Sunday, January 29, 2023

Deadly Extreme Weather Years for America as Carbon Emissions Nation World News

The United States wobbled through a steady onslaught of deadly billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in an extra-warm 2021, while the country’s greenhouse gas emissions rose 6% last year due to increased coal and long-haul trucking Hui, which left America further behind. 2030 climate change cutting target.

Three separate reports released on Monday, though not directly linked, paint a picture of the US battling global warming in 2021 And his efforts to curb it.

A report by Rhodium GroupU.S. heat-trapping gas emissions in 2021 grew at a faster rate than the entire economy from the first year of the pandemic, an independent research firm said on Monday, making it harder for the world to reach the country’s pledge. cut emissions in half 2030 compared to 2005. And last year was the deadliest weather year for the United States since 2011, with 688 people killed in 20 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters. The combined cost is at least $145 billion, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday.

It was the second largest number of multi-billion-dollar weather disasters—adjusted for inflation and records going back to 1980—and the third most expensive.

“It was a tough year. Climate change has taken a shotgun approach to threats across the country,” said Adam Smith, a NOAA climatologist and economist who compiles weather disasters worth billions of dollars for NOAA.

Scientists have long said that human-caused climate change creates extreme weather Nastier and more frequent, documenting the many links to the wild and deadly weather events. They say warm air and oceans and melting sea ice alter the jet stream that which brings and restrains storm fronts, makes storms wetter and stronger, while the western drought is worsening and forest fire,

Last year’s weather disasters included a record-shattering heat wave in the Pacific Northwest, where temperatures reached 116 degrees in Portland, a devastating and deadly cold blizzard in Texas, a widespread storm called a derecho, four Hurricanes that cause intense damage, deadly tornado outbreaks, mudslides and frequent droughts and lots of wildfires.

While 2020 set a record for most billion-dollar disasters, 2021 “seemed to be a little darker than extreme 2020,” Smith said.

Last year, billion-dollar weather disasters were more than twice as deadly as in 2020, when those extremes killed 262 people. The last fatal year was 2011. In 2017 Hurricane Maria killed nearly 3,000 people in Puerto Rico, which is not part of the United States.

Where people live and habitat were vulnerability factors, Smith said, “but the 800-pound gorilla in the room is, of course, climate change, because it’s accelerating all these trends with respect to disaster potential for damage.”

“We’re having these mixed cascading events one after the other,” Smith said. “A lot of trends are going in the wrong direction.”

86 separate billion-dollar weather disasters have cost $742 billion over the past five years, an average of more than 17 a year, a new record. This is about $100 billion more than the combined total of all billion-dollar disasters from 1980 to 2004, adjusted for inflation and far more than the three-billion-dollar disasters a year that the nation averaged in the 1980s. .

Dean Jonathan Overpeck said, “That’s exactly what I expect with climate change because climate change is essentially supercharging many types of extreme weather, causing heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, intense rainfall, floods and hurricanes. become severe, destructive and fatal.” of environmental studies at the University of Michigan, who was not part of the report.

Last year was also the fourth warmest year on record In the United States, the average temperature is 54.5 °C (12.5 °C), according to another NOAA report. Several cities had their hottest years on record, including Akron, Ohio; Baltimore; Bismarck, North Dakota; Boston; Buffalo, New York; Erie, Pennsylvania; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Montpelier, Vermont; Salt St. Mary’s, Michigan and Toledo, Ohio.

Last month was the hottest month of December On record for the contiguous United States, the average is 39.3 °C (4.1 °C), which is 6.7 °C (12 °C) higher than the 20th century average.

The national temperature record goes back 127 years and the 20th century average is 52 °C (11.1 °C).

Experts expected the 2020 pandemic to increase U.S. greenhouse emissions, but how big the jump got them worried.

“It was disappointing that emissions returned even faster than the economy as a whole,” said Rhodium Group fellow Kate Larsen, co-author of the emissions report based on daily and weekly government data.

Larsen said coal use grew for the first time since 2014, up 17% from 2020, mostly due to rising natural gas prices.

“This is an example of how we’ve been riding on cheap natural gas to drive the decline of coal over the past 15 years,” Larsen said.

Larsen said the other key factor was transportation emissions, mostly from long-distance diesel trucking, rising 10%, as freight traffic returned to nearly pre-pandemic levels and is likely to increase.

For a long time, US greenhouse gas emissions have been declining – even with a sudden jump from 2021 to 2020. However, last year’s emissions add to the difficulty of reaching the target set by President Joe Biden as part of the Paris and Glasgow climate agreements, Larsen said. She said that for the 50% cut Biden pledged, the country needs to reduce emissions by 5% annually, not increase them.

“We are running out of time,” she said.

Cornell University climate scientist Natalie Mahowald, who was not part of the report, agreed.

“The radical changes in our economy that are needed to reach the lower climate goals have not been achieved,” Mahowald said. “Unfortunately, what we are seeing today is only the tip of the iceberg of what we will see unless emissions are reduced substantially and quickly.”

, . Follow up on Associated Press’s climate coverage,

Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter: @borenbears,


The Associated Press Department of Health and Science receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. Associated Press is solely responsible for all content.


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