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Climate Crisis Weekly: Climate Town Hall coming, Iceland honors lost glacier, and the next 18 months

In this edition of Climate Crisis Weekly:

  • Recent global warming is unprecedented, scientists say.
  • It may not be a debate, but the Democratic presidential candidates will do a climate-crisis town hall event.
  • Iceland honors its first glacier lost to climate change with a monument.
  • The importance of the next 18 months when it comes to long-term climate change.
  • Climate-related terms disappear from federal websites under Trump administration.
  • And more…

The scientific consensus on humans causing global warming is likely now more than 99%, and could rise further with recent studies that show there has never been a time in the past 2,000 years when temperatures changed so quickly across the entire world, according to three new studies — one, two, and three. The Guardian:

It had previously been thought that similarly dramatic peaks and troughs might have occurred in the past, including in periods dubbed the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Climate Anomaly. But the three studies use reconstructions based on 700 proxy records of temperature change, such as trees, ice, and sediment, from all continents that indicate none of these shifts took place in more than half the globe at any one time.

As Mark Maslin, professor of climatology at University College London, said of one study:

This paper should finally stop climate change deniers claiming that the recent observed coherent global warming is part of a natural climate cycle. This paper shows the truly stark difference between regional and localized changes in climate of the past and the truly global effect of anthropogenic greenhouse emissions.

It’s also a major blow to all of the people sharing that one graph that purports to show such a cycle, which is often their sole argument against the existence of climate change.

After months of debate on whether the Democrats should host a climate debate, the candidates will instead be featured in… a CNN Town Hall event. The event will take place on September 4, and any candidates that meet the DNC’s polling threshold will be able to participate. So far, eight candidates have qualified.

It’s not a debate, but some may actually prefer the Town Hall format. A climate-focused event is the main issue, and now we’re getting one.

Iceland’s first glacier lost to climate change, the Okjökull glacier, will be remembered with a monument next month, set to be unveiled at its former site.

Rice University anthropologist Cymene Howe, who produced a documentary about the glacier — 2018’s Not Ok, said of the monument:

This will be the first monument to a glacier lost to climate change anywhere in the world. By marking Ok’s passing, we hope to draw attention to what is being lost as Earth’s glaciers expire. These bodies of ice are the largest freshwater reserves on the planet, and frozen within them are histories of the atmosphere. They are also often important cultural forms that are full of significance.

The UK’s Prince Charles recently spoke out about the urgency of the climate crisis, the Week reports. Addressing foreign ministers, he said:

Ladies and gentlemen, I am firmly of the view that the next 18 months will decide our ability to keep climate change to survivable levels and to restore nature to the equilibrium we need for our survival.

The UK’s Committee on Climate Change recently said that the government’s actions over the next 18 months will determine if it has any “credibility.”

A new analysis by the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative shows just how much climate-related language is changing under the Trump administration:

Over the thousands of websites we monitor, use of the terms “climate change,” “clean energy,” and “adaptation” dropped by 26% between 2016 and 2018, while catch-all terms that are employed to undermine clear analysis — such as “energy independence,” “resilience,” and “sustainability” — increased by 26%.

There’s nothing wrong with those last three terms on their own — unless of course, they’re largely replacing those first three terms.

A new scientific study published in Scientific Advances believes the potential for “mega-droughts” spanning multiple decades — which haven’t occurred in the US for centuries — will increase during the current climate crisis in the American Southwest. Study lead author Nathan Steiger told Newsweek:

Several civilizations are thought to have been dramatically affected by these past droughts including the Maya and the Anasazi; there is some evidence that the collapse of their civilizations could have been partially driven by megadroughts.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres is asking all heads of state to create plans for carbon neutrality by 2050 ahead of a September summit on climate action, as Climate Change News reports.

Popular pop band The 1975 released a new song this week featuring an unlikely collaborator — youth climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Check out our past editions of Climate Crisis Weekly.

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