As the world completes yet another rotation around the sun, our temperatures have finally climbed to the internationally agreed upon consensus of "unacceptable." World leaders had met at the 2015 Paris climate negotiations to agree upon an ideal target for the earth to reach by 2100. The goal they pretended to work towards was specifically picked to reassure the public that they not only had a plan, but a mechanism to execute it. Developing nations negotiated for the leeway to use fossil fuels to reach the economic growth of a developed nation. Developed nations scoffed at the idea of granting poorer nations a privilege they would have to forego themselves. Through all the bickering and grandstanding emerged a pledge to all of humanity... which is now officially worthless.
In 2023, we have just had our first taste of 1.5 degrees Celsius, a mere 8 years after the Paris climate negotiations. July of this year clocked in at 1.5 - 1.6 degrees hotter than industrial levels. This was the first month in which temperatures were this far above pre-industrial levels while simultaneously living in summer conditions. Obviously, one could make the argument that for the target to be officially passed, there should be at least a full year of this fluctuation. But lets asses the damages before we start calling people alarmists.
In Phoenix, Arizona temperatures were above 110 degrees Fahrenheit for 31 days straight and medical examiners were forced to bring in coolers to handle the number of corpses piling up. This was the first instance of this happening since the coronavirus.
In Beijing, residents wore full face masks to stave off the grueling heat and exhaustion. In Iran's Persian Gulf the heat Index reached 152 degrees, a limit in which people would start dying en masse if passed. Antarctic sea ice is at a record low. The oceans have been so hot that the water has been holding less oxygen causing fish to die in droves. The Great Barrier Reef is nearly dead and has turned a ghostly white color over the past 5 years. At 1.5 degrees Celsius 70 - 90% of coral will be dead worldwide. The earth's atmosphere gets nearly half its oxygen from coral reefs.
Its safe to say that this trend will not only continue with further exacerbation of conditions happening annually, but it also demonstrates with crystal clarity that world leaders are far too incompetent or self interested to improve this situation in any meaningful way. So what should you do? Pay attention.
Most people currently have a residence and steady stream of income. If you live along a coast line, or insufficiently inland you need to pay attention to storms and rising sea levels. If you live sufficiently inland, you need to prepare for faulty power grid infrastructure. According to a Pentagon report from General Mark Milley, The US national power grid is unprepared for meteorological stress. The power grid infrastructure was not built to withstand alternating conditions. Electricity generating power plants, electric transmission infrastructure, and distribution system components will be vulnerable to new weather patterns such as increased rainfall levels or extended periods of heat which can overwhelm the power grid. This weakness of infrastructure is likely present in most developed and developing countries since most infrastructure was built without climate change in mind.
Diseases will begin to proliferate from mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas which will spur diseases like malaria, dengue, and zika that will now be spread beyond the tropical zone and affect more people on the American mainland. Warm climates will allow for insects' eggs to not die during the winters and create bogs and marshes for disease carrying insects to incubate, grow, and infect the civilian population.
A great barometer for gauging the impact of climate change is Bangladesh. Bangladesh has a population of 161 million with 80 million in danger of being displaced by rising sea levels. Once a mass refugee crisis is occurring in Bangladesh, climate change's destruction will be in full swing. Even if you live away from sea levels, you will likely experience droughts and wildfires. These areas include, The Middle East, southern Africa, China, and the United States by 2040. Global demand for fresh water will exceed its availability. Places where population increase is strong and water management is weak will have it especially bad and the decline in water will lead to social unrest.
Watching out for social unrest will become a necessary skill to pick up. An example of this is how the first anti-government protests in Syria began over water shortages after a ten year drought forced certain rural communities to relocate to urban centers without aid. Those affected took to the states, leading to greater social unrest, and then full on civil war. Food supply lines and instability caused by drought will affect supply lines in countries such as the Philippines, Pakistan, and Nigeria where the typical household spends 40% or more of its earnings on nourishment. Ideologies don't cause revolutions, desperation does.
At the dawn of a 1.5 degree Celsius world, survival will be the goal. Stay informed and be prepared.