Hell Breaks as Massive Fires and Floods Consumes Planet Earth

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28/07/2021 by socialistfight

By Dov Winter, July 22, 2021

In this photo provided by the Bootleg Fire Incident Command, the Bootleg Fire burns at night near Highway 34 in southern Oregon on Thursday, July 15, 2021. Firefighters scrambled Friday to control a raging inferno in southeastern Oregon that’s spreading miles a day in windy conditions, one of numerous wildfires across the U.S. West that are straining resources. The Bootleg Fire, the largest wildfire burning in the U.S., has torched more than 377 square miles (976 square kilometers), and crews had little control of it. (Jason Pettigrew/Bootleg Fire Incident Command via AP)

Understanding contradictions that bring about dramatic change is important for understanding Climate Change because contradictions drive change. The contradictions the drive a gradual change at some point produce a leap. And sometime this leap is like a prime leap, that is, it produces dramatic changes in a short time. This is what is happening now with climate change. The gradual worsening of Climate Change and its assault on human civilization has passed a tipping point. It is becoming harder and possibly impossible to reverse it. Climate change is devastating human civilization, causing massive floods and fires not seen in hundreds of years, possibly a thousand years.

A tipping point means a runaway positive feedback loops. This is what is happening with Climate Change. For example, as the artic melts, the sun hits darker surfaces. Normally the light reflects back to the atmosphere after it hits white ice. But as larger areas in the Arctics and Antarctica are getting warm, the ice melts more, the sun hits growing darker areas, and the surface keeps warming up. As the surface gets darker and warmer, more ice is melting, more warming is happening and more ice is melting, that is, the process becomes a positive feedback loop that is responsible for the warming the Artic. These feedback loops cause the Arctic to warm faster than any other place on earth. The ice that protects its freezing temperature is melting away as the positive feedback loops intensified.

We know that the reasons for earth warming is humans’ release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. But carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gases the cause the warming of the planet. Methane is another powerful greenhouse gas. Methane has more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over the first 20 years after it reaches the atmosphere. Even though carbon dioxide has a longer-lasting effect, methane is more effective in warming the planet in the short term. At least 25% of today’s warming is driven by methane from human actions. Methane is escaping in an alarming way from the arctic, as the ice is melting. The significant of this cannot be underestimated. For historical reference, according to some scientists, it was the release of Matane from the oceans that finally caused the greatest mass extinction on our planet that took place 250 million years ago.

The fact that we are in a grave tipping point cannot be debated anymore. It all over the news, and it is in plain sight for everybody to see. Western US is consumed by many massive fires never seen before. And Europe is suffering from massive floods. Many parts of Germany were unpassable, and aid came only with helicopters.

The massive fires in the US also creates a tipping point, and a positive feedback loop. The fires suck the moister from the air. As a result, more areas become extremely dry, and the fires keep on spreading. A drought is a huge contributor to this positive feedback loop because the ground and the vegetation are very dry, and any sparks from a fire or lightings could spread a fire rapidly, or could start a new fire.

Fires create a doomsday Scenarios

The US is in a midst of massive fires not seen before. When I lived in California the fire season has started in late September or early October. Now it is starting in June, and sometimes it starts in the winter, as a once in a thousand-year drought is devastating the US (and the Western US in particular) and it creates the conditions for huge biblical-scale fires, never seen before:

“According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there have been 34,596 wildfires tallied from 1 January to 16 July, affecting 2,364,643 acres. Over the same period of 2020, there were 28,423 wildfires affecting 1,778,583 acres.” [1]

This year there have been 6173 more fires than last year! And this is only July, the fire season has only begun. The inferno (hell) fire is a truly huge fire. It is one of the biggest on record. But it is only one fire of many in Western US: “The inferno grew on Friday to about 75 sq. miles (194 sq. km), larger than New York City, and was raging through a part of the American west that is enduring a historic drought. . . There are currently at least 70 wildfires burning in the western United States and dozens more in Canada.” [2]

When discussing Climate Change, you need to think of this devastating Inferno fire as a preview of what is coming. As bad and terrifying the current out of control fires are, they represent only astage in a worsening situation. 2021 is only a transitional year, a peek review of what’s coming. In five years from now, the inferno fire would likely be the good old days. I can say that because Western US is in the midst of a hundred, possibly a thousand-year drought. There is a massive stationary high pressure that is behind the draught. It is a dome-like stationary high pressure that caused temperatures in the West to exceed 100 F degrees. Such high pressure did not exist before Climate Change’s era has begun.

As climate change intensifies, these kinds of huge fires are going to be routine fires; and the number of fires are going to increase together with the intensity of the fires: “As of Friday, the Bootleg Fire was the largest in the country and one of nine burning in Oregon. Some 28 miles away from Klamath Falls, it had scorched 241,497 acres, with 7 percent of the flames contained by a team of almost 2,000 firefighters, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.” [3]

The effects of the fires are felt in northern US and in Canada. The smoke created by the Bootleg fire has billowed into Canada, while smoke from other fires across western US has created bad air quality in several cities. The smoke from the fires in the West reached NYC. Many areas in the US cannot escape the smoke.

Climate Change works in combination with other factors in nature to create conditions favourable to massive out of control fires. Dying trees bring bugs that prey and destroy weak trees. We are facing conditions in which old-growth trees like redwood and sequoia can either die after being weakened by a drought and bug attacks, or they die directly from the fires. The Bootleg fire has been destroying old-growth trees, with long-term effects:

“More than 80 major wildfires currently pockmark western states, covering a combined area similar to that of the state of Delaware, with the largest a conflagration known as the Bootleg fire, a 537-sq-mile blaze burning in tracts of old-growth forest about 300 miles south-west of Portland, Oregon.” [4]

This is only July; it is not yet the peak of the fire season in California and Oregon. And we already had 80 major fires. There is no reason why this number will not double or even triple when the peak of the fire season arrives around September and October. The continuation of the historic draught in Western US means that millions of people will not have enough water, the most important ingredient for life. Water and fire don’t interact well with each other. But massive fires without water could force millions of people to move out of Western US. Reservoirs in Western US are shockingly almost empty. Parts of Central Valley, for example, that produce most of the fruits and vegetable for the US, are running out of water. So, the farmers have to decide which crops they have to stop producing. If (or more accurately when) farmers will stop producing due to the water crisis, the water crisis will transform into a ominous crisis in which fruit and vegies could be scarce. There is a serious cutback on the production of tomatoes because of the drought. [5]

California that is experiencing daily temperature of 100 F plus, could become a desert again. It is hard to imagine that many of the 40 million people in California (a huge number for a semi-desert), will have to leave due to the severe water crisis. But this could be the coming reality. The millions of refugees in Africa who try to move out of Africa because of abuse by dictators and the growing climate change crisis, could be joined by at least thousands in the imperialist countries (California and other areas). Ultimately Climate Change does not discriminate. In fact, as the water crisis gets out of control, California and other parts of the West may return to their original landscape, a desert:

“Virtually the entire West is tapped out. Extreme drought conditions prevail in all or parts of at least seven states. Wildfires are epidemic. Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States, is drying up, with less water in it than at any time since its creation in the 1930s. . . The implications are staggering. An estimated 25 million people, plus their businesses and farms, rely on water from Lake Mead.” [6]

The water crisis could generate a huge political crisis and many refugees. The tension between the lucky ones who get water, and those who are left in the dark without enough water is likely to worsen. This crisis is not going to be confined to farmers. In California it will affect the big cities. Dry water taps, and smoke from nearby fires could drive the masses into actions against climate change. What is needed is a leadership with a transitional program that links capitalism to the climate crisis. The bottom line is that the oil companies, the banks that finance them, and the government that defends them, will not take any serious measures to alleviate the drastic effects of climate change if it disrupts the profit of the corporations. The hard truth is that capitalism must be overthrown by the working class before adequate and serious measures are taken against Climate Change.

Massive Floods Are Becoming a Yearly Event

Droughts and higher temperature melt the ice and snow in the high mountains. The ice and snow in the Himalayas mountains is melting fast and the long-term supply of water to a billion people in Asia is precarious because the water disappear fast, and people don’t have a year around sources of water anymore.

On the other side of the Globe, the floods are turning Europe into a disaster, not seen for many generations. Climate Change is manifested by heat, and massive a once-in-a -thousand-years draughts. But it is also manifested by draughts’ opposite—too much water. Scientists correctly predicted that heavy downpours of rain are one of the main features of Climate Change: the rain comes hard and massive. This can be seen in massive flooding that is taking place in Europe, particularly in Germany. There the people are as devastated as those who lose their homes to fires. The massive floods in Germany have transformed cars and houses into floating boats. At least few hundred people lost their life. And those that survive the floods were traumatized, as many towns were covered with water:

“Whole places are scarred by the disaster,” German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said at a news conference. “Many people have lost what they have built all their lives.” [7]

And:

“It could be that this flood becomes the most catastrophic our country has ever known, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said Friday.” [8]

And:

“In the hardest-hit parts of Germany, two months’ worth of rain fell in 24 hours, according to the Deutscher Wetterdienst, Germany’s meteorological agency, causing a 1-in-100-year deluge.” [9]

The shocking reality is that the 1-in-100-year deluge is becoming a yearly event. Studies have found that downpours are now happening more frequently because a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, generating more and more powerful devastating rainfall.

Climate Change is a contradictory phenomenon. It involves massive draughts and fires as well as their opposite: massive downpours and flooding. The massive-flooded areas in Germany are disastrous for the local population. But the sad story is that this is just the beginning. Every year such disasters will worsen. And in ten to twenty years from now, the trauma and drama of Climate Change may bring the collapse of human civilization as we know it. A socialist revolution and planned economy may slow down the process, but they will come too late to fully stop it and reverse it. Nobody knows how long it will take the planet to stabilize again. But planned socialist economy that stop sending a massive amount of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere will give humanity a shimmering of hope, and hopefully the ability to cure our very sick planet.

Notes


[1] The Guardian, Victoria Bekiempis, 17 Jul 2021, At least 70 large wildfires burning in US west as fears mount over conditions, Bootleg is now the largest US forest fire at 281,208 acres and just 22% contained as ‘excessive heat’ forecasthttps://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jul/17/us-west-wildfires-bootleg-fire-oregon.

[2]  Guardian staff and agencies, 17 Jul 2021, Oregon wildfire causes miles-high ‘fire clouds’ as flames grow, Pyrocumulus clouds viewable from 100 miles away as Bootleg fire grows beyond size of New York City https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jul/16/bootleg-fire-oregon-fire-clouds-Pyrocumulus.

[3] The Washington Post, María Luisa Paúl, July 16, 2021, Oregon’s Bootleg Fire is torching an area larger than NYC. Firefighters are scrambling to contain it, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/07/16/oregons-bootleg-fire-is-torching-an-area-larger-than-nyc-firefighters-are-scrambling-contain-it/?variant=116ae929826d1fd3.

[4] The Guardian, Oliver Milman in New York and Gabrielle Canon in San Francisco, July 20, 2021, Thunderstorms and lightning threaten to spur more fires in US west, More than 80 major wildfires currently burning in western states as Bootleg fire reaches 537 sq. miles, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jul/20/us-west-wildfires-bootleg-fire-oregon.

[5] Washington Post, July 28, 2021, Get ready to pay more for tomatoes, as California growers reel from extreme weather https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/07/28/california-tomatoes-drought-prices/

[6] The Washington Post, July 20, 2021, Opinion: The thirsty West’s dreaded water crisis is here, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/07/20/water-shortage-crisis-western-states/.

[7] The Washington Post, Loveday Morris, July 16, 2012, Death toll from European floods climbs to more than 150, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/07/16/europe-flooding-deaths-germany-belgium/.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

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