January 01, 2016

Acts of God or Acts of Man? Rethinking Contractual Impracticability in Times of Climate Change

Myanna Dellinger

Climate change is real. The proof is exhaustive and almost never-ending. Weather records are continually broken. The average global temperature has risen almost one degree Fahrenheit since 1880 and is predicted to rise by as much as six degrees by the end of the century unless effective action against climate change is taken soon. This warming trend is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years. Scientists with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have said they are 95 to 100 percent certain that the cause is human activity. Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis, Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at 20, n.1 (2013). Atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases are now higher than they have been in the past 800,000 years. Rising temperatures pose a serious risk to human life and health. Heat waves have, for example, been linked to a recent 2,000 percent spike in the loss of human life as well as domestic violence in India and Australia, increased assaults and murders in the United States, ethnic violence in Europe, land invasions in Brazil, police violence in Holland, and civil conflicts throughout the tropics. Andrea Vittorio, Last Decade Sees ‘Unprecedented’ Extremes, Highest Temperatures on Record, U.N. Says, Int’l Env’t Rep. (BNA) No. 15, at 1008 (July 3, 2013); Kathleen Maclay, Warmer Climate Strongly Affects Human Conflict and Violence Worldwide, Says Study, Berkley News Ctr. (Aug. 1, 2013).

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