Here’s our periodic round-up of climate-change news:
California Wildfires Signal the Arrival of a Planetary Fire Age
Another autumn, more fires, more refugees and incinerated homes. For California, flames have become the colors of fall. Free-burning fire is the proximate provocation for the havoc, since its ember storms are engulfing landscapes. But in the hands of humans, combustion is also the deeper cause. Modern societies are burning lithic landscapes – once-living biomass now fossilized into coal, gas and oil – which is aggravating the burning of living landscapes.
The World’s Fastest-Thinning Glacier Identified
A glacier in Patagonia that has lost half its length in 30 years may be the fastest-thinning glacier on the planet. The glacier, known as Hielo Patagónico Sur 12 (HPS-12), is perched in the Andes mountains in Chile. Researchers reporting in the journal Nature Geoscience in September found that HPS-12 has been losing thickness and retreating inland. According to their analysis of satellite data, the glacier lost 98 feet (30 meters) of ice thickness each year, on average, between 2000 and 2008, near its terminal end. At its fastest, the thinning occurred at a rate of 144 feet (44 m) per year, according to study co-author Etienne Berthier, a glaciologist at the University of Toulouse in France. The section where that thinning was recorded melted away entirely in 2018.
Deforestation: Facts, Causes & Effects
Deforestation is the permanent removal of trees to make room for something besides forest. This can include clearing the land for agriculture or grazing, or using the timber for fuel, construction or manufacturing. Forests cover more than 30% of the Earth’s land surface, according to the World Wildlife Fund. These forested areas can provide food, medicine and fuel for more than a billion people. Worldwide, forests provide 13.4 million people with jobs in the forest sector, and another 41 million people have jobs related to forests.
The World’s Thickest Mountain Glacier Is Finally Melting, and Climate Change Is 100% to Blame
Massive and meaty, the Taku Glacier in Alaska’s Juneau Icefield was a poster child for the frozen places holding their own against climate change. As the largest of 20 major glaciers in the region and one of the single thickest glaciers in the world (it measures 4,860 feet, or 1,480 meters, from surface to floor), Taku had been demonstrably gaining mass and spreading farther into the nearby Taku river for nearly half a century, while all of its neighboring glaciers shrank. Now, it appears those glory days are over.
Robert Redford: A Race Against Time to Undo Damage Caused by Trump
Earlier this week, Donald Trump notified the United Nations of his intention to pull America out of the most significant climate effort in history, the now-famous Paris Accord. It’s a decision that has shocked millions with its short-sighted foolishness. That he chose to do this on the first day he could legally do so under the UN’s rules for withdrawal simply reveals his immoral dedication to isolating us from the world community by willfully ignoring the biggest, most urgent threat facing human civilization.