Tag Archives: Wildfires

Climate Emergency Persists as 2020 Ties for Earth’s Hottest Year on Record

“It took over 200 years for [atmospheric CO2] levels to increase by 25%, but now just over 30 years later we are approaching a 50% increase.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-8-2021

The Apple Fire burns into the night north of Beaumont, California on Friday, July 31, 2020. Photo: Brody Hessin/CC

Highlighting global campaigners’ demands for urgent and bold climate action, the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service announced Friday that despite coronavirus-related lockdowns, 2020 tied with 2016 for being the warmest year on record and closed out the warmest decade on the books.

“It is notable that 2020 matches the 2016 record despite a cooling La Niña, whereas 2016 was a record year that began with a strong warming El Niño event,” the agency known as C3S said. Continue reading

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One Year After Declaring Climate Emergency, Scientists Say ‘Massive-Scale Mobilization’ Necessary

“Aggressive, transformative change, framed against the backdrop of social justice, can ignite an enormous deployment that will let us avert the worst of the climate emergency.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-7-2021

Global scientists on Wednesday issued a new warming about the need for bold climate action on six key fronts. (Image: Oregon State University/YouTube)

One year after over 11,000 scientists from 153 countries came together to declare a climate emergency and urge ambitious action, the Oregon State University researchers who launched that effort said on Wednesday that an urgent massive-scale mobilization is necessary to address the human-caused global crisis.

Scientists’ renewed call for bold climate policies came just days after a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change warned existing carbon pollution will cause global temperatures to rise about 2.3 degrees Celsius or 4.1 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels—with devastating consequences worldwide. Continue reading

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Biden Already Facing Pressure to Tackle Backlog of ‘Unfunded’ Toxic Waste Sites Threatened by Climate Crisis

More broadly, campaigners are calling on the incoming president to deliver on the environmental justice promises he made as a candidate.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-28-2020

Formerly an open pit copper mine, the Berkeley Pit in Butte, Montana is now part of the largest Superfund site in the United States. Photo: Kolopres/Wikimedia Commons/CC

A joint report on Monday highlighted the pressure that President-elect Joe Biden is already facing to deliver on his environmental justice campaign promises—particularly when it comes to the 34 Superfund sites nationwide for which there is no reliable cleanup funding—the largest backlog of “unfunded” sites in 15 years.

The federal Superfund program began with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), passed by Congress in 1980. While cleanup efforts were initially paid for by a trust fund created by taxing the chemical and petroleum industries, lawmakers let the tax expire 25 years ago. Continue reading

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‘Sadistic and Depraved’: Trump Rejects California Request for Federal Disaster Aid to Recover From Catastrophic Wildfires

“That a sitting president—of any party—would deny their own citizens help during their time of greatest need, amid literal hellfire raining down on American cities, is beyond shameful.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-16-2020

Screenshot: CBS News

After repeatedly downplaying the catastrophic wildfires that have ravaged California in recent months and falsely attributing the blazes to poor “forest management,” the Trump administration this week denied Gov. Gavin Newsom’s request for federal disaster assistance needed to recover from the destruction the fires inflicted across the state.

The Los Angeles Times reported late Thursday that the Trump White House “rejected California’s request for disaster relief funds aimed at cleaning up the damage from six recent fires… including Los Angeles County’s Bobcat fire, San Bernardino County’s El Dorado fire, and the Creek fire, one of the largest that continues to burn in Fresno and Madera counties.” Continue reading

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Bye Bye, Big Oil? BP Admits Demand May Have Already Peaked, Predicts Growth of Renewable Energy

Welcoming news that oil demand may never recover to pre-pandemic levels, Greenpeace noted that “a #GreenRecovery will hasten its demise.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-14-2020

BP’s annual report on the future of energy, released Monday, says demand for oil may have peaked last year and projects significant growth in renewables over the next three decades. (Photo: tolkien1914/flickr/cc)

As communities worldwide face off against and file suit over the devastating impacts of a climate crisis notably driven by fossil fuel giants, BP on Monday gave just the latest signal that the dirty energy industry is dying—admitting that global demand for oil may have already peaked while projecting significant growth in renewables over the next few decades.

The new edition of BP’s annual Energy Outlook features three potential transition scenarios to 2050, the year by which the British firm says it intends to deliver its net-zero ambition. The forecast, Reuters reported, “underpins chief executive Bernard Looney’s new strategy to ‘reinvent’ the 111-year old oil and gas company by shifting renewables and power.” Continue reading

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Oregon Can’t Fight Wildfires Because Its Helicopters Were Sent To Afghanistan

Many of Oregon’s largest firefighting aircraft are not available because the Department of Defense has sent them to Afghanistan to fight in the 20-year-old war.

By Alan Macleod. Published 9-11-2020 by MintPress News

Screenshot: KGW8

More than half a million Oregonians have been forced to flee their homes, as wildfires continue to ravage the West Coast of the United States. Amid record-breaking temperatures, the wildfires, which have charred one million acres of land, have caused the sky to turn a terrifying shade of red, with many comparing it to Mars, hell, or the apocalypse. Air quality in Portland, the state’s largest city, is currently the lowest in the world, below even that of infamously polluted cities like Delhi and Beijing.

Continue reading

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The American West Is Burning But Trump Hasn’t Mentioned Historic Wildfires in ‘Any Way, Shape, or Form’ for Nearly 3 Weeks

“President Trump’s silence and complete disregard for the millions of people at risk is horrifying,” said one climate advocate.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9/10/2020

Photo: Forest Service NW/Twitter

Climate action advocates and journalists are calling out President Donald Trump’s silence for nearly three weeks, as historic wildfires have torn across the western United States, devastating communities that were already struggling in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and related economic crisis.

Both CNN and the group Climate Power 2020—which works to put the Trump administration on defense for ignoring scientists and serving polluters—pointed out Thursday that the president hasn’t publicly addressed the climate change-fueled fires “in any way, shape, or form” since August, despite attending dozens of events. Continue reading

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“Touted as ‘Essential’… Treated as Disposable”: Labor Day Anger as Migrant Farm Workers Toil Inside Wildfire Evacuation Zones

“For the workers, their hands were forced by a combination of circumstances as toxic as the ash that falls over the region’s famous vineyards.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-7-2020

Photo via salud-america.org

This Labor Day, immigrant and worker’s rights advocates are sounding the alarm in response to reports of migrant grape pickers, many of whom are undocumented, being forced to work in fire evacuation zones by California growers in a situation critics say demonstrates how some of those deemed “essential” at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic have been rendered “disposable” in the face of a record-setting heat wave and extremely dangerous conditions.

While the threat of flames and smoke was strong enough in Sonoma County to provoke the relocation of area residents, “the county agriculture commissioner invited workers to continue laboring in the fields, doling out evacuation-area access passes to dozens of agricultural producers,” Alleen Brown reported for The Intercept. Continue reading

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‘Warning Sign of Major Proportions’: Number of Siberian Forest Fires Increase Fivefold in Week Since Record High Temperature

“The Arctic is figuratively and literally on fire.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-27-2020

This photo taken on Friday, June 19, 2020 and provided by ECMWF Copernicus Climate Change Service shows the land surface temperature in the Siberia region of Russia. (Image: ECMWF Copernicus Climate Change Service/AP)

The number of fires in the vast north Asian region of Siberia increased fivefold this week, according to the Russian forest fire aerial protection service, as temperatures in the Arctic continued higher than normal in the latest sign of the ongoing climate crisis.

The news of the increase comes a week after the small Siberian town of Verkhoyansk reported a high temperature of 100.4° F on June 20, a reading that, if confirmed, would mark the hottest day ever recorded in the region. Continue reading

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‘This Scares Me,’ Says Bill McKibben as Arctic Hits 100.4°F—Hottest Temperature on Record

“100°F about 70 miles north of the Arctic Circle today in Siberia. That’s a first in all of recorded history. We are in a climate emergency.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-22-2020

A graphic shows record heat in the Arctic Circle on Saturday, June 20, 2020. (Image: Screengrab\@ScottDuncanWX)

A small Siberian town north of the Arctic Circle reached 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday, a figure that—if verified—would be the highest temperature reading in the region since record-keeping began in 1885.

“This scares me, I have to say,” environmentalist and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben tweeted in response to news of the record-breaking reading in Verkhoyansk, where the average high temperature in June is 68°F. Continue reading

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