Largest Ever Wildfire in Greenland Continues to Burn, Can Be Seen From Space
By Joe Sandler Clarke
Local media reports said smoke from the blaze, 90 miles northeast of the small town of Sisimuit, has risen two kilometers into the air and spread hundreds of miles across the surrounding area.
The authorities in Greenland have said they don't expect the fire to go out in the coming days and have diverted traffic and canceled hiking and hunting trips near the fire.
A rare occurrence
Covered in ice and featureless grassland, wildfires are rare in Greenland, but satellite images suggest that incidents have occurred in the region in recent years.
Stef Lhermitte, of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, tweeted yesterday that the number of fires in the territory has shot up in 2017.
@ruth_mottram @blkahn @greenlandicesmb @geschichtenpost @dmidk @NASAEarth @esaclimate @USGSLandsat To wrap up: wild… https://t.co/o5CRYhXnJp— Stef Lhermitte (@Stef Lhermitte)1502128732.0
Data collected by the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) shows a sharp up-tick in CO2 emissions in Greenland from forest fires in August.
At the same time, forest fires in and around the Arctic circle have increased in recent times.
A study published in 2013 found that the Boreal Forest, which stretches around the top of the world from Russia, through Scandinavia to Canada, was burning at an "unprecedented rate."
This summer, as the European press has been filled with stories about heatwaves and wildfires in the Mediterranean, fires in northern countries have also increased.
Just last week, Climate Central reported that British Columbia in Canada was experiencing its second worst wildfire season of all time, with reports of smoke being seen as far away as Oregon in the United States.
Threat to icesheet
The increased incidents of fire in Canada is having a demonstrable impact on the Greenland icesheet.
In June, scientists from the U.S. traced vast amounts of soot from Canadian wildfires to the ice in Greenland, warning that the particles could accelerate the melting of the icesheet.
Melting #Greenland Could Raise Sea Levels by 20 Feet https://t.co/tc1Q6iBQlf @climatehawk1 @SierraClub @greenpeaceusa @foodandwater @Oceana— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1501073874.0
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimated that around 270 gigatons of water are lost per year because of melting.
Marco Tedesco, a polar scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, told Energydesk that the fires appear to be "exceptional in terms of the area covered" and said that more research was needed to examine how climate change was impacting the territory.
"From a scientific point of view, we want to understand the sources of this fire. Was it an accident or a one-time event? Or was it part of a longer term trend that goes beyond the satellite data in 2000? What are the temperatures like?
"How many of these incidents have there been over the years? The good news (if any) is that today we have much better tools (remote sensing) than even just a few years ago and a higher number of scientists focusing on these topics. This hopefully will help us to shed some light on this very interesting event."
New Zealand could be the first country in the world to require its major financial institutions to report on the risks posed by the climate crisis.
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By Brett Wilkins
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the meatpacking industry worked together to downplay and disregard risks to worker health during the Covid-19 pandemic, as shown in documents published Monday by Public Citizen and American Oversight.
<div id="13077" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="11b9fe5ff48ebc437353df6df9c2c892"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1305915938148147205" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Just a week before the Trump administration issued an executive order aimed at keeping meat packing plants open, th… https://t.co/DkbXgPm4YR</div> — ProPublica (@ProPublica)<a href="https://twitter.com/propublica/statuses/1305915938148147205">1600189597.0</a></blockquote></div>
<div id="36e4c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e7c8048c2755109629a3b3072fcb3261"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1304424041814593539" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Meatpacking union @UFCW, which reps workers at this plant (four of whom died), slams OSHA for the small $13k fine a… https://t.co/tnhfKd89ab</div> — Dave Jamieson (@Dave Jamieson)<a href="https://twitter.com/jamieson/statuses/1304424041814593539">1599833901.0</a></blockquote></div><p>The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents Smithfield Foods workers, <a href="https://www.argusleader.com/story/news/crime/2020/09/10/osha-fines-smithfield-foods-sioux-falls-south-dakota/5768786002/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=f7bf3f03-ce98-4df4-9c45-f44d9a6a5890" target="_blank">slammed</a> the fine as "insulting and a slap on the wrist."</p><p>"How much is the health, safety, and life of an essential worker worth? Based on the actions of the Trump administration, clearly not much," said UFCW president Marc Perrone.</p><p>"This so-called 'fine' is a slap on the wrist for Smithfield, and a slap in the face of the thousands of American meatpacking workers who have been putting their lives on the line to help feed America since the beginning of this pandemic," Perrone added. </p><p>Other critics, including vegans, vegetarians, and animal rights and environmental advocates argued that the accelerated spread of Covid-19 from meatpacking facilities is but the latest compelling argument in favor of reducing—or eliminating—meat consumption.</p><p>"We know that Covid-19 originated in a meat market and that previous influenza viruses originated in pigs and chickens," People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) <a href="https://www.peta.org/blog/meat-shortage-slaugherhouses-go-vegan/" target="_blank">said</a> in April amid news that a Foster Farms slaughterhouse in Livingston, California was <a href="https://www.peta.org/blog/coronavirus-covid-19-slaughterhouse-meat-concerns/?utm_source=PETA::Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=0420::veg::PETA::Twitter::Workers%20Blame%20Major%20Pig%20Slaughterhouse%20600%20Infected%20COVID-19::::tweet" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">ordered closed</a> by local health authorities due to a Covid-19 outbreak that killed eight employees.</p>
<div id="28490" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="48ddd3480a2beb42597d9516ef652f0f"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1252416495990140929" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS! @SmithfieldFoods allegedly took NO PRECAUTIONS to protect the safety of its workers, leaving o… https://t.co/viAJ026pLy</div> — PETA (@PETA)<a href="https://twitter.com/peta/statuses/1252416495990140929">1587434336.0</a></blockquote></div><p>"It's not a matter of <em>whether</em> using and killing animals for food will give rise to another disease outbreak—it's a matter of <em>when</em>," said PETA. "There has never been a better, more obvious time for businesses to put an end to their dirty trade of slaughtering animals for their flesh." </p>
By Andrea Willige
More than half of the world's population lives in cities, and most future population growth is predicted to happen in urban areas. But the concentration of large numbers of people and the ecosystems built around their lives has also been a driver of climate change.