross’s geese. Canada geese are staking out territory and will begin nesting soon. Sandhill cranes are courting and dancing. Bald eagles are incubating eggs and some great horned owls already have chicks.
Maple syrup season has gotten off to a very slow start due to mild temperatures, especially overnight lows staying above freezing. One producer placed out 670 taps late last week and harvested 370 gallons of sap on Monday. The 10-day forecast does not show any significant changes to overnight lows. The concern is that trees will bud out soon resulting in an early end of the season.
A number of observers reported seeing leopard frogs, spring peepers have been heard in the south and salamanders were active with the warm temperatures. Unfortunately the warm weather has also brought out reports from shed hunters and maple tappers finding the first ticks crawling around on them.
I could not allow this day – Feb. 29 – to pass without comment. Leap year – a year having an extra day in February – occurs only every four years.
So, is that good or bad?
It’s not good, in fact it’s DISASTROUS, because yet ANOTHER day, and year, and decade has gone by while our elected officials in the State of Wisconsin Legislature, and the U.S. Congress, and the population of our state and country, refuse to take the threat, and now reality, of global warming caused by too much fossil fuel burning – in cars, trucks, airplanes, electric power producing plants that burn fossil fuels, seriously, despite alarming increases in sea levels.
Too much fuel burning primarily coal, methane (natural gas), and oil products, have been burned by humans over the past decades and centuries for the energy that has been produced, resulting in the emission and accumulation of elevated concentrations of “greenhouse gases” in earth’s atmosphere, resulting in global warming, the rise in the elevation levels of earth’s oceans, due to the melting of the earth’s Arctic and Antarctic Circle’s land ice and snow, the shrinking of earth’s mountainous glaciers, a thawing of the earth’s permafrost region (one-fifth of the earth’s land surface), causing a warming, expansion, and acidification of earth’s oceans, leading to a dangerous rise in sea level.
The warming is already wreaking of havoc on earth’s biological systems, including humans, most notably in poorer, tropical countries, many of which are already experiencing grave losses due to extreme weather events, such as drought, heat waves and severe storms, along with unprecedented flooding, all of which had been scientifically predicted well over a century ago!
The warming has been compounded by the increasing loss of vegetation, particularly the loss of the tropical rainforests, which had been naturally sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but not anymore, by the ones which have been replaced by other forms of development or money producing mono-culture agriculture.
Global warming from human causes is not rocket science, despite what the flat earth believers may still be claiming. However, saying that human-caused global warming is not occurring, because it has not been “proven” to be happening – as of this February 29, 2016, is utterly preposterous, and those who claim human-caused global warming is not happening are either fools or worse yet – liars.
So what if the price of oil falls to its lowest point in 12 years! Our federal lawmakers in Washington already gave in to the oil industry by removing the 40-year old crude oil export ban, and now they are talking about expediting the process for exporting liquefied natural gas, subsidizing private infrastructure with U.S. taxpayer money including money for upgrading pipelines, transmission lines, rails and roads, to “help our industry compete” by allowing energy to get to market “more quickly and cheaply” by “loosening environmental and other regulations”.
Our governmental officials in Washington D.C. say they will work towards continuing and giving more U.S. taxpayer money to reward already wealthy companies like ExxonMobil and other highly profitable energy companies who have already profited greatly with the U.S. Government financial assistance over a number of decades with ill effects on millions of us already, and many more millions of us who will be so unfortunate as to succeed us on a planet rocked by ever increasing and ever more deadly extreme weather tragedies, that is, of course, if they manage to keep their heads above earth’s rising ocean levels, which have submerged some island countries already. Exxon’s own scientific studies predicted all these bad things would result if humans continued to recklessly burn more and more fossil fuels for energy, sending the concentrations of many greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane to evermore dangerous levels in our Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and water bodies. Yet still they kept their research to themselves, hiding the many catastrophic consequences of global warming, and funded global warming denial campaigns, which allowed them to continue to enrich themselves at the world and future world’s expense!
Where is the justice in all of this? There isn’t any. Not here, there or anywhere. And certainly not in the chambers in Washington D.C.. Change has got to come, now, before it’s too late. And it has to be the RIGHT kind of change – the equitable kind. It has to be a change that will help all of us who currently and in the future call Earth our home. There is no other hospitable place we can go.
Our Representatives and Senators in Washington D.C. need to wake up to the scientific reality that confronts all of us – that we have already exceeded the safe level of heat trapping gases in the atmosphere. Not only must we stop adding more and more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, but we must also accept the moral responsibility of helping those likely to be hurt the most by Earth’s rising seas and other adverse and compounding realities stemming from human-caused changes in the climate, especially those who can least afford appropriate adaption measures that will allow them to humanely live with the changes, particularly those who have contributed the least to the problem that now confronts us all.
Those presently in Washington D.C. who are continuing to act as though the threats and costs of global warming and climate change resulting from human activity are nonexistent should go do something else.
On December 8, 1941, the United States Congress declared war on the Empire of Japan in response to its surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor in the U.S. Territory (soon to become state) of Hawaii the morning of December 7, 1941.
The Declaration of War was formulated an hour after President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous Infamy Speech at 12:30 pm on December 8, 1941. The declaration quickly passed the Senate and then the House at 1:10 p.m the same day. Roosevelt signed the declaration at 4:10 p.m., December 8, 1941. The power to declare war is assigned exclusively to Congress in the United States Constitution; however, the president’s signature was symbolically powerful and resolved any doubts.
In the Joint Resolutions declaring war against the Imperial Government of Japan, Germany and Italy, the Congress pledged “all the resources of the country of the United States” … “and the president is hereby authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of the government to carry on war … to bring the conflict to a successful termination.”
The magnitude of the threat of accelerating global warming and a rapidly changing climate that would undeniably accompany the continued and increasing accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, as a direct consequence of human actions, mainly from too much fossil fuel burning and continuing and increased deforestation, especially in the tropics, upon the United States of America and the rest of the world, both now and into the future, easily dwarfs the loss of life, injury and misery to humans and animals wrought by all known wars, and therefore justifies a declaration of war by all countries of the world to slow and ultimately halt global warming and climate change, worldwide. Such declarations should be made now, without delay, to ensure an hospitable and safe world for all Earth’s current and future generations.
It is morally essential that Government, businesses, individuals and families begin to meet this challenge of increasing global warming and climate change that has already begun to cause loss of human lives, other species living in the world, and brought pain and misery to so many. To ignore and campaign against actions that reduce this growing threat, which will unquestionably hurt the people of the world’s poorer countries and Earth’s millions and millions of species, is utterly and morally reprehensible and is a practice that ought stop immediately because it needlessly delays progress in attacking this major problem of untold negative consequences for centuries to come.
Hear Beatle George Harrison perform song “Bangladesh” at the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden, NYC, New York.
By Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, 9-19-2015:
In just a few weeks, the world will adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. For my country, Bangladesh, the goal of combating climate change and its impacts is crucial, as we are on the frontline of this global threat.
Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world (1,218 people per sq km), with the lowest quantity of per-capita arable land (0.05 hectares). Although we made considerable progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), climate change in the form of extreme-weather events, tidal surges, and erratic rainfall has negatively impacted agricultural production, industrial development and social structures.
This can create millions of environmental refugees, even though Bangladesh’s contribution to climate change in terms of greenhouse-gas emissions is negligible. And the situation will worsen without urgent action. Studies estimate that a meter rise in sea level would submerge one fifth of the country, displacing over 30 million people. Mass migration to cities is inevitable, impacting livelihoods, biodiversity, food, water, sanitation and basic infrastructure.
That is why we are keen to see the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the upcoming climate agreement in Paris, adopted and moving into implementation. But Bangladesh has not been sitting around waiting for the world to save us. We are fighting for our own future, albeit with limited resources and technologies.
In 2011, we amended the constitution to protect and improve the environment and preserve and safeguard natural resources, biodiversity, wetlands, forests and wildlife for present and future citizens. In line with this policy, at least eight new laws were enacted or amended since 2009 to preserve forest lands in the country. Forest coverage rose to 17.08 percent in 2014-15 from a mere seven to eight percent in 2005-06, thanks to the introduction of initiatives such as the Social Afforestation Program, which ensures people’s participation in planting and raising trees in every available space, both urban and rural. Currently, more than 120 million saplings are raised and distributed every year among the people, compared to 40 million in 2001-2006.
Bangladesh was the first developing nation to create a Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan. From 2009-2010 to 2014-15, the government allocated Tk 30.30 billion (US$ 385 million) to our climate-change trust fund. All of our activities have been targeted toward adaptation to environmental changes with a view to protecting human lives from floods and hurricanes, and protecting the environment from pollution caused by rapid urbanization and unsustainable industrialization.
There are so many examples of specific actions we undertook as part of our policy framework. We have built about four million solar-home systems in off-grid areas and 1.5 million improved cook stoves to decrease indoor air pollution.
We created the Coastal Greenbelt Project to protect the southern part of Bangladesh, which is surrounded by the Bay of Bengal, from cyclones. Dense forest covers along the coastline, particularly mangroves, form an effective buffer. By boosting this cover, we helped reduce the death toll to about 200 from the hurricanes Aila in 2009 and Mahasen in 2013 combined, compared to 140,000 in a single cyclone in 1991.
We have also made remarkable progress in food production. Bangladesh has become a food-exporting country from a food-importing country over the last six years. Our scientists have developed almost 200 varieties of crops that are resilient to changing climactic conditions and techniques to grow crops in less fertile soil. Rice production was 33.30 million metric tons in 2008-09. It was 38.34 million metric tons in 2013-14.
Despite these efforts, climate change continues to affect the lives and livelihoods of millions in our unique and active delta. This year, we experienced 50 percent more rainfall than average, inundating vast areas of the country and damaging crops. Climate change may threaten our wheat and major rice-crop (Boro) production. Studies suggest that two to three percent of our Gross Domestic Product may be wiped out because of climate change.
We cannot do it alone, which is why we need the international community to stand up for nations such as ours through the SDGs and the climate-change process. In order to address climate change, a critical balance between adaptation (adjusting to the impacts of climate change) and mitigation (reducing the scale of climate change) will have to be maintained. The pledges on reducing emissions submitted for the Paris climate meeting must be measurable and verifiable. The world should pay attention to carbon budgeting and de-carbonization pathways. For adaptation planning, adequate and predictable financing is essential.
Bangladesh has been leading by example, and we are ready to share our experiences on climate resilience with rest of the world. I hope that the United Nations Environment Program honoring me with the Champions of the Earth award this year will draw attention to Bangladesh’s efforts, which show that we can make a difference, and encourage developed nations to bring their resources to bear on the greatest challenge of our time.