The Daily PlanetWatch for Thursday, August 1

Thomas Schueneman

Thinking about the latest environmental news headlines every weekday afternoon from the Daily PlanetWatch
  • Sowing doubt. Sound familiar? Although Trump has certainly advanced the evil art of sowing doubt over inconvenient facts, it hardly started with him. Decades ago Big Tobacco wrote the playbook on sowing doubt. Does anyone remember cigarette commercials showing doctors pushing cigarettes? I guess I've just dated myself. 

    Let's not forget how Exxon knew 40 years ago that burning fossil fuels was driving climate change. They knew because they did their own research then hid it from the public, casting doubt on its own science. Soon, the burgeoning climate denial industry picked up the ball and ran with it. 

    As we've reported recently, under the leadership of Brazil's new president, Jaol Bolsonaro, the "Trump of the Tropics", deforestation in the Amazon is rapidly accelerating. Bolsonaro calls it "a lie". 

    So here we go again. 
  • How hot is it? I won't make the rookie mistake of confusing the season with the trend (a.k.a weather vs. climate). It gets hot in summer. But really, not this hot. After June was the hottest June on record, the latest data from the World Meteorological Organization indicates that July 2019 ties, if not surpasses, as the hottest month on Earth ever recorded. That's globally, many regions of the world, especially Europe, blew right through previous records. 

    Speaking at UN headquarters today, Secretary-General António Guterres warned of a "climate emergency".

    "This year alone we have seen temperature records shatter from New Delhi to Anchorage – from Paris to Santiago – from Adelaide to the Arctic Circle," Guterres said. 

    "We have always lived through hot summers. But this is not the summer of our youth.. This is not your grandfather’s summer."

    Imagine what our grandchildren will say when it's their turn to deal with a planet nosediving to a new normal. A world in which we did not evolve, but evolved into what we have ourselves made of it. 

    Read Secretary-General Guterres' full comments here.  

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