Sandy: Saddened by Damages; Surprised You are Shocked
I am saddened by the damage and loss of life but am truly surprised you are so shocked by the extent and severity.
Haven’t you noticed hurricanes, cyclones and other storms have become more powerful in recent years? And that extreme weather events like record flooding, droughts and heat waves are happening more frequently? In 2012 extreme weather records were broken all over the US. In 2011 there were 14 separate billion-dollar-plus weather disasters in the US including flooding, hurricanes and tornados.
Did you notice my relatives? They’ve been all over the planet. In the past 20 years extreme events have had major impacts on developing countries like Bangladesh, Burma and Honduras that have suffered most in terms of damages and lives lost.
Last year, we displaced 38 million people with climate-related disasters such as the flooding in Pakistan and China.
And all this is happening in part because the air and sea have become warmer over the past 50 years. The world has already warmed 0.8C and will rise to least 1.6 C even if emissions of the hundreds of millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from burning coal, oil, and natural gas ended today. (There is a time lag in the climate system. The current global warming is result of CO2 emissions from the 1950s-1970s)
You should bear that reality in mind. There is twice as much warming to come, guaranteed. I’m sorry to say it may be too late to do enough to prevent threefold (3X) or even fourfold (4X) increase in the current warming.
Canada is 1.3 C warmer today than 50 years ago. It will be 4C warmer in a few decades. Temperatures in the US will not be far behind.
You can dial down the thermostat if you really want to.