Video @UNICEF: 2016 world’s warmest?

Per a video from BBC News 2016 is set to be the warmest year on record.  With an observed global temperature rise of 1.2 degrees Celsius, we are rapidly nearing the threshold of 1.5-degree change considered most advantageous to stave off considerable threat.  This figure was agreed upon by representatives of 195 countries at the Paris climate conference in December 2015.  It stands as the first -ever universal, legally binding global climate deal.

Such a deal has come too late for those who live in regions of the world devastated by drought, such as Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is no stranger to the devastation wreaked by drought.  Drought in the early-to-mid 1980s sparked a famine that killed a million people.  Even if, like me, you weren’t alive at the time, you are probably familiar with widely publicized images of skeletal babies, such as in this BBC newscast (Warning: Graphic images).  The disturbing images spurred the first Live Aid concert in 1985.

The present drought in Ethiopia is linked to a super El Niño, exacerbated by rising ocean temperatures.

According to the World Meteorological Organization, the current El Niño is one of the strongest events recorded, which is pushing people already suffering from the effects of climate change deeper into poverty and making them more vulnerable.

Since the drought began in earnest in 2014, Ethiopia’s economy has tanked.  Eighty percent of Ethiopia’s agricultural produce relies on a rainy season that remains elusive.  This is devastating for a country where 85% of people rely on agriculture to make a living.  Ten million Ethiopians will need international aid to survive this drought – on top of 8 million already receiving aid from safety net programs – to the tune of 1.4 billion dollars.

The United States under the Obama administration has been the single largest donor to this cause, totaling $774 million along with $381 million from the Ethiopian government itself.  This type of aid isn’t guaranteed to continue as President-elect Trump’s comments about climate change are scientifically unsound at best.

Besides calling man-made climate warming a hoax invented by China (which China refutes), in the above video, Trump says he is a “huge believer in clean water…crystal, clean water.”  This begs the question water for who?  And where?

An Op-ed piece published in the New York times connects one of Trump’s least talked about points (climate change) with one of his most (immigration):

When you visit the Pentagon, ask the generals about climate change. Here’s what they’ll tell you: A majority of immigrants flooding Europe today are not coming from Syria or Iraq. Three-quarters are from arid zones in central Africa, where the combination of climate change and runaway population growth are making small-scale farming unsustainable.

Will Trump withdraw the US from the Paris climate deal?  If we take him by his word, it’s a possibility:

Any regulation that’s outdated, unnecessary, bad for workers or contrary to the national interest will be scrapped and scrapped completely.  We’re going to do all this while taking proper regard for rational environmental concerns.

As we hover mere tenths of a degree away from potential catastrophe, I ask that Mr. Trump and all present and future leaders consider the global interest ahead of job growth.

 

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