How hot is it going to get? A devastating 9 to 15 degrees hotter

  • Published on January 12th, 2013

It would be very hard to adjust to a world that is 3 degrees hotter on average than today (despite deniers’ glib drought image License Some rights reserved by PHYLOMON! assertions that we’ll just deal with it somehow – ask the folks on the Jersey Shore how easy they’re adjusting to having their homes trashed by superstorm Sandy).

But we’ve learned a lot more in the four years since the last assessment about how climate works – and changes have been coming a lot faster than anticipated.

The new assessment, released Friday, is that global warming will be a lot worse than we thought. Average temperatures will jump anywhere from 9 degrees to 15 degrees F.

For perspective:

  • That means where you get summer temperatures that peak out at 90, you’ll be getting peaks of 99 to 105 instead.
  • Where summers peaked out at over 100 to begin with, you’ll be peaking at 109 to 115.
  • Vast new areas would never get below 32 degrees in the winter, destroying winter sports economies and eliminating snowpacks that provide irrigation water to huge areas.

This will lead to droughts, agricultural losses, devastating superstorms, and total economic disruption. The only folks who will be happy are the air-conditioner manufacturers and of course, the fossil fuel barons.

EPA director Carol Browner had this to say on the new Climate Assessment:

 The draft climate assessment released today confirms what the science says and what our eyes are telling us: It’s getting hotter, and that carbon pollution is driving climate change, fueling more violent and frequent weather events and threatening public health. Climate alarms continued to blare in 2012, which was the hottest year on record in the United States. And destructive superstorm Sandy was one of 11 storms, floods, droughts, and heat waves last year that each caused at least $1 billion in damages. The draft assessment warns us that the loss of lives and livelihoods will only get worse, and no part of the nation is safe.

Senior citizens, children, and middle- and lower-income Americans will experience increasing vulnerability to more frequent and ferocious extreme weather events. Residents and businesses in coastal towns will face more damaging storm surges and sea-level rise. Our aging roads, water plants, electricity generation, and other infrastructure will also face more climate-related threats.

We made some progress in reducing climate pollution since 2009 but the draft assessment is a reminder that we must make significantly steeper reductions in industrial carbon pollution. We all need the courage to stand up to the special interests and instead support immediate action to address carbon pollution and climate change. We can start with strict carbon pollution standards for power plants and we must significantly expand investments in community resiliency to protect people and the economy from the gathering storms—and floods, droughts, wildfires, and heat waves. The time to act is now.

We’re NOT going to be able to “just deal” with this. We need to act now. Check out for things you can do….

(Drought image License Some rights reserved by PHYLOMON!)

About the Author

Jeremy Bloom is the Editor of RedGreenAndBlue. He lives in New York, where he combines his passion for the environment with his passion for film, and is working on making the world a better place.