24 July 2019   Leave a comment

Europe is suffering through its second heat wave of the summer and all-time record high temperatures are being broken in a number of cities. There are also wildfires in Spain and Portugal as temperatures hover around 40 degrees C (104 F). European societies have not invested in air conditioning that the extent that the US has. But there is evidence that the high temperatures are related to climate change, and, if true, then that pattern will likely change. Robinson Meyer, writing in the Atlantic, assesses the recent study that indicates that the high temperatures being experienced globally are not part of a “natural” cycle:

” Absolutely nothing resembling modern-day global warming has happened on Earth for at least the past 2,000 years, a new study published today in Nature confirms. Since the birth of Jesus Christ, the climate has sometimes naturally changed—some parts of the world have briefly cooled, and some have briefly warmed—but it has never changed as it’s changing now. Never once until the Industrial Revolution did temperatures surge in the same direction everywhere at the same time. They’re doing so now, the study finds.”

The planet has cooled and warmed periodically over the last 2000 years and that pattern is used by many climate change deniers to suggest that the recent warming pattern is normal. But the recent warming is far out of line with historical patterns.

North Korea has launched two projectiles into the Sea of Japan (called the East Sea by the Koreas), repeating an exercise that occurred last May. At that time, US President Trump did not view the tests as significant and he seemed to adopt the same stance today, even though his National Security Adviser, John Bolton, was in South Korea. North Korea warned of repercussions if the US and South Korea went ahead with their plans for joint military exercises. These tests could indicate that North Korea believes that these exercises have violated the agreement between President Trump and Leader Kim in Singapore. The South China Morning Post suggests some reasons for the tests:

“‘I think today’s launches are part of a larger plan for North Korea’s advanced missile programme, rather than its protest against the upcoming military drill,’ said Hong Min, a senior researcher at the South’s state-run Korea Institute for National Unification.

“’The North has declared in the past it would modernise and improve its defence system…. The launches today are part of that development plan and I think the North had already planned the launches in advance’, he added.

“Adam Mount, of the Federation of American Scientists, said the latest launch was a clear indication that ‘North Korea’s nuclear and missile arsenals are now routinely being improved, displayed, and tested.’

“’The current bargain is: don’t test nuclear warheads or long range missiles and the United States won’t object or seriously try to stop it,’ Mount tweeted.”

President Trump’s willingness to not make a major issue about these tests is probably not the best course of action. Leader Kim is clearly testing the credibility of the US. If there is no meaningful response to these tests from the US, then Kim will feel obliged to raise the pressure more. If the US finally does decide to respond, the price for responding will be much higher.

Posted July 24, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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