Tuesday, August 29, 2023

#241 / Non-Linear: Read And Heed


Democracy Now (advancing arguments authored by Jeff Goodell) is telling us that "The Heat Will Kill You First." I was alerted to the Democracy Now discussion by a local political activist, who sent out the following bulletin: 

The temperatures cited in the above email are life threatening! "Read and heed" is good advice! That is, of course, exactly the same advice provided by Jeff Goodell and Democracy Now.
On the same day I learned about the Democracy Now segment, I also got a posting from a Substack blog titled, The Climate Brink. That blog posting made the point that climate-related changes (including heat waves around the world) are "non-linear."

In a linear system, changes occur in a straight line. If climate impacts were linear, each 0.1°C increase in temperature would produce the same increment of damage. In this world, things slowly get worse over decades until, later this century, the accumulations of slow impacts becomes truly terrible.
But impacts of climate change are different — they are non-linear. In a rain event, for example, the first few inches of rain typically produce no damage because existing infrastructure (e.g., storm drains) were designed to handle that much rain.
As rainfall continues to intensify, however, it eventually exceeds the capacity of the storm runoff infrastructure and the neighborhood floods. You go from zero damage if the water stops half an inch below the front door of your house to tens of thousands of dollars of damage if the water rises one additional inch and flows into your house.

In other words, the fact that things haven't really been that bad, up to the present, should not be a comfort. Change is "non-linear." 

It's time to start changing our behavior (significantly), if we don't want to pass that "tipping point" that will make many places on Earth uninhabitable. 

"Read and heed" is good advice!
Image Credit:
(1) - https://www.democracynow.org/2023/7/17/extreme_weather_jeff_goodell
(2) - Private email 
(3) - https://www.theclimatebrink.com/p/why-are-climate-impacts-escalating

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