The Climate Crisis Must Be the Top Priority

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Everything that dominates the news coverage is important. Everything. From the two Black state representatives who were expelled from the Tennessee House of Representatives, to the documents leaks exposing sensitive foreign policy information. Then there is the Dominion lawsuit against Fox News, the Texas judge trying to ban abortions all across the United States with the decision against abortion medication.

Then there are the various investigations — and one indictment — of ex-President Donald J. Trump. A question we should ask all Trump supporters and voters: “Why does a man who declares himself to be a billionaire need YOUR money to mount a legal defense and/or run for president?” Food for thought … for those intellectually challenged voters.

Ex-President Donald J. Trump In Manhattan courthouse
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Let’s not forget the racism and horror of a minority of U.S. citizens who prefer protecting firearms manufacturers to protection for children that want to attend school safely. Boggles the mind that legally we, the collective we, put the livelihood of gun manufacturers ahead of children … WTF? “Guns don’t kill people … but the right AR-15 makes it easier to kill many people. Gimme one AR-15 with a couple 100-round drum magazines and you betcha, I could whack a bunch of innocent kids.”

This was just in the news: California’s senior senator, Dianne Feinstein, has been absent from the U.S. Senate for health reasons. At 89 she is the oldest senator currently serving — or in her case, not serving. Because she sits on the powerful Judiciary committee Feinstein’s absence is creating problems. Many are calling for her resignation so Governor Gavin Newsom can install someone to serve out Feinstein’s term. Really, it’s time for her to retire.

All of that is important and needs to be addressed, but I read something on the world wide web about climate change, in particular sea level rise. Living as close to the ocean as I am sea level rise is an important topic. How much is it rising on the West Coast, especially Southern California?

There is an article recently published in the Washington Post by Sarah Kaplan about a recent IPCC study — the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Just reading the executive summary of that report sent a chill down my spine. This is just one paragraph (of many) about what is happening now.

San Diego from the bay channel.. The U.S. Navy is making plans to deal with sea level rise
in San Diego and around the world (Tim Forkes)

Coastal ecosystems are already impacted by the combination of SLR, other climate-related ocean changes, and adverse effects from human activities on ocean and land (high confidence). Attributing such impacts to SLR, however, remains challenging due to the influence of other climate-related and non-climatic drivers such as infrastructure development and human-induced habitat degradation (high confidence). Coastal ecosystems, including saltmarshes, mangroves, vegetated dunes and sandy beaches, can build vertically and expand laterally in response to SLR, though this capacity varies across sites (high confidence). These ecosystems provide important services that include coastal protection and habitat for diverse biota. However, as a consequence of human actions that fragment wetland habitats and restrict landward migration, coastal ecosystems progressively lose their ability to adapt to climate-induced changes and provide ecosystem services, including acting as protective barriers (high confidence).”

By the end of this century sea level rise is going to be faster and more devastating to the Gulf Coast of the United States as well as the low areas along the southeastern coast. The Barrier Islands of Georgia and South Carolina will at some point be flooded under water. Miami Beach, which has been swamped by the leading edge of the climate crisis, expects to have two feet of sea level rise by 2060. That’s just 37 years away.

Flooding in La Jolla, CA due to high tides and storms. (Tim Forkes)

Kaplan also points out one of the scarier aspects of the climate crisis. We are likely to blow past the “ambitious” climate target of keeping world temperature rise to less than 1.5° C (2.7° F) in less than 10 years. When that happens, “climate disasters will become so extreme that people will not be able to adapt. Basic components of the Earth system will be fundamentally, irrevocably altered. Heat waves, famines and infectious diseases could claim millions of additional lives by century’s end.”

Global emissions of fossil fuel waste continue to rise globally “,,, and carbon-cutting efforts are wildly insufficient to ward off climate catastrophe.”

Crashing waves change our beaches (Tim Forkes)

Read her article, read some of the IPCC report — then demand our elected officials to do more than they ‘re doing right now.

Miami Beach has been experiencing Biscayne Bay coming up through the storm drains for the past few years. On bright sunny days when there aren’t any storms. So, one of the plans that is being considered is making giant gates to block the bay from the Atlantic Ocean. I kid you not. Read this.

One other option is to raise the roads, buildings, homes etc., by at least a foot. Some people are not very happy with that idea.

Sea Level Rise is accelerating around the world. Here in California the sea level has risen six inches since 1950. Right now climate scientists say the sea level is rising an inch every 10 years, but it’s accelerating so it could be happening faster.

The Pacific Ocean battering Windnsea Beach, taking down the surf shack.
(Tim Forkes)

Here’s something from about the effects of El Niño on California’s sea levels, “In California, sea level rise and flooding can be impacted by El Niño weather events, which cause warmer ocean temperatures in the Pacific Ocean off the West Coast. Because water expands as it warms, El Niño events can raise coastal sea levels for several months. An El Niño also pushes the southern jet stream further south, which increases rainfall in California and causes more frequent and severe floods, landslides, and coastal erosion. El Niño’s impacts are particularly strong in late winter, and bring the most rain to Southern California.

Which is exactly what we have been experiencing up and down the West Coast this winter and spring. It is, in fact, raining as I sit here typing and it has been raining since last evening.

The snow pack is so high and dense California will be under severe flood warnings for the rest of the year. SoCal ski resorts expect to be open through June.

In the past few months 13 people have died because the record snowfalls cut them off from the rest of us.

The Santa Monica Pier: How much has human activity altered the Earth’s ecosystems?
(Tim Forkes)

The climate crisis is no joke. I see all these other issues that must be addressed, but the impending destruction caused by accelerating climate change is the most important existential threat we face.

We need to stop screwing around and start taking much better care of this planet. It’s the only home we have. Not to mention: in a war between humanity and nature, the latter always wins. Always.