This week, global leaders gathered for Climate Week NYC. The summit was the largest of its kind that will be taking place in 2020. This year, they shifted their focus to rebuilding after COVID-19 and …
This week, global leaders gathered for Climate Week NYC. The summit was the largest of its kind that will be taking place in 2020. This year, they shifted their focus to rebuilding after COVID-19 and the pursuit of a net-zero future.
Climate Week NYC also has an events program which allows communities and individuals to engage. These events usually follow ten themes: Clean Energy Transition; Transport and Infrastructure; Industry and Built Environment; Finance, Investment and Jobs; Food and Land Use; Nature and Science; US and International Policy; Youth, Public Mobilization and Justice; Sustainable Travel and Tourism; and Climate Impacts and Adaptation.
While summits happen all the time, it seems Climate Week NYC is more important this year than ever before.
COVID-19 brought our world's economy to an almost complete halt, and while the effects were devastating, the shutdown allowed for the opportunity to think about how we move forward. From the perspective of protecting the environment, how we can limit pollution and try to reverse the consequences of our negligance in the past.
Let's take the wildfires in California for example.
In an article in the Scientific American, it was stated that Climate Scientist Dr. Daniel Swain, who is employed at UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, Swain with UCLA, published a study with other scientists that said climate change has doubled the number of extreme-risk days for California wildfires.
The study said, “... temperatures statewide rose 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit since 1980, while precipitation dropped 30 percent. That doubled the number of autumn days that offer extreme conditions for the ignition of wildfires (Climatewire, April 3).”
It also said heat is predicted to get worse over time, with models suggesting that average state temperatures will rise three degrees fahrenheit by 2050, “ ... unless the world makes sharp cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.”
However, they also say that even with emission cuts, temperatures would still go up two degrees by then.
The study has been met with some push back with Jon Keeley, a senior scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey Western Ecological Research Center, said it failed to show that hotter temperatures were driving wildfires, noting that we should be more concerned with ignition causes, such as the build up of dead vegetation due to the lack of controlled burns.
This extra fuel, and a lack of firefighters at initial attack, are cited as the main causes for the Bobcat fire to burn out of control.
While the scientists study is in no way flawless, the fact alone that average temperatures will continue to rise without us making changes, is in itself a concern.
In a NY Times article a few months ago called “The Great Climate Migration Has Begun, it said that in El Paso, Texas, “Temperatures already top 90 degrees for three months of the year, and by the end of the century it will be that hot one of every two days.”
The time to act is now. We can reverse some of the damage we've caused to the environment if we work together.
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