The Cost of Climate Change

Oscar Altman, Staff Writer

   As tropical storm Ian and Hurricane Fiona hit the coasts of Florida and Canada respectively, many are asking the question of if the coastal and equatorial areas of the world will remain inhabitable in the face of accelerating climate change. According to climate scientist Timothy M. Lenton, we may have already passed the most severe “tipping points” in climate change. In climate science, a tipping point is an event which once crossed will further accelerate climate change, a sort of snowball effect or positive loop that will accelerate out of control. Evidence for tipping points goes back 14,000 years, with the major difference being that ancient tipping points were much rarer, and not human caused. Some of these proposed tipping points, like the melting Greenland ice sheet and the Atlantic Deep-Water Formation have already occurred, but others, like the Sahara Greening are yet to happen. It is hard to imagine, but we may be the first generation to see the Sahara green in over 5,000 years. We may also be the first generation to see our cities submerged and our equator ravaged by heatwaves, out of control weather, and unstable harvest. Some sociologists believe that the next American migration will not be east to west, but south to north, as climate change pushes those with enough resources north to greener pastures. Although the death tolls from tropical storm Ian and hurricane Fiona are still to be determined, the number of preventable deaths caused by climate change are liable to reach the millions as humanity continues to stand docile in its shadow.