Global warming eventually could kill hundreds of thousands of people, from some cities in India that are barely habitable to portions of the world that will be underwater in a few decades and those that already suffer from dangerous flooding and storms. Massive hurricanes and withering drought have been blamed on changes in the Earth’s environment.
A week of worldwide debate and protests were swept off the front pages within hours after news that the U.S. House of Representatives has begun impeachment proceedings against President Trump. It is as if global warming barely exists, as reporting on its unprecedented dangers has nearly disappeared.
A look at front pages, TV news and news and opinion websites 48 hours ago reflected the importance the global warming problem as highlighted by activity at the United Nations to protests that included armies of people worldwide. Huge corporations made pledges about the part they could play in solving the problem. Hundreds of prominent scientists signed petitions to highlight that research on the catastrophe shows how little time people, companies and governments have to address the problem before its effects become irreversible. Posted research showed that if global average temperatures rise 2 degrees Celsius then oceans could rise almost two feet, washing away coastlines and some cities.
July was the hottest month ever recorded on the planet. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the record warmth also shrank Arctic and Antarctic sea ice to historic lows. The organization pointed out that nine of the 10 hottest Julys in history have happened since 2005.
In addition, a report issued today by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicates that, over the past decades, global warming has led to widespread shrinking of the cryosphere, with mass loss from ice sheets and glaciers, reductions in snow cover and Arctic sea ice extent and thickness, and increased permafrost temperature.
A look at the news today shows that reporting about the environment has disappeared from prominence. In newspapers from The New York Times to the United Kingdom’s Guardian to China’s People’s Daily, it was as if global climate change had lost all of its importance. Even NFL and Major League Baseball coverage was more prominent than global warming at newspapers and TV station websites across the country.
The impeachment inquiry against the president could lead to the equivalent of a trial. That, in turn, could upend American politics and eventually federal policy. Yet, is it enough to relegate global warming to a second or third level issue? It happened very easily.