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Weekly Headlines 12/17/21

Uncommon Weather Patterns Continue Throughout the United States (NPR, Associated Press, Washington Post, Huff Post)

  • Bizarre weather around the country has continued to be the theme this year, as Hawaii has seen more snow so far this year than Denver.

  • The drought continues to fuel wildfires throughout the region (in December!), as much of the country recorded record high temperatures last week.

  • These weather patterns come at a time where torrential rain has continued to devastate British Columbia and amid reports that mountainous western states could go snowless for multiple years at a time in less than 35 years. This would be catastrophic for the West’s water supply.

Ferocious Wildfires Break CO2 Emissions Record in 2021 (Reuters, Climate Signals, CNBC)

  • Carbon Dioxide emissions from wildfires in 2021 broke all previous global totals, coming in at 1.76 billion tons.

  • This year’s wildfires continued to be fueled by climate change, which has led to extreme heat and drought.

  • Among the many fires this year was the Dixie fire, which burned an area the size of Connecticut and is the largest fire in California history.

Government to be Net Zero by 2050 (Associated Press, Axios, The Hill)

  • In an executive order last Wednesday, President Biden required the federal government to reach Net Zero Emissions by 2050.

  • The order also required the federal government to reduce its emissions by 65% by 2030, with all federal buildings running on renewable energy and replacing its 600,000 vehicle fleet with EV’s by 2035.

  • This move was praised by many environmentalists, but some are arguing that it is still not a lofty enough goal.

Tornadoes Rip through Southeast US, and Climate Change is to Blame (NBC News, Climate Signals, Axios)

  • Yet another devastating weather pattern has ripped through the United States this year, as tens of tornadoes devastated the Southeastern US this past weekend.

  • Climate change fuels the storms that lead to these tornadoes, the most recent weather event made worse by our warming atmosphere.

  • Tornadoes, especially of this magnitude, are rare in December; these offseason events are another example of what kind of impacts climate change can inflict on weather patterns.

Antarctica Doomsday Glacier on the Verge of Complete Melting (Washington Post, BBC, Gizmodo)

  • Scientists announced key findings on the ice shelf that is holding back the Thwaites Glacier; due to warming ocean temperatures the ice shelf is in extreme danger of giving way.

  • If the Thwaites Glacier were to flow freely into the ocean, its speed into the sea would increase threefold and could lead to 2 feet of sea level rise on its own.

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