A study by researchers from MIT and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich shows that rainfall could increase by 3 to 15 percent for every degree Celsius the planet warms. If the average global temperatures rise by 4 degrees over the next hundred years because of increased carbon dioxide emissions, the U.S. and Europe could experience increased rainfall. Some areas will experience increased rainfall while other places will see a decrease in rainfall such as around the subtropical oceans. This increase in average rainfall would bring the question of how to update the building codes so structures can adapt to the higher risks of flooding that will impact many living in coastal areas, according to the article. For the last 25 years scientists have predicted, based on climate models, that the intensity of rainfall will increase. This information came from 22 models based on different areas from all around the world and all of the predictions showed that the highest increase in extreme rainfall will occur over parts of the Asian monsoon region.
In October, 2016, a small group of climate-change activists entered a Kinder Morgan TransMountain oil sands pipeline facility near Anacortes, Washington and turned on the emergency shutoff valve. The group was led by of Ken Ward and Jay O’Hara, of Climate Direct Action, and are among several climate activists now facing severe felony charges for shutting the emergency valves on pipelines carrying oil sands. This landmark case started in January in front of Judge Michael E. Rickert of Skagit County Superior Court in Washington State, who has, for a second time denied Ward’s and O’Hara’s request for a “necessity defense” which establishes a legal defense in cases where a defendant acted to prevent greater harm.
Ward has argued that his actions were necessary to prevent worse climate harms. Judge Rickert’s decision bars Ward’s defense team from calling expert witnesses and submitting evidence about the impact of the oil sands pipeline have on climate change.
Climate Direct Action claims their action was taken to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which is protesting construction of the $3.7 billion Dakota Access pipeline carrying oil from North Dakota to the U.S. Gulf Coast over fears of damage to sacred land and water supplies.
Last week was the second time Judge Rickert ruled to deny the defendants the necessity defense. In the pre-trial hearing at the beginning of the year, the judge questioned the existence of climate change, saying, “there’s tremendous controversy over the fact whether it even exists. And even if people believe that it does or it doesn’t, the extent of what we’re doing to ourselves and our climate and our planet, there’s great controversy over that.” But Ward did testify about the motives for his actions, and the first trial ended in a hung jury, as one or more jurors refused to convict him. Judge Rickert declared a mistrial in January and scheduled the second trial for May. Just this week, at the second trial, the judge again denied requests to let juries hear evidence about climate change.
Ward acted in conjunction with other “Shut It Down” valve turners who simultaneously did likewise in Minnesota, Montana and North Dakota who were responding to a call for action from the Standing Rock pipeline protest in North Dakota. Together, these five activists plus four helpers succeeded in temporarily halting the flow of carbon-intensive Canadian oil sands into the US.
The facts of Ward’s case are established and not in dispute. What is at issue is whether Ward’s actions were justified since he acted to prevent worse climate harms from the use of carbon-intensive oil sands, and whether he has the right to make that case before a jury. He contends that since he worked in the climate movement for decades and exhausted all legal avenues to reduce fossil fuel exploitation and greenhouse gas emissions, direct, principled citizen climate action is legally justifiable and “necessary.”
The other climate activists who face charges for taking part in a related “valve turner” are Annette Klapstein, Emily Johnston, Ben Joldersma, and documentarian Steve Liptay, who are also pursuing a necessity defense. Their pre-trial hearing is scheduled for May 30 in Clearwater County District Court in Bagley, Minnesota.
According to the Climate Institute, one of the worst impacts resulting from the influence of human beings on climate change is the global sea level rise, caused by the melting of the arctic ice. There is statistical evidence that the sea level rise has increased in the last two or three decades. A recent study, published by a team of scientists, found that in the last 20 years the sea level has risen 3 inches globally.
Image courtesy of https://www.betterworldsolutions.eu/20-of-the-worlds-population-will-migrate-by-sea-level-rise/
Coastal cities are vulnerable to the sea level rise because of the risks and impacts this phenomenon can bring. With the current rate average of 1/8 inch rise every year, the sea level will rise up to 6.6 feet by the year 2100. This means, a lot of coastal cities will be under water.
In the last few years, many countries in the Caribbean have experienced abnormal climate conditions which have caused drought. These conditions could continue this year. Drought affects the economy in many countries that depend on agriculture for their income. People in those countries have called on the government to focus on the impact of drought in the economy. There has been efforts to promote intervention reform on natural disasters and this article in The Guardian tells about catastrophe risk pools such as the African Risk Capacity (ARC) where Senegal, Mauritania, Niger, and Kenya formed a mutual insurance company where they pooled resources.
Over the last 10 years, these catastrophe risk pools have been able to assess losses and provide insurance against natural disasters with funds that can protect cities and villages hit by droughts and other natural disasters. The Caribbean version of the catastrophe risk pool paid out almost $30m to countries hit by Hurricane Matthew last year.
In 2015, the ARC paid out more than $26m to Senegal after a drought in the Sahel just south of the Sahara Desert. The money helped distribute food to 750,000 people. 87,000 livestock herders were subsidized with food for their livestock.
This winter season, many people in New York City have been dealing with crazy weather. The enjoyment of balmy weather in the past week has led most to believe that winter was over. However, two days after the beginning of Spring, temperatures were predicted to decrease again into the 20s range Fahrenheit. Also, a snowstorm hit the Midwest and part of the tristate area according to the weather forecasters. These were the last three days of winter and the next days of Spring seem warm but wet.
The above article gives us an idea of how the weather can change drastically, including how climate change is affecting season patterns every year.