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The month of July 2023 just ended. It is in the record books as the hottest month in the history of the world while humans have been around; or at least in the past 120,000 years or so. It will obliterate the record for the hottest recorded month, upping the record by a formerly unheard of potential 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit.

In fact, according to a report from the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization and the European Commission’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, it was hotter this past month than anything we’ve seen in the last 80 or so years. But then again, humans only have data for about 100 years or so; an era considered the “sweet spot” in planet livability for humans.

This past month is the latest in a string of records that have made the past nine years the hottest in the history of our planet. Anyone who can read data knows we’re in trouble.

On July 27, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres made an urgent speech in New York warning that the only surprise is the speed of climate change, saying “Climate change is here, it is terrifying and it is just the beginning.” He declared that “the era of global boiling has arrived.”

Add to the extreme heat, the extreme weather that feels as if it is all happening at once, and we could be forgiven for wondering what on earth is going on. The answer is that ‘on earth”, we humans continue to screw it up, pumping billions of particles of CO2 and methane into the atmosphere; fueling an accelerating climate crisis.

In the ultimate irony, as the temperatures have surged across the affluent parts of the world, people there are cranking up their air conditioning — creating an endless cycle of climate disruption.

In the U.S., Canada, all across Europe and Asia — at this time of year summertime temps are supposed to be warm. But records fell day after day, week after week, not just across the United States, but across the globe. It isn’t just daytime temperatures — nighttime temperatures are unnaturally high.

In Phoenix, where the city endured 31 straight days of temps over 110 degrees Fahrenheit, the average maximum temperature in July was 114.7 degrees, and the average minimum temperature — even at night — was 90.8.

Across normally- temperate Europe, where most homes aren’t equipped with air conditioning, scorching temperatures rose above 105 degrees even along the Mediterranean, where wildfires caused mass evacuations from 2,000-year-old villages and shut down ancient Greek tourist attractions.

In Canada, millions of acres are burning. Air pollution reached extreme levels across a broad swath of Canada and the U.S.

Biodiversity is threatened everywhere. Coral reefs around Florida are dying, where ocean temperatures last week topped 100 degrees.

At the poles, ice sheets are melting, permafrost is thawing, releasing methane from forests buried tens of thousands of years ago under ice. Glaciers are disappearing on mountain peaks around the world.

It’s winter in the southern hemisphere right now, but you could be forgiven for not knowing. Across the continent of South America, the temperatures are double normal, and in places topping 100 degrees.

How do scientists know that we are breaking records that go back 120,000 years? Researchers read what are called “proxy records”—things like ocean sediments, coral reefs, and air trapped in polar ice cores—to investigate the temperatures of the more distant past.

Temperatures aren’t the only extremes. Wild weather from massive hail storms, record-shattering flooding, tornado outbreaks where they have never occurred, extended droughts, damaging straight-line winds and extreme air turbulence threatening air travel, may herald a new kind of “normal.”

The summer monsoons that normally cool southwestern states arrived late, but at least have arrived — for now.

Just as concerning as all this extreme weather is to our daily lives now, is a dire prediction for the future; a new study published in Nature Communications last week titled “Warning of a Forthcoming Collapse of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation” (AMOC).

This is the current that makes life across major earth masses of the globe possible. It flows from the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico northward along the eastern seaboard, past Greenland, then across the Atlantic to Europe picking up salinity, which causes it to descend, and start back southward. This circular conveyor belt makes food production to feed earth’s eight billion people, and our human-friendly climate possible.

The new study predicts that CO2 and methane continuing to fill our atmosphere could shut down this conveyor belt as early as the 2030s — and almost certainly before 2100.

We might live much more than a mile above sea level, and tend to focus on the now twenty-year drought along the Colorado River Basin. But this sea disaster can and will impact us in ways we don’t even know about yet. It will surely disrupt climate patterns.

In fact, the extreme heat — as opposed to just hot summer weather — is predicted to linger through August, with federal health officials warning of the health impacts. They report the most vulnerable people live in 26 states, notably the South and Southwest, as well as the Pacific Northwest, and in rural areas.

According to a relatively new monthly report drafted by the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department’s two-year-old climate change office, among the highest-risk counties, roughly 45 percent have high levels of uninsured adults and children, and 18 percent have high senior populations.

“It has been a shocking summer in many ways,” said HHS Climate Change and Health Equity Office Acting Director John Balbus. “We have all kinds of phenomena happening that are either extremely rare or unprecedented.”

While the U.S. Health and Human Services Department might have created a climate change office to focus on the public health aspects of climate change, in the current political climate, that doesn’t mean it is funded. Scientists have pressed for more funding to study the effects of climate change on health conditions such as asthma, COPD, heart conditions, aging, depression, anxiety, and increased dementia. But the requested  $5 million 2024 budget increase (to the paltry $10 million budget) was cut.

Stat reports that “The House Republican-led budget proposal slashes CDC’s budget by 18 percent in part by eliminating the climate change initiative, which committee leadership called a “controversial” program, along with firearms research.

This does not appear to indicate that our elected officials are on the same page about climate change, let alone mitigating its relentless impacts.