Living in a world where the population is topping 7 billion and temperatures are rising is going to be anything but normal.
A panel Saturday morning at the opening session of the Aspen Environment Forum painted an often bleak picture of how climate change is altering the world and how humans are dealing with the challenges.
The annual conference, presented by the Aspen Institute and National Geographic, is titled “Living in the New Normal” this year. The opening discussion carried the same name, but it soon became evident that there is no new normal.
“We’re living in a new abnormal, perhaps,” said Dennis Dimick, National Geographic magazine’s executive editor for the environment. He showed detailed graphic displays that demonstrate how global temperatures have increased 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1970s. Projections indicate that summers in 2040 to 2060 will be “warmer than the warmest on record,” he said.
Go ahead and throw weather records out the window, agreed Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The atmospheric conditions are changing to the point where “every weather event is different than it would have been,” Trenberth said. “We keep changing the climate so there is no new normal.”