Tag Archives: Wildfires

After COP27, all signs point to world blowing past the 1.5 degrees global warming limit – here’s what we can still do about it

 

Young activists have been pushing to keep a 1.5-Celsius limit, knowing their future is at stake.
AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty

 

Peter Schlosser, Arizona State University

The world could still, theoretically, meet its goal of keeping global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius, a level many scientists consider a dangerous threshold. Realistically, that’s unlikely to happen.

Part of the problem was evident at COP27, the United Nations climate conference in Egypt.

While nations’ climate negotiators were successfully fighting to “keep 1.5 alive” as the global goal in the official agreement, reached Nov. 20, 2022, some of their countries were negotiating new fossil fuel deals, driven in part by the global energy crisis. Any expansion of fossil fuels – the primary driver of climate change – makes keeping warming under 1.5 C (2.7 Fahrenheit) compared to pre-industrial times much harder. Continue reading

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Climate Crisis Pushing Up to 1 in 6 US Tree Species Toward Extinction: Study

“Understanding the current state of trees within the U.S. is imperative to protecting those species, their habitats, and the countless communities they support.”

By Julia Conley   Published 8-23-2022 by Common Dreams

Black ash trees are among the tree species identified in a new study showing that up to one in six tree species are being pushed toward extinction. Photo: Eli Sagor/flickr/CC

New research published Tuesday reveals both how chronically under-studied tree populations are in the U.S. and how the lack of resources devoted to trees has pushed as much as 16% of all tree species toward the threat of extinction.

After five years of study, a coalition of scientists from Botanic Gardens Conservation International, NatureServe, the U.S. Botanic Garden, and other groups revealed that as many as one in six U.S. tree species are in danger of becoming extinct due largely to disease and invasive insects—both of which have been quietly made more devastating to trees in recent years by the climate crisis. Continue reading

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‘Europe Is Cooking’: Records Smashed as Historic Heat Alert Issued

While fires rage and temperatures in Western Europe top the charts, the U.K.’s Met Office announced the first-ever red warning for extreme heat expected in the coming days.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 7-15-2022 by Common Dreams

Image” Peter Dynes/Twitter

Several countries across Europe are enduring the dangerous hot conditions that climate scientists have longed warned of and meteorologists project the brutal heatwave could last in some areas through next month.

Spain and Portugal have faced high temperatures since last Friday. According to CNN, at least three Spanish cities set records this week: Ourense at 43.2°C (109.76°F); Soria at 38.7°C (101.66°F); and Zamora at 41.1°C (105.98°F). Continue reading

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Alaska on fire: Thousands of lightning strikes and a warming climate put Alaska on pace for another historic fire season

A large tundra fire burned near St. Mary’s, Alaska, on June 13, 2022.
BLM Alaska Fire Service/Incident Management Team/John Kern

Rick Thoman, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Alaska is on pace for another historic wildfire year, with its fastest start to the fire season on record. By mid-June 2022, over 1 million acres had burned. By early July, that number was well over 2 million acres, more than twice the size of a typical Alaska fire season.

We asked Rick Thoman, a climate specialist at the International Arctic Research Center in Fairbanks, why Alaska is seeing so many large, intense fires this year and how the region’s fire season is changing. Continue reading

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Warmer in Alaska Than San Diego This Week as Temperature Record ‘Pulverized’

“Climate change continues to push the envelope on what is possible all over the globe,” said one meteorologist.

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 12-29-2021 by Common Dreams

On December 26, 2021 the town of Kodiak in southern Alaska hit 67°—seven degrees warmer than the daytime high in San Diego—and shattering the December record for Alaska by nine degrees. (Photo: Scott Duncan/Twitter)

As parts of Alaska obliterated high-temperature records earlier this week, meteorologists and climate scientists warned that extreme heat and rainfall are the new normal in the nation’s largest state and other Arctic and subarctic zones.

On Sunday, the town of Kodiak in southern Alaska hit 67°F—seven degrees warmer than the daytime high in San Diego—and shattering the December record for Alaska by nine degrees, according to the National Weather Service. The town also broke the local December record by more than 20 degrees. Continue reading

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“Four Meals from Anarchy”: Rising Food Prices Could Spark Famine, War, and Revolution in 2022

The political consequences of hunger are profound and unpredictable but could be the spark that lights a powder keg of anger and resentment that would make the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests look tame by comparison.

By Alan Macleod.  Published 12-17-2021 by MintPress News


Soldiers from the 1177th Transportation Company support warehouse and distribution operations at the Atlanta Community Food Bank as a part of the Georgia National Guard COVID-19 response force, April 2020. Photo: Georgia National Guard/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Already dealing with the economic fallout from a protracted pandemic, the rapidly rising prices of food and other key commodities have many fearing that unprecedented political and social instability could be just around the corner next year.

With the clock ticking on student loan and rent debts, the price of a standard cart of food has jumped 6.4% in the past 12 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the cost of eating out in a restaurant similarly spiking, by 5.8% since November 2020. Continue reading

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Moving beyond America’s war on wildfire: 4 ways to avoid future megafires

Tools for a prescribed burn conducted in the Sierra Nevada in November 2019.
Susan Kocher, CC BY-ND

Susan Kocher, University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Ryan E. Tompkins, University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Californians have been concerned about wildfires for a long time, but the past two years have left many of them fearful and questioning whether any solutions to the fire crisis truly exist.

The Dixie Fire in the Sierra Nevada burned nearly 1 million acres in 2021, including almost the entire community of Greenville. Then strong winds near Lake Tahoe sent the Caldor Fire racing through the community of Grizzly Flats and to the edges of urban neighborhoods, forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people – including one of us. Those were only the biggest of the 2021 fires, and the risk isn’t over. A wind-blown fire that started Oct. 11 was spreading quickly near Santa Barbara on the Southern California coast. Continue reading

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PG&E Charged With 11 Felony Counts—Including Manslaughter—Over 2020 Zogg Fire

“PG&E has a history with a repeated pattern of causing wildfires that is not getting better,” said Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett. “It’s only getting worse.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-24-2021

A fire crew battles the Zogg Fire on October 2, 2020. Photo: California Conservation Corps/Wikimedia Commons

One year after its aging equipment sparked a wildfire that killed four people in Northern California, Pacific Gas & Electric on Friday was hit with 31 charges, including 11 felonies, by a county prosecutor who cited the formerly bankrupt utility giant’s “repeated pattern” of causing such conflagrations.

Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett announced the charges—which include four counts of felony manslaughter—at a Friday press conference during which she said there is “sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt” that PG&E is “criminally liable for their reckless ignition” of the last autumn’s Zogg Fire, which burned more than 56,000 acres, destroyed over 200 buildings in Shasta and Tehama counties, and killed countless wild and domestic animals. Continue reading

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Record-Breaking Disasters Across World Have Root Cause in Common: Human Activity

“The solutions we conceive of as a global society,” a new report states, must “allow for interconnected ways of solving multiple problems at once.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-8-2021

Amazon deforestation. Phpto: Oregon State University/flickr/CC

A slew of recent record-breaking disasters that took place in faraway places across the world shouldn’t be seen in isolation but as interconnected events for which human activity is a major root cause, according to a United Nations report released Wednesday.

The study (pdf), released by the UN University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security, took a “deep dive” into 10 extreme events that occurred in 2020 and 2021 that “were not only disastrous for people and the environment but were also the symptoms of underlying processes ingrained in our society.” Continue reading

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If we lose the Amazon, our world will lose its future

Brazil is voting to legalize the destruction of the Amazon forest and the extermination of Indigenous peoples, the forest’s last line of defense

By Vanessa Andreotti   Published 8-25-2021 by openDemocracy

A group of Huni Kui youth ready to join the protest in Brasilia | Elvis Huni Kui

It is not just the people of Brazil who will suffer in the face of their government’s smartly coordinated attack on humanity’s future. All of us, across the world, are set to suffer the consequences of the tragedy unfolding before us in the Amazon.

You may be asking, ‘Why should I care?’ In a world of competing crises, it’s certainly a fair question. But the future of the Amazon rainforest must be a priority – if we lose it, we lose our future. Continue reading

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