Oh, those wacky Chinese hoaxers. Turns out this past July was the hottest month on record, after all, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Facts are so inconvenient. “An inconvenient truth,” you might say. What’s a hoaxer to do?
Not that the climate deniers will notice, mind. Or care. They’ll blame the liberal news media, and their headlines like, It’s official: July Was Hottest Month on Record (NBC News), July 2019 Was Earth’s Hottest Month On Record, US Agency Says (South China Morning Post), NOAA Confirms July Was Hottest Month Ever Recorded (New York Times), The Hottest July: How Climate Change Is Breaking Temperature Records in 2019 (TIME), July Was Hottest on Record (Wall Street Journal), and that bastion of leftist Commie pinko reportage, The Weather Channel: July 2019 Was Earth’s Hottest Month on Record.
MarketWatch, ScienceAlert, Discover Magazine, Scientific American, EcoWatch and Livescience.com all weighed in. Even Fox News weighed in — begrudgingly — with the more region-specific Heat Wave Threatens Notre Dame Repair Efforts as Temperature Records Tumble Across Europe.
Unsurprisingly, the New York Times’ Somini Sengupta and Wieyi Cai took the wider, more far-reaching view with a cautionary big-picture look at what it means with their Aug. 6 story headed A Quarter of Humanity Faces Looming Water Crises. In the immortal words of Albert Einstein, “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
Countries that are home to one-fourth of Earth’s population face an increasingly serious threat:
The prospect of running out of water.
From South Africa and Namibia to India and Iran, 17 countries around the world are currently experiencing “extreme high water stress.” Technically, that means they are using almost all the water they have — this, according to the World Resources Institute, which published up-to-date data late last month.
More than a third of major urban areas — cities with 3 million or more people — are under high or extreme water stress, including Chennai, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New Delhi, Dhaka and São Paulo.
Mindful that contrarians and climate deniers will question every figure at every opportunity, the Urban Resources Institute cited the U.N.’s World Urbanization Prospects 2018 report as a source for its urbanization figures.
Mentioning cities by name isn’t simply a question of semantics: Last year, Cape Town narrowly avoided what scientists call Day Zero, the day when a major city runs out of water.
Climate change is not solely to blame, but it plays a major role. As rainfall becomes more erratic, the water supply becomes less reliable. Much as the loss of sea ice in the far north makes sea ice melt even faster — the ice no longer reflects the heat of the sun back into the atmosphere, which speeds up the melting process even more — hotter days makes standing water in lakes and reservoirs evaporate that much more quickly.
Clearly, if this is all a Chinese hoax, it’s a mighty effective one. As hoaxes go.