Stephen Hawking had his own thoughts on Global Warming. Well-known for his theories on black holes and gravity, he once predicted our planet would become a gigantic ball of fire in 2600, and humans would have to colonize other planets, or become extinct. (We won’t have to wait that long.) He died on Wednesday, at the age of 76. The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement attempted to stabilize global temperatures by limiting the warming to below 2.0 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial levels. President Trump decided this was not a worthwhile effort.
A group of researchers have used a global network of tidal gauges and a sea level projection effort to investigate the differences of storm surge frequency, and other variations of extreme sea-level events, using three scenarios: an increase of global temperatures at 1.5, 2.0, and 2.5 C. The researchers concluded that by the year 2150, an increase of 1.5 and 2.0 C would displace 5 million people, which includes 60,000 living on small islands, sending them to the interior of the continents to escape flooding, possibly by moving into the ever-expanding deserts.
By 2025, 8 years from now, 1.8 billion people will suffer from severe water shortages, with two thirds of the world living in water-stressed conditions. It is now feared advancing drought and deserts, and decreasing food supplies. may initiate a tsunami of climate change refugees and migrants. Water scarcity is currently one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. Water scarcity and drought are considered the most extreme and far reaching of all natural catastrophes. They cause short-term and long-term economic problems, and ecological losses.
The impact of global warming has also been felt in mountainous regions. Temperature rise is above average in the mountains, affecting both glaciers and water resources. This has produced retreating glaciers, with an increase in snow avalanches.
Up to 60% of the plants, and as many as 50% of the animals, could disappear from the forests by year 2100, according to a report by the World Wildlife Fund. The study found our planet’s largest forests would lose over half of their plant life, with Climate Change killing most amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds, if the temperature rises over 1.5 degrees.
What can you do? As summer approaches, drive less and bicycle more. Go to the extreme of feeling guilty about driving. Avoid giving your money to the gas companies and auto manufacturers. Just because you’re paying a fortune for your car, insurance, and gas, doesn’t mean you “have” to use it. They don’t deserve your money. They’ve been willing to make huge profits at the expense of our environment, and you. There is absolutely no reason to fund them on a casual basis. Bicycling and walking are a win-win situation, whereas driving provides some short term benefits, while destroying the environment in the long run. Or, you could be like Trump, and only think in the short-term, while supporting politicians who claim Global Warming/Climate Change doesn’t exist.