Climate change may force planes to lighten loads or stay grounded – study

The effects of climate change may extend further than melting glaciers and rising sea levels, according to a new study which says that hot temperatures may cause up to 30 percent of airplanes to be grounded in coming decades.

The study, published in the journal Climatic Change on Thursday, says that 10 to 30 percent of fully loaded airplanes may at some point be forced to adapt during the hottest part of the day. 

Those adaptations include removing fuel, cargo, or passengers, or waiting for cooler hours to fly.

 
Physicist Stephen Hawking and U.S. President Donald Trump © Reuters

The potential take-off problems would be due to the fact that as air warms, it spreads out and its density declines.

“In thinner air, wings generate less lift as a plane races along the runway. Thus, depending on the aircraft model, runway length, and other factors, at some point a packed plane may be unable to take off safely if the temperature gets too high,” Columbia University, whose researchers took part in the study, wrote in a press release. 

“Weight must be dumped, or else the flight delayed or canceled,” it continues.

The study’s authors estimate that fuel capacities and payload weights would have to be reduced as much as four percent for some aircraft.

To put those numbers in perspective, an average 160-seat aircraft would need roughly 12 or 13 less passengers to reach a four-percent weight reduction.

However, if carbon emissions were to somehow be sharply reduced in the near future, those reductions could amount to as little as 0.5 percent.

Planes with lower temperature tolerances would struggle more, according to the study. Airports which have shorter runways, or which are located in hotter parts of the world or in higher elevations will also suffer more than others.

 
© NERC / National Oceanography Centre

Airports which would be in danger in those cases include New York’s LaGuardia, which has short runways. Dubai International Airport in the United Arab Emirates would suffer due to its very high temperatures.

“Airports probably less affected because they are in temperate regions and have long runways include New York’s JFK, London Heathrow and Paris’s Charles de Gaulle,” the Columbia press release states.

In theory, the potential problems could be somewhat mitigated with new engine or body designs for aircraft, or expanded runways, according to study co-author Radley Horton, a climatologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

However, such solutions are unlikely to be implemented, as planes are already highly engineered for efficiency, and there simply isn’t room to expand runways in major cities such as New York.

“The sooner climate can be incorporated into mid- and long-range plans, the more effective adaptation efforts can be,” said co-author Ethan Coffel, a Columbia University PhD student.

  • Published in World

United States: Tragedy of its Drug Addicts

Doubt grows even more regarding the prospect of stopping the huge narcotic consumption that dominates that country.

Last Saturday the column Trasfondo in the New Herald newspaper, published an article in Miami that helps to better understand the situation.

Under the title: "The Big Business of Pain: how and why North Americans die with Drugs."          

The writer was the well-known specialist Jorge Dávila Miguel.

It begins by telling that the drug consumption incrementally grows, although the alarmed is not going off.

Even President Donald Trump, he says, mentioned the fact when he recently spoke "of the deadly outbreak of drugs that lashes the country"

Dávila Miguel remembered that in 2016 more than 59 000 people died of drug overdose, a figure far higher than the total of fallen soldiers in the aggression against Vietnam.

And among those victims drugs killed 17 536 human beings.

Two months ago the governor for Florida, Rick Scott, proclaimed an alert and gave 27 million dollars in favor of those who are cornered by the epidemic.

What’s new?

The enemy, highlights Dávila Miguel, doesn’t come from the Coca plantations of South America, or from poppy fields in Afghanistan, and has nothing to do with drug dealers.

Then, who is the enemy? "The U.S. pharmaceutical industry", asserts the author of the article.

He adds, as well as white neck executives in the states of Connecticut or Manhattan.

Then Dávila Miguel tells shortly of his records:

They began in 1996, when the Firm Perdue Pharma launched to the market OxyContin, an opioid which profited in the first four years 1,100 million dollars.

Before this success, other corporations launched to the market similar products.

In 2016, nearly 300 million prescriptions were already distributed, enough to offer a bottle of sedatives to each American, including newly born children.

What’s the outcome? A thriving market of 24 000 million dollars a year.

That is a seemingly harmless sedative had already become an addiction.

The New Herald assured this Saturday in its section Trasfondo:

"Big Pharma had attained the dream of any drug enterprise owner, to distribute the drugs legally and even with a prescription."

Everything on an ideal scenario for their gigantic and trivial business, the American society is very sick with an uncertain prognosis.

End of U.S. Blockade against Cuba demanded in Streets of Miami

A caravan made up of around 50 cars traveled 15 miles through major avenues in the city of Miami, where most of the members of the Cuban community live.

The coalition Alianza Martiana organized this event against the blockade for second time this year. According to a statement broadcasted by Radio Miami, the cars had their lights on with Cuban and American flags being waved, and people carried posters denouncing the economical siege suffered by Cuba.

The participants in the caravan demanded the continuation of the thawing of relations with Cuba, the immediate end of the economic, commercial, and financial war that for more than fifty years Washington has imposed to the Cuban people and the total travel freedom for American citizens.

Some of the participants commented to the local media that they witnessed the support of other people who backed them in their own cars.

Again in Miami, a caravan of cars turns to be a categorical rejection to the U.S. ambitions to undermine Cuba with the tightening of the blockade.

This time there was a strong denounce of the Cuban community to the U.S. policy towards Cuba announced by U.S. President Donald Trump in recent days.

The head of state should listen to the claims of thousand Cubans living in Miami and other U.S. cities. These people call for the normalization of the bilateral relations, which certainly favors both countries.

Donald Trump’s change in the policy towards Cuba is, no doubt, a setback between the two countries. However, let me make it clear, Trump is being exclusively advised by a small group of people who do not represent the vast majority of the American public opinion.

In such scenario, we hope this caravan demanding the end of the blockade in Miami may pave the way for other actions taken in South Florida to show solidarity and support to the Cuban sovereignty.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz / Cubasi Translation Staff

  • Published in Cuba

World Leaders Pressure Trump on Climate and Trade at G20

The meeting comes at a time of major shifts in the global geopolitical landscape under Trump's "America First" policies.

World leaders intend to try to persuade U.S. President Donald Trump to compromise on climate and trade during the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. 

RELATED: Germany: Protesters Demand G-20 Address Humanitarian, Environmental Concerns

In a joint communique issued on the summit's first day Friday, Brazil, Russia, India and China called on the G20 to push for implementation of the Paris climate accord despite Trump's decision last month to pull the United States out of it.

"We call upon the international community to jointly work toward implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change," the communique said.

"We firmly support a rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trading system, implementation and enforcement of existing WTO (World Trade Organization) rules and commitments and oppose protectionism."

The meeting comes at a time of major shifts in the global geopolitical landscape under Trump's "America First" policies. The host of G20, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, faces the difficult task of steering leaders towards a consensus on trade, climate and migration — all issues that have become more contentious since Trump entered the White House half a year ago.

Aside from the four emerging market countries, British Prime Minister Theresa May also said G20 leaders would urge Trump to reconsider his decision on Paris.

"I hope they will be able to find a way to come back into the Paris agreement ... I believe it is possible. We are not renegotiating the Paris agreement, that stays, but I want to see the U.S. looking for ways to rejoin it," she told the BBC.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a German newspaper Friday that climate change was a challenge, but also an opportunity to invest. He added that the same was true of global trade. 

"Instead of saying we'll stop trade, we need to create opportunities for smaller companies and protect workers' rights with progressive trade agreements like CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement)," Trudeau said, referring to the EU-Canada trade deal.

The draft G20 agreement acknowledges U.S. isolation on the Paris climate accord, but claims the United States is committed to cutting carbon emissions by other routes, according to The Guardian newspaper. 

“The United States of America will endeavor to work closely with other partners to help their access to and use of fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently and help deploy renewable and other clean energy sources,” the draft said.

RELATED: Clashes at 'Welcome to Hell' Hamburg Demos Ahead of G20 Summit

On trade, sources told Reuters that Washington was backtracking on language condemning protectionism that Trump agreed to at a Group of Seven meeting in Sicily in late May.

The final version of the communique will be negotiated overnight by attendants from the 20 participating countries.

Merkel chose Hamburg, the second-largest city in the country, to send a signal about Germany's "openness to the world," including its alleged tolerance for peaceful protests.

Police said violence that erupted during anti-capitalist protests directed at the G20 Thursday continued into Friday. At least 29 protesters were detained and 111 police officers injured, including three officers who required hospital treatment.

"There is quite a delicate balance that Angela Merkel will have to navigate in a way, because it is not clear that being confrontational won't just create even more of a credibility problem for G20 cooperation," Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati told the Reuters in an interview.

  • Published in World

U.S. workers welcome Cuban union leader

Victor Manuel Lemagne Sanchez, secretary general of Cuba’s hotel and tourism union and elected delegate to Cuba’s National Assembly, is on a two-week tour of 11 U.S. cities. Landing first in northern California on June 27, Lemagne will conclude his visit in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area on July 11.

This is the first multicity U.S. exchange with a representative of the Cuban Workers Central Union (La Central de Trabajadores de Cuba, CTC) since 2000. Lemagne is also the first Cuban elected representative to be granted a U.S. visa.

Lemagne’s warm reception from U.S. workers and the organized labor movement is in sharp contrast to the bellicosity displayed by the Trump administration.

In the first two days, Lemagne met with leaders of the San Francisco Labor Council, San Jose/South Bay Central Labor Council and University of California/Berkeley Labor Center. He was received on the floor of the California Senate and Assembly in Sacramento, the first Cuban elected official to be invited there.

Lemagne spoke at an Organize Sacramento reception. UNITE HERE, which organizes hotel, restaurant and casino workers in the U.S., hosted receptions throughout northern California and will do so in Los Angeles and San Diego.

A public event initiated by the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity, and supported by many Cuba solidarity organizations, overflowed the hall of the University Professional and Technical Employees, Communication Workers Local 9119 at Berkeley on June 29. The meeting featured Lemagne and Clarence Thomas, retired International Longshore and Warehouse Union militant and former Local 10 secretary-treasurer.

Lemagne: ‘We will forge ahead’

Lemagne read a CTC statement responding to Trump’s speech in Miami: “We fully support the declarations of our revolutionary government in response to the statement by the U.S. President Donald Trump on June 16 which attempts to bring back the epoch of the Cold War which has been characterized as interventionist, rhetorical and manipulative.”

Lemagne explained: “The measures … have been called national security measures with respect to strengthening the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba, [but they are] actually a step backwards in the small steps forward gained through the agreements with Obama, harming not only the people of our country but the people of the U.S.

“Every maneuver and aggression by the empire are destined to fail. [Cuba’s] response is to continue the economic development of our country. We will continue to forge ahead with infinite loyalty to our revolutionary process. … We will not be taking any steps backward. We will never give up. History has shown that even in the worst situations we have been able to win over all obstacles.”

Lemagne reviewed the history of the U.S. blockade and its cost to health and other essential sectors. He emphasized that Cuba is the only country that U.S. residents cannot travel to freely. A U.S. law prohibits vacationing in Cuba.

Lemagne said that unions in the hotel and tourism sector donate part of their tips to support health care and the fight against cancer. “Over the years I have been a leader in this union, the workers have contributed more than $23 million to this,” he said.

Lemagne stressed that the vast majority of workers in Cuba are union members. Union membership is voluntary, and the workers have participated in updating the Cuban labor code. Assemblies in every sector discussed proposed changes and collected opinions and proposals; 75 percent of these amendments appear in the new code. The code applies at all workplaces. In joint ventures, the property belongs to the state and to the workers and people of Cuba. If managers mistreat the workers, they are removed.

U.S. workers are fighting for benefits in their contracts that already exist in Cuban law, such as health care and vacations, explained Lemagne. “Workers take up issues at monthly workplace assemblies. It is the employer’s responsibility to implement the agreements.’’

Longshore workers’ solidarity with Cuba

“The bonds between U.S. and Cuban workers cannot be broken. Not by any president,” Thomas asserted. He reviewed the ILWU’s long solidarity with Cuban workers and their unions, predating the 1959 socialist revolution and continuing after it.

In 1947 the ILWU participated in a Havana meeting establishing an international sugar workers’ committee. An ILWU representative was elected chair. Cuban union leader Jesus Menendez was elected vice chair, but he was brutally assassinated the next year by U.S.-backed sugar bosses.

As the U.S. began its economic war against the Cuban Revolution, the ILWU maintained political independence from U.S. foreign policy. A rank-and-file union

  • Published in Cuba

Trump: Sharp Thorns on the Way to Abyss

Another devastating news article on the health care reform championed by the current U.S. President was released on Monday in Miami.

El Nuevo Herald published it under the authorship of Fabiola Santiago, columnist of the newspaper.

She began her article: in a weird moment where Trump said the truth, he labeled as “despicable” its approval by the House of Representatives.

She added, after having studied for months this “untrustworthy and conceited President.”

When he gained conscious, based on experts, of how his health project would affect 23 million people, he tried to hurry ahead of things.

On one side, Santiago wrote, this “Twitter in Chief” urged the Senate to get closer and improve the Obamacare.

However, it has not happened. In fact, the Senatorial laws are bad jokes for Americans.

Any motive? He promised better and cheaper health care and not making another round of cuts to the Medicare.

As we know, Medicare is a program aimed at softening tragedies that cause damage to the poorest people in society.

But nothing new has come up. And yet, Trump is still requesting the Senate a swift adoption.

Observers believe the so-called Trumpcare has never been so close, but they warn it is not what he promised.

Fabiola Santiago recalls that Florida is the state in the U.S. with higher number of Obamacare’s subscribers (1,300 000).

While explaining her “despite everything”, she points out some of the setbacks suffered by the Obamacare in this Southern state.

For instance, having a Governor and a Legislative where Republicans prevail.

Around three million people could be affected if the plot fabricated by the Senate succeeds.

A new and uncomfortable setback for a head of state already spotted with strong thorns paving his way to abyss.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz / CubaSi Translation Staff

Putin & Trump expected to establish dialogue vital for whole world at G20 meeting – Kremlin

The long-awaited meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart, Donald Trump, is expected to lay the groundwork for a working dialogue, which is vital for resolving the world’s conflicts, the Kremlin said.

“This is the first meeting, the first encounter of the two presidents, this is the main thing in this meeting,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday, commenting on the Kremlin’s expectations for the upcoming meeting between Putin and Trump at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany on July 7.

 
© Reuters / Sputnik

“[We have] expectations of establishing a working dialogue, which is probably vital for all the world in terms of improving efficiency in resolving a critical mass of conflicts and problems, which is growing day by day,” Peskov went on.

The Russian leader is preparing for the meeting with Trump the same way he is preparing for similar events at the G20, Peskov added. Putin will also meet French President Emmanuel Macron, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, among other world leaders during the two-day summit.

The conflicts in Syria and Ukraine and ways of resolving them are possibly among the other issues on the agenda during the first meeting between the two leaders, according to Peskov.

“I think that [the two leaders will discuss] the Syrian [conflict] resolution, the Astana process, and the issues of possible Russian-American cooperation,” Peskov said, adding that the joint fight against terrorism will be discussed if the US is ready for it. The presidents may also discuss the Syrian settlement.

As for the Ukrainian issue, the meeting will provide “a great opportunity to repeat the Russian position on the fact that there is no alternative to the Minsk agreements, the necessity to implement the agreements and taking measures to stop the provocations, which unfortunately occur from the Ukrainian Armed Forces.”

Despite the full format of the bilateral meeting, Peskov said that it will be time-limited, as it will take place in the framework of the G20 summit. The Russian president will not have an opportunity to fully express his understanding of the Ukrainian conflict and its reasons.

On Tuesday, both Moscow and Washington confirmed that Putin and Trump will hold their first full-fledged meeting at the G20 summit on July 7. The Kremlin pointed out that it will not merely be a brief contact on the sidelines, but “a full-fledged ‘sit down’ meeting.” Previously, the leaders spoke only by phone.

The Trump-Putin meeting is grabbing attention in light of souring Russian-American relations, which are currently “at the zero mark,” according to Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov. Moscow and Washington have been at loggerheads, especially after Trump’s order to launch launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at Syria’s Shayrat Airbase near the city of Homs on April 7. The move was justified by Washington, accusing the Syrian government of carrying out a chemical attack on Khan Shaykhun, which killed dozens of people. Damascus has denied those allegations, while Moscow has repeatedly called for an international investigation into the incident to be conducted.

  • Published in World

It's Raining in Antarctica While Trump Slashes Climate Science Funding

This Memorial Day I awoke in a tent high on Klahhane Ridge in Washington state's Olympic National Park. With the Strait of Juan de Fuca just to the north, and a sweeping view of Mount Olympus and the rest of the park to the south, the sunset the night before went on for hours.

After the sun set, slivers of red arched across the sky in streaks on the underbellies of a few wispy clouds. That night, the stars were so bright they ran all the way down to the horizons. 

To see more stories like this, visit "Planet or Profit?"

The morning sun found me crawling out of my sleeping bag early. I sat outside eating oatmeal while marveling at the majesty of the park before me. All of the high mountains, including Mount Olympus, were covered in late-spring snow, which covered everything down to 3,000 feet. The grandeur of the wild high country was augmented by the white backdrop.

Climate Disruption DispatchesThe sound of rivers and waterfalls was ever-present in the background, and aside from the one road into the park in this area, the land was unscarred. Yet all around the park, logging has left a patchwork of the forest. And now, emboldened by this particularly destructive administration, the loggers want all of these parks. And in time, I fear they will get them. Because they want everything. They are the Earth eaters. 

That day I wondered, will we have a Memorial Day for all the lost, wild places? Will we have a Memorial Day for all the glaciers that used to be here?

Meanwhile, abrupt anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) continues apace.

As President Donald Trump announced the US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] released data showing 2016 saw the biggest annual jump in atmospheric CO2 levels on record, coming in at nearly double the average pace.

NASA announced that April was the second hottest April in the history of record-keeping, and that agency, along with NOAA, released data showing that 2016 was the warmest year on record globally, making 2016 the third year in a row to set a new record for global average surface temperatures.

And the records continue to be broken. NASA data showed May to be the second hottest on record, barely trailing 2016 by one-tenth of a degree, and this was the second-warmest spring on record, again only behind 2016. The first five months of this year make it likely that this will be the second hottest year on record, again only behind last year.

Meanwhile, parts of Antarctica are literally beginning to turn green, as scientists there are finding a four- to five-fold increase in the amount of moss growth on the ice continent's northern peninsula.

Even more stunning news comes from Antarctica in a study published in the June 15 issue of the journal Nature Communications which revealed that over an area of West Antarctica, scientists were stunned to find rainfall and a melt area larger than the size of Texas in 2016.

Yes, it is now raining in Antarctica.

The New York Times published a fantastic interactive piece on the ice continent that is well worth a look, while warm temperatures last fall caused water to breach the entrance of the Arctic's "Doomsday" seed vault, one of humans' last hopes of preserving seeds to survive a global catastrophe.

Meanwhile, Arctic sea ice is disappearing off Alaskan coasts more than a month earlier than normal, and due to congressional budget cuts, the 38-year continuous US Arctic satellite monitoring program is about to end, leaving researchers in the dark about ongoing sea ice losses.

And this May, atmospheric CO2 content set an all-time monthly high when it reached 409.65ppm, according to NOAA data.

Earth

Anthropogenic climate disruption has created stunning major developments in the lives of the Earth's plants and animals over recent weeks.

A recently published paper in the journal Scientific Reports shows how ACD is disrupting the timing of dozens of songbird species. Timing is critical for migratory birds, because if they arrive too late they only get the tail end of the spring's insect supply and have trouble finding nesting spots and mates. On the other hand, if they arrive too early, they will arrive in temperatures colder than they are prepared to deal with. Yet, ACD is causing spring to arrive earlier in eastern US states and later in the west, disrupting the timing of dozens of bird species.

This is threatening the survival of many species that are currently popular in many people's backyards. "The long-term concern is that this growing mismatch can lead to population declines," Stephen Mayor, the study's primary researcher said in an interview.

An interesting thing is happening to trees in the US -- they are moving westward, and nobody seems to know why, aside from the influence of ACD, which scientists say accounts for 20 percent of the reason. One main hypothesis is that the trees are following moisture as it moves westward: The east has been getting less rain, and the great plains are getting more.

Meanwhile, a vast dieback of trees caused by a tiny beetle from southeast Asia that is on track to kill 26.8 million trees across Southern California over the next few years is expected to bring about a human death toll that could reach into the thousands. A recent report cited differences in illnesses and deaths in human populations that live near greenery versus those who do not, and is predicting these ramifications from the widespread tree dieback.

In other parts of the world, ACD-driven extreme weather events and wild temperature swings are predicted to slash major staple crop production (corn, wheat, rice, soybeans) by nearly one-quarter over the upcoming 30 years, according to another report.

In another astounding turn of events, a recently released study showed that in Greenland, so much water and ice rushed through a melting glacier that it literally warmed the Earth's crust. A mass of melting ice the size of 18,000 Empire State Buildings traveled over 15 miles through the Rink Glacier in 2012, a record melting year for the ice sheet.

Eric Rignot, a leading expert on the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet from the University of California, Irvine, recently told Scientific American that in the Arctic, the Greenland Ice Sheet poses the single greatest risk for ocean levels due to the obvious fact that land ice that is melting, like Greenland, is the single biggest cause of rising seas, and that "most of the Arctic's land ice is locked up in Greenland." If the entire Greenland Ice Sheet melted, it would raise sea levels an average of seven meters.

And the consequences of a melting Greenland Ice sheet are far from limited to global sea level rise. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that if the melting is large enough, it could literally change global weather patterns that could result in devastating crops in Africa. In sum, the massive influx of freshwater from the melting ice sheet could disrupt a major ocean current system, which would then dry out the Sahel of Africa. The consequences of this would be devastating agricultural losses as that area's climate shifts, and upwards of tens of millions of people could be forced to migrate out of the area in the worst-case scenario.

And that's not the only place major changes in melting ice are having an impact on the planet.

In Savoonga, Alaska, a village island 164 miles west of Nome in the Bering Sea, the sea ice is arriving later and going out earlier than ever before, and with it, the walruses the natives in the village depend on. "This year it's worse. Unusual. The ice moved out in April," Larry Kava, 76, a tribal and cultural leader in Savoonga, told the Alaska Dispatch News.

Water

Not surprisingly, a recently published study in which researchers looked very closely at cities lining US coasts found that they will flood more often and more severely as ACD progresses. The study warns that cities should brace for much more flooding, from what they refer to as "nuisance" floods that cover streets at high tides, to deluges that kill people and take out vast swaths of infrastructure.

As if to underscore that point, another recent study has found that Earth's oceans are now rising three times as rapidly as they had been throughout much of the last century, showing that sea level rise acceleration is now very much under way.

At the same time, other land-based glaciers and ice fields continue to wither at ever-increasing paces. Recently released data from the USGS and Portland State University showed that ACD has dramatically reduced the size of 39 glaciers across Montana since just 1966. Some of them have been reduced by 85 percent, and on average Montana's glaciers have been reduced by 39 percent, and only 26 of the remaining glaciers are larger than 25 acres, the minimum size threshold used to decide if bodies of ice are large enough to be considered glaciers.

Seeing the writing on the wall, a team of international scientists in Bolivia called the "Ice Memory" expedition is working feverishly to transport samples of ice from a melting glacier there to Antarctica, in order to preserve and study the 18,000 years of climate history embedded within the ice before the glacier disappears completely.

Meanwhile, as oceans continue to warm, global coral bleaching continues apace.

The Australian government's primary aim of protecting the Great Barrier Reef is now no longer achievable due to the dramatic impacts of ACD, according to experts advising that country's governmental advisory committee for the plan. The reef is now likely to become listed as a World Heritage Site in Danger.

The coral bleaching event that struck the Great Barrier Reef this year was recently revealed to have had an escalating impact from north to south, killing 70 percent of all shallow-water corals north of the coastal town of Port Douglas.

Another report has gone so far as to claim that the damage already done to the Great Barrier Reef is so great that the reef is beyond repair and can no longer be saved, at least according to some scientists. This is, they said, because of the "extraordinary rapidity" of ACD, and because roughly 95 percent of the reef has been bleached since 2016.

In the US, NOAA scientists recently warned that US coral reefs are on a course to disappear within just a few decades, and the Chagos Archipelago, a small group of roughly 60 islands in the Indian Ocean, was recently found to also be devastated by ACD impacts. After back-to-back bleaching events in 2015 and 2016, scientists there found approximately 90 percent of the coral in shallow waters to already be dead.

Ocean waters in the tropics are becoming so warm that a leading fisheries expert recently warned that fish are literally abandoning tropical waters.

Meanwhile flooding is progressing apace as extreme rain events continue to happen more frequently. In late May, Sri Lanka was seeing flooding from its most torrential rains since 2003. At least half a million people were impacted, with a death toll of at least 169 according to the Disaster Management Centre.

Another recent report revealed that three-fourths of California's native species and subspecies of salmonids (fish in the salmon family) may be extinct within 100 years, primarily due to ACD impacts and severe degradation of wild river habitats, according to biologists at the University of California, Davis, and the watershed advocacy group California Trout. In their study, "State of the Salmonids II: Fish in Hot Water," the authors warned that climate change impacts and the severe degradation of habitat of wild rivers that continues to this day could extinguish almost half of California's 32 types of native salmon and trout within 50 years.

Fire

There have been several major fires over the last month, many of which affected the US.

Southern California saw a 950-acre wildfire near Big Bear Lake. And in Utah, hundreds of people had to flee a ski town due to a rapidly spreading fire. In Arizona, more than eight structures burned as more than 100 firefighters worked to contain the wildfire amid extreme heat, hot winds and bone-dry vegetation.

In New Mexico, a volunteer fire fighter died from burns, while in Portugal raging wildfires killed at least 62, many of whom died in their cars while trying to flee to safety.

In the US, at the time of this writing, 27,943 wildfires have burned more than 2.5 million acres thus far for 2017.

Air

Methane, a greenhouse gas that is at least 20 times more potent than CO2, is already being released across much of the Arctic at far higher levels than ever recorded.

Hundreds of huge craters (some of which are half a mile wide) were recently discovered in the Arctic Ocean sea floor -- craters that formed after ice sheets melted, allowing trapped methane to blow out. One of the authors of a study on these craters described the event as being like "champagne bottles being opened" -- a phenomenon that could well happen again.

Meanwhile, examples of rapidly escalating global temperatures abound.

A recent study shows that India is now 250 percent more likely to experience deadly heat waves than it was just 50 years ago, and all it took to produce this dramatic change was increasing the average temperature there by just 0.5 Celsius.

In June, a record-breaking heat wave in the Southwestern US affected 40 million people. The heat wave was so intense it cracked pavement, threatened power grids, caused escalated risk of serious injuries and grounded flights. Temperatures reached 127 degrees Fahrenheit in Death Valley, California, the hottest June 20th ever recorded there, and Phoenix saw 119 Fahrenheit. Las Vegas tied its all-time heat record of 117 Fahrenheit (the previous time it saw that kind of heat was just four years ago), and temperature records were set across other parts of Arizona, Nevada and California.

Forty-three flights were grounded in Phoenix when aircraft could not generate enough lift for a safe take-off in thin, low-density super-heated air. By the time of this writing, more than 50 flights had been grounded from the heat.

At one point in Arizona in June, it had never been that hot for that long, in the history of record keeping. For example, in Tucson, a record-setting seven consecutive days of intense heat saw highs above 110 Fahrenheit -- the longest streak of such heat in the city's history.

Also at the time of this writing, at least four people had died from the heat in the Southwest, with that figure expected to rise as the heat wave persisted.

recently released study shows that one-third of the population of the planet now faces deadly heat waves due to ACD, and the number of people in danger will grow to nearly 50 percent by 2100 even if emissions are dramatically reduced before then.

And another recent report warns that ACD is pushing tropical diseases toward the Arctic Circle as the atmosphere continues to warm. This means that rare pathogens from the hotter parts of the planet are already creeping toward the north, and some of these diseases are already appearing near the Arctic.

Denial and Reality

Never a dull moment on the ACD denial front with the Trump administration.

US Energy Secretary (and scientist extraordinaire) Rick Perry said he does not believe CO2 emissions are the primary driver of Earth's warming, hence denying a core finding of ACD science. Instead of CO2 emissions driving warming, Perry claims the driver to be "the ocean waters and this environment we live in."

Trump named a BP oil disaster lawyer, Jeffrey Bossert Clark, who has also repeatedly challenged the science behind US climate policy, as the country's top Department of Justice environmental attorney. Trump's budget request to Congress will also eliminate or shrink core programs the federal government uses to track heat-trapping gases, while 85 percent of the top science jobs in Trump's government remain without a nominee, and the White House thinks the government has been spending too much money on climate science and the new budget from Trump aims to kill "crazy" climate science.

On the reality front, climate scientists are now uniting with lawyers in order to build networks to respond to attempts by the government to subvert their research and threaten them, and a recent poll shows that eight out of 10 people see ACD as a "catastrophic risk."

More news outlets are running stories asking the question of whether or not it makes sense to bring new children into an increasingly climate-disrupted world with a dystopian future that looks more inevitable by the day, and more than 1,400 cities, states and businesses in the US have vowed to meet the Paris climate commitments in the wake of Trump announcing the US withdrawal from the accords.

French President Emmanuel Macron is actively luring US climate researchers to move to France to do their work by offering four-year research grants, staff and coverage of other expenses, and China is now looking to California Gov. Jerry Brown, not Trump, as a partner to work with in mitigating ACD.

Meanwhile, evidence of ACD becoming more abrupt continues to mount. A recently published study shows that ACD-intensified storms over the US Great Plains may well already be eroding the protective ozone layer of Earth's atmosphere, meaning that for starters, the risk of skin cancer and destruction of plants and crops is more likely.

And the final reality check comes in from another recent study that confirmed the planet is already warming 20 times faster than it did during its fastest natural climate change, which occurred when it came out of the last Ice Age.

Subscribe to this RSS feed