Innocence lost - extreme weather is going crazy this summer

Devastatingly deadly wildfires, floods and heatwaves have become the new normal weather. Climate change makes extreme weather worse and yet climate change is rarely attributed as a key factor to explain these events by politicians and the media. Something is not right here.

“How can you be so sure it’s climate change causing the extreme weather” the climate skeptic or someone else, critical to facts the don’t rely on, might ask. That is truly a valid question. One way to answer that is to in return use a counter-question: “How often do you get to be 100 per cent sure about anything, let alone what weather tomorrow and the climate next decade will be like?”. We can merely use climate models tand guess with some level of accuracy and learn from our past with an honest attempt to make a system change. The Guardian has written about recent weather extremes in the article “The big heatwave: from Algeria to the Arctic. But what’s the cause?”.

If we are truly facing serious risks, even existential threat, as UN Secretary-General António Guterres puts it in this video, who then gets to decide if we take on that risk in a globalized world with ever dispersed climate effects?

Climate change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment. We face a direct existential threat. Climate Change is moving faster than we are . /../ Let there be no doubt about the urgency of the crisis. — António Guterres , UN Secretary-General, at the 2019 Climate Change Summit, September 2018

We should acknowledge that the risk will be unevenly distributed as time and place and effects lag behind. Human caused climate change will increase and young people and those not yet born will most likely pay with an decreased quality of life. We already see a worrying effect and increasingly more people are undernourished in the world as food production gets hit by extreme weather and food distribution is unfair. The Guardian dealt with the fact of that 2017 was third annual rise in undernourished people in the world in the article “Global hunger levels rising due to extreme weather, UN warns”. Nota bene: that was before the record.droughts and fires of 2018, making it possible this worrisome development continue.

The same goes for how much to blame climate change for this years “extreme weather” and “natural disasters”. What it boils down to is eventually this:

Would you bet your life on that recent extreme weather events aren’t partly man made? The stakes are high and your life may depend on the answer you come up with. — Mårten Thorslund, WeDontHaveTime.org

As we have experienced this year your life and everyone else’s is already at stake. We should all act accordingly.

And here is the point: we don’t have time to wait. If the above was a directed to you and your personal health or that of someone near and dear and 9 out of 10 doctors recommended a certain cure, surely you would consider it!? 
We should do the same when it comes to climate change too.

Nature doesn’t care what we think or do about climate change. As long as we keep ignoring the signs, extracting and burning fossil fuels, the disasters will be more intense and rage more frequently and violently. This is what we mean by the perils of the climate crisis.

Most societies teach critical thinking in grade school, in our workplace and it has been ‘universal law’ from Ancient Greece onwards. Let’s apply this way of thinking on media and politicians’ ability to honestly cover the climate crisis as it unfolds before our eyes. — Mårten Thorslund, WeDontHaveTime.org

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see that climate change has human fingerprints all over the killed, wounded, missing, misplaced of the 2018 extreme weather. Guilt by association is a bitch if you are working for or are depending on the oil industry. But if the alternative is a slow and painful death we may reconsider turning our blind eye on facts and climate warning signals.

The joke is actually on us. The blazingly hot Earth is the smoking gun held by us collectively for not acting as adults and really listening to the scientific community. Had we seen “extreme” and “natural” disasters as Mother Earths’ warning shots I think we’d treat them differently .— Mårten Thorslund, WeDontHaveTime.org

In this long read we will focus on the weather anomalies, floods and wildfires of 2018. We will cover examples that may have been worsened or created by climate change. We will only scratch the surface since the list of events is vast.

If we are seeing only the tip of the iceberg, that means we leave out many extreme weather tragedies and casualties because of limited time and space to cover all havoc of 2018. We are sorry for that and hope that you will contribute to the truth by sharing yours with us using the hashtag #WeDontHaveTime. This way you become a change agent posting true climate stories demanding climate justice. — Mårten Thorslund, WeDontHaveTime.org

We hope that this article will provide you with a tool when browsing social and mainstream media, meeting climate skeptics and when talking to and listening to politicians and leaders. Value and judge their competence and behaviour and use your own soft power for progress. Our lives depend on it.


JAPAN, Western prefectures, July 2018

First we will look into one of the most recent and dramatic catastrophes. 
Last weeks heavy rainfall in western Japan created the worst flood in decades. Worst hit was the Okayama prefecture and the area around Hiroshima. Officials say at least 179 are confirmed dead and 70 are still missing. It’s unlikely that fewer than 200 will have died in the tragedy making it the worst in the country since 1982. Over 8 million people are still evacuated, thousands are injured and there will probably be many billions worth of financial losses. As we have reported on Twitter, extremely heavy rain created floods that drowned many and devastated everything in it’s way: “Between July 2–9 parts of southern Japan received up to 600–800 mm and locally over 800 mm of rainfall.”. (WeDontHaveTime/NASA)

“Between July 2–9 parts of southern Japan received up to 600–800 mm and locally over 800 mm of rainfall.”

In this July 6th video the wild waters of floods before the worst effects hit is seen. The raw power of water from the days before the massive land slides and floods was caught on video what seems to be out of curiosity. Nobody and certainly not the this photographer knew how bad it would turn out to be:

The BBC reports: “Some 8.63m people across 23 prefectures have been ordered to evacuate. Thousands are currently living in temporary shelter in school halls and gymnasiums.”

This video shows the vast and devastated areas and a rescue crew saving three people and a dog.

“We’ve never experienced this kind of rain before,” a weather official told the BBC.

The same message echo in eye witness by local survivors and the reporter in these two al Jazeera videos, this sort of rain was unheard of, until now:

While humans and dogs are often saved but the story is different with other wild animals. This somewhat surprising four-legged victim was caught on a roof top (!) after the July Japan floods. On a more serious note many other animals fail to find shelter from floods and face a gruesome death.

A horse on roof as a result of the Japan July 2018 floods. Photography: AFP

What do we mean by “natural” in natural disasters?

How “natural” is this recent Japanese flooding and other natural disasters? It’s true that we see more severe, prolonged, intensified natural disasters and extreme weather as a result of climate change. Put differently: human (carbon) footprint, i.e. human emitted greenhouse gases are all over the biosphere and atmosphere. There is currently now way to prove that this flood or some other wildfire was caused to a certain percentage by human caused climate change. But there are enough smoking guns en experts that point in the same direction: us humans.

USA, California, July 2018

Many places in Southern California have experiences more than 110 degrees Farenheit (43 degrees Celsius) in the recent week setting new and scary hot records of up to 118 F (47,8 degrees Celsius).

Katharine Hayhoe is an American climate spokesperson who on her Facebook page posted how recent Californian heat has human fingerprints all over it: “For the California heat wave this past week, my colleague Michael Wehner estimates that climate change increased the SEVERITY of the heat wave by about 2–3F, and increased the CHANCES of the heat wave by a factor of about 20 to 50.” (Hayhoe, K.)

NASA Earth Observatory has shown how the subsequent wildfires lit up the San Francisco area by night: “Thick smoke streamed southwest toward San Francisco Bay, where many people woke up to unusually dark skies and peculiar views of orange clouds and fog. Significant amounts of smoke appeared to be drifting above the cloud layer.” (NASA)

NASA Earth Observatory image of forest fire in the San Francisco area, at daytime July 1 2018. Photography: NASA Earth Observatory, Joshua Stevens, using MODIS data from LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response and Suomi NPP VIIRS data from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).
NASA Earth Observatory image of forest fire in the San Francisco area, at night time July 1 2018. Photography: NASA Earth Observatory, Joshua Stevens, using MODIS data from LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response and Suomi NPP VIIRS data from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).

Humans thus change Earth’s climate, making “extreme weather” and “natural disasters” worse, creating the ‘new normal’.

In Los Angeles many places hit an all-time-high of 109 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius) by far beating the old record from 1992 the CNN reports. This makes people jack the air conditioner and other ways of cooling themselves that increases energy and electricity usage. Another bad record was thereby crushed: “The peak energy demand level on Friday was 6,256 megawatts, LADWP said, a new record for a day in July, beating out the previous record of 6,165 megawatts, set on July 24, 2006.” (CNN).

USA, Midwest/Western States, June-July 2018

There are many wildfires, currently the largest one in Nevada/Martin Fire(July 5 — ongoing), Utah/Dollar Ridge (July 1 — ongoing), Utah/Trail Mountain Fire (June 6 — ongoing but under control) and Colorado (June 28 — ongoing) and more.

Trail Mountain Fire, Utah, USA, June 16 2018. Photography: U.S. Forest Service. Original image: http://wildfiretoday.com/2018/06/16/more-moderate-weather-affects-trail-mountain-fire-in-utah/

In this map of serious fires that are right now ravaging across the US, the damage seems distant, yet obvious. As in the image from Trail Mountain Fire above. 
You should be able to track all current US wildfires in this map. And this one shows the development from 1980 to 2017 in the Western states:

The number of large wildfires in the West is rising, climate change is playing a role. Graphic: Climate Central.

The ever increasing number of wildfires in the US is a major hazard and a potent climate threat. Here is one showing wildfires in Alaska since 1990. Only last year 5,1 million acres of forest burned down in Alaska. One of many alarming facts about the burning forest is described as:

The number of large wildfires (larger than 1,000 acres) suddenly increased in the 1990s, and the 2000s saw nearly twice as many large wildfires as the 1950s and 60s. (Voiland. A, NASA)

Do follow the NASA Soumi NNP Satellite, specialized in detecting extreme wether, natural disasters, air pollution and other effects by human activity.

CANADA, Quebec Province, June and July 2018

Some 70 casualties have been linked to the heatwave that plagued the Quebec-province in northeastern parts of Canada in July. NPR reports record high temperatures of around 95 degrees Farenheit (35 degrees Celsius). The heat comes from what can only be described as devastating for the climate, namely anomalously high temperatures in the Arctic, as reported by Quartz:

Last week, Nick Humphrey, a meteorologist living in Nebraska, wrote on his blog that temperatures rose to 90°F (32°C) in northern Siberia — some 40°F warmer than average for this time of year. (Quartz)

In the Quebec/Canadian tragedy, CBC News have actually made the connection to climate change that we ask for in mainstream media. In fact, climate change was mentioned, but more in the sense of future casualties, rather than that the 70 dead partly as a consequence of climate change:

“The number of hot days in Montreal is expected to soar in the coming years as a result of climate change. According to one projection model, between 1976 and 2005, Montreal had an average of eight days a year above 30 C. By 2050, that could climb to 50 days a year.” (CBC News).

Wildfires started in the area as a result of the heat. Some 200 firefighters fought to keep the fire under control for some weeks but a reinforcement from both the US and the rest of Canada to a total of 600 professional firefighters was granted in order to keep the wildfires from spreading further as CBC News reports: “There have been 357 fires in the province so far this year, up from an average of 276.” (CBC News)

Siberia, RUSSIA, May 2018

In May of 2018 a huge number of wildfires raged across Siberia, as Quartz reports .The NASA Earth Observatory in June 2018 reported that: “A large number of intense fires have spread across far eastern Russia this spring, shrouding the skies, roads, and forests in smoke. In just six days between May 7–13, 2018, Russian firefighters beat back 693 fires in 40 territories.”. This NASAS satellite photo can perhaps show a bit of the scale of these fires.

Overlooking one huge Siberian burning area from afar in space, May 7 2018

Siberia, RUSSIA, Summer of 2016 and 2017

To put the situation in Siberia into perspective we need to look back at the summers of 2016 and 2017 (and further). The reason to show extra concern towards Siberia is that forest fires in Siberia indicate something else. It’s another sort of smoking gun.

Siberia is located in the Arctic that holds huge deposits of methane beneath its’ land, lakes, ponds, rivers, and eventually even ocean surface. As Siberia heats up by climate change the risk for large scale methane leakage increases. The fires are yet another example of that this may happen.

The last two years have been very dry and Siberia has experienced two or three times that of the global average temperature increase. Locally, Siberia has recently experiences up to 7 degrees Fahrenheit over the global average according to Brian Kahn, senior editor and writer about climate change: 
“The region where fires are burning has been a hot spot on the global temperature map. Since November, temperatures have been up to 7°F above average with some months far exceeding that mark. Climate change has been driving up temperatures around the world, but the northern tier of the planet has seen temperatures rise twice as fast.” (Kahn, B./Climate Central).

Brian Kahn of Climate Center also reported this NASA Earth Observatory image of Siberia in June of 2017 saying: “Those forests are burning at a rate unheard of in at least 10,000 years due largely to rising temperatures.”

Satellite image June 23, 2017 shows the extent of wildfires burning across Siberia.
Photography:
NASA Earth Observatory.

He concluded that: “According to NASA Earth Observatory, scientists are also investigating signs that the fires were burning so intensely, they altered the local weather”. (Kahn, B./Climate Central).

The Siberian heat anomalies were pretty extreme in 2016 too, as seen in the image below from NASA Earth Observer:

NASA, Earth Observer, Temperature anomalies of Siberia, June 2016.

Guadalajara, MEXICO, June 2018

Mexico has recently experienced a tropical storm, turned Hurricane Bud, that hit Mexico’s Guadalajara region on June 10–11 as seen in here in pictures and the video below. Heavy rainfall of 65 mm in 24 hours flooded a railway tunnel and lead to a dramatic escape seen in this video:

Video by @Jnlomeli

Chittagong, BANGLADESH, June 2018

In Bangladesh floods are common especially during monsoon season. Bangladesh are somewhat used to fierce weather as main parts of their inhabitants live near to a great river basin and to the Pacific Ocean.

Bangladesh is one of the countries in the world most affected by climate change. So when the monsoon June rains created severe floods and landslides it’s already “the new normal”. The Chittagong district area has recently seen many displaced from their homes, two casualties, and hurting of the already displaced minority of the Rhohingy people of which one child was critically injured as as Dhaka Tribune reports.

The Manu river was flooded up to 175 centimeters above the danger level and nearby Dhalai over 52 centimeters over danger level reports The Daily Star.

People and cattle in Hathazari are suffering after heavy rain and floods near the upazila Gumanmardan area, June 13, 2018 Photography: Focus Bangla

Ouargla, ALGERIA, July 2018

We have already mentioned Brian Kahn reporting about climate change, heatwaves and wildfires in Siberia, Russia. Here he writes for Earther letting us in on a glimpse of the northern parts of Africa from last week, mainly Algeria that experienced: “Weather reports from Ouargla, a city of 190,000 in Algeria, indicate the mercury cracked 51.3 degrees Celsius (123.4 degrees Fahrenheit) on Thursday. That looks to be the highest reliable temperature record recorded in any month for all of Africa.” (Kahn. B/Climate Channel).

As we all know weather and climate is not the same thing. Kahn finalizes his piece: “Is this heat wave a symptom of climate change? Heat waves have happened in the past, and some tough guy jabronis might pull out the ol’ “where was climate change back then” talk. But numerous studies have shown that climate change plays a role in amplifying them and making them more common. Don’t listen to the jabronis.”

SWEDEN, May-July 2018

We wouldn’t be true to our global yet local ambition to cover and combat climate change had we not looked to our origin. We Don’t Have Time is founded and operates in Sweden. Most people with an interest in Sweden and climate change would expect the weather to be cold or moderate. 
Not so much this year.

Swedish climate infused drought creates a “paradise lost”

Sven-Erik Bucht, Swedish Minister for Rural Affairs lead the triad of Swedish officials that seemingly got down on their bare knees asking the EU for various kinds of emergency support for farmers. The reason for that is that climate change created all-time-high temperatures in May with few days of extremely little rain for the latter part of spring and summer up to today. This has killed major parts of grass plains that are used for fodder. Swedish farmers don’t feed livestock, other than pigs and chickens, anything but this sort of fodder. So since rain has stopped and heat has soared, we face a catastrophe.

Mother Nature is sending back checks of water scarcity and carbon overload.

LRF, The Federation of Swedish Farmers, pictured the problems of the 2018 record drought like this.

The record drought continues to lay stress on many land- and forest owners and it will inflict damages on the Swedish economy, people will loose their jobs, the welfare of forest owners, land owners, farmers and animals will decrease as well as put additional strain on the Swedish food system that is already on a low level of self-sufficiency. It should therefore be seen as good timing that Sweden’s Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin addressed this in a talk recently, listen to it here in English by Radio Sweden.

In this interview (Radio Sweden) a devastated Palle Bergström, the President of the Federation of Swedish Farmers (LRF) estimates 50 to 70 per cent of all cereal and oil seeds in Sweden will be lost in 2018. And no rain is in sight which makes somewhere along 70 percent harvest loss very likely.

Sheep on the drought-hit Fårö island, Sweden, July 10, 2018. Photography: Susanne W. Lamm/Epoch Times

Many farmers now have to decide if they will continue their business at all or close down. Many dairy and meat farms will be forced to mass slaughter as a result, something we recently reported about, as did Epoch Times. And there are 6 month long queues to the slaughter house because of it. The damage to the agriculture sector is really severe.

Financially the cost for Swedish society will be at least 3 billion SEK, (around 340 million USD), a number that Bergström estimates higher (Radio Sweden).

Still, both officials representatives (Bucht and Bergström) and most of the Swedish media fail to connect the dots. Recognizing climate change as a driving force behind the 2018 drought seem too hard to handle for many.

The record drought is of course not unique for Sweden in Northern Europe. Germany, a huge producer of cereals, meat and agriculture is badly hit too. As are the three Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia end Lithuania. Market prices on food and fodder will fluctuate as summer scarcity (hay, fodder, dairy) and then losses due to demand and system overload.

We are looking at a regional food crisis in the making. 2018 should be named ‘The year of climate and food insecurity’.

But wait, there is till more..

Swedish wildfires and the effects on people, forest and bioeconomy

Sweden is a land of forests. As the largest and government-owned forest company Sveaskog puts it: “Little Sweden is a big forest country. More than half the total land area of the country, 57% or 23 million hectares, is covered in forest.” (Sveaskog).

The Right to Public Access, is a unique right to roam freely in the Swedish countryside. Photography: Visit Sweden

In Sweden we take great pride in our forests and the countryside and the industries related to it. Swedish steel and Swedish forestry, are pilars that laid the foundation for the nation’s wealth and even our national identity.

330 000 Swedes own a plot of forest. And it’s not only for the richest few. Anything from really small lots owned by private persons, less than an acre (1 acre = 0,4 hectar) to huge private lots (that amount to the largest group with 50 per cent of all Swedish forest) and those owned by privately-held companies (31 per cent) and government-owned (14 per cent). (Source: Skogsstyrelsen, Skogsstatistisk årsbok 2014).

For many Swedes being in the forest is also a way to do outdoorsy activities and to connect to our cultural identity and to Nature. Our ‘freedom to roam’ is multilateral, open for all, and one of the advantages that comes with living in Sweden. Read about it here. These rights cannot be used in the summer of 2018. When we want to use them the most is during the summer holiday season to camp, hike, sport and to pick wild mushrooms and berries.

2018 we were warned, or not allowed to barbecue outdoors, water our land and yards, or hike like we used to. It’s like stealing candy from kids. It may be easily done, but they will scream and shout. Such restraints have been more frequently recurring in the last decades but 2018 was the year when the large masses opened their eyes. Innocence was lost and we started to see a pattern. — Mårten Thorslund, WeDontHaveTime.org

The forest industry also represents 11.3 percent of Swedish GDP. The stakes are high. If we cannot sustain one of our fundamental industries or provide food for the population for more than a few days, we are at risk losing more than just our national pride.

Something has happened in the Swedish forest lately. And I’m not talking about the ‘King of the forest’ — the moose. No, in recent years Sweden has witnessed more and worsened wildfires. It was very dry in 2017 and ever since mid May 2018 lack of rain and overload of heat struck — the warnings were clear. And the wildfires started to spread once again. On July 15 Radio Sweden reported an “elevated risk” for forest fires in almost the entire country. This should send shockwaves to the powerful Swedish forest industry. Perhaps you wonder why?

Firstly, the industry is rightly being blamed for causing the wildfires, in a tragic alliance, I might add, with climate change.

Secondly, because they cannot plant new trees the way the have planned in the dry weather of 2018. Many, many millions of tree plants have since the 2018 drought started been destroyed. Because forest machinery is needed to plant them they are not allowed in dry forests because of the high risk for additional fires.

Thirdly, together with increasing and new sorts of pests that will hit Sweden when climate heats up, it may affect the Swedish forest industry.

Fourthly, It threatens the transition to a renewable energy system and the bioeconomy. The importance of which in the region is described here by the European Union and should not be underestimated.

A forest fire near Oskarshamn in July 2018. Photography: Andreas Hillergren/TT

It’s clear that sparks caused by forest machinery is what set a forest on fire in May 2018 that Radio Sweden reported (in English) and also covered by The Local. The same thing triggered the 2014 largest wildfire in the county of Västmanland. That became the worst wildfire in Sweden for many years.

‘The fire of Västmanland’ raged for two weeks in July and August and the fire costed the Swedish society at least 1 billion SEK as SVT reports (around 100 million USD). 1,000 people were evacuated, as were 500 animals and one woman age 30 died as Radio Sweden reports (in English).

With the 2005 Cyclone Gudrun in memory that devastated large areas of Swedish forest industry, made people go bankrupt, even committing suicide, it’s not hard to connect the dots: it will happen again, sooner rather than later.

In the summer of 2018 Europe got burned

This summer the EU too felt the heat and got sunk in water, like never before in modern history. Greece and Sweden were among the worst hit.

This is bad news for Europe

In his Article “Just How Bad Is the European Heat Wave?” for City Lab, Feargus O’Sullivan who is a frequent writer for The Guardian, The Financial Times and NextCity wrote this about the Greece Mati Attica wildfires of July 23 2019 and the Swedish Arctic drought and wildfires:

Many compare this to the heat wave of 1976 — a weather event so intense it’s been held responsible for germinating the British punk movement. — Feargus O’Sullivan

This video by drones shows the aftermath by Up Drone and is vivid enough for most of us:

10 minute video showing the devastation of Mati Attica efter the July 23 wildfire. Photography: Up Drones

European floods to increase by seventy fold study finds

FloodList finds reason to believe European losses to floods are to five fold in 2050. Hungary and Italy are among the countries that will feel the worst hit:
“The European Environment Agency recently published a report on future flooding in Europe: “Floodplain management: reducing flood risks and restoring healthy ecosystems”, where researchers examined data on floods dating from 1980 to 2010, and found significant increases in flooding — which will only get worse as time goes on.

The study assessed the data, researchers have predicted that by 2050, flood losses will have increased five fold. The five fold increase in occurrence was attributed to climate change and increasing value of land around the floodplains, and urban development.”

FloodList also finds that: “The study expects flooding instances to increase by seventeen fold by 2080. More rain will fall as the years pass because of climate change, which will contribute to about one fifth of future flood damage.
//
The major share of this increase (70–90%) is estimated to be attributable to socioeconomic development as the economic value of the assets in floodplains increases, and the remainder (10–30%) to climate change.” (FloodList)

Further reading

The scientific consensus on how to track global and regional change in Earth’s temperature short-term (think years and decades) is to measure the level of carbon dioxide, CO2, in Earths atmosphere. To understand the development over a greater time span, long-term, we use preserved ice cores from the poles (think Antarctica), dating back some 800,000 years. In those there are frozen air bubbles containing CO2 from ancient time, that is preserved unspoiled. 
It’s a bit like knowing a tree’s age based on its tree rings. Learn more about ice-cores here.

For short-term and recent years (1958 onwards) measuring carbon dioxide is done in research center based in at Mauna Loa, Hawaii. This way of measure originates from the work by Charles David Keeling. He created what we nowdays call the Keeling Kurve. Read more about it and see it’s current status as well as previous development here (Scripps Inst./US San Diego). Another sad record was set with 411,31 ppm in may 2018.

Climatology is complex and temperature varies over time and CO2 is not the sole explanation for Earths climate. However, scientific consensus is that human activity have altered the level of ppm from 280 ppm pre-industrialized level to today’s record + 400 level which puts Earth’s climate system out of the balance that previously was a fact for hundreds of thousands of years. PPM is short for parts per million.

It is our way of knowing instead of guessing, how CO2 and temperatures evolves over recent time. It has been described as: “It is a scientific icon, which belongs, some claim, alongside E=mc2 and the double helix.” (BBC) Read more about it here (UCSD).

Floodlist is a good up-to-date source of floods. They even have a special section for climate related issues.

NASA Earth Observer is the best source bringing real time images to watch out for regarding forest/wildfires and other extreme weather and geological activity.

NOAA:s Climate at a Glance provide all those interested in surface temperature anomalies from 1880–2014 where you can tweak time period, region and more. This way you are in control of what and when “the new normal” climate may have happened (hint: around 1976).

NOAA:s Climate at a Glance therefore offer for instance a great up-to date overview of the global (land and ocean) average from 1880–2014.

NOAA:s State of the Climate gives you an overview and lets you run your own maps and times series of precipitation and temperature anomalies.

Climate Central is another good way to learn more about climate change with an American and independent journalistic perspective.


The world has subtracted ‘climate cancer’

Today we are somewhat stuck in between two worldviews. The old carbon intensive way is killing us. And the new carbon neutral world that we can actually safely choose just may save us. So, what are we waiting for?

Climate change cannot be met merely by mitigation and slow adaptation. Mitigation is like a temporary cure to the illness without treating the root of the disease. It’s like taking painkillers when you have cancer. It numbs and relieves you for a while but it doesn’t cure the cancer.

If you have lung cancer your doctor will tell you to avoid smoking at all cost. Treating human made climate change is not much more complex than that. We must stop adding carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the Earth’s atmosphere. This is the only way to truly combat climate change. — Mårten Thorslund, WeDontHaveTime.org

It’s actually that simple. And it is the only prospect for prosperity going forward. Because the floods and wildfires will otherwise haunt us and leave nothing but dead hopes and dreams behind.

Or as the meteorologist Erik Holthaus puts it in a tweet:

Basic takeaway here is: Radical change is now inevitable. Either we remake the world economy to work for everyone to keep it in-line with planetary constraints — as quickly as possible, within years — or climate change will do it for us. - Eric Holthaus
@EricHolthaus July 12 tweet: “Basic takeaway here is: Radical change is now inevitable. Either we remake the world economy to work for everyone to keep it in-line with planetary constraints — as quickly as possible, within years — or climate change will do it for us.”

On July 5 2018 Holthaus also wrote an article on Grist with the header: “We’ve entered the era of ‘fire tsunamis’. (Holthaus. E. Grist). Perhaps that is true, but I’d like to add that while tsunamis are freak accidents, climate change is really us being the freaks causing these “accidents”.

But we can change. Humans have evolved over time. We are homo sapiens, the “thinking man”. We can choose another path. — Mårten Thorslund, WeDontHaveTime.org
‘The thinking man’ needs more thinking, climate action and less chaos. Photography and creation by Engin Akyurt

Action and Climate leadership in UN:s Security Council

Like most stories this one urgently need a silver lining. Thankfully there is one.

It’s with a sense of pride that I report that for the first time since 2011 and the third time ever, another Swede brought up the subject of climate change to ‘the tower of power’ in the United Nations Security Council. On July 11 2018 under the chair by Swedish Foreign minister Margot Wallström, the UN Security Council had #ClimateandSecurity as main topic.

In her briefing after the talks, Wallström summed up in this video the need for action to fight climate change. The driving force behind future and current social conflicts is already water and food scarcity, said Wallström. With the Lake Chad area as a warning example for the world and for the already plagued Sahel region, Wallström said the conflicts are interlinked with climate change and fresh water scarcity.

Local food insecurity and humanitarian problems provide the feeding ground for militant islamist group Boko Haram that use it when recruiting its’ fighters and to destroy the livelihood for people in the region. The testimony by Mohammed Bila, a Remote Sensing Expert with the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) to the UN says it all:

The environmental challenges facing the Lake Chad basin are interconnected to the challenges of climate change faced by the region of the Sahel of Africa. (Bila, M./UN)
An informal IDP camp in Dikwa (Borno state, Nigeria) where 191 households are settled. Their village, Kaza, has been occupied by Boko Haram for about two years. Photography: OCHA/Yasmina Guerda

In her July 11 briefing Wallström finalized with this important quote:

/../This [water scarcity driven by climate change] will be the most important driver of existing conflicts and wars in the world. We will see, very soon we will see more climate refugees and it will affect all of us. So their destiny is also our destiny. — Margot Wallström, FM of Sweden, chair of UN Security Council, July 11 2018

Do watch and share the video as well as this blog post to demonstrate your own personal soft power and demand more of the leadership on climate policy that Wallström and the UN Security Council have proven on the matter.

The Silver Lining

Fellow followers of WeDontHaveTime.org, 
Let’s start working together to spike a new way of reproducing messages and testimonies of climate change as being ‘here and now’ and show its’ severe implications for people, planet and prosperity on Earth. In this new way the people participate with media outlets, politicians and business leaders and put pressure on those that need to more honestly cover the stories of how climate change is forming our lives.

Use your common sense and analytical abilities to challenge ‘climate muted’ or ‘climate skeptic’ media outlets. Fail to “connect the dots” on climate change will trigger and worsen wars, conflicts, extreme weather and natural disasters. Therefore: #WeDontHaveTime to wait.

Alternative facts should have no place in our societies. Especially as they threaten peace and security that should be unilateral for all people on Earth. — Mårten Thorslund, WeDontHaveTime.org
Lake Chad is disappearing rapidly, making it a surging catastrophe in the making. It’s seen here from space the dried-up lake’s basin in the Sahel region “/../ or what’s left of it”, as put by the photographer Stuart Ranking. Copyright: CC license: CC BY-NC 4.0

Written by: Mårten Thorslund, CMO of WeDontHaveTime.org. See my Climate Resolution here.


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