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Climate change consequences: Too hot, too wet and out of time

Climate change consequences: Too hot, too wet and out of time

The last few weeks have demonstrated that we have arrived at the climate change catastrophe long prophesied by climate scientists—a catastrophe that many thought we still had decades to avert.

In the Pacific Northwest high temperatures broke records day after day. In my former home of Portland, Oregon the temperature reached 116 degrees F (47 degrees C). If you look at the average high temperatures in Portland in summer, you’ll see why air-conditioning is not a feature of the average Portland home or apartment. I lived comfortably without it during the four years I was there. Last week Portland seemed as if it had moved to the desert Southwest.

North and south of Portland, the extreme drought in the West continues as wildfires swirl toward another terrible seasonWildfires now dot British Columbia as well as Western Canada suffers from extreme heat. And, drought exacerbated by climate change is occurring on other continents including in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest and in Thailand.

We must not forget that one of the other predictions of climate scientists was more frequent and more severe floods resulting from a speeding up of the hydraulic cycle. In my home state of Michigan, seven inches of rain fell in just a few days recently leading to a declaration of a state of emergency as many areas experienced severe flooding.

When I watched renowned climate scientist James Hansen’s (now prophetic) 1988 testimony before the U.S. Senate, I was at the time uncharacteristically hopeful that the world’s governments would do something to prevent what I perceived as a very, very dangerous threat to human civilization. Surely, the world’s elite would now act with haste before it was too late, I thought. (For a brief review of Hansen’s eerily accurate forecasts 30 years after his testimony, check out this video.)

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