Global warming means urban wildfires are after you

Urban wildfires are becoming more frequent, fiercer and deadlier, putting everyone at risk. Continued global warming will increase risks more

The current climate emergency triggered by the profligate production and burning of fossil fuels is the greatest danger humans have faced in our long history. Amongst many other growing perils resulting from global warming, as long as we allow our only Earth to go on warming urban firestorms will become more frequent, fiercer, and deadlier. Many of Australia’s close packed and leafy suburbs would also be susceptible to this kind of urban firestorm. As seen in the picture above from the National Library of Australia, Canberra had a foretaste in 2003 when 470 homes were destroyed and 4 people killed…….

Lessons from Colorado as detailed in the attached article, also apply to most of Australia.

Where our own future is concerned, we also mustn’t forget California’s experience with urban firestorms. Some examples include: California’s utterly meticulously documented near total incineration of the town of Paradise in 2018 (85 people killed, 18,804 buildings destroyed, 621 km² burned); the 2017 Tubbs Fire that burned more than 5,000 structures in Santa Rosa, and the Carr Fire, also in 2018, which jumped the Sacramento River in Northern California to spread into Redding, a city of 90,000 people. To say nothing of similar urban fires in Canada and around the Mediterranean.

Melbourne, especially in its northern and western peri-urban zone where I now live has a vast array of susceptible subdivisions, to say nothing of it’s leafy green eastern suburbs along the Yarra like Templestowe. When I lived there in the late 1980’s, even then I wondered how it would fare if a fire started during catastrophic fire weather, based on my memories from when I was living in inner urban Melbourne at the time of the Ash Wednesday Bushfires, and even there we were subjected to a fallout of charred leaves and twigs. If we don’t control and reverse global warming soon, such catastrophes and worse will continue to increase.

You need to take this personally. Even if you think you are safe in your big city, global warming means urban wildfires are looking for you….

Our Government is [not] working to keep Australians safe

Governments are supposed to protect us from such evils. Our Australian governments — especially the current Liberal-National party COALition — have utterly failed to do this. Despite all their blah-blah-blah consisting of humbug, denial, lies, fake news, and misdirection that is normally just passed on by our weak media and press, global warming continues to accelerate. As the world gets warmer, making catastrophic and existential risks ever-more likely, the COALition still subsidizes and protects the special interests of their patrons and puppet-masters in the fossil fuel and other exploitative industries. Meanwhile, said puppets do FA to protect the futures of the citizens who elected them from the risks directly following on from their support of the special interests.

The puppets show and tell
Captain Humbug (A.K.A Scotty from Marketing) showing the parliamentary puppet troop what it is all about. ““Don’t be afraid, don’t be scared, it won’t hurt you. It’s coal.” With these words Australia’s Treasurer Scott Morrison taunted the Opposition, attempting to ridicule its commitment to renewable energy.” – The Conversation (15-02-2017)
See also Katherine Murphy in The Guardian on 09/02/2017 for the live video — “Scott Morrison brings coal to question time: what fresh idiocy is this? What a bunch of clowns, hamming it up – while out in the real world an ominous and oppressive heat just won’t let up.”

As early as her 2019 address to the World Economic Forum in 2019, Greta Thunberg, then only 16 years old had the clear vision that global warming was starting to burn up our ‘house’ — Earth’s biosphere including our homes in the forest, rural areas, suburbs, and even whole towns and cities. We didn’t need political humbug, we needed to wake up, smell the smoke and panic enough to actually start fighting the fire before it was too late.

Listen to Greta’s speech live. Except for her reliance on the IPCC’s overoptimistic emissions budget, everything she says is spot on that even she, as a child, can understand the alternatives and what has to happen.

Even after his promotion to Prime Minister, while some of the worst of the Black Summer Bushfires were incinerating small rural communities, Scotty made it abundantly clear (as documented in the official transcript from his own Parliamentary Office) that his job did not include fire-fighting. Quoting from the transcript dated 20/12/2019, Scotty made it abundantly clear to John Stanley on 2GB Radio that HE doesn’t fight fires… “But I know Australians understand… that, you know, I don’t hold a hose, mate, and I don’t sit in a control room. That’s the brave people who do that are doing that job. But I know that Australians would want me back at this time out of these fatalities. So I’ll happily come back [from his secret holiday in Hawaii] and do that.”

In other words, smell the smoke, see the reality, and fight the fire. This is the only issue that really matters. All Capt. Humbug and his troop of wooden-headed puppets are doing is rearranging the furniture in the burning house to be incinerated along with anything else we may care about and that the special interest puppet masters will be able to keep burning fossil fuels until the final collapse they have caused.

What can we citizens do to begin changing this this lethal stupidity?

If we want to realistically hope that our children and their children will have a future existence on our increasingly ravaged planet, we must purge our parliaments of every last person who puts meeting and protecting the desires of a special interest before “keeping Australians safe”, e.g., working to meet the needs, health, and safety of the citizens.

In the impending Federal Election there is only one issue that really matters: mobilizing effective action to stop and reverse the process of global warming that is driving the present climate emergency likely to cause global mass extinction. To be sure of removing the puppets, we have to vote for and elect people who will put climate action on the tops of their Parliamentary agendas.

Vote Climate One’s Traffic Light Voting Guide will show you how to use the Australian Preferential Voting System to do this, without telling you that you have to vote for any particular person. In other words, our traffic lights will warn you who not to vote for to be reasonably certain that their preferences will not flow to the COALition or other candidates likely to work for special interests rather than you.

Will they have a future in the world we leave them? That is up to us. If we get it wrong, it will be too late for them…..

Posted by William P. Hall

Some call me a 'climate scientist'. I'm not. What I am is an 'Earth systems generalist'. Born in 1939, I grew up with passionate interests in both science and engineering. I learned to read from my father's university textbooks in geology and paleontology, and dreamed of building nuclear powered starships. Living on a yacht in Southern California I grew up surrounded by (and often immersed in) marine and estuarine ecosystems while my father worked in the aerospace engineering industry. After studying university physics for three years, dyslexia with numbers convinced me to change my focus to biology. I completed university as an evolutionary biologist (PhD Harvard, 1973). My principal research project involved understanding how species' genetic systems regulated the evolution and speciation of North America's largest and most widespread lizard genus. Then for several years as an academic biologist I taught a range of university subjects as diverse as systematics, biogeography, cytogenetics, comparative anatomy and marine biology. In Australia, from 1980, I was involved in various activities around the emerging and rapidly evolving microcomputing technologies culminating in 2 years involvement in the computerization of the emerging Bank of Melbourne. In 1990 I joined a startup engineering company that had just won the contract to build a new generation of 10 frigates for Australia and New Zealand. In 2007 I retired from the head office of Tenix Defence, then Australia's largest defence engineering contractor, after a 17½ year career as a documentation and knowledge management systems analyst and designer. At Tenix I reported to the R&D manager under the GM Engineering, and worked closely with support and systems engineers on the ANZAC Ship Project to solve documentation and engineering change management issues that risked the project 100s of millions of dollars in cost and years of schedule overruns. All 10 ships had been delivered on time, on budget to happy customers against the fixed-price and fixed schedule contract. Before, during, and after these two main gigs I also did a lot of other things that contribute to my general understanding of complex dynamical systems involving multiple components with non-linear and sometimes chaotically interacting components; e.g., 'Earth systems'. Earth's Climate System is the global heat engine driven by the transport and conversions of energy between the incoming solar radiation striking the planet, and the infrared radiation of heat away from the planet to the cold dark universe. As Climate Sentinel News Editor, my task is to identify and understand quirks and problems in the operation of this complex heat engine that threaten human existence, and explain to our readers how they can help to solve some of the critical issues that are threatening their own existence.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.