Siberian Forest Fires Increase Fivefold in Week Since Record High Temperature
By Eoin Higgins
The number of fires in the vast north Asian region of Siberia increased fivefold this week, according to the Russian forest fire aerial protection service, as temperatures in the Arctic continued higher than normal in the latest sign of the ongoing climate crisis.
The news of the increase comes a week after the small Siberian town of Verkhoyansk reported a high temperature of 100.4° F on June 20, a reading that, if confirmed, would mark the hottest day ever recorded in the region.
"While fires are common at this time of year, record temperatures and strong winds are making the situation particularly worrying," the European Union's Earth Observation Programme, which is monitoring the situation, said in a statement.
A record heatwave in Siberia has led to forest fires in the Republic of Sakha. Temperatures spiked to 30C (86F) on… https://t.co/sCMYu6OUaj— Shakthi #StayHomeSaveLives (@Shakthi #StayHomeSaveLives)1593126280.0
As the Associated Press reported:
According to figures reported Saturday by Avialesookhrana, Russia's agency for aerial forest fire management, 1.15 million hectares (2.85 million acres) were burning in Siberia in areas that cannot be reached by firefighters.
The worst-hit area is the Sakha Republic, where Verkhoyansk is located, with 929,000 hectares (2.295 million acres) burning.
The Sakha Republic's fire service reported 127 natural fires in the Russian federal sector.
The fires and heat are due to the climate crisis, Weather Channel meteorologist Carl Parker told Newsweek.
"What climate change is doing is moving the distribution of weather events, such that historically low-frequency, extreme events occur more frequently," said Parker. "Had the climate not changed due to man-made greenhouse gases, the heat we've seen in parts of Siberia would have been a 100,000-year event."
Parker warned that the fires are part of a dangerous feedback loop in the northern region.
"What's scary about the warming in Siberia is that there are huge quantities of carbon in permafrost, which can be unleashed during periods like this, particularly as fires develop in the region," said Parker.
The situation is getting much worse in Siberia.. #WeDontHaveTime https://t.co/XZ3EN1WueB— We Don’t Have Time (@We Don’t Have Time)1593283448.0
Jonathan Overpeck, University of Michigan environmental school dean, told AP in an email on June 24 that the situation in the Arctic region is unprecedented.
"The Arctic is figuratively and literally on fire," wrote Overpeck. "It's warming much faster than we thought it would in response to rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and this warming is leading to a rapid meltdown and increase in wildfires."
"The record warming in Siberia is a warning sign of major proportions," he added.
Temperatures in Siberia for the first five months of 2020 were an average 14° F over normal.
"That's much, much warmer than it's ever been over that region in that period of time," Zeke Hausfather, a Berkeley Earth climate scientist, told AP.
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
- A Siberian Town Just Hit 100 F Degrees - EcoWatch ›
- Russia Declares Emergency Over Huge Wildfires in Siberia ... ›
- Wildfires Are Burning 5 Million Acres in Siberia and Eastern Russia ... ›
- The Arctic Is on Fire and Warming Twice as Fast as the Rest of the Earth - EcoWatch ›
- Siberian Heat Wave Was Made 600x More Likely by the Climate Crisis, Scientists Say - EcoWatch ›
- Reindeer and Their Nomadic Herders Face Climate Change - EcoWatch ›
By Jessica Corbett
Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday was the lone progressive to vote against Tom Vilsack reprising his role as secretary of agriculture, citing concerns that progressive advocacy groups have been raising since even before President Joe Biden officially nominated the former Obama administration appointee.
<div id="a420d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5369c498a5855fe2143b86fa07e23dff"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1364300806988652548" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">🚨🚨🚨 Bernie Sanders voted against Tom Vilsack's nomination. It's great to see the Senator stick to his principles a… https://t.co/u4XNU4viNC</div> — RootsAction (@RootsAction)<a href="https://twitter.com/Roots_Action/statuses/1364300806988652548">1614109634.0</a></blockquote></div>
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Beverly Law and William Moomaw
Protecting forests is an essential strategy in the fight against climate change that has not received the attention it deserves. Trees capture and store massive amounts of carbon. And unlike some strategies for cooling the climate, they don't require costly and complicated technology.
The U.S. has more than 800 million acres of natural and planted forests and woodlands, of which nearly 60% are privately owned. USDA / USFS
- Bipartisan Climate Bill Highlights Forest Restoration, Conservation ... ›
- New Forests Planted Near Rivers Could Use up All the Water, Study ... ›
- Restoring Tropical Forests Isn't Meaningful if Those Forests Only ... ›
- Family Forests Are Key to Fighting Climate Change. - EcoWatch ›
- Earth's Intact Forests Are Invaluable, and in Danger - EcoWatch ›
By Matt Casale
There were many lessons to be learned from Texas' prolonged periods of lost power during its cold snap, which saw temperatures drop into the single digits. But one many people may not recognize is that electric vehicles, or EVs, can be part of a smart resiliency plan — not only in the case of outages triggered by the cold but in other scenarios caused by extreme weather events, from fire-related blackouts in California to hurricane-hit power losses in Puerto Rico.
A car driving in the snow in Dallas, Feb. 2021. Matthew Rader / CC BY-SA 4.0<p>Experts recognize that electric vehicles are a central climate solution for their role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But EVs are also essentially batteries on wheels. You can store energy in those batteries, and if EVs are equipped with something called <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle-to-grid" target="_blank">vehicle-to-grid</a> or vehicle-to-building technology, they can also be used to keep the lights on in emergencies. The technology allows the energy being stored in an EV battery to be pushed back into the grid or into buildings to provide power.</p><p>There are hurdles: The technology is still <a href="https://www.greenbiz.com/article/vehicle-grid-technology-revving" target="_blank">developing</a>, the vast majority of EVs currently on the road do not have this capability, and utilities would need regulatory approval before bringing it to scale. But done right it could be a great opportunity.</p><p>Electric car batteries can hold approximately <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2019/11/how-california-can-use-electric-vehicles-keep-lights" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">60 kilowatt hours (kWh)</a> of energy, enough to provide back-up power to an average U.S. household for two days. Larger electric vehicles like buses and trucks have even bigger batteries and can provide more power. The American company Proterra produces electric buses that can store <a href="https://www.proterra.com/press-release/proterra-launches-zx5-electric-bus/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">up to 660 kWh of energy</a>. Electric <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/electric-trash-trucks-are-coming-quietly-to-your-town-11602098620#:~:text=Electric%20trash%20truck%20love%20is%20in%20the%20air.&text=A's%20program%20to%20reduce%20carbon,being%20primarily%20electric%20by%202023." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">garbage trucks</a> and even <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/19/business/electric-semi-trucks-big-rigs.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">big-rigs</a>, with bigger batteries, are becoming a reality too.</p>
MTA New York City Transit / Marc A. Hermann / CC BY 2.0<p>If equipped with vehicle-to-grid or vehicle-to-building technology, those cars, buses and trucks could prove invaluable during future blackouts. People could rely on their cars to power their houses. Municipalities, transit agencies and school districts could send out their fleets to the areas most in need. We could power homes, shelters and emergency response centers — and could keep people warm, healthy and comfortable until power could be restored.</p><p>But to add this great resiliency tool to our arsenal in times of extreme weather, we must significantly increase the number of EVs on the road. In 2019 electric cars accounted for only about <a href="https://www.energy.gov/eere/vehicles/articles/fotw-1136-june-1-2020-plug-vehicle-sales-accounted-about-2-all-light-duty" target="_blank">2%</a> of all light-duty vehicle sales in the country. Electric buses and trucks are becoming more common in the United States, but still only represent a tiny fraction of the fleet. As it stands now, the EVs currently on the road, even if equipped with vehicle-to-grid technology, would do little to help a broad swath of the population in need of power.</p>
A line of electric cars at charging stations. Andrew Bone / CC BY 2.0
With lockdowns in place and budgets slashed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many environmental protections vanished this past year, leaving some of the world's most vulnerable species and habitats at risk. But conservationists at the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation were faced with an entirely different threat.
Annapolis, Maryland, is suing 26 oil and gas companies for deceiving the public about their products' role in causing climate change. The city is among two dozen state and local governments to file such a lawsuit.
- Charleston, SC Becomes First City in U.S. South to Sue Big Oil for ... ›
- 'Fossil Fuel Companies Knew': Honolulu Files Lawsuit Over Climate ... ›