This conversation is part of End Poverty in California’s statewide listening tour—we’ve also visited Los Angeles, Antioch, Ontario, and numerous community colleges—and once again I am struck by the fatigue people feel from their steady activism, sharing their personal stories, and not seeing fundamental change. The fact that they have turned out for yet another conversation is indeed an act of faith. As Alexandria Crowder, who has resided in Fresno for 30 years, says, “It’s not easy not to give up. But if you give up, then who’s left?”
One of the most devastating but still not widely known consequences of climate change concerns the ‘wet-bulb temperature’ (Tw), which is usually taken as maximum 35°C.
The paper points out that, if global average temperatures rise to 1.5 and 2°C above preindustrial levels – which is likely to happen over the next few decades on a business-as-usual trajectory – this “could affect hundreds of millions of people… especially when combined with urban heat island effects”.
In medium to high emission scenarios, certain regions such as south and south-west Asia would go “beyond the limit of survivability” and more extreme scenarios beyond 7°C “would render large parts of the world uninhabitable”.
These existential risks are particularly serious because, if we breach 1.5°C, we are increasingly likely to trigger climate tipping points that could lead to further abrupt and irreversible global warming.
The current rate of increase in emissions suggests we are heading toward a dangerous 2 to 3°C world.