We’re Getting Hotter by the Year!

A Happy New Year to all our readers, contributors, subscribers, and supporters, both here and abroad!

Photo of the Emigrant Peak, seen from Paradise Valley, Montana
Emigrant Peak, seen from Paradise Valley, Montana. Photo by Paul Dix.

Did you read that 2023 was the hottest year for as long as human beings have been on the planet? According to research 2023 was the HOTTEST year in at least the last 100,000 years! Don’t get confused just because there are a few regional cold spells—like the upcoming Deep Freeze in much of North America later this week and the recent Arctic Blasts in Scandinavia and Northern Europe!

Common Dreams and other news media reported (on January 9, 2024) that global average temperature in the year 2023 was 14.98°C—that’s 0.17°C warmer than 2016 (the previous warmest year), 0.60°C warmer than the 1991-2020 average, and 1.48°C warmer than the 1850-1900 (pre-industrial) level, according to the scientists at the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. And, the prediction is that this year, 2024, will be warmer than 2023! Why do scientists predict more of the same in 2024?

The global oceans paint a better picture of what is happening in the climate world because the heat gets absorbed in ocean waters. A study published on January 11th in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences states that the upper 2,000 meters of the global ocean was estimated to have an additional 15 zettajoules of energy in 2023 compared to the 2022 amount. The Chinese Academy of Sciences estimates that the world’s economy requires about half a zettajoule of energy to run every year, that means, the oceans gained 30 times the annual energy needs of the world. Fifteen zettajoules would be enough to boil 2.3 billion Olympic-sized swimming pools of water . About 90 % of the energy produced by global fossil fuels use is stored in the world’s oceans. Therefore, the ocean is warming consistently, year over year to new record levels, due to this increase in ocean heat content. The resulting increased ocean water temperatures fuel the weather systems bringing intense heat waves, hurricanes, and big storms—high winds and dump heavy precipitations.

The Paris COP agreement was to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 °C over the pre-industrial levels. Obviously, most countries will not meet that target because we continue to depend greatly on the use of fossil fuels—coal, oil, natural gas (fracked gas).

Unfortunately, the recent COP 28 international conference (like most of the previous ones) was not much more than a hot air balloon, and the next one—COP 29 is likely to be no different. So disappointing! What can we expect when these climate conferences are dominated by oil producing countries and thousands of black gold lobbyists?

We need hundreds of thousands of nature educators, activists and nature protectors of all ages, like the late Rachel Carson (author and marine biologist, USA), Sir David Attenborough (of UK), Bill McKibben (Co-founder of 350.org, USA), Greta Thunberg (from Sweden), Ilyess El Korbi (from Ukraine, Morocco, and now Germany), Elizabeth Wathuti (of Kenya), Xiuhtezcatl Martinez (Native American from USA), Maria Reyes (of Mexico), Amma (from India), Tahsin Uddin (in Bangladesh) and Leah Namugerwa (of Uganda), people from all over the globe to wake us up from our slumber—to educate us and demand a change in the ways our industries, businesses, systems, people, and governments have been damaging and destroying the planet’s natural systems.

Won’t you become a change maker in your school, community, region or nation—wherever you are?

Presented by Arun N. Toké, editor. Based largely on several news reports published by Common Dreams (Jan. 9 and Jan. 11, 2024)

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