Climate change continues

To the Journal editor:

According to Copernicus, the European Union’s climate change monitoring service, April 2024 ended up as the warmest fourth month on record in terms of global average temperature, the eleventh month in a row that this record has been set!

Additionally, May 2023 through April 2024 was the warmest 12-month stretch on record in terms of global average temperature since at least 1880 as the concentration of the atmospheric greenhouse gas carbon dioxide that traps heat near the Earth’s surface reached an all time high level recently (425 parts per million in March 2024 as reported by NASA).

The World Meteorological Organization also reports the time from 2015 through 2023 was the warmest 9-year period since at least the 1880s. This recent warming has caused record high sea surface temperatures/sea level rise as well as record low Antarctic sea ice, according to the WMO.

The great majority of the most qualified scientists in my field of atmospheric science blame human-caused greenhouse gas emissions–much of which come from burning dirty fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal — for this steady increase in temperature. Other short-sighted, irresponsible human actions like mass deforestation have also contributed to this global warming.

A September 2022 WMO report stated that human-caused global warming/climate change has caused weather-related disasters like flooding and drought to increase fivefold over the last 50 years, resulting in an average of 115 fatalities and $200 million damage every day around the world.

The WMO warns that unless humans reduce the burning of the dirty fossil fuels as well as the deforestation responsible for this climate change, these disastrous impacts will only get worse in the future. Another advantage of moving away from fossil fuels is that the reduction in demand for oil will punish the economies of dangerous countries like Russia and Iran.

In fact, The Mining Journal has printed several articles recently highlighting the impacts this changing climate has had on our planet. In the May 17 issue, an article featured how severe drought across Canada related to climate change has caused an increase in wildfires there this year and last. The associated smoke, some of which drifted into our country at times (including over the Great Lakes), has posed a health risk to residents in both Canada and the U.S.

Another article printed in the May 15 issue highlighted that deadly heat observed in Asia during late April was made 45 times more likely due to climate change, according to the World Weather Attribution group of scientists. Friederike Otto, the study author and a climate scientist at Imperial College in London, stated “People suffered and died when April temperatures soared in Asia. If humans continue to burn fossil fuels, the climate will continue to warm, and vulnerable people will continue to die.”

If we don’t take the necessary action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow this dangerous climate change, the significant weather-related impacts listed above as well as events like the flooding that struck the Houghton area on Father’s Day 2018 and the lack of snow that did not allow the Marquette Mountain ski hill to open frequently this winter will become more likely.

To encourage our elected officials to take the necessary action to address human-caused climate change and help protect our area and economy, I urge your readers to go to the Citizens’ Climate Lobby website at https://citizensclimatelobby.org/get-loud-take-action and follow the Write Congress link there to urge our congressional representatives to support policies like carbon pricing to encourage a transition to clean, renewable energy sources.

Readers can also contact our congressional representatives by visiting their websites or calling 202-224-6221 for Sen. Peters, 202-224-4822 for Sen. Stabenow and 202-225-4735 for Rep. Bergman. You can also visit citizensclimatelobby.org to sign up for future online actions.


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