Because of temperatures in the 80’s in the arctic recently, sustained, severe weather was accurately predicted for this week. Outbreaks of tornados, with deaths occurring, severe thunderstorms and widespread flooding have occurred, and will continue.
The atmosphere had a convulsion at the end of April in the transition from winter to summer. The cold polar vortex in the stratosphere did not go gently into summer. Instead of fading slowly into a dome of warm air the whole atmosphere from the surface to the top of the stratosphere convulsed with wave energy driven upwards by an atmospheric dome over Scandinavia. Extraordinary atmospheric heating took place in the over the pole and cold air was pushed towards the temperate latitudes especially over the Pacific ocean. A dome of hot sinking air formed at very high levels over the Arctic pushing cold air and the jet stream south causing unseasonable storms to track across the Pacific ocean into California in mid May.Atmospheric Convulsion Will Cause Historic Disasters of Arctic Melt & U.S. Storms Next Week, Daily Kos, May 15, 2019
Last night I listened to an online presentation from Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) with former Rep. Ryan Costello and FCNL’s Legislative Representative for Sustainable Energy & Environment, Emily Wirzba, discussing grassroots advocacy for bipartisan climate solutions. The Congressman described his evolution to becoming an advocate for addressing climate change, which resulted from serving on an energy committee. Emily Wirzba has been with FCNL for 6 years as the climate lobbyist.
There was a wide-ranging discussion, but as I am focused on a Green New Deal, I was interested in what I might hear about that. Emily spoke about the sudden increase in interest in Congress related to addressing climate change which she attributed to the onslaught of environmental disasters, and secondly to the direct actions of the youth in the Sunrise Movement (yeah!).
Emily also pointed out ways to make progress on parts of a Green New Deal without calling them by that name. One is to pay close attention to budget allocations, funding environmentally friendly projects and services, and defunding fossil fuel infrastructure and projects. Related is to approve legislation funding clean energy.
The U.S. House of Representatives did recently pass the Climate Action Now Act (H.R.9), which prevents any funding for removing the United States from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. It also requires the administration to develop plans to meet its emissions reductions goals under the agreement. The bill passed with unanimous Democratic support and included Republican votes.
“For years, we have known that climate change is real and driven by human activity. Its negative impacts are wreaking havoc globally and this will only get worse without sustained global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Diane Randall, FCNL’s executive secretary. “It has been a decade since the Congress has voted on meaningful climate legislation. Thankfully, the House majority has seen fit to make the Climate Action Now Act a priority.”Quaker Lobby Applauds House Passage of the Climate Bill, Urges More Action by McHugh, May 2, 2019
The Climate Action Now Act prevents the Trump administration from moving the U.S. further out of the climate mainstream and abdicating our global climate leadership position. To this end, FCNL recently joined with 30 other national religious organization in sending a letter to Congress urging support for the bill.
There is a lot of useful information related to the environmental crisis on FCNL’s website https://www.fcnl.org/climate One is a PDF of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Summary. Another is the Faith Leader’s Guide to the Fourth National Climate Assessment. This image below is from that guide, which is easier to read in the PDF.