Commentary: Global warming has given way to 'global boiling'

By Berl Falbaum

It’s here.

It came not with a whimper but a bang, and much earlier than had been predicted.

And life on Earth will never be the same for all living creatures.

“It”? Climate change/global warming. For the last month, the Earth has recorded the highest temperatures in human history and the heat has played havoc all over the planet.

The climate change bomb has detonated, observed Washington Governor Jay R. Inslee and, he added, it did so about two decades earlier than anticipated.

(A report in late July by the World Weather Attribution, a network of scientists, stated that the historic heat would have been “virtually impossible” without climate change).

This warming will lead to higher ocean temperatures causing more powerful hurricanes, speed the melting of glaciers and rising seas, damage farm crops, increase contamination of the air, lessen the availability of clean water, kill off coral reefs which are vital to sea life, and impact just about every sector of the planet with is needed for a habitable Earth.

I could fill all the pages of this issue with environmental catastrophes that occurred just in the last month in the United States, Canada, Greece, Japan, Nova Scotia, and other countries.

They include raging fires, flooding even in countries that are land-locked, historic downpours, and tornadoes in countries that never experienced them before. The impact has been devastating.  

Indeed, environmental scientists and scholars have predicted we are headed for the Earth’s sixth extinction, this one caused by humans.

And yet, despite all the destruction, we still don’t seem to understand or recognize the crisis we face. For instance, much, if not most, of the media have reported on the unrelenting heat as if it were an anomaly.

In story after story, newscasts report “There is no relief in sight,” “No one knows when temperatures will ease,” “We are in for a long spell,” and so forth. Few, if any, even mentioned climate change or global warming.

The reason “there is no relief in sight” is because this is—to use a cliché—the new normal. We may experience some relief from lower temperatures from time to time, but overall, temperatures will continue to rise.
Indeed, it will only get hotter. I will explain:

The Earth’s temperature has risen just over 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since the pre-industrial era generally defined as the mid-1800s. So, humans are reaping the effects of their irresponsible behavior they have sowed in the last 170 years.

But here is the most important point: the most common goal cited to control global warming can only be described as suicidal. Environmental experts, scholars, scientists and organizations all seem to be in unison that we should work to keep temperatures from reaching 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

Now, I am guessing that you concluded if an increase of 1 degree Celsius is bad and is causing so much damage then a rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius must be worse. Exactly!  

When I first noticed the problem of the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal while working on a book on the environment, I contacted some scholars because, being a layman, I thought I might have “missed” something. I did not. Here is a summary of the replies I received:  

 “We should be aiming to limit warming to 1 degree Celsius or even reduce it to 0 degree Celsius…[but] no one in the scientific community has stated that it’s technically possible to limit warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius in the foreseeable future because each addition tenth of a degree in warming is already ‘baked in’ so there is little we can do about it. Thus, 1.5 degrees Celsius has come to represent the best-case scenario --- albeit one which will be catastrophic ... (emphasis mine).”

But what about electric cars, recycling, wind power, solar panels, and other such measures designed to reduce our dependence of fossil fuels? They are commendable efforts but not only do they present environmental problems of their own but, even combined, they don’t even begin to address the massiveness of what is needed. The statistics are staggering and mind-boggling, not to mention the international political hurdles that would have to be overcome to ease—let alone solve—the crisis.

Finally, there is population growth. The planet slipped past the eight billion mark in 2022 without much, if any, notice. This means we will need more energy, housing, water, and food. And we are not finished. We are expected to be close to 10 billion by 2050.  Need I add, this is not good.

We are on a very destructive, deadly path, one created and nurtured by mankind and one from which we cannot exit. I have pondered the issue for many years and I am no closer to the question: “What do I tell my grandchildren?”  
Berl Falbaum is a veteran journalist and author of 12 books, including “Code Red! Code Red! How Destruction of the Environment Poses Lethal Threats to Life on Earth.”