A family of bears marched past a crowd to cool off in Lake Tahoe – a cute, but terrifying, example of our climate-crisis dystopia

black bear cubs
Black bear cubs.

  • A beachgoer earlier this month spotted a family of bears swimming in Lake Tahoe near tourists.
  • But video of the encounter reveals how the growing dangers of the climate crisis are taking effect.
  • As the planet’s warming creates more and more extreme weather, humans aren’t the only ones fleeing.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Video showing a family of bears trudging past beachgoers and straight into Lake Tahoe may look cute, but it’s actually terrifying.

The video, captured earlier this month by local beachgoer Heather Blummer, shows a hefty bear with three cubs marching right past a crowd of humans on the beach. The bear family was likely trying to cool down: It reached 91 degrees Fahrenheit in that area of Lake Tahoe on Sunday, July 11, when the video was taken. A record-breaking heat wave was sweeping the area.

Though the fluffy mammal family may look adorable, splashing and wrestling in the water with one another, bears are wild animals and a potential danger to humans, who should never be so close to the species – especially when cubs are present.

Imogen Cancellare, a conservation biologist, tweeted about the potential dangers of getting too close to a mama bear and her cubs.

“A black bear with cubs can be VERY aggressive, and what she will/won’t tolerate isn’t always clear,” Cancellare said. “If she hurts someone, the state will euthanize her, and her cubs will either starve or (if caught) spend their life in cages.”

It’s not just about humans and bears, either. Changes in species range patterns, changes in human land use, and the unpredictability of climate events will further exacerbate the challenges, according to the World Conservation Congress.

As the planet’s warming creates increasingly extreme weather, humans aren’t the only ones fleeing. Climate refugees come in all shapes and sizes. In Russia, polar bears have invaded towns in search of food as their ice-sheet habitats melt. In Australia, wounded and frightened animals have rushed out of gargantuan brush fires and into residential areas. In drought-stricken Zimbabwe, elephants have raided human communities for food and water.

Heat waves can be particularly dangerous for animals and humans

Heat waves can make both humans and animals desperate, and scientists are confident climate change is making heat waves worse.

Since the beginning of June, a series of record-setting heat waves have rolled over the US West, Southwest, and Pacific Northwest. In particular, the late-June heat dome that sat over Washington and Oregon for days has astonished scientists.

Earlier this week, scientists determined the blazing heat wave killed more than one billion sea creatures, as marine life in the Pacific Northwest was cooked to death in the unrelenting sun. Scientists expect the number of dead to increase as their count continues.

Experts told Scientific American losing such substantial numbers of creatures could destabilize parts of the ocean, eventually resulting in a decline in biodiversity.

This type of extreme heat is becoming more common and more severe as humans burn fossil fuels, like coal and oil, that release heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere. The planet is warming, and that’s bringing more extreme heat events.

Heat waves are occuring three times more often and lasting about a day longer than they did in the 1960s, according to records of such waves across 50 US cities. They also start earlier and continue later into the year. The heat-wave season is 47 days longer than it was in the 1960s.

But even that understanding may be outdated. The research center World Weather Attribution found the July Pacific-Northwest heat wave would have been virtually impossible without the global warming caused by human activities.

“This is something that nobody saw coming, that nobody thought possible. And we feel that we do not understand heat waves as well as we thought we did,” Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, who co-authored that study, said in a press briefing.

“We are much less certain about how the climate affects heat waves than we were two weeks ago.”

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The price of air con has shot up by 15% and companies are taking longer to install units thanks to a lack of staff and a shortage of components, according to a report

A technician instals an air conditioning unit in a house wearing a bright orange jacket.
A shortage of workers and parts for air conditioning units has led to long customer waiting lists

  • Air-conditioning prices have risen 15% in 2021 thanks to a supply squeeze, United CoolAir told Fox Business.
  • One air-con company said demand was booming, but that it didn’t have enough staff to install units.
  • A heat wave has hit parts of the US in recent weeks, putting electricity grids under strain.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The price of air-conditioning units has shot up thanks to a shortage of key components – and a lack of installers means some customers are waiting longer for their units, Fox Business reports.

Over the past few months, multiple manufacturers have announced rising equipment costs for units of between 3% and 9%. Brad Dunn, vice president of marketing and sales at United CoolAir, told Fox Business that air-con unit prices had risen 15% since the start of this year, and that he expected them to rise further.

AMHAC, a New York air-con company, told Fox Business that it had a long waiting list for new units, but was struggling to source key parts, such as circuit boards, motors, and engines.

Some companies were also struggling to find staff to install units, it said. “Our industry is booming, but unfortunately we don’t have enough tradesmen to come on board,” Natalie Llyod, AMHAC’s general manager, told Fox Business. “We’re hiring, and we have a lot of demand and we’re ready to go to get the season off right.”

The comments come as a heatwave rips through parts of America, and companies continue to return to offices.

Equipment shortages have also delayed construction projects: Nearly 70% of builders reported shortages of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment in May, according to a National Association of Home Builders report published June 2, cited by Fox News.

A heatwave hit the southwest US this week – California governor Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency on June 17, and called on residents to conserve energy because of pressure on the state’s electricity grid. Hot weather expected in the western part of the country this summer could put further strain on already fragile grids, which are vulnerable to the surge in demand caused by extreme weather events.

The global HVAC market is expected to grow 7.55% year-on-year to reach nearly $352 billion by 2026, according to market research site ResearchAndMarkets.com

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