Climate

We’ve tried this before, and it got a fairly good reception. Now with a Trump presidency looming and the fact that his pick for the head of the Environmental Protection Agency is Scott Pruitt -a decidedly anti-EPA type of guy– we thought it was time to try this again. We have talked a lot about climate change and the environment here at The NYRD. We have equated it with everything from Pixar to Game of Thrones. Unfortunately, maybe we have not been clear enough. Sometimes our tendency to try and entertain as well as inform ends up resulting in you being neither entertained or informed. -Personally, we blame the gas leak in our office-

So, let’s drop all the gimmicks, the pop culture references, and even our cutesy -parenthetical- humor. Instead, we want to offer you just the straight facts on Climate Change and how our globe is not only warming, but doing so at an alarming rate. Please understand that we are not giving you “politicized science” here. Climate Change is legitimately happening and it is legitimately being caused by human endeavors. This one thing you must accept or nothing past this will seem believable or urgent in any way. These are the facts of the matter as we know them:

Global Warming
Global Warming “is the gradual heating of Earth’s surface, oceans and atmosphere.” It is a part of Climate Change, but not the same thing.

  • Global temperature averages have been on the rise since the earl 1900’s, and the past decade has been the warmest ever on record.
  • Earth’s 2015 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern record keeping began in 1880.
  • Over the last 35 years the sun has shown a cooling trend, while global temperatures continue to increase.
  • Solar output reached a deep solar minimum in 2007-2009, yet surface temperatures continued to increase during those year.
  • The top 700 meters (2,300 feet) of ocean have grown warmer by about 0.18°F (0.1°C) since 1969.
  • 80% to 90% of the heat from Global Warming is going into the oceans.
  • Antarctic ice shelves lost 2,921 trillion pounds (1,325 trillion kilograms) of ice per year in 2003 to 2008.
  • Sea levels have risen 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) in a century, and the rate in the last decade has been nearly double that of the last century.
  • Greenland lost 150 to 250 cubic kilometers (36 to 60 cubic miles) of ice per year between 2002 and 2006
  • Antarctica lost about 152 cubic kilometers (36 cubic miles) of ice between 2002 and 2005.
  • September Arctic sea ice is declining at a rate of 13.3% per decade, relative to the 1981 to 2010 average.
  • Abrupt Global Warming patterns, such as the one we are experiencing in modern times, are responsible for mass extinction events, such as the one at the end of the Permian Period, 250 million years ago, that killed over 90% of all species on planet Earth.

Climate Change
Climate Change is a “change in the usual weather found in a place,” of which Global Warming is one part.

  • There is a difference between weather and Climate. New records for cold weather will continue to be set, but Global Warming’s gradual influence will make them increasingly rare.
  • The number of record high temperature events in the US has been increasing, while the number of record low temperature events has been decreasing, since 1950.
  • The US has witnessed increasing numbers of intense rainfall events.
  • In 2011, Texas had the driest year since 1895. In 2013, California had the driest year on record.
  • Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30%.
  • The amount of CO2 absorbed by the upper layer of the oceans is increasing by about 2 billion tons per year.
  • According to ice core sampling, CO2 has increased by 20 parts per million in the past 400,000 years, and 100 parts per million in the past 50.
  • Estimates of future CO2 levels, based on “business as usual emission scenarios,” indicate that by the end of this century the surface waters of the ocean could be nearly 150% more acidic.
  • If current CO2 emissions continue the Great Barrier Reef will be dead by 2025.
  • The amount of spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased over the past five decades and that snow is now melting earlier.
  • The intensity, frequency and duration of North Atlantic hurricanes have all increased since the early 1980s.
  • The Earth’s oceans can absorb 1000% more heat than the atmosphere.
  • Sea level rise is caused primarily by two factors: the added water from melting land ice and the expansion of sea water as it warms.
  • Sea levels projected to rise another 1 to 4 feet by 2100.
  • 97% or more of publishing Climate scientists agree that Climate warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activity.

How Will You Be Affected
These are some of the impacts that are currently happening and will increase in frequency  throughout the US going forward, according to the Third National Climate Assessment Report:

  • Northeast. Heat waves, heavy downpours and sea level rise pose growing challenges to many aspects of life in the Northeast. Infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries and ecosystems will be increasingly compromised. Many states and cities are beginning to incorporate climate change into their planning.
  • Northwest. Changes in the timing of streamflow reduce water supplies for competing demands. Sea level rise, erosion, inundation, risks to infrastructure and increasing ocean acidity pose major threats. Increasing wildfire, insect outbreaks and tree diseases are causing widespread tree die-off.
  • Southeast. Sea level rise poses widespread and continuing threats to the region’s economy and environment. Extreme heat will affect health, energy, agriculture and more. Decreased water availability will have economic and environmental impacts.
  • Midwest. Extreme heat, heavy downpours and flooding will affect infrastructure, health, agriculture, forestry, transportation, air and water quality, and more. Climate change will also exacerbate a range of risks to the Great Lakes.
  • Southwest. Increased heat, drought and insect outbreaks, all linked to Climate change, have increased wildfires. Declining water supplies, reduced agricultural yields, health impacts in cities due to heat, and flooding and erosion in coastal areas are additional concerns.

If after reading all that your first instinct is to reject it as “bunk” or “politicized science,” than that’s probably because you’re scared. It is a big issue to think about and one that has a lot of terrifying implications. It’s okay to be a little freaked out by it. That just means you’re rational, but don’t try to rationalize away the dangers of our Climate problems. Don’t try to ignore them. All we ask is that you take the time to read the statistics and follow the links.

Raising Climate literacy is one of the best ways we know of motivating people to get out there and do something. With our new Climate-Denier-Elect coming into office it is more important than ever that the public be rightly informed about the dangers and possible disasters of Climate Change and Global Warming. We now stand at the beginning of a critical time where our actions over the next ten years will either tip the scale toward inevitable disaster or pull us back from the brink. We are going to need everyone’s attention and help, or we are going to experience another mass extinction event and that’s very bad.

The last time the Earth experienced rapid Global Warming, it took 10 million years to recover. We don’t know about you, but we don’t have that kind of time.

It’s hard to unpack the events that happened in Orlando last week. There are a lot of elements to what is going, terrorism, violence against LGBTQ, but at the core of it is a very familiar debate about gun rights in the United States and a very familiar pattern of outrage, ineffectual silence, and a frustrating inability to change our laws or do anything about it. We here at The NYRD were on vacation while these most recent events took place, and normally we would try to write some sort of witty article about gun rights and statistics, maybe by comically comparing them to movies or cartoons or whatnot. After all, we have in the past, but this time around that doesn’t feel appropriate or especially effective.

We don’t want to clutter this already jam-packed issue with more noise or nonsensical pop culture references. Instead, we have decided that this time around we are just going to give you a list of straightforward and researched facts and let you be the judge. And, quite frankly, we are sick of using the phrase “this time around,” but we have to, because unless things truly change “this time” will keep coming around again and again.

So we’re just going to leave this here:

Mass Shootings
A Mass Shooting is a “single shooting incident which kills or injures four or more people, including the assailant.”

  • There were 372 Mass Shootings in America in 2015.
  • 457 people were killed and 1,870 people were injured in Mass Shooting incidents in 2015.
  • There were 64 school shootings in 2015. (This includes incidents where a gun was discharged but no one was hurt.)
  • Every major American City, except Austin, Texas, has experienced a Mass Shooting incident since 2013.
  • Mass Shootings do not follow any clear seasonal patterns.
  • In incidents involving high-capacity magazines, an average of 13.3 people were shot.
  • 50% of Mass Shooting victims are Female, but Females only make up a total of 15% of gun homicide victims each year.
  • In 57% of Mass Shootings a perpetrator killed a spouse or family member.
  • In 58 of 133 incidents examined the perpetrator committed suicide during the incident.
  • In 16 of 133 incidents examined the concern over the perpetrator’s mental health had been previously raised to medical practitioners.
  • Mass Shootings only account for less than 2% of gun deaths each year.

Other Gun Statistics

  • 13,286 people were killed by guns in the USA in 2015. (This excludes firearm suicides)
  • In 2012, in the US 60% of all murders were committed with a firearm.
  • 88.8 per 100,000 American residents own at least one gun.
  • There are 794,300 police officers armed in the USA compared to about 800,000 armed civilians.
  • Police error rate with a firearm is 11% compared to the Civilian firearm error rate of 2%.
  • Between 1968 and 2011 1.4 million Americans died in gun deaths.
  • Between the Revolutionary War and the Iraq War, 1.2 million Americans have been killed in war.
  • There are estimated to be 300 million civilian guns in the USA, all owned by a third of the US population.
  • From 2005 to 2015, 71 Americans were killed in terrorist attacks.
  • From 2005 to 2015, 301,797 Americans were killed by gun violence.
  • 40% of Americans know someone who committed suicide with or was killed by a firearm.
  • 50% of men killed by guns are men of color.
  • In total, 756 American school children were killed by gun violence, in 2015.
  • In 2015, on average, at least 1 American toddler shot a person at a rate of once a week, a total of 59 incidents for the year.
  • In 2014, gun deaths equaled motor vehicle deaths for the first time in history, about 10.3 per 100,000 people per year.
  • Homes that have a history of domestic violence and own a gun are 12 times more likely to result in one or more gun deaths.
  • 8% of gun owners own 10 or more guns, that is 6 million Americans.
  • Chicago police seize an illegally purchased and unlicensed gun every 74 minutes.

We are not sure what else we can really do, but we cannot let people like the NRA or hard-line conservatives turn this argument into a gun/anti-gun argument, because it is not a black and white issue. No one is talking about banning weapons altogether, but putting restrictions on the selling and purchasing of such weapons does seem a common sense solution. We are not anti-gun. In fact, we believe strongly in the Second Amendment, but no amendment is absolute. Unfortunately though, the results of our country’s loose gun laws often are… absolute.