Photo by Eelco Bohtlingk on Unsplash.

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

A heat dome, which sounds like another “Mad Max” sequel, is wreaking havoc in places that rarely experience triple-digit temperatures, leading scientists to suggest the harsher effects of climate change are here years earlier than they had hoped. 

Millions of people are enduring 100-plus degree temperatures in regions where air conditioners are anomalies, including the Pacific Northwest, Siberia and Canada. Scientists say the cause is a stalled high-pressure system that occurs just once in a millennium. But scientists also said climate change makes the rare event much worse: They hoped these effects were decades away but appear to be here now. The 115-degree temperatures flabbergasted meteorologists in the Pacific region.

“The predictions seemed completely outlandish,” said Larry O’Neill, an associate professor at Oregon State University. “They were so crazy insane that professional forecasters and people like myself thought something must be wrong with the models.”

The heat waves killed hundreds in both regions and overwhelmed hospitals, and the dangerous forecasts continue into our July 4 weekend. Heat, not hurricanes, kills more residents than any other type of severe weather, and our ability to survive it may define our next century: Society’s power grid can’t take the widespread demand that punishing heat will bring. Heat may even be the next human rights issue, as those living in poverty don’t have as many resources to cope with it. California is trying, however, by testing power solutions off the grid.

The recent explosion of wildfires — so much so that they are now called a “season” —  sparked President Joe Biden to meet with governors in Western states Wednesday to prepare for them. Biden also increased federal wildland firefighter pay to $15 an hour. More than 100 fire scientists urged residents in the drought-ridden and heat-baked West to skip fireworks this holiday weekend. Biden finally promised to spend more to fight climate change, which included shoring up coastlines and strengthening levees.

“As climate change induces extreme weather events more and more frequently, we need to make investments to build a more resistant grid,” he said.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVES

This section includes an aggregation of articles showing different viewpoints on the topic.

How to Stay Cool and Safe in a Heat Wave – New York Times – 6/29/2021
Extreme summer heat is blanketing large swaths of North America, increasing the risk for heat-related illnesses including heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Read on for tips from experts on how to stay cool during the swelter — even without air conditioning.

California wildfire insurance: Charging for climate change? – CalMatters – 6/30/2021
In hard-hit Napa Valley, which has burned multiple times this last decade, successful winemakers and longtime residents are weighing their options to rebuild or move out entirely simply by looking at their property insurance policies.
“They just can’t get insurance,” said Democratic state Sen. Bill Dodd, whose district spans the region’s celebrated vineyards.

Big Oil and Gas Kept a Dirty Secret for Decades. Now They May Pay the Price. – The Nation – 6/30/2021
After a century of wielding extraordinary economic and political power, America’s petroleum giants face a reckoning for driving the greatest existential threat of our lifetimes.

Lockdowns, Crime, And Climate Hysteria: Our Three Biggest Disasters – The Federalist – 6/30/2021
It’s the perfect crisis, so large and global in scope that fixing it requires empowering government bureaucrats totally and perpetually — and giving them absolute mastery over the direction of our lives from the cradle to the compost heap.

Yellowstone and Warming: An Iconic Park Faces Startling Changes – Yale E360 – 6/23/2021
Since 1950, the iconic park has experienced a host of changes caused by human-driven global warming, including decreased snowpack, shorter winters and longer summers, and a growing risk of wildfires.

Climate coverage feels the heat, again – Columbia Journalism Review – 6/30/2021
The climate crisis is indeed making extreme heat worse, but—as is so often the case with coverage of weather events—news organizations haven’t uniformly done a great job of prominently communicating this context. 

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVES

This section includes an aggregation of tweets showing different viewpoints on the topic.

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