Sunday, July 31, 2022

Into the Furnace


The screenshot above comes from a video in April of 2019. It's a screen capture of a massive fire in Los Angeles, California near the Getty Center. This video record is documenting the opening of the International Rebellion in London with Jem Bendell leading the protest. "Europe has been experiencing unprecedented heat waves, particularly in the summer of 2018. It has resulted in a drop in food production of 20% and is now getting worse. The video shows a diagram of how these energy emissions are interacting to produce the global heating that we're experiencing. The future of our climate is not now under our control." This rebellion did not produce any policy changes in the UK government, but it became a precursor to the events following, as heat waves began to propagate across the planet in the following years.

Greta Thunberg and Al Gore, two of the world's leading voices in the fight against climate change, publicly reacted to the record-setting heat wave and wildfires gripping Europe in July of this year (2022). "With temperature records being smashed in parts of the United Kingdom and France, Thunberg, the Swedish environmental activist, warned that the worst is yet to come. As of Tuesday, at least 1,346 people had died in Spain and Portugal due to the current heat wave, and experts say that figure is expected to rise over the coming days as extreme heat continues to broil places like the U.K., where air conditioning is not common."

Alarm is rising as the fastest growing US cities risk becoming unlivable from the climate crisis. Cities that sprawl in the south-western US have in recent years experienced population booms, with people moving in droves for cheap yet expansive properties, warm winters and plentiful jobs. Large corporations are shifting their bases to states with low taxes and cheaper cost of living.This has been upended with the reality of the climate emergency, with parts of the southwest suffering the worst drought in more than 1,000 years, with record wildfires and extreme heat that is triggering some medical conditions, as well as deaths from heat exposure.

George Monbiot writes that this heatwave has eviscerated the idea that small changes can tackle extreme weather. "We have seen nothing yet. The dangerous heat England is suffering at the moment is already becoming normal in southern Europe, and would be counted among the cooler days during hot periods in parts of the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, where heat is becoming a regular threat to life. It cannot now be long, unless immediate and comprehensive measures are taken, before these days of rage become the norm even in our once-temperate climatic zone."

 "The world is burning once again". In another article by Monbiot, he emphasizes that mainstream climate advocates have adapted an approach of incrementalism in climate change which has been wiped out by corporate resistance and the focus on profit above all else. "I feel clearer about what effective political action looks like than I have ever done. But a major question remains. Given that we have left it so late, can we reach the social tipping point before we hit the environmental tipping point?"

It's late in the day, but it's imperative for us and our kids to force our governments and the corporations to take serious measures to stop carbon emissions and ditch the fossil fuel energy immediately. Our survival, and that of the biosphere, depends on our immediate and effective actions.

Update 8/13/22: The World Needs ‘Rapid Climate Cooling’ as 2℃ Overshoot Now Likely