All posts tagged: worst effects of climate change

John Kerry Is Embarrassed by America’s Climate Politics

John Kerry Is Embarrassed by America’s Climate Politics

The smallest hint of frustration had crept into John Kerry’s voice. We were talking about international climate diplomacy, which for the past two years has been Kerry’s job as the U.S. special presidential envoy on climate, a role President Joe Biden created to signal his commitment to the issue. Kerry’s last day is Wednesday, and when we spoke a couple of weeks ago, I asked him why the United States—historically the largest emitter of greenhouse gases—had pledged a paltry $17.5 million to a new fund for countries suffering the worst effects of climate change. “Our politics are embarrassing,” he said. “Congress zeroes out things that have climate beside it. And so the reason of the 17.5 is that’s all that was appropriated.” His frustration is well founded. Kerry was in his first Senate term in 1988 when congressional testimony by James Hansen and other scientists landed climate change on the national agenda; decades later, U.S. emissions are starting to creep down, but the U.S. just had the most intensive year for oil production it ever …

Earth’s Hot Oceans Are a Cosmic Tragedy

Earth’s Hot Oceans Are a Cosmic Tragedy

The ocean off the coast of southern Florida is having a long, hot summer. For weeks, surface temperatures hovered around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, before dropping to the 80s last week. The world’s third-largest barrier reef is dying, and scientists are fishing out coral samples and bringing them to the cool safety of laboratory tanks. One spot along the coastline hit triple-digit temperatures last month, conditions you would expect inside a hot tub. Some coastal Floridians skipped their usual dips in the ocean because it didn’t seem appealing anymore. Marine heat waves—periods of persistent and anomalously high temperatures of surface seawater—have materialized in other parts of the world too. The surface temperatures of about 44 percent of Earth’s oceans are currently experiencing extreme heat, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Some of that warming is to be expected, because 2023 is an El Niño year. But “all of these marine heat waves are made warmer because of climate change,” Dillon Amaya, a research scientist at NOAA’s Physical Sciences Laboratory, told me. June was already …