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Global heating off the charts

Nov 23, 2015

Labour is joining aboriginal, faith, student, hiking, community and environmental groups for the 3 pm Sunday November 29 climate rally at city hall as news of off-the-charts global heating is confirmed by scientists. The Hamilton action is one of over 2000 gatherings world-wide to help convince global governments to finally set mandatory emission reductions at the Paris climate conference opening on November 30.

At its meeting last week, the Hamilton and District Labour Council endorsed the rally and urged its affiliated unions to participate. They’ll join about twenty other groups including the Poverty Roundtable, Burlington Green, Sanctuary City, Blue Dot Movement and numerous other environmental and faith groups who will gather in various locations and then converge on city hall. Substantial city fees facing the rally to use city hall washrooms, forecourt and sound system were waived after intervention by ward one councillor Aidan Johnson.

A massive march planned for Paris itself has been cancelled by French authorities in the wake of the horrific attacks there, so organizers are urging others “who can mobilize” to do so. They argue that “now it’s even more important for people everywhere to march on behalf of those who can't, and show that we are more determined than ever to meet the challenges facing humanity with hope, not fear.”

October was the hottest ever and by an unprecedented amount and 2015 is now more than 99 percent certain to be the hottest ever recorded. A stunning chart from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows it is running far ahead of the previous record years recorded in the last 15 years.

“This marked the sixth consecutive month a monthly global temperature record has been broken,” reported NOAA, “and was also the greatest departure from average for any month in the 1630 months of recordkeeping, surpassing the previous record high departure set just last month by 0.13°F (0.07°C).”

Only January (second warmest ever) and April (third) missed setting new monthly records this year.

“Record warmth was observed across the entire southern half of Australia, part of southern and southeastern Asia, much of central and southern Africa, most of Central America and northern South America, and parts of western North America”, reported NOAA. “Regionally, Oceania and the African continent were both record warm.”

The climate tracking agency says the world’s oceans “were also much warmer than average across vast expanses, including most of the northern, eastern, and central equatorial Pacific Ocean, the entire Indian Ocean, much of the Atlantic Ocean, and the Arctic waters surrounding northern Europe.”

Warming now has reached a global average of one Celsius degree, bringing weather changes that have imposed extreme rainstorms, deadly heat waves and record droughts that are implicated in political instability and growing refugee flows from the Middle East and North Africa. This was the message of a study published earlier this year in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), as well as warnings from the World Bank.

“Before the Syrian uprising that began in 2011, the greater Fertile Crescent experienced the most severe drought in the instrumental record [which] had a catalytic effect, contributing to political unrest,” concluded the PNAS study. “A drought of the severity and duration of the recent Syrian drought, which is implicated in the current conflict, has become more than twice as likely as a consequence of human interference in the climate system.”

The World Bank review warned that “in a 2°C hotter world, the annual number of days with exceptionally high temperatures and high thermal discomfort is expected to increase from 4 to 62 days in Amman (Jordan), 8 to 90 days in Baghdad (Iraq), and 1 to 71 days in Damascus (Syria).” It pointed out the region “is the most water scarce in the world” with less than 1000 cubic metres per person per year compared to over 80,000 in Canada.

Dozens of nations argue that 2°C is too much and the target should be no more than 1.5C. 

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