In the recent months, we are seeing a fire season that is more out of control than Donald Trump. These are creating feedback loops which are acting as a multiplier of the effects of climate change, which is what feedback loops do.
The confirmed 0.5c warming which may be closer to 0.8c, results in the atmosphere having a greater capacity to hold water, when combined with heat, this creates a sponge like effect, sucking water out of plants beyond their capacity. This has caused massive portion of Europe to go from green to brown in a single month as demonstrated by this satellite imagery
As equatorial zones heat up, creating drought, water shortages, agricultural losses and inhospitable conditions, we can expect to see more refugees fleeing to cooler areas with better resources. These drought conditions are exactly the types of conditions that stared the Syrian civil war. Mass migrations are putting increasing stress on politics and economics, due to the losses in resources from areas of exodus. Combined with socially engineered cultural destabilization this can result in more conflicts, which the EU is responding to by strengthening armed forces. Russia also has several massive uncontrolled wild fires.
More pointedly however, this excessive heat is causing wild fires in areas that normally do not see any wildfires, such as in northern Sweden in the arctic circle, much of that is caused by a slow down in the jet-stream, another predicted effect of climate change which magnifies it’s effects. As U.S. meteorologist and geoscientist Nick Humphrey explains, “The weakening is causing the polar jet to become much wavier, with greater wave ‘breaks’ and blocking patterns where waves sit in the same place for weeks [and] promote extreme weather patterns (extreme cold relative to normal as well as extreme heat, very wet, and drought conditions).”
The wild fires and drought not only pour massive amounts of CO2 into the air, but simultaneously reduce the production of oxygen as the “lungs of the planet” are decimated at a rate even higher than logging. If this is how bad things are below 1.0c average temperature rise, which is a bit misleading because it has demonstrated a 5c (41f) rise in temperature in the arctic circle during this summer season, it seems difficult to imagine global stability with more than a 2c rise in average temperatures, the limit set by the Paris climate accord.
Over the past few months, heat records have broken worldwide.
In early July, the temperature in Ouargla, Algeria, reached 51.3°C (124.34°F), the highest ever recorded in Africa! Temperatures in the eastern and southwestern U.S. and southeastern Canada have also hit record highs. In Montreal, people sweltered under temperatures of 36.6°C (97.88°F), the highest ever recorded there, as well as record-breaking extreme midnight heat and humidity, an unpleasant experience shared by people in Ottawa. Dozens of people have died from heat-related causes in Quebec alone.
Europe, Eurasia and the Middle East have also reached all-time record temperatures. In Northern Siberia, along the Arctic coast, the temperature was over 32°C (89.6°F) on July 5, much hotter than ever recorded.
It’s frightening to contemplate global warming, the changes required to confront it and the consequences we face in the coming years. But stalling solutions and continuing our fossil fuel addiction will only make the inevitable that much worse. This is compounded by the price of oil per barrel doubling since the beginning of the trump presidency.
Alternatives are more important now than ever, which has been leading to a renaissance in nuclear technologies but that alone is not enough. There will be no single solution to these problems, the only hope is a plurality of solutions balanced by being produced in multiple countries instead of hoping to be saved by electric vehicles from china (Transport only accounts for 14% of emissions that need to be mitigated, and almost 6% of that is from shipping via sea) Nuclear can solve at most 30-50% of the problem, and only if that 50% includes the power for transport. Not only do we need energy alternatives, but the industrial and agricultural aspects do not have any simple solutions which means another 30% at minimum must be resolved with carbon sequestration techniques, to mitigate the emissions from Industry and Agriculture which combined are ~46% of emissions that need to be mitigated, since things such as plastics and fertilizer do not have drop-in replacements. That is much taller order than the propaganda about solar and wind will solve everything or that electric cars are all we need to solve these problems, and china is not exporting nuclear, and has reduced the subsidies for its solar and wind production which were enabling cheap solar in the west. Solar is also requires massive amounts of precious metals. The propaganda has been carefully curated such that it has led the west into a false sense of security while the world burns amidst petty squabbles. Currency wars abound as the UK has forgotten how difficult it was to managed economies with many currencies in Europe, tarrifs are simple in comparison. This is the backdrop as authoritarians lead the charge into Thucydides’s trap of a zero sum game for global control before the societal break down from climate change, instead of pooling resources together, but there is still time to turn it around.