How wildfires affect our likely future

Wildfires and special interest politics in Colorado paint a similar picture to what we see in Australia

This Denver Post article summarizes the longer term impacts and costs of wildfires to society. This applies to Australia as well as the USA and elsewhere. Despite all the political humbug to the contrary, global warming continues to accelerate.

The picture above shows the smoke plume on 30 December, 2022, when hurricane-force winds in Boulder County whipped fires across drought-parched grasslands and suburban neighborhoods, incinerating 991 structures, including part of a shopping center, a hotel, and a town hall. Two people are still missing, presumed dead. (Aqua-MODIS Satellite view. NASA).

Costs and damages due to wildfires will increasingly overlap and concatenate as fire conditions become hotter, drier, and windier. If global warming cannot be reversed, we will sooner or later have no more forests to catch water, and society will eventually be overwhelmed by fire damage and costs.

The only long term solution will be to attack the cause of the accelerating climate emergency by stopping and reversing the warming. Besides stopping all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, this will almost certainly require global geoengineering. I think this is still possible, but it will take global mobilization of the scale of a war effort to save our biosphere from the heat death in the Hothouse Earth.

Stability landscape showing the pathway of the Earth System out of the Holocene and thus, out of the glacial–interglacial limit cycle to its present position in the hotter Anthropocene (Will Steffen et al. PNAS 2018;115:33:8252-8259

Transformation of our capitalist society is needed. We also have to start soon. To achieve these things we must elect an Australian government that puts fixing the climate as the first order of business. No matter what your politics, if we can’t fix this problem, nothing else matters because the wildfires will continue to spread until there is nothing left to burn and there will be no long term survival for the human species.

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