Get­ting grim­mer

Sun.Star Pampanga - - TOPSTORIES! -

I AL­WAYS look for­ward to the “ber months.” It usu­ally sig­nals the start of the cool, mild sunny days. Whew, Oc­to­ber came and went.

Now it’s al­ready Novem­ber and Ba­colod is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing heat. Crazy! Weather is get­ting so er­ratic and un­pre­dictable.

And now we get the news. It’s not just Ba­colod, not even the Philip­pines but world­wide.

Ac­cord­ing to Wash­ing­ton Post’s ar­ti­cle last week, the world’s oceans have been soak­ing up far more ex­cess heat in re­cent decades than sci­en­tists re­al­ized, sug­gest­ing that the Earth could be set to warm even faster than pre­dicted in the years ahead.

Over the past quar­ter-cen­tury, re­ported by the Amer­i­can broad­sheet, Earth’s oceans have re­tained 60 per­cent more heat each year than sci­en­tists pre­vi­ously had thought, pub­lished in the jour­nal Na­ture.

The dif­fer­ence rep­re­sents an enor­mous amount of ad­di­tional en­ergy, orig­i­nat­ing from the sun and trapped by Earth’s at­mos­phere — the yearly amount rep­re­sent­ing more than eight times the world’s an­nual en­ergy con­sump­tion.

The higher-than-ex­pected amount of heat in the oceans means more heat is be­ing re­tained within Earth’s cli­mate sys­tem each year, rather than es­cap­ing into space. In essence, more heat in the oceans sig­nals that global warm­ing is more ad­vanced than sci­en­tists thought.

“But we were wrong. The planet warmed more than we thought. It was hid­den from us just be­cause we didn’t sam­ple it right. But it was there. It was in the ocean al­ready.”

The world al­ready has warmed 1 de­grees Cel­sius (C°) since the late 19th cen­tury. Sci­en­tists backed by the United Na­tions re­ported in Novem­ber that with warm­ing pro­jected to steadily in­crease, the world faces a daunt­ing chal­lenge in try­ing to limit that warm­ing to only an­other half-de­gree Cel­sius. The group found that it would take “un­prece­dented” ac­tion by lead­ers across the globe over the com­ing decade to even have a shot at that goal.

The prob­lem is that in this grave peril, the top three green­house gas emit­ters — China, the Eu­ro­pean Union and the United States are not get­ting their acts to­gether. Yet the three con­trib­ute more than half of the to­tal global emis­sions, while the bot­tom 100 coun­tries only ac­count for 3.5 per­cent, says the World Re­source In­sti­tute.

Col­lec­tively, the top 10 emit­ters ac­count for nearly three-quar­ters of global emis­sions. The world can­not suc­cess­fully tackle the cli­mate change chal­lenge with­out sig­nif­i­cant ac­tion from these coun­tries.

Un­less these three lead­ing pol­luters for­get their na­tional in­ter­ests and start think­ing of global in­ter­ests, the planet is doomed. Frankly, I doubt that’s go­ing to hap­pen.

The good news — if it can be called that — is that I would have crossed the Great Di­vide. My con­cern is those I will leave be­hind.

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