*The planet is exhibiting telltale symptoms of our addiction to burning climate-wrecking fossil fuels: hellacious wildfires, unrelenting heat, sweltering Arctic temperatures and withering crops in northern Europe. We are in a climate crisis!
14 million people in the megalopolis of London braced themselves for record-breaking heat, dubbed “Furnace Friday.” Combustion-induced smog levels soared exacerbated by extreme heat. Intense demand for power had emergency services on red alert. Hospitals contended with many heatwave casualties. 90,000 lightning strikes, flash flooding and wildfires ravaged sun-baked Britain in an unforgettable week of Mother’s Nature’s unbridled overheated wrath.
Earlier in the week, a gruesome firestorm report came from Mati, Greece, of 26 adults and children clutching one another as they were charred to death only 32 yards from the sea. Tinder dry Greece was likely set alight by an arsonist, as a brutal heatwave collided with walls of flames that incinerated 81 people.
In Japan, record-breaking heat of 106 Fahrenheit (F) near metropolitan Tokyo’s 38 million people, hospitalized 22,647 denizens including many elderly from heat stroke. Japan’s blistering heat occurred just after the killer floods that unleashed landslides onto hill-perched homes. It was the worst flooding in decades across three of Japan’s four main islands.
In California, 130 million dead trees from a decade of drought, bark beetle epidemics and fierce heatwaves have erupted into firestorms. 3,400 fire fighters are battling thick smoke filled with poison oak from the Ferguson Fire along the western front of Yosemite National Park, which has been evacuated of all tourists. The putrid Ferguson Fire air and its fine particulate matter is now worse than the second most polluted city on the globe, Beijing.
In California, the Ferguson Fire air is now worse than the world’s 2nd most polluted city, Beijing.
Further north, the enormous 45-square-mile Carr Fire has tripled in size since Monday. It scorched Shasta and Keswick before leaping across the Sacramento River and arriving at Redding. It’s threatening the largest city in the region of 92,000 people, which is partially evacuated.
The resort town of Idyllwild, nestled in the San Jacinto Mountains of southern California is completely evacuated. On Wednesday night, an arsonist dropped a match and five homes vaporized. The Cranston Fire is currently raging.
So what’s going on? Why is England currently hotter than western continental Europe?
There’s a monster high pressure system parked over the western Atlantic Ocean. It’s causing the jet stream, the atmospheric wind current that moves weather west to east across the world, to buckle and reverberate.
Consequently, it’s moving massive blocks of hot, dry air over the U.K., Japan, China, western United States, northern Europe, Brazil, North Africa and Latin America. These regions are enduring long periods of extreme heat, torrential rainfalls, firestorms and crop failure.
“We are seeing some extreme jet stream behavior, where the jet stream is contorting into these extreme loops both sharply towards the poles with ridges of high pressure and dips to the equator with troughs of low pressure,” remarked Dr Jeff Masters, Weather Underground.
The record temperatures in the northern hemisphere are stunning: Waco, TX, 114 F, Baltic Sea, northern Europe, 14.4 F above normal, Scandinavian Arctic Circle 86 F with wildfires, Bardufoss, Norway, 92 F. Earlier in July, Algeria’s Sahara Desert registered 124 F – a continental all-time record high.
These heatwaves are being stoked by burning more subsidized fossil fuels. The oceans drive Earth’s climate. They are broiling with more than 300 zettajoules of man-made fossil fuel heat, half of which have accumulated since 1997. Increased intensity and frequency of global marine heatwaves have decimated vast areas of corals across the planet.
Allow me to remind you that when animals and plants lose their habitat, i.e. corals, they die.
It’s imperative to reduce fossil fuel emissions now. We have the technology with supercritical steam from solar thermal concentrated farms and lithium-ion battery stations to power all towns and cities globally.
It will take $25 trillion, or, five years of fossil fuel subsidies, to accomplish this life-sustaining mission. It’s a no-brainer. End fossil fuel subsidies immediately.
We have a narrow window to race towards a zero-combustion global economy. This goal is doable and obligatory in order for the human race to survive the next decade(s) and its ferocious heatwaves, droughts, firestorms and crop failures.
It’s time for fearless political leaders to rise up and protect the people and the planet or we will all perish hideously.
Dr Reese Halter is an award-winning broadcaster, distinguished conservation biologist and author.
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