The “Future” of the Climate Change Crisis Is Here Today – Whether U.S. Politicos Agree or Not

G&A's Sustainability Highlights (08.15.2023)
Aug 24, 2023 10:00 AM ET

As we prepare this issue of the Sustainability Newsletter, we cannot look away from six facts.

Fact: Three new Atlantic Ocean hurricanes are in formation and moving over warmer ocean waters toward the Caribbean Basin islands. The waters surrounding the Florida Keys (islands) are at 100-degree F (38C). The region’s beautiful coral formations have been bleaching white. In the nearby Gulf of Mexico, warmer waters may result in new storms whipping up this week and heading toward the southern states of the U.S. – threatening movement of oil and gas shipments out of Texas.

Fact: On the Pacific coastline, Hurricane Hilary has passed over Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, and is moving through highly populated Southern California and toward inland Nevada. Hilary is the first such storm to hit this region in almost a century. Think about how many people have moved into California since the 1920s -- and now are in the path of the storm.

Fact: A large “heat dome” sits over much of the U.S., from the northern Plains states (the Dakotas) extending south into Missouri. Many days the midday temperature tops 100F.

Fact: In Washington and Oregon the skies are clouded over with smoke from regional fires. A few times this summer literally hundreds of forest fires blazing in Canada – thanks to drought conditions there – resulted in giant smoke formations moving hundreds of miles south into the U.S. New York City sat enveloped in a giant yellow cloud for a few days.

Fact: France has issued “heat alerts” for southern parts of that country as much of southern Europe experiences a heat wave. People are told to stay indoors. French wine-growing regions may be affected as the grapes reach maturity. Spain has wildfires blazing at its Canary Islands tourist destinations. Tourists in southern EU nations are experiencing high heat conditions.

Fact: A Pacific Ocean cyclone (they’re called a hurricane in the Atlantic) passed near to the Hawaiian Islands, and dry conditions and high winds whipped forest fire flames, scorching, and destroying 2,000 buildings in the historic Hawai’ian Kingdom capital and former whaling city of Lahaina on the island of Maui. This is a tourist attraction drawing two million visitors each year. Almost 1,000 persons remain missing since this tragic event and U.S. President Biden visits the island this week. This is the worst U.S. wildfire in more than a century.

Taken together, these facts tell a clear story: the “future” of the climate change crisis is here. The United States administration took early steps to meet climate change challenges in the form of the “whole of government” approach originating in an Executive Order issued by Biden just one week after taking office. We outlined the sweeping measures of the EO in a G&A Institute Resource Paper.

Counterpoint: It’s another “fact” now that the U.S. conservative movement led by the Heritage Foundation think tank has developed a comprehensive plan (almost 1,000 pages) for the next Republican president (presumably in 2024) to counter (and dismantle) the current “whole of government” plan to address climate change. This is the battle plan for the first months of a future Republican presidency.

We bring you the details in two top stories this week. We suggest readers consider the effects of the “facts” of climate events of recent days in the context of the “battle plan” to reverse U.S. government, industry, and community actions to address the increasing threats of the climate crisis challenges.

This is just the introduction of G&A's Sustainability Highlights newsletter this week. Click here to view the full issue.