INCREASE IN HEAT WAVES THREATENS AIR TRAVEL

Are you planning to fly anywhere this summer?

If you are, let’s hope that you aren’t doing so during a heat wave. You may recall that on June 19, 2017, nearly 50 flights scheduled from Phoenix were scrubbed when the mercury reached 119 degrees. This mostly affected Bombardier regional jets, which aren’t certified to fly in temperatures above 118. Larger Boeing and Airbus aircraft were able to take off normally during that heat wave.

The extreme summer heat in Las Vegas prompted one airline to suspend service for the season and another to adjust its departure schedule and caused an undetermined number of delays and cancellations at McCarran International Airport, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Aviation challenges are among the problems that few people realized might result from climate change. The aviation industry is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change because it doesn’t take much of a disturbance in the weather to cause delays and rerouted flights. “The airplanes are operating on tight schedules, and if they get behind, it can mess up the whole network,” said Ethan Coffel, lead author of a study by a team from Columbia University and Logistics Management Institute.

MILITARY LEADERS PREPARING FOR CLIMATE CHANGE

This administration may not take climate change seriously, but over at the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis and most other top officials believe that scientists know what they’re talking about.

The U.S. Navy has seen climate change’s impact on its facilities at places such as Naval Station Norfolk, where pier inundation now happens at least monthly, impeding training and maintenance schedules and thus fleet readiness. Sea levels there are rising one inch every six years—more than double the average global rate.

According to the Department of Defense’s Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, climate change will affect the military’s built and natural infrastructure and its acquisition and supply chain in dramatic ways, as Forest L. Reinhardt & Michael W. Toffel explained in Harvard Business Review. We can expect flash flooding and mudslides in Hawaii, home to the Pacific Fleet, and intensified droughts in California, where the Navy has more than $40 billion in assets. In Alaska, the Navy is being forced to rebuild and relocate roads, buildings, and airfields as the permafrost melts, and it might eventually have to relocate some of its bases. International bases are also likely to be severely affected by storm surges and higher sea levels.

AMERICANS ARE STILL IN THE FIGHT

Since the day last June when President Trump took to the South Lawn of the White House to declare his intention to withdraw our country from the Paris climate accord, more than 2,600 leaders from America’s city halls, state houses, boardrooms, and college campuses have signed the We Are Still In declaration.

This network includes 1,780 businesses and investors, nine states, 252 cities and counties, 213 faith organizations, and 339 colleges and universities. Together, they represent more than 130 million Americans and $6.2 trillion of the U.S. economy.

In an open letter to the international community, We are Still In declared, “We will continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement….The Trump administration’s announcement ...is ... out of step with what is happening in the United States.

“...It is imperative that the world know that in the U.S., the actors that will provide the leadership necessary to meet our Paris commitment are found in city halls, state capitals, colleges and universities, investors and businesses. Together, we will remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming to well below 2℃ and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity, and health.”

Young Republicans Want Action On Climate

A major hurdle as the United States tries to do its part to counter climate change is resistance from Republican politicians. So far, most of them have been able to sit on the sidelines because GOP voters are less troubled by climate change than Democratic voters. Asked late last year if “the federal government should do more to protect people from global warming’s impacts,” 88 percent of Democrats said yes, compared to only 33 percent of Republicans.

But that gap may narrow significantly before too much longer. There is increasing evidence that young Republicans view climate change as a threat to our health and economy and that they believe our leaders must act. A recent survey by the Alliance for Market Solutions found that nearly 60 percent of young Republicans acknowledge that human-induced climate change is real, as do 88 percent of young Democrats. A majority of young people of both parties said they believe steps should be taken to slow or stop climate change.

“Young voters don’t necessarily have strong views on what should be done about climate change, but doing nothing is not a path that most young people, including Republicans, tend to support,” said Kristen Soltis Anderson, the Republican strategist who conducted the survey.

REALITY CHECK: WE NEED TO GET SERIOUS

Few Americans are aware of all the recent climate news because of all the headlines about the White House “palace intrigue,” the Florida high school massacre, and the fate of the Dreamers. Warning: The climate news isn’t good.

Let’s start with the leaked draft of a United Nations climate science report. It warns there is a “very high risk” the planet will pass a key warming marker, creeping above 1.5 degrees Celsius in the 2040's, The Washington Post’s Chris Mooney reported February 14. The document also says the possibility of maintaining the planet’s temperature below that level in this century is “already out of reach.”

What’s most striking, Mooney wrote, is the radical nature and rapidity of the changes that would be required to somehow preserve a world below 1.5 degrees. The document finds that the world has 12 to 16 years’ worth of greenhouse gas emissions left, from the start of 2016, if it wants a better-than-even chance of holding warming below 1.5 degrees.