2020 has sucked. Between the Coronavirus deaths, the untold economic devastation, the cracks in our ineffective healthcare system, the utter lack of leadership, the ecological disasters, and the deaths of beloved public figures, this year has been rough on everyone.
Right now, California is on fire. Temperature spikes due to the climate crisis plus idiots using explosives for their idiotic gender reveal parties have created smoke so thick that the San Francisco Bay Area (represent!) is in a state of perpetual twilight. Death Valley hit a temperature of 130 degrees, the highest ever seen in the world. A massive tsunami hit Japan and Korea.
Well buckle up because climate change experts say that its only going to get worse.
“It’s going to get A LOT worse,” Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb said Wednesday. “I say that with emphasis because it does challenge the imagination. And that’s the scary thing to know as a climate scientist in 2020.”
NASA’s former chief scientist Waleed Abdalati said the trajectory of worsening disasters and climate change from the burning of coal, oil and gas is clear, and basic physics.
“I strongly believe we’re going to look back in 10 years, certainly 20 and definitely 50 and say, ‘Wow, 2020 was a crazy year, but I miss it,’” Abdalati said.
We are in a stage of wild climate catastrophe that scientists were warning us about earlier.
“It seems like this is what we always were talking about a decade ago,” said North Carolina State climatologist Kathie Dello.
“A year like 2020 could have been the subject of a marvelous science fiction film in 2000,” Cobb said. “Now we have to watch and digest real-time disaster after disaster after disaster, on top of a pandemic. The outlook could not be any more grim. It’s just a horrifying prospect.”
“The 2030s are going to be noticeably worse than the 2020s,” she said.
“The kind of things we’re seeing are no surprise to the (scientific) community that understands the rules and the laws of physics,” Abdalati said.
“A lot of people want to blame it on 2020, but 2020 didn’t do this,” Dello said. “We know the behavior that caused climate change.”
“I am not an alarmist. I don’t want to scare people,” Abdalati said. “It’s a problem with tremendous consequences and it’s too important not to get right.”
And so even though the climate will likely get worse, Overpeck is also optimistic about what future generations will think when they look back at the wild and dangerous weather of 2020.
“I think we’ll look back and we’ll see a whole bunch of increasingly crazy years,” Overpeck said. “And that this year, in 2020, I hope we look back and say it got crazy enough that it motivated us to act on climate change in the United States.”