TLDR Climate Stories #1

These are extremely short summaries of the studies, stories, etc. related to global warming/climate change that I found most interesting in recent weeks...

Global warming has shifted rainfall patterns in the US southwest

Study Link: Overall, precipitation patterns are falling. However, intense precipitation events (storms and floods) are happening more often.

TLDR...less precipitation overall, and what they get is less useful.

Global warming is increasing the suicide rate among Indian farmers

Study Link: As temperatures go up and precipitation changes, farming isn't as productive. A lot of Indian farmers are poor and any drop in crop productivity is devastating to them. Each day with a temperature 1 degree (C) above average during the growing season corresponds to roughly 70 additional suicides. warming can hurt crops which hurts farmers and leads to deaths.

We are providing massive subsidies to the fossil fuel industry

Study Link: We don't charge the fossil fuel industry for externalities related to burning fossil fuels (health impacts, global warming, etc.). This adds up to ~5 trillion dollars. This is not unknown. A while back I posted a crude estimate and came up with ~5 trillion dollars using a mid-range cost of 100 dollars per tonne of CO2 equivalent. TLDR...we effectively provide 5 trillion dollars in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry each year.

National Climate Assessment is published by the New York Times

Assessment Link: The National Climate Assessment is already basically a TLDR of the state of the climate so I can't summarize it much. Just read the executive summary if you'd like a good overview, and page 38 in particular. I guess to capture interesting bits:
  • Humans are responsible for probably all of the temperature increase we've observed (high confidence; p 14)
  • Due to the lag between CO2 rise and temperature, if we were to zero out emissions and stabilize current CO2 levels, the temperature would likely still rise and additional ~1 degree (F) (p 15)
  • Our current trajectory will not satisfy the Paris commitments (p 33)

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