When the Wicked Witch of the West screeched, “I’m melting, I’m melting” in the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, she inadvertently summed up what is happening today due to climate change.
But the world held in thrall by flooding, intense temperatures and wildfires is no Hollywood fantasy production – it is a deadly reality.
Consider what is happening:
Iceland will hold an official memorial ceremony later in August to commemorate the loss of the massive “Ok glacier”, which has melted away to become “dead” ice – it has stopped moving and is a mere 6.6 percent of its original 5.8 square-mile size.
In Canada, Canadian Forces Station Alert in the high arctic is the most northerly community in the world. Created for military defence purposes in the early 1950s, it now also acts as base for Environment Canada personnel.
Last month, the temperature in Alert hit a high of 21°C. The average for July is 7°C.
“This is unprecedented,” said Dave Phillips, Environment Canada’s chief climatologist. “Our (weather prediction) models for the rest of the summer are saying, ‘Get used to it’.”
While the ice is melting, fires in the northern part of Canada’s boreal forest – the country has nearly one-third of the boreal forest that acts as a deterrent to climate change – is burning. It is the same with Siberia and Alaska. Some of these fires are penetrating deep into the earth and in doing so, release emissions of carbon dioxide that has been dormant for hundreds of years.
The Barents Observer, an English language news site in Norway, hit readers with this headline July 22: ‘Arctic summer 2019: record beating heat, dramatic ice loss and raging wildfires.’
Every country is affected by climate change, whether as scientists say, it is created by humans, or by Mother Nature, but Canada is in perhaps the most serious trouble.
The Great White North, as it is called, is warming at twice the global rate, and the Canadian northern wilderness at about three times that of any other area on earth, according to the study, ‘Canada’s Changing Climate Report’.
The effects are seen everywhere, from wildfires, rain in winter, water shortages in the warmer months and extreme coastal flooding.
The study lays the blame on natural climate variations and human activity, with the latter being the most detrimental.
It is no time to bury your head in the sand and pretend all is well. But that is what the leadership of the world’s most powerful country is doing.
US President Donald Trump pulled the country out of the Paris Climate Accord, the only country in the world to not sign the pact designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
The 2018 report – released on the Friday of a holiday weekend so as to call as little attention as possible to it – said that if steps are not taken to slow climate change, there will be severe economic consequences.
When asked by reporters if he had perused the report, Trump, said, “I’ve seen it. I have read some of it, and it’s fine.”
But when reporters asked if climate change could result in the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars by century’s end, the self-confessed genius Trump dismissed the conclusion of the report: “I don’t believe it. No, no, I don’t believe it.”
The ostrich has spoken; the Wicked Witch lives.