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Politics The Hill's Sustainability Report: Guns drawn, memories lost in Dixie fire evacuations

06:55  07 august  2021
06:55  07 august  2021 Source:   thehill.com

Equilibrium/ Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — Greenland lost enough ice Tuesday to flood Florida

  Equilibrium/ Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — Greenland lost enough ice Tuesday to flood Florida Today is Friday. Welcome to Equilibrium, a newsletter that tracks the growing global battle over the future of sustainability. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup. The amount of ice that melted Tuesday in Greenland would be enough to cover the entire state of Florida in two inches of water, CNN reported.Greenland lost more than 8.5 billion tons of surface mass on that single day, and 18.4 billion tons since Sunday, as the island experiences its most significant melting event of the year, according to the Denmark Meteorological Institute.

The Dixie Fire mushroomed in size overnight to become the largest wildfire burning in the United States and the third biggest in California’ s history, forcing thousands to flee their homes and decimating century-old buildings in one historic town. “Our historical buildings, families homes, small businesses, and our children’ s schools are completely lost . Every square inch of downtown holds countless memories for each member of our small community and ample amount of history from our ancestors.”

Firefighters battling the wildfires in California say some residents have pulled guns on them because they don’t want to evacuate , according to a report . Crews encountered the armed homeowners this week as the Dixie fire , which has been raging for three-weeks Cagle said evacuations had been challenging for fire crews and law enforcement. When people ignore evacuation orders, Cagle said firefighters have to spend precious time helping transport residents in fire vehicles instead of battling the blaze. Firefighters stop a blaze from reaching a home in Greenville, California on August 5, 2021.

Today is Friday. Welcome to Equilibrium, a newsletter that tracks the growing global battle over the future of sustainability. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.

Fire in California: 2000 inhabitants called to evacuate "immediately" their homes

 Fire in California: 2000 inhabitants called to evacuate © Josh Edelson The locality of Greenville is widely destroyed by the Fire Dixie Fire. AFP / Josh Edelson in California, 2000 inhabitants were called Wednesday to evacuate "immediately" their homes. This decision was taken at the approach of the Dixie Fire, the largest fire in this state of the west coast of the United States this year, attached by violent winds.

The Dixie Fire , swollen by bone-dry vegetation and 40 mph gusts, raged through the northern Sierra Nevada town of Greenville on Wednesday evening. A gas station, hotel and bar were among many fixtures gutted in the town, which dates to California' s Gold Rush era and has some structures more than a century old. It wasn't immediately known how many buildings were demolished, but photos and video from the scene indicate the destruction was widespread. "We lost Greenville tonight," U. S . Representative Doug LaMalfa, who represents the area, said in an emotional Facebook video.

According to Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, German microbiologist, and as reported in The New American on 16 April 2021 in an article entitled "Covid shots to Decimate the World Population". Dr. Bhakdi warns that the COVID hysteria is based on lies and that the COVID "vaccines", especially the mRNA type, are set to cause a global catastrophe and a possible decimation of the human population. Everyday they recruit new people, people willing to do their bidding to gain social status (look at me), money, fame and materials. These people are lost , which I say is about 60% or more of the population.

a car parked in front of a sunset: Cars burn in the Dixie Fire in California. © The Hill Cars burn in the Dixie Fire in California.

California's Dixie fire erased the town of Greenville on Thursday, destroying more than just buildings in its path.

There was the roll-top desk that once belonged to local artist Margaret Elysia Garcia's grandfather, which held "every journal she's written in since second grade."

All gone, she told The Associated Press, in a fire that "took our whole town."

"We're seeing truly frightening fire behavior, and I don't know how to overstate that," Chris Carlton, supervisor for the Plumas National Forest, told The New York Times.

2021 NFL franchise valuations: How much is your team worth?

  2021 NFL franchise valuations: How much is your team worth? 2021 NFL franchise valuations: How much is your team worth?

The Dixie Fire ’ s sudden swell this week forced mandatory evacuation orders to expand north of Greenville and Lake Almanor, a resort community that is home to people who were displaced by the deadly 2018 Camp Fire . Homes and buildings in the nearby community of Chester, which had also been ordered to evacuate , were sprayed with fire retardant as the blaze threatened the area. On Thursday evening, evacuation orders were also issued to communities south of Greenville — including Taylorsville, a town of some 198 people living by the tree-filled, rolling hills by the foot of Mount Jura.

The Dixie Fire mushroomed overnight into the third-largest wildfire in California’ s history amid scorching temperatures, parched lands, and powerful wind gusts. The devastating blaze exploded by roughly 110 miles between Thursday night and Friday morning alone, going from the state’ s sixth-largest wildfire to the Related Articles Map: Wildfire evacuations in Trinity and Siskiyou counties The Tuesday morning report from the Forest Service fire managers put Dixie ’ s area at 253,052 acres (395 square miles) with 35% containment. An arm of the fire made a two-mile run past Round Valley Reservoir toward the

And tempers are high. Although a well-timed evacuation spared everyone's lives, memories and valued objects went up in smoke - and some residents pulled guns on firefighters as they resisted leaving, incident manager Jake Cagle told the AP.

But the Dixie fire (now the nation's largest) is just the beginning. Today we're bringing you something a little different. We're taking the full issue to survey the impact our recent spate of weird weather is having on economies and political systems throughout the world - and offer some low-hanging fruit of adaptation.

For Equilibrium, we are Saul Elbein and Sharon Udasin. Please send tips or comments to Saul at selbein@thehill.com or Sharon at sudasin@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @saul_elbein and @sharonudasin.

Five missing as Dixie Fire ravages California towns

  Five missing as Dixie Fire ravages California towns Five people were reported missing on Saturday as the Dixie Fire ravages through northern California. Five people were reported missing on Saturday as the Dixie Fire ravages through northern California.

The Dixie Fire ravaged the historic town of Greenville in Plumas County, Calif., on Wednesday, leaving its main street in rubble. Other parts of the county were also completely burned.CreditCredit Josh Edelson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images. Mr. Meacher lives in Grass Valley, which is itself being threatened by the River Fire , and said it was heartbreaking to think about what was lost in Greenville — the library where he would pick up books and VHS tapes, the pizza place next door with an arcade.

After the Dixie Fire destroyed the Gold Rush town of Greenville, Calif., local officials said they were hopeful that improving weather conditions on Friday would help firefighters prevent the blaze from dealing further damage. Mr. Meacher lives in Grass Valley, which is itself being threatened by the River Fire , and said it was heartbreaking to think about what was lost in Greenville — the library where he would pick up books and VHS tapes, the pizza place next door with an arcade. Also destroyed was a charter school where Kjessie Essue’ s husband works and the Cy Hall Memorial Museum, which

Let's get to it.

Extreme weather exacerbates unrest, spurs innovation

a castle surrounded by a body of water © Provided by The Hill

Dangerous heat and rampant wildfires across the southern parts of Greece, Turkey and Italy have disrupted the tourism industry's badly needed respite after its first post-lockdown high season.

In Athens, the Acropolis was closed due to the threat from extreme heat, which Eleni Myrivili, Athens' first ever chief heat officer, called "a subtle, slow and invisible kind of enemy," according to The Guardian.

But not so subtle: Across the sea in Turkey, 180 fires have ignited since July 28, killing eight people and forcing the evacuation of 36,000 with hundreds fleeing the burning coast by boat.

On Thursday, workers at a coal-fired power plant narrowly evacuated explosive fuels from a fire in Turkey's southwest.

One viral photo on Turkish social media caught the mood: A young boy in an inflatable ring standing before a crystalline sea, watches a firefighting plane sail through a red, smoky sky.

California: 5 people missing after the passage of Dixie Fire

 California: 5 people missing after the passage of Dixie Fire © Josh Edelson / AFP California, Fire, Dixie Fire L in California continues to be ravaged by the Dixie Fire. The third largest fire of the history of the American state has devastated this week the businesses and homes of the small town of Greenville, as well as the village of Canyondam. Rescuers were on Saturday looking for five missing persons after the Brasier passage, which has already devoured more than 180,000 hectares in four counties since he was reported, mid-July.

Climate crisis exacerbates political unrest: In a country already beset by partisan division and culture-war infighting, the recent fires have heightened dissatisfaction with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party, according to the Financial Times.

Opposition leader Saruhan Oluç slammed the government for both its "failure to ratify the climate change accords" and "lack of preparation," which required Turkey to scramble to borrow planes from other Mediterranean countries, the Times reported.

But on a deeper level, the fires showed how one disaster can fracture preexisting stresses in a society.

In Turkey, pollster Bekir Ağırdır said people's frustrations with "everyday problems" like "the pandemic, unemployment, inflation, floods, fires" are strengthening "the feeling this government cannot solve these issues," according to the Times.

IN THE CENTER OF THE CONTINENT, CRISES COLLIDE

Further west, some spots in Europe are encountering multiple meteorological disasters at once.

Italy cut in two: As wildfires surge in Italy this summer, the country's north "has been plagued by severe flooding and landslides in recent days," The Guardian reported. Heavy rainfall caused Lake Como, in the Lombardy region, to overflow on early Thursday morning.

Dixie Fire grows to second largest in California history

  Dixie Fire grows to second largest in California history The blaze grew to nearly half a million acres Sunday.The fire, which began July 14 and leveled much of the historic Sierra Nevada town of Greenville last week, grew to 463,477 acres, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire. Less than a quarter of the blaze is surrounded by containment lines.

"Flooding and intense rains in the north, fires in the south - the country has been split in two," said civil protection authority chief Fabrizio Curcio.

German winemakers fear wipeout: But among the countries hit hardest by floods this season is Germany, where damage from heavy rains last month was "among the worst to hit Germany since the Second World War," according to Financial Times.

In addition to killing more than 180 people, as well as leaving dozens missing and hundreds homeless, the floods ravaged an industry that is critical to Germany's Ahr region: winemaking.

As winemakers scramble to prepare for this fall's harvest, the industry has already lost about 50 million euros ($59 million), the Times reported.

The Ahrwein trade association's director estimated that nearly 10 percent of their growing area had been lost and machines, filters and presses had significant damage. "Those vines stood for hundreds of years," he said. "Now they're all gone."


Video: Reporter Explains Concerns Around Expanding Dixie Fire (The Hill)

Many winemakers who didn't have flood insurance are now abandoning their vineyards, according to the Times.

A "silver lining": In the face of disaster, Ahr winemakers have one "silver lining," as the Times described it: Growers from other regions have rallied to their aid with tractors and forklifts.

Dixie Fire: Thousands of California residents are ordered to evacuate as the Dixie Fire nears 500,000 acres

  Dixie Fire: Thousands of California residents are ordered to evacuate as the Dixie Fire nears 500,000 acres More than 12,000 people across eight California counties are currently under evacuation orders due to the 11 wildfires burning in the state, according to the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services. © Noah Berger/AP A deer wanders among homes and vehicles destroyed by the Dixie Fire in the Greenville community of Plumas County, Calif., on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Noah Berger) The majority of those evacuations were caused by the Dixie Fire burning in Northern California. It has forced more than 9,500 people to evacuate across Butte, Plumas, Lassen, and Tehama counties.

Another innovation to emerge from the disaster is the sale of "flutwein," or "flood wine": mud-covered bottles recovered from flooded cellars, with profits donated to victims, the Times reported. Flutwein purveyors have raised more than 2.5 million euros ($2.9 million), about 5 percent of the estimated damages.

Brown water, Green advance: One group that may benefit from the floods is Germany's Green Party, ahead of September's national election. The floods "made climate change no longer just about hot summers or wildfires elsewhere," another Times piece reported.

Although co-leader Robert Habeck told the Times that the Green Party will avoid a "told you so" narrative, the group announced a plan that included 25 billion euros ($29.3 billion) for extreme weather preparation.

A RISING RISK FROM FLOODS, HURRICANES

Flooding in Germany kills at least 20 people © Getty Images Flooding in Germany kills at least 20 people

​​Germany is far from alone in its need for increased infrastructure, and funding, to help mitigate flood risks and avoid future disaster.

A new study in Nature indicated that from 2000 to 2015, the global population at risk of floods increased by nearly a quarter - jumping by between 58 million and 86 million, The Hill reported. The study predicted that by 2030, 57 countries would be suffering from increased flooding - up from 32 today.

Plan while you can: Lead author Beth Tellman said that countries expecting an increase in flooding need "the financial support to continue to adapt," stressing the importance of integrating zoning restrictions and managed retreat planning.

Criminal Justice Prof Set Blazes Across NorCal as Dixie Fire Raged: Cops

  Criminal Justice Prof Set Blazes Across NorCal as Dixie Fire Raged: Cops A criminal justice professor allegedly went on an arson spree in Northern California along the edges of the gargantuan Dixie Fire in late July. Gary Maynard, age 47, set a series of fires in Lassen National Forest and Shasta Trinity National Forest, an area in rural Northern California near where the Dixie Fire, the second-largest in state history, still burns, federal prosecutors allege. California Forestry Department agents arrested him Saturday. He is charged with intentionally setting fire to public land and is being held without bail in the Sacramento County Main Jail.

"We can reverse these trends," Tellman told The Washington Post. "It's not inevitable.

Storm surge: Forecasters are also predicting that the Atlantic hurricane season will be busier than they originally thought.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has updated its outlook for the season, now forecasting 15 to 21 named storms instead of the 13 to 20 storms they had previously predicted, The Associated Press reported.

That increase shows how changes in weather systems have cranked up the likelihood that this year's hurricane system will be above average - from 60 percent to 65 percent - meaning a heightened sustainability risk of multiple overlapping disasters.

"While recent weeks have been slow, a busy hurricane season remains ahead," a U.S. Climate Prediction Center forecaster told Bloomberg Green.

FOUR PRACTICAL LESSONS

1. Every natural disaster has a human component: Almost always, meteorological events are made worse by negligence or past inequity - which exacerbates political divides.

One classic example: In the U.S., as in the Mediterranean, years of fire suppression helped bring us to our current dangerous moment, according to a roundup of studies in The Conversation.

Similarly, as German wine-farmers on the Ahr river discovered, the lack of flood insurance turns an immediate disaster into a long-term one.

That's a global problem: In the U.S., the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) linked flood risk to climate change but has failed to persuade Americans to buy insurance, Inside Climate News reported.

On the other hand, human discipline, altruism and ingenuity played a key role in saving lives during evacuations in the midst of California's fires, and in supporting wiped-out German farmers in the flood zones.

2. Individual events reveal bigger phenomena: This summer's events are what climate change looks like at just 1.1 degree Celsius of average warming above preindustrial levels, as Bloomberg Green reported.

This also is less than half a degree below the 1.5 degrees considered by scientists and the U.N. to be the upper bounds of safety.

Individual instances of extreme weather could themselves be byproducts of changes in the Earth's circulatory system - like an "almost complete loss of stability" in the spinning "conveyor belt" powering the Atlantic Gulf Stream, according to a paper in Nature Climate Change.

A collapse in the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) would spread drought across South America, Africa and India, raise seas in North America, and "increase storms and drop temperatures in Europe," The Guardian wrote.

3. More supercomputers for better predictions: Scientists can't say when a collapse of the AMOC would happen - if it's decades or centuries away - just as they can't say precisely what role climate change played in any of these disasters.

That's a promising area for enterprising businesses, lawyers and scientists, the Financial Times reported, as it would allow more accurate prediction of risk and legal liability.

One reason it is hard to attribute recent extreme weather events to climate is that "models can't simulate them," climate physicist Tim Palmer told the Times.

Our ability to predict "is not limited by our knowledge," but "by computing time," he said, adding that more funding for the supercomputers is necessary to improve such modeling.

4. Better accounting for emissions control: In broad strokes, only one method would definitely prevent the collapse of, for example, the Gulf Stream - "keep emissions as low as possible," Niklas Boers told The Guardian.

That's because the likelihood of such tipping-point disasters increases "with every gram of CO2 that we put into the atmosphere," he said.

But that remains unrealistic as long as carbon reporting standards remain voluntary and nonbinding, Bloomberg Green reported - giving companies both a false (and generally low) impression of their emissions, and depriving them of the legal tools to demand accurate data from their own suppliers.

Follow-Up Friday

  The Hill's Sustainability Report: Guns drawn, memories lost in Dixie fire evacuations © Provided by The Hill

In which we check in on news from earlier in the week to see how things have moved on.

Oil companies spent big to quietly oppose clean energy

  • Just after President Biden released his climate plan while he was running for office in 2020 - pushing to phase out fossil fuels in the electricity sector - big oil companies started spending to oppose that message, The New York Times reported.
  • Expenses by the next week on ads hyping fossil fuels "had risen by more than 1,000 percent," which earned Facebook $10 million throughout 2020, according to a study by InfluenceMap.
  • Oil industry discourse on climate has moved past open denial.
  • But as one expert told the Times, the new messages "work to muddy the waters to the same end - which is to stop action on climate change."

Automaker investments, not just sales pledges, demonstrate electric vehicle momentum

  • When leaders from Ford, General Motors and Stellantis announced goals of 40 to 50 percent electric vehicles by 2030, as we reported Thursday, sales targets were aspirational.
  • But a wave of investment is here now: The five biggest U.S. and European automakers have committed tens of billions of dollars toward developing electric vehicles, BloombergNEF data showed.
  • "Sales targets don't show up on the balance," Bloomberg reported, but "investment does," as this suggests a sector flush with cash to build new factories and production lines.

China ramping up domestic coal production

  • China is advancing more than 50 coal mines in Shanxi, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia, Bloomberg reporter Javier Blas tweeted Thursday.
  • This move, he explained, comes after last week's recommendation from China's central government to loosen aggressive steps the country was taking to curb emissions.
  • One reason for this turnaround, as we reported Monday, is that residents have been left powerless as coal prices have surged - in part due to a trade spat with Australia.

Please visit The Hill's sustainability section online for the web version of this newsletter and more stories. We'll see you on Monday.

Criminal Justice Prof Set Blazes Across NorCal as Dixie Fire Raged: Cops .
A criminal justice professor allegedly went on an arson spree in Northern California along the edges of the gargantuan Dixie Fire in late July. Gary Maynard, age 47, set a series of fires in Lassen National Forest and Shasta Trinity National Forest, an area in rural Northern California near where the Dixie Fire, the second-largest in state history, still burns, federal prosecutors allege. California Forestry Department agents arrested him Saturday. He is charged with intentionally setting fire to public land and is being held without bail in the Sacramento County Main Jail.

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