Carbon Dioxide Concentrations Are Now The Highest In 800,000 Years (Video)

Effects | Facts – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet

California is burning–again.

This time, over 100,000 acres and a thousand homes have been engulfed in the seventh most destructive fire in the state’s history.

Some climate scientists are claiming this is all part of “the new reality” about which they have been warning the world for decades.

How bad is it?

The Guardian reports the California “Carr fires” have “spawned bizarre pyrotechnics, from firenados to towering pyrocumulus clouds that evoke a nuclear detonation.”

Michael Wehner, a senior staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, stated:

“More acres are burning. That is almost certainly due to climate change.”

Look to the Arctic, where approximately three trillion tons of ice have vanished from Antarctica since 1992, according to a recent study.

According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this June was the warmest on record. The first half of the year was the fourth warmest globally.

June’s average global temperature was 1.35 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average, 59.9.

The average global temperature to date was 1.39 degrees above the 56.3-degree average, 0.52 degrees lower than the 2016 record high for the same interval.

A new report, State of the Climate in 2017, released last Wednesday states carbon dioxide concentrations in Earth’s atmosphere climbed to the highest levels “in the modern atmospheric measurement record and in ice core records dating back as far as 800,000 years.”

The 332-page report also explains that 2017 was one of the three hottest years ever recorded and the warmest non-El Niño year since scientists began measuring in the 1800s.

National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data released last weekend articulates how 2018 is going to set a new record.

But turn on the mainstream media outlets, including the so-called “liberal” ones–CNN, MSNBC, etc.

They’re covering the Carr fires, but are they even uttering the phrase “climate change?”

The watchdog group Public Citizen recently released a report titled “Extreme Silence: How the U.S. Media Have Failed to Connect Climate Change to Extreme Heat in 2018,” examining national and local newspapers’ and TV networks’ coverage between Jan. 1 and July 8.

It found:

“Major U.S. media outlets are largely failing to connect these monumental weather events to climate change…media were significantly less likely to connect extreme heat to climate change when reporting during a major heat event.”

This is similar to a report published last year by Public Citizen‘s climate program director David Arkush, titled “Carbon Omission: How the U.S. Media Underreported Climate Change in 2017,” which analyzed more than a dozen prominent newspapers and television networks’ 2017 weather coverage, from the New York Times to the Denver Post to the Fox News Network.

After scouring news coverage and conducting “a separate targeted search of major outlets,” Arkush discovered:

“Pieces on record heat were most likely to mention climate change, and even there the rate was just 33 percent; pieces on record or historic drought mentioned climate 24 percent of the time; news articles on ‘historic rainfall’ mentioned climate a mere 10 percent of the time; articles on record or historic wildfires or floods mentioned climate just nine percent of the time; just eight percent of stories discussing growing mosquito populations mentioned climate change, including 12 percent of pieces from major outlets; despite the historic nature of 2017’s hurricane season, only four percent of pieces discussing Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, or Nate made the connection to climate change”; and just nine percent of stories mentioning climate change also mentioned mitigation or solutions.”

MSNBC‘s Chris Hayes explained this candidly as being a result of a ratings-driven media, saying:

“Almost without exception, every single time we’ve covered it’s been a palpable ratings killer. [S]o the incentives are not great.”

A recent finding from researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego reports:

“The chance of ‘catastrophic’ climate change completely wiping out humanity by 2100 is now 1-in-20.”

The Biological Extinction Conference held at the Vatican in 2016 reported that unless we take immediate urgent action to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, one in five species on Earth faces extinction.

But with a president of the United States who calls climate change a “Chinese hoax,” plans to slash fire science funding, and former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt’s insidious reversals of the previous administration’s progressive climate policies, it looks as though we’re doomed, right?

Wrong.

This is a global problem, not merely an American one.

The rest of the world recognizes the existential threat climate change poses to survival.

We can work at the state and local levels to enact progressive climate policies armed with the understanding that the rest of the world is behind us.

We can contact our lawmakers and demand they support renewable energy jobs instead of continuing to prop up the fossil fuel industry.

This is what New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed in his annual State of the State Address on January 3, and what California Gov. Jerry Brown supported when he signed legislation last year to extend California’s cap-and-trade program.

Since November mid-term elections will be here before long, we can also commit to voting for candidates that take a firm pro-environment stances. Make sure you know what their positions are on climate change legislation by visiting their campaign websites or calling their campaign offices. If a staffer is unable to articulate a candidate’s position, ask him or her to inquire of the candidate and call you back.

We can also write letters to our local newspaper editors (LTE), in which we specifically call out incumbent officeholders’ records on climate policy, and urge them to either continue positive action or change course. Politicians care about publicity because it directly impacts their images which impact subsequent votes.

No hyperbole–our very lives, and those of our posterity, literally depend upon it.

Image credit: Effects | Facts – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet

Ted Millar is poet and teacher. His poetry has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to Liberal Nation Rising.