Timeline of recent environmental concerns
Flooding on the U.S. East coast.
The world's greatest polluters, the
and China, ratify the 2015
Paris Climate Agreement.
Pres. Obama: trends are "terrifying."
A flooded county road
2016-SEP: East-coast flooding in the U.S. caused by climate change:
On SEP-03, Justin Gillis, wrote an article for the New York Times, subtitled:
"Scientists’ warnings that the rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States’ coastline are no longer theoretical." 7
Hopefully, this subtitle will captivate many people's attention.
He cites four indicators:
- Vertical rulers have been installed beside low-lying roads in Norfolk, VA so that when the tidal floods cover the roads, drivers will be able to determine if the water is too deep to drive through.
- Access to the town of Tybee Island, GA, is now routinely cut off from the mainland several times a year by costal flooding.
- Fort Lauderdale, FL is spending millions of dollars to fix battered roads and drains. They now have giant vacuum trucks to suck saltwater from the streets.
- Miami Beach, FL has a $400 million plan to raise streets, install pumps, and elevate sea walls. 7
Gillis concludes that past warnings by scientists:
"... that the accelerating rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States’ coastline ... are no longer theoretical: The inundation of the coast has begun. The sea has crept up to the point that a high tide and a brisk wind are all it takes to send water pouring into streets and homes.
Federal scientists have documented a sharp jump in this nuisance flooding — often called 'sunny-day flooding' — along both the East Coast and the Gulf Coast in recent years. The sea is now so near the brim in many places that they believe the problem is likely to worsen quickly.
Shifts in the Pacific Ocean mean that the West Coast, partly spared over the past two decades, may be hit hard, too."
William V. Sweet is a research scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, specializing in costal inundaion. He said:
"Once impacts become noticeable, they’re going to be upon you quickly. It’s not a hundred years off -- it’s now." 7
In an associated graphic titled "A Sharp Increase In ‘Sunny Day’ Flooding," by Jonathan Corum, data is listed for several cities on the U.S. East Coast. Between 1950 and 2015, the mean sea level rise, in inches, has been:
- Slightly over 5 inches in Boston, MA. The number of days per year of nuisance flooding reached a peak of over 10 days after 2008.
- Slightly over 5 inches at The Battery in New York City, NY; nuisance flooding reached a peak of over 10 days after 2008.
- About 13 inches at Atlantic City, NJ; nuisance flooding reached a peak of about 30 days after 2008.
- About 11 inches at Annapolis, MD; nuisance flooding reached a peak of about 66 days after 2008.
- About 11 inches at Norfolk, VA; nuisance flooding reached a peak of about 12 days after 2008.
- About 10 inches at Wilmington, NC; nuisance flooding reached a peak of about 80 days after 2008.
- Slightly over 10 inches at Charleston, SC; nuisance flooding reached a peak of about 35 days after 2008.
- About 6 inches at Miami Beach, FL; nuisance flooding reached a peak of about 18 days in 2015. 8
2016-SEP-03: U.S. and China ratify the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement:
The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. President Barack Obama (R), and Chinese President Xi Jinping (C), met in advance of the G20 Summit. The U.S. and China formally ratified the 2015-DEC Paris Agreement to reduce the rate of emissions in their countries that are causing global climate warming. 180 nations have now signed the agreement to reduce their emission of greenhouse gasses in order to try to keep global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F). However, 55 nations whose combined emission of greenhouse gasses is in excess of 55% of the world's total emission must take the additional step of ratifying the agreement. With the U.S. and China on board, 25 nations have so far ratified the agreement. Their combined emmisions total about 38% of the total world emissions.
Senior Obama adviser Brian Deese said:
"The signal of the two large emitters taking this step together and taking it early, far earlier than people had anticipated a year ago, should give confidence to the global communities and to other countries that are working on their climate change plans, that they too can move quickly and will be part of a global effort." 13
Mattlan Zackhras, minister-in-assistance to the president of the Marshall Islands, said:
"Today's announcement is the strongest signal yet that what we agreed in Paris will soon be the law of the land. With the two biggest emitters ready to lead, the transition to a low-emissions, climate-resilient global economy is now irreversible." 13
The Paris Agreement has impacted the presidential elections in the U.S. The Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, strongly supports it, but the Republican Candidate, Donald Trump, has said that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese government. He promised to abandon the agreement if he is elected. However, his position appears to have flip-flopped more recently.
2016-SEP-08: President Obama: "The trends are 'terrifying':
While visiting the Marine Corps Base in Paradise (a.k.a. Hawaii) President Obama was interviewed by reporters from the New York Times. 9 Referring to scientific data showing evidence of global warming, he said:
"... they're terrifying. What makes climate change difficult is that it is not an instantaneous catastrophic event. It’s a slow-moving issue that, on a day-to-day basis, people don’t experience and don’t see."
He described it as the greatest long-term threat to the world, that is already being seen in droughts, storms, heat waves and flooding. He believes that the efforts that he has made to slow global warming will be credited as his most consequential legacy as president.
Julie Hirschfeld, et. al., writing for the New York Times, said:
"During his seven and a half years in office, a majority of Americans have come to believe 'that climate change is real, that it’s important and we should do something about it.' He enacted rules to cut planet-heating emissions across much of the United States economy, from cars to coal plants. He was a central broker of the Paris Climate Agreement, the first accord committing nearly every country to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 9
More information from later in 2016 is in the next essay.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Justin Gillis, "Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global
Warming, Has Already Begun. Scientists’ warnings that the rise of the sea would eventually
imperil the United States’ coastline are no longer theoretical," New York Times, 2016-SEP-03, at: http://www.nytimes.com/
- Jonathan Corum, "A Sharp Increase In ‘Sunny Day’ Flooding," New York Times, 2016-SEP-03, at: http://www.nytimes.com/
- Margaret Rhodes, "Here’s Where Species Will Flee Because of Global Warming," Wired, 2016-AUG-24, at: https://www.wired.com/
- Julie Hirschfeld, et. al., "Obama on Climate Change: The Trends
Are ‘Terrifying’," New York Times, 2016-SEP-08, at: http://www.nytimes.com/
Copyright © 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2016-SEP-03
Latest update: 2016-SEP-27
Author: B.A. Robinson