business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The Washington Post has the very definition of an Eye-Opener this morning, reporting on places where the average temperature has increased by two degrees Celsius since 1895, which “has emerged as a critical threshold for global warming. In the 2015 Paris accord, international leaders agreed that the world should act urgently to keep the Earth’s average temperature increases ‘well below’ 2 degrees Celsius by the year 2100 to avoid a host of catastrophic changes.”

The story says that an “analysis of more than a century of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration temperature data across the Lower 48 states and 3,107 counties has found that major areas are nearing or have already crossed the 2-degree Celsius mark … Today, more than 1 in 10 Americans - 34 million people - are living in rapidly heating regions, including New York City and Los Angeles. Seventy-one counties have already hit the 2-degree Celsius mark.”

The potential consequences, the Post writes, “are daunting. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that if Earth heats up by an average of 2 degrees Celsius, virtually all the world’s coral reefs will die; retreating ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica could unleash massive sea level rise; and summertime Arctic sea ice, a shield against further warming, would begin to disappear.”

Climate change is not uniform, the Post writes: “In the past century, the Earth has warmed 1 degree Celsius. But that’s just an average. Some parts of the globe - including the mountains of Romania and the steppes of Mongolia - have registered increases twice as large. It has taken decades or in some cases a century. But for huge swaths of the planet, climate change is a present-tense reality, not one looming ominously in the distant future.”

This Eye-Opening story is worth reading here, and you can even use its interactive tools to figure out where your home is on the climate change continuum.

Spoiler alert: “Rhode Island the fastest warming of the Lower 48 states,” and is “the first state in the Lower 48 whose average temperature rise has eclipsed 2 degrees Celsius.”
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