The Student News Site of Kinnelon High School

Colt Chronicle

The Student News Site of Kinnelon High School

Colt Chronicle

The Student News Site of Kinnelon High School

Colt Chronicle

It’s Getting Hot in Here

2024 could be the turning point for climate change.
Aarushi Kumar
Snow begins to melt as New Jersey welcomes the warm spring sunlight.

Now that the warm sun and cool breezes have finally chased away the neverending winter cold, the end of March marks the official start of spring. Though New Jersey has had consistently low temperatures and snow during these past few months, 2023 was reported Earth’s hottest year in human history, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

The Paris Agreement of 2015 – an international treaty on climate change – aims to limit the “long-term temperature increase… to no more than 1.5 C above pre-industrial [1850-1900] levels.” Last year, the annual average planetary temperature reported 1.45 C above pre-industrial levels by leading datasets. In 2024, scientists project temperature could surpass this threshold, leading to further destabilization of the Earth’s climate.

Climate change won’t just make summers warmer. Rising temperatures also create drought, insect outbreaks, raise the severity of wildfires, hurricanes, and other natural disasters, increase diseases, and reduce agricultural yield. 

As the planet heats up more every year, permafrost in Alaska and the Arctic Circle can start to release deadly diseases. In August 2016, 72 nomadic herders, including 41 children were hospitalized from an Anthrax outbreak in the far north of Russia called the Yamal Peninsula, according to The Guardian. The “Siberian Plague” hadn’t been seen in the region for 75 years, but the disease had a fresh breath of new life when rising temperatures revealed a reindeer that died from the anthrax infection buried under the ice.

According to the Department of Environmental Protection, New Jersey has increased 3.9°F since 1895, and heat-related hospitalizations in NJ increased 156% from 2004 to 2013. 29% of all New Jersey birds will also be vulnerable to climate change.

However, 2024 could be the tipping point of irreversible damage to Earth’s climate system. As the Climate Council suggests, “Global greenhouse gas emissions may peak this year and start falling. This would be a historic turning point, heralding the end of the fossil fuel era as coal, oil, and gas are increasingly displaced by clean energy technologies.” It also believes that global emissions need to roughly halve by 2030; a monumental but crucial task to keep the planet from getting worse.

So how is New Jersey responding to the climate crisis, and what can the state do to make sure that 2024 is as hot as temperatures get? Last year, Governor Phil Murphy announced a suite of measures to “incentivize clean energy and boost resilience” according to RMI

As long as lawmakers and corporations continue to work to drop emissions and make the switch to cleaner energy technologies, we can enjoy the spring season with renewed hope.

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