Thursday May 24th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing post will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials)😊. Here is today’s main climate change related topic:
Health of the Amazon
As most know the huge Amazon tropical forests have often been described as the “planet’s lungs,” responsible for converting a large amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into oxygen, as much as 20% by some estimates, holding in check runaway global warming. In my opinion nations from South America, not the U.S. from North America; China or India from Asia, or any of the nations from Europe, need to actively do something about climate change more than any other continent . Support for Brazil, Ecuador, Columbia and others in their struggle to preserve rain forests need to come from all corners of the planet. This morning I saw more ominous signs of why South America’s efforts to protect the environment aren’t working. In the war against climate change it would be like loosing one’s capital to the enemy if South America’s rainforests are eventually lost to logging, farming or clearing of land for more settlements. Here is the translated from Portuguese article I am referring to:
Essentially from the article: Deforestation from March 2018 has increased by 249% over March 2017 in the Amazon.
So, this is the report card we have from early this year despite shows like Years of Living Dangerously, pleas from environmental groups, and assurances from South American governments of positive changes over many decades. Tisk Tisk. A few years ago this particular article stated some important findings:
The Amazon rainforest is now capturing one third less of the carbon in our atmosphere than it did just ten years ago; that amounts to one billion tonnes of carbon dioxide now freely circulating in the air. This increased carbon load on the climate will grow annually, accelerating changes in the climate and weather patterns. The entire forest lost over 760,000 sq km by 2014, and by 2025 some studies have estimated that 40% of the rainforest will be destroyed.
News about efforts to stem the Amazon’s destruction get reported nearly everyday. Here is one reported from The Guardian from May 23rd, 2018:
A relatively new concept in the legal system is to have “nature” sue those who would harm the environment in order to get better results. In the Nature article 25 children from Columbia brought up a lawsuit to protect the Amazon: Recently, 25 children brought a lawsuit to end the deforestation and its devastating impacts on the environment and their own wellbeing. The case made its way to Colombia’s supreme court, which issued its decision last month. While deforestation is hardly a new issue in this region, the court’s response to the lawsuit certainly was. Commenting that environmental degradation – not only in the Amazon but worldwide – is so significant that it threatens “human existence”, the court declared the Colombian Amazon a “subject of rights”.
This is all well and good. I love the concept of a “right of nature,” but what is needed is funding of a South American environmental police force that is not subject to corruption to enforce the protection of vast new preserves as far west as Ecuador northward to Columbian and eastward through Brazil. The force could and perhaps should be answerable to the United Nations. What are the chances of this happening given current trends of lack of urgency among nations? About zero.
I may write another post in association with the Amazon in the future, hopefully with better news.
West and north of the Gulf coastal area, which will be having tropical trouble this holiday weekend, a second episode of dangerous heat will develop in the Plains and Midwest. Tomorrow 90s will be prevalent in the Plains:
Over the weekend:
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The Climate Guy