December 2019

Top story

We ended the decade with flooding in Jakarta and massive wildfires in Australia.

14 inches of rain in 24 hours:

12 million acres burned:

Australian bush fires exacerbated by a decade of hot, dry weather.

Oxford Dictionary word of the year was “climate emergency: a situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from it”

Impacts on communities

Florida might need to spend $76 billion to prepare for sea level rise.

Brazil’s worst drought in 80 years.

Public opinion

National Geographic ran a summary of climate effects and public opinion during the last decade.

Public policy

World governments plan to extract “more coal and gas and oil by 2030 than the planet can burn and have even half a hope of meeting the Paris climate targets.”

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the point of no return on climate change is “hurtling toward us”.

Major economies resist bold action at global climate summit.

Climate records and trends

Hottest decade on record (almost every decade in the last 150 years has set a new record for heat).

The 2019 Federal Arctic Report Card shows “The Arctic is undergoing a profound, rapid and unmitigated shift into a new climate state,”

Arctic permafrost melting 70 years earlier than expected.

Victoria Falls dries up.

Greenland is losing ice seven times faster than it was in the 1990s.

Scientific research

New discoveries and warnings from the last decade:

The Arctic is warming much faster than the rest of the planet. A new study reviews changes in the Arctic over the last decade and outlines likely consequences over the next few decades.

Climate models published in the last 50 years have a good track record of predicting the global warming that occurred after being published.

What other countries are doing

New Zealand passed a zero carbon bill with near unanimous bipartisan support.

Denmark to cut emissions 70% by 2030.

Ireland to plant 440 million trees in the next 20 years to fight climate change.

Fundamentals and Fun Facts

Great overview of the science (about 30 minutes):

Note: some of the one-liners are direct quotes.