Climate Letter #1143

The link between excessive heat and human well-being.  This article from Science News is full of good information, probably the best I have seen on the subject.  The direct effects of overheating are actually just as important as the indirect ones, such as drought or sea level rise, but are usually less visible or less dramatic and thus get less attention.
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A new study about the economic impacts of climate change, reviewed by Carbon Brief.  The study mainly looks at differences in GDP in different countries under conditions projected with global temperatures at increases of 1.5 and 2.0C.  The most harmful impacts show up in poorer countries that have tropical climates.  No provision is made for extreme weather events, accelerated sea level rise or other tipping points which could cause changes of a more dramatic nature almost anywhere.
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Regulated carbon emissions in the EU rose in 2017 for the first time in seven years.  This should not be happening if the intent to block climate change is being given top priority.  “The European economy grew 2.5 percent last year. Solid growth in the European economy resulted in increased activity leading to higher emissions.”  Apparently economic growth still carries unchallenged top priority in Europe, just as it does almost everywhere else.
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A different approach toward rapid reduction of fossil fuel emissions is proposed (VOX).  These ideas, proposed by a pair of economists, are based on sound principles and have the virtue of being more direct than the more commonly advocated alternatives.  They want to choke off supplies of fossil fuels at their point of origin, and suggest a number of ways to do so without causing unbearable disruptions to society in the process—which represents a very fine line.  There is a lot here to think about, and probably some room for modulation.  And then there are a few practical considerations like where does the power to undertake such a strategy come from, in the face of so much deeply entrenched opposition?
–Meanwhile, there are some interesting legal battles going on that have the potential for weakening the financial backbone of that entrenched opposition in unexpected ways.
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Scientists explain why some of Greenland’s glaciers retreat much faster than others.  The reasons are not unlike those that have been reported from Antarctica, based on the depth and configuration of the underlying sea floor.  An increase in the temperature of waters circulating along the coasts is always key to starting and maintaining a trend of movement.
Carl
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