An Eco-Revolutionary Tipping Point?
In the summer of 2016, the acceleration of climate change was once again making headlines. In July, the World Meteorological Association announced that the first six months of 2016 had broken all previous global temperature records, with June being the fourteenth month in a row of record heat for both land and oceans and the 378th straight month of temperatures greater than the historical average. Heating has been especially rapid in Arctic regions, where thawing effects are releasing large amounts of methane and carbon dioxide. On July 21, 2016, temperatures at locations in Kuwait and Iraq reached 129oF, the hottest ever recorded in the Eastern Hemisphere. The disruptive effects of bi-polar warming were evident in the unprecedented crossing of the equator by the Northern Hemisphere jet stream, where it merged with the Southern Hemisphere jet stream, further threatening seasonal integrity with unforeseen impacts on weather extremes and the overall climate system. Meanwhile a report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) described the December 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change as outdated even before it takes effect, with climatologists now expecting a global warming of at least 3.4°C (more than double the 1.5°C limit supposedly built into the agreement) even if the promised emissions goals of the nations involved are somehow achieved despite the lack of binding enforcement mechanisms. The world will still be pumping out 54–56.