Queensland

Next 4 years likely to be extremely hot! #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #StopAdani #NoNewCoal @SciNate #Drought #Heatwave

Extreme temperatures ‘especially likely for next four years’

Cyclical natural phenomena that affect planet’s climate will amplify effect of manmade global warming, scientists warn

Jonathan WattsWed 15 Aug 2018 01.00 AEST

The world is likely to see more extreme temperatures in the coming four years as natural warming reinforces manmade climate change, according to a new global forecasting system.

Following a summer of heatwaves and forest fires in the northern hemisphere, the study in the journal Nature Communications suggests there will be little respite for the planet until at least 2022, and possibly not even then.

Rising greenhouse gas emissions are steadily adding to the upward pressure on temperatures, but humans do not feel the change as a straight line because the effects are diminished or amplified by phases of natural variation.

From 1998 to 2010, global temperatures were in a “hiatus” as natural cooling (from ocean circulation and weather systems) offset anthropogenic global warming. But the planet has now entered almost the opposite phase, when natural trends are boosting man-made effects.

“Everything seems to be adding up,” said the author of the paper, Florian Sévellec of the French National Centre for Scientific Research. “There is a high possibility that we will be at the peak of a warm phase for the next couple of years.”

The scientist built his forecasting system by statistical “hind-casting”. This crunches the data from previous climate models to measure which combination was most effective in predicting past temperature trends.

Based on this analysis, Sévellec says the statistical upward nudge from natural variation this year is twice as great of that of long-term global warming. Next year, it is likely to be three times higher.

He cautions that this should not be seen as a prediction that Europe will definitely have more heatwaves, the US more forest fires, South Africa more drought or the Arctic more ice melt. The likelihood of these events will increase, but his model is on a broad global scale. It does not predict which part of the world will experience warming or in which season.

But his data clearly suggests that water in the oceans will warm faster than air above land, which could raise the risks of floods, hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones.

“Natural variability is a wriggle around the freight train that is global warming,” he says. “On a human scale, it is what we feel. What we don’t always feel is global warming. As a scientist, this is frightening because we don’t consider it enough. All we can do it give people information and let them make up their own mind.”

He said his model should not be seen as the final word, but be taken alongside other forecasting systems, including those that look in more detail at what is happening on a regional level.

Dr Sam Dean, chief climate scientist at New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, said the paper indicated mankind will have to rely less on “fortuitously cool years” from natural processes. Instead of the cooling La Niñas experienced in the first decade of the century, he said there have been more warming El Niños since 2014 and this trend looks set to continue.

“While we can’t be sure exactly how things will play out, at the moment the odds are higher for hot years,” he said.

Other scientists praised the paper but concurred on the need for wider analysis. “The findings suggest it’s more likely we’ll get warmer years than expected in the next few years. But their method is purely statistical, so it’s important to see what climate models predict based on everything we know about the atmosphere and the oceans. Those are more expensive to run but also use more climate physics and observational information,” said Prof Gabi Hegerl of Edinburgh University.

Professor James Renwick of Victoria University of Wellington said the new forecasting system was clever, but its value will only be clear in the future. The broader trend, however, was clear.

“If the warming trend caused by greenhouse gas emissions continues, years like 2018 will be the norm in the 2040s, and would be classed as cold by the end of the century,” he wrote.

Press link for more: The Guardian

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Talanoa Dialogue Builds Momentum #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #StopAdani Demand #climateaction #NEG #ClimateChange

TALANOA

TALANOA DIALOGUE

The Talanoa Dialogue is building momentum as more and more stakeholders begin to participate in this new approach to urgently increasing the ambition of countries’ , known as “NDCs.”

Through its leadership of the COP23 Presidency, Fiji is taking a Pacific concept of grassroots storytelling, consensus building and decision making to the world.

The Talanoa Dialogue represents a radical departure from the formal negotiating process by creating an open space where countries, cities, businesses, civil society, faith-based organisations, indigenous communities, youth groups and others can share their ideas and experiences and learn from each other without fear of finger pointing or recrimination.

Speaking at the second Climate Action Pacific Partnership Conference, COP23 President Frank Bainimarama said, “More and more people are opening their minds to the possibility that talanoa might be a better way of deciding what we can all deliver under the Paris Agreement than pointing the finger at someone else or engaging in self-defeating arguments.”

The Talanoa Dialogue is carried out in two phases: the preparatory phase, which runs until the beginning of COP24 in December, and the political phase, which will take place during COP24 amongst political leaders.

During the preparatory phase, all stakeholders are invited to submit written inputs that respond to one of the three central questions that guide the Talanoa:

• Where are we now?

• Where do we want to go?

• How do we get there?

To date, more than a thousand stories have been shared as part of the formal process. There are already 33 published inputs from Parties and 240 published inputs from Non-Party stakeholders, with the Presidencies encouraging everyone, especially the Parties, to provide written submissions. On top of these, more than 700 stories were shared during the Talanoas at the May Sessions.

But beyond the written submissions, the Presidencies have also called on stakeholders to organise events in support of the Talanoa Dialogue, to help prepare their submissions and to approach these important questions in the spirit of talanoa. In other words, share your stories in an inclusive and positive atmosphere focused on finding common solutions rather than laying blame. The ultimate goal is to share your story, listen to the stories of others and, hopefully, inspire greater ambition and action on the ground.

The Fijian Presidency is very pleased by the amount of Talanoa activity already taking place around the globe. Important multilateral events such as the  European Union Talanoa,  and African Climate Week have been convened, with other regional talanoas, such as the African Climate Talks, the EU-Serbia Talanoa, the Asia-Pacific Climate Week Talanoa  and the Pacific Leaders’ Talanoa, taking place worldwide.

Other important alliances and networks have also readily embraced the concept. The Cities and Regions Talanoa Dialogues, coordinated by ICLEI, are taking place in more than 40 countries around the globe. And the Global Adaptation Forum met earlier in the year to help shape its contribution.

At the national level, talanoas have already taken place in France, Serbia, Estonia and many other countries. A number of very productive discussions have also taken place as part of larger gatherings, such as ICC Talanoa Dialogue Roundtable held on the margins of SB48 in Bonn, the Talanoa on gender at CBA12 in Malawi, and the Talanoa Dialogue at the World Farmers Organization General Assembly, to give but a few examples.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg, with many others holding talanoas within their sectors, within their professional networks, and even with their clients.*

As this momentum continues to grow, we encourage anyone with a stake in the global campaign against climate change to consider how they can participate in a Talanoa of their own, whether it is within your own organisation, within your network, with your local or national government, within your local community, or even informally with your friends.

The Talanoa Dialogue is ultimately based on the notion that no single actor can solve the climate challenge on their own – that the whole world must join together in a collective effort to make the transition to net-zero emissions as quickly as possible. This will only work with a solid foundation of trust and cooperation between all stakeholders, and we believe that the Talanoa Dialogue is how we start building this foundation.

Press link for more: COP23

#ClimateChange denial won’t even benefit oil companies. #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #NoNewCoal

Climate change denial won’t even benefit oil companies soon | Phil McDuff

Phil McDuffTue 31 Jul 2018 18.00 AEST

The year 2018 is on track to be the fourth warmest on record, beaten only by 2016, 2015 and 2017. In other words, we have had the warmest four-year run since we started measuring.

According to data from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), June 2018 is the 402nd consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th-century average.

The UK’s Environmental Audit Committee has warned that we could see summer temperatures reaching 38C by the 2040s, leading to a potential 7,000 heat-related deaths a year.

One hot summer does not a changing climate make, but the trend in the global data is now irrefutable.

When Michael Mann published the “hockey stick” graph back in 1998, there was vociferous public pushback, yet the observed temperature rises match what Mann had predicted.

Today’s hockey stick graph isn’t a forward projection but a historical record.

The world has been getting hotter, and it will continue to do so.

The only question now is how much hotter it gets.

The mechanisms behind this are not difficult to understand.

Over a period of millions of years, carbon became trapped in deposits under the Earth’s crust, as coal, oil and natural gas. As the great engines of industrialisation came online across the planet, humanity developed an insatiable hunger for this trapped carbon. Burning it powered the machines that drove economic growth and development, which in turn raised the demand for more machines and more carbon. Carbon that took millions of years to trap has been released into the atmosphere at a rate that is, in geological terms, almost instantaneous.

Climate change isn’t happening, they said, and even if it is happening it’s nothing to do with us

We have known about the probable impact that this sudden release of carbon into the atmosphere would have on the Earth’s climate since the middle of the last century.

However, we have been unable and unwilling to do anything about it.

To pull that carbon out of the ground we created giant corporations whose sole role was to find it, mine it and sell it.

Our demand led to vast profits for these companies, and unfathomable riches for the people running them.

This meant that when the research showed that our insatiable carbon demand needed to be curbed for the good of the planet, there was a very powerful interest group in place with a vested interest in keeping it going.

We know now that the fossil fuel extraction industry has known about climate change since at least 1977, when James L Black, a scientist at Exxon, gave a presentation to the company’s board detailing his research into global warming.

A year later, in 1978, Black would write a memo saying: “Present thinking holds that man has a time window of five to 10 years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy strategies might become critical.”

But by the time this 10-year window closed in 1988, the energy companies had been pouring money not into reducing carbon but into denying the reality of climate change.

Through well-orchestrated media campaigns and lobbying efforts, a standard narrative of denial had been firmly entrenched as common knowledge.

Climate change isn’t happening, they said, and even if it is happening it’s nothing to do with us, and even if it is something to do with us it would be too expensive to change it.

The fossil fuel lobby managed to convince lawmakers and huge swaths of the broader public that this was a battle between “business” on the one hand, and a coalition of corrupt scientists and hippies on the other.

A fracking site in California: energy companies have poured money not into reducing carbon but into denying the reality of climate change. Photograph: David McNew/Getty Images

But not all businesses are energy companies.

Every business and every person lives on the planet now, where costs will rise because of climate change.

A study by the Economics of Climate Adaptation (ECA) working group found that losses due to climate change could reach up to 19% of GDP in some parts of the world by 2030.

For all our talk of climate denial being the “business” position, we’ve strangely ignored the insurance industry, especially the climate research branches of the major reinsurance firms.

Swiss Re is part of the ECA working group, and Munich Re’s geo risks research department has been in place since 1973, four years before Black wrote his memo.

This is not because reinsurance is some enclave of liberal hippies nestled in the bosom of capitalism, but because their industry, by definition, can’t rely on kicking the can down the road and letting someone else pick up the pieces.

If we get floods, famines and droughts leading to mass migration events, they’ll be among the ones paying out.

It was easy to let ourselves believe that what was good for energy companies would be good for us all, because the immediate upsides of the cheap carbon windfall were so compelling.

There was no problem that couldn’t be solved by throwing more fossil fuels at it, and the reality of climate change threatened to tell us what it cost.

The fossil fuel industry told us that we could take out an interest-only mortgage against the future of the planet and prices would always go up, interest rates would always go down and there would never be a reckoning.

We now find ourselves facing repayments on the scale of trillions of dollars. That does not even cover the human costs that these dry figures obscure: the lives lost, the homes flooded, the farms wasted away to drought.

It is impossible to map the path not taken.

Perhaps a commitment to reducing carbon consumption could have spurred innovation in alternative sources of energy. Or maybe the path we are on is an inevitable result of an economic system that cannot stop unless it crashes. We’ve seen the “Minsky cycle” of speculation leading to crash play out time and again in the financial sector; perhaps climate change is a centuries-long Minsky cycle we could never hope to stop. Maybe we are destined to become the civilisational equivalent of Monty Python’s Mr Creosote, a man who gorged himself until he literally exploded.

Regardless of the alternative histories and the might-have-beens, it may be too late to stop it, but we still need to learn an important lesson. If a CEO tells us that it would be bad for business if they weren’t allowed to pump poison into the air and water, then that’s too bad for them: one business is not an economy, and it certainly isn’t a biosphere.

We’d have survived the crisis of an oil CEO missing out on his fifth yacht, but many won’t survive the consequences of letting them lead us by the nose into disaster.

• Phil McDuff writes on economics and social policy

Press link for more: The Guardian

Facing $17 Billion in Fire Damages, a CEO Blames #ClimateChange #StopAdani #NoNewCoal #NEG #auspol #qldpol @SciNate

Facing $17 Billion in Fire Damages, a CEO Blames Climate Change

Mark Chediak

It was California’s biggest fire yet.

In late July and August, wildfires devastated an area north of San Francisco far bigger than New York City, destroying more than 100 homes and injuring 2 fire fighters.

It’s just one in a rash of fast-spreading blazes that have killed at least 56 people this year and last in the Golden State.

Firefighters battle the Medocino Complex fire near Lodoga, California on Aug. 7.

Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Authorities don’t yet know the cause of some of the fires, but the region’s giant utility, PG&E Corp., sees a culprit at work — climate change.

The blazes in recent years, it said, are the latest example of how global warming has produced unusually hot, dry conditions that spawn more frequent and intense fires. “Climate change is no longer coming, it’s here,” Geisha Williams, chief executive officer of PG&E, said in an email. “And we are living with it every day.”

Scientists tend to agree with that assessment. But California’s biggest utility has an especially compelling reason to link the fires to the environment.

State investigators have tied PG&E equipment, such as trees hitting power lines, to some of the blazes in October that in total destroyed nearly 9,000 structures and killed 44 people.

It faces damage liabilities totaling as much as $17 billion, and possible financial ruin — its stock is down about 37 percent since the fires — unless Williams can convince California lawmakers that the company’s problem is, in fact, a climate change problem.

Green Mantle

Invoking the environment is a clever strategy in a state that’s taken on the green mantle in the face of a skeptical Trump administration. (Indeed, President Donald Trump offered his own reason for the fires last week, blaming a lack of water and bad environmental laws.

It was roundly dismissed.) Williams’s battle cry — don’t blame us, blame climate change — is catching on.

PG&E’s neighboring utilities, Edison International and Sempra Energy, are echoing the defense, and it may well serve as a blueprint for utilities worldwide as global warming produces extreme weather events such as hurricanes that have slammed Texas and Puerto Rico.

Williams is deploying the argument in a lobbying campaign she’s waging to shield PG&E from liability. California law holds that property owners can collect compensation from utilities linked to fires — even if they weren’t negligent. She argues that because of the increasing frequency of fires, utilities shouldn’t be held responsible each time a tree branch falls on a power line during a storm if it followed all safety rules. Instead, the test should be whether the utility acted “reasonably” in trying to prevent fires, things like trimming trees and brush around lines, she contends.

In that case, insurance or government agencies would pick up the damages.

Photographer: F. Carter Smith/Bloomberg

“No one is suggesting the utilities should get a free pass if they were negligent,” Williams said. But the current legal policy of unlimited, strict-liability has the potential to financially cripple companies, she said.

Widespread Burn

California wildfires have destroyed 630,000 acres this year, eclipsing the 5-year average

Source: California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection

Note: Does not include fire totals from U.S. Forest Service

Some California lawmakers insist PG&E hasn’t even met the reasonable standard, pointing to signs that in some cases PG&E allegedly violated fire safety rules, according to reports by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire. “Climate change and the so-called new normal do not ignite fires,” said California State Senator Jerry Hill, a frequent PG&E critic. “The Cal Fire findings show that suspected negligence by PG&E did.”

PG&E says it believes it has met the state’s high safety standards.

The utility hasn’t been blamed for any of this year’s fires, but it’s got plenty of financial worries dealing with the ones from 2017.

On a recent investor call, Williams raised the stakes by saying PG&E has brought up the prospect of bankruptcy with lawmakers unless the state changes the law. It’s already taken a $2.5 billion charge stemming from the October fires. PG&E has shown that it won’t shy away from court protection. It entered bankruptcy in 2001 after incurring $9 billion in debt by buying power for more than it could charge customers. It emerged three years later.

Suspended Dividend

The $17 billion in potential liabilities today, as estimated by JPMorgan Chase, are significant, representing about 75 percent of its market capitalization of $22 billion. PG&E suspended its dividend in December as it tries to assess damage costs. Some consumer advocates are skeptical of the bankruptcy warnings. (Creditors seem to agree. While prices have dropped since last year’s fires, they are nowhere near distressed levels.)

Williams is winning some adherents, including California Governor Jerry Brown. He’s proposed a bill that would lesson utilities’ exposure to damages from fires, citing climate change. Brown echoes Williams in contending the utility needs to be financially healthy in order to invest in renewable energy and help the state meet its climate goals.

The daughter of Cuban political refugees, the 57-year-old Williams is the nation’s first Latina CEO of a Fortune 500 company. After first working at Florida Power & Light, she joined PG&E in 2007 and became CEO in March last year — just seven months before the big wildfires in October.

Now, as she deals with the existential threat posed by the fires, she’s bolstering PG&E’s wildfire prevention activities, including stepping up aerial patrols of its power lines, setting up a new wildfire operations center that works round the clock and expanding a network of weather monitoring stations. Still, Williams understands that the Holy Grail is a change in the liability law. At a recent energy conference in Houston, she said — jokingly — that if she fails to do that, “I won’t be here in two years.”

Press link for more: Bloomberg

Heat: the next big inequality issue #ClimateChange #StopAdani #NoNewCoal #Drought #Heatwave #Wildfire #auspol #qldpol @SciNate

When July’s heatwave swept through the Canadian province of Quebec, killing more than 90 people in little over a week, the unrelenting sunshine threw the disparities between rich and poor into sharp relief.

While the well-heeled residents of Montreal hunkered down in blissfully air conditioned offices and houses, the city’s homeless population – not usually welcome in public areas such as shopping malls and restaurants – struggled to escape the blanket of heat.

Benedict Labre House, a day centre for homeless people, wasn’t able to secure a donated air-conditioning unit until five days into the heatwave. “You can imagine when you have 40 or 50 people in an enclosed space and it’s so hot, it’s very hard to deal with,” says Francine Nadler, clinical coordinator at the facility.

Fifty-four Montreal residents were killed by this summer’s heat.

Authorities haven’t so far specified whether any homeless people were among them, but according to the regional department of public health, the majority were aged over 50, lived alone, and had underlying physical or mental health problems.

None had air conditioning.

Montreal coroner Jean Brochu told reporters that many of the bodies examined by his team “were in an advanced state of decay, having sometimes spent up to two days in the heat before being found”.

Dying in a heatwave is like being slowly cooked.

It’s pure torture … this heat can kill soldiers, athletes, everyone

It was the poor and isolated who quietly suffered the most in the heat – a situation echoed in overheated cities across the world.

In the US, immigrant workers are three times more likely to die from heat exposure than American citizens.

In India, where 24 cities are expected to reach average summertime highs of at least 35C (95F) by 2050, it is the slum dwellers who are most vulnerable. And as the global risk of prolonged exposure to deadly heat steadily rises, so do the associated risks of human catastrophe.

Last year, Hawaiian researchers projected that the share of the world’s population exposed to deadly heat for at least 20 days a year will increase from 30% now to 74% by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are allowed to grow. (It will rise to 48% with “drastic reductions”.) They concluded that “an increasing threat to human life from excess heat now seems almost inevitable”.

“Dying in a heatwave is like being slowly cooked,” said lead author Professor Camilo Mora at the time of publication. “It’s pure torture. The young and elderly are at particular risk, but we found that this heat can kill soldiers, athletes, everyone.”

The year 2018 is set to be among the hottest since records began, with unprecedented peak temperatures engulfing the planet, from 43C (109F) in Baku, Azerbaijan, to the low 30s across Scandinavia. In Kyoto, Japan, the mercury did not dip below 38C (100F) for a week. In the US, an unusually early and humid July heatwave saw 48.8C (120F) in Chino, inland of Los Angeles. Residents blasted their air conditioners so much they caused power shortages.

Urban areas are reaching these killer temperatures faster than those that are less populated. Cities absorb, create and radiate heat. Asphalt, brick, concrete and dark roofs act like sponges for heat during the day and emit warmth at night. Air conditioning is a lifesaver for those who can afford it, but it makes the streets even hotter for those who can’t.

“Urban heat islands, combined with an ageing population and increased urbanisation, are projected to increase the vulnerability of urban populations, especially the poor, to heat-related health impacts in the future,” a US government assessment warned.

The World Health Organisation says that 60% of people will live in cities by 2030, and the more densely populated they become, the hotter they’ll get.

Considering that recent predictions warn temperatures in South Asia will exceed the limits of human survival by the end of the century, every degree counts.

Even this year, 65 people have perished from nearly 44C (111F) heat in Karachi, Pakistan – a city used to extreme heat.

These problems are worse for vulnerable or low-income populations living near traffic in poor housing with no air conditioning

Tarik Benmarhnia, public health researcher

But the impact is not evenly distributed.

For example, there is a strong correlation between an area’s green spaces and its wealth; when shade from tree canopies can lower surfaces’ peak temperature by 11–25°C, “landscape is a predictor for morbidity in heatwaves”, says Tarik Benmarhnia, public health researcher at University of California San Diego. A review paper he recently co-authored found that people living in less vegetated areas had a 5% higher risk of death from heat-related causes.

In 2017, researchers at University of California, Berkeley were able to map racial divides in the US by proximity to trees. Black people were 52% more likely than white people to live in areas of unnatural “heat risk-related land cover”, while Asians were 32% more likely and Hispanics 21%.

Air pollution is more deadly in these areas, too, as nitrous oxides generate ozone when heated by the sun, inflaming airways and increasing mortality risk. “These problems are worse,” says Benmarhnia, “for vulnerable or low-income populations living near traffic in poor housing with no air conditioning.”

But air conditioning will remain out of reach for many, even as it increasingly becomes a necessity.

In 2014, Public Health England raised concerns that “the distribution of cooling systems may reflect socioeconomic inequalities unless they are heavily subsidised,” adding that rising fuel costs could further exacerbate this. And when we need to use less energy and cool the planet, not just our homes and offices, relying upon air conditioning is not a viable long-term plan – and certainly not for everyone.

‘In Cairo everything is suffocating’

Most of the research into heatwaves and public health has focused on western countries; Benmarhnia says more studies have been done on the city of Phoenix, Arizona, than the entire continent of Africa. But the problem is global, and especially pronounced across urban slums such as the ashwiyyat in Cairo, where temperatures during the city’s five-month-long summers have peaked at 46C (115F).

Traditionally Egyptians built low buildings close together, forming dense networks of shaded alleyways where people could keep cool during summer. But the rapid construction of high-rises and decreasing green spaces have made one of the fastest-growing cities in the world increasingly stifling. Subsidy cuts have brought about a rise of 18-42% in electricity costs, affecting many poor residents’ options for cooling down.

Um Hamad, 41, works as a cleaner and lives with his family in a small flat in Musturad in the city’s north. Though he considers them lucky to live on the relatively cool first floor, “in Cairo everything is suffocating”, he says. Hamad use fans and water to keep cool inside, but the water bill is becoming expensive . “There’s always that trick of sleeping on the floor, and we wear cotton clothes ,” he says. “The temperatures are harder to deal with for women who wear the hijab, so I always tell my daughters to wear only two layers and to wear bright colours.”

In a tight-knit cluster of urban dwellings in Giza, to Cairo’s south, Yassin Al-Ouqba, 42, a train maintenance worker, lives in a house built from a mixture of bricks and mud-bricks. In August, he says, it becomes “like an oven”. “I have a fan and I place it in front of a plate of ice so that it spreads cold air throughout the room. I spread cold water all over the sheets.”

In tropical Manila in the Philippines, where highs above 30C are intensified by stifling humidity, air conditioning is a luxury even for those in medical care. The Dr Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital is said to have one of the world’s busiest maternity wards, with free contraception only recently made available in the predominantly Catholic country.

An air-conditioned private room costs 650 Philippine pesos per night – less than £10, but far beyond the means of most mothers-to-be, who end up in wards reliant on fans buzzing softly on wall mounts. “These fans work nonstop 24 hours a day, so they never last a year,” says Maribel Bote, a nurse at the hospital for 28 years.

The problem is compounded by regular overcrowding: in the maternity ward, known as ground zero of the country’s overpopulation crisis, as many as five mothers have been forced to share one bed. “It gets hellish in the summer – the fans blow hot air,” says Bote. “You’ll see the mothers using paper fans to cool themselves.”

In Cambodia, which has seen devastating heatwaves and drought in recent years, surviving the heat is as much a question of status for prisoners as it is for civilians. In the early 2000s Chao Sophea, 30, spent more than two years at Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison after being convicted on drug charges, which she denies. At the time she was three months pregnant; Sophea’s child spent its first year in an overcrowded cell designated for pregnant women and new mothers.

We slept like smoked fish on a skewer. There was no air conditioning, not even a fan

Former Prey Sar prisoner

“It was actually a steaming room,” says Sophea today. “I was using a fan made of a palm leaf to cool my baby down – that was what I could afford. There was a tiny hole in the wall, but can you imagine how much air you would absorb in such a crowded space? We made a request for an electric fan, but it never arrived.”

An environmental activist who wishes to remain anonymous says he shared a cell of about four square metres with at least 25 other men when he was held in Prey Sar’s men’s wing earlier this year. “We slept like smoked fish on a skewer. There was no air conditioning, not even a fan.”

Others may be able to secure better conditions. A 2015 report by the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights stated that “some prisons reportedly house ‘VIP cells’ for well-connected prisoners or those able to pay for single-cell accommodation,” and these are believed to be air conditioned.

Compounding the threat posed by the changing climate is the refugee crisis. The two are intimately linked, with extreme weather events often a factor in social, political and economic instability. A paper published in the journal Science in December found that if greenhouse gas emissions were not meaningfully reduced global asylum applications would increase by almost 200% by the end of the century.

On a plain north of Amman, some 80,000 Syrians live in the Za’atari refugee camp, a semi-permanent urban settlement set up six years ago and now considered Jordan’s fourth-largest city. Hamda Al-Marzouq, 27, arrived three years ago, fleeing airstrikes on her neighbourhood in the outskirts of Damascus.

Her husband had gone missing during the war, and she was desperate to save her young son and extended family. Eight of them now live in a prefabricated shelter, essentially a large metal box, which Al-Marzouq says turns into an oven during the summer.

It’s suffocating. We soak the towels and try to breathe through them

Hamda Al-Marzouq, Za’atari camp resident

“It’s a desert area, and we’re suffering,” she says by phone from the camp. “We have different ways of coping. We wake in the early morning and soak the floor with water. Then we sprinkle water on ourselves.” There is no daytime electricity, so fans are useless. When power does arrive at night, the desert has already cooled.

Many days, her family will wait until the evening to walk outside, wrapping wet towels around their heads. But the biggest problem are sandstorms, which can arrive violently during the summer months and engulf the camp for days. “We have to close the caravan windows,” she says, adding the room then gets hotter. “It’s suffocating. We soak the towels and try to breathe through them.”

Al-Marzouq’s five-year-old son suffers respiratory problems and keeps getting infections, while asthma is rife across the camp.

Water has also been an issue, with demand in northern Jordan – one of the most water-scarce countries in the world – surging following the refugee arrivals. A Unicef-led operation will see all households connected to a water network by October, which Al-Marzouq says has been a significant help.

“We used to collect water with jerry cans and had to carry it for long distances. Now, with the water network being operational, things are much easier. We don’t have to fight in a long queue to get our share of water. Now there is equity.”

A plan for the future?

Across the board, lack of equality has been found to feed the urban furnaces. The US researchers who in 2013 uncovered the racial divide in urban heat vulnerability discovered that the more segregated a city was, the hotter it was for everyone. Rachel Morello-Frosch, one of the co-authors, told the LA Times at the time that “this pattern of racial segregation appears to increase everyone’s risk of living in a heat-prone environment”.

Treating cities as a whole, ghettos and all, is a more effective way to tackle extreme urban heat, they found. Researchers recommended planting more trees and increasing light-coloured surfaces to reduce the overall heat island effect, adding that urban planning to mitigate future extreme heat “should proactively incorporate an environmental justice perspective and address racial/ethnic disparities”.

Cities will have to rethink how we prepare for these emergencies and what we’re able to offer to all of our citizens

Francine Nadler, Benedict Labre House

Working to break social isolation, says Benmarhnia, “is a win-win situation”, with the added benefit of bringing the “invisible” people most at risk – like the homeless, and illegal immigrants – back into the community, where they can be looked after.

In at least one of the world’s hottest countries, steps are starting to be taken. India recently announced that a series of common-sense public health interventions have led to an enormous reduction in heat-related deaths – from 2,040 in 2015, to a little over 200 in 2017. Successful measures included unlocking the gates to public parks during the day, distributing free water, and painting the roofs of slum communities white, knocking 5C off internal temperatures.

Halfway to boiling: the city at 50C

Montreal first implemented a similar heat action plan in 2004, reducing mortality on hot days by 2.52 deaths per day, but as the heat waves intensify, it is likely that this will need to be reassessed. Nadler says the devastating impacts of global warming are only just beginning to dawn on everyone. “Cities will have to rethink how we prepare for these emergencies and what we’re able to offer to all of our citizens – from the most affluent, to the most vulnerable.”

Additional reporting by Ruth Michaelson with Adham Youssef in Cairo, Oliver Holmes in Jerusalem, Carmela Fonbuena in Manila and Holly Robertson in Phnom Penh

Follow Guardian Cities on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to join the discussion, and explore our archive here

Press link for more: The Guardian

#Drought: On climate inaction, it is time to say enough #StopAdani #NoNewCoal #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #nswpol @SciNate

I feel so sorry for the dire situation many farmers are in because of the drought.

I wish it were not so, but when I look back, it has been all so predictable.

When I saw a map on TV news showing the drought area covering a huge proportion of south-east Australia, I was struck by the similarity to a map I was shown 26 years ago when I visited CSIRO’s Atmospheric Research Division.

The 1992 map showed modelling of changing rainfall pattern over a 30-year cycle.

I was shocked at the time, but even more so when I was told that the modelling included a delay factor – an increase in carbon dioxide takes 20 years or so to show an effect on climate patterns.

The implication is that the current drought may be the worst ever, but we can expect it to become the norm.

Then I find myself reflecting on the distractions that prevented action.

The denial, the arguments about cost, clinging to the old ways; the political failure to act, trashing the carbon tax to satisfy one man’s ambitions.

The National Party, supported by many farmers, fought valiantly against conservationist policies.

We were told climate action in Australia could wait.

How much longer will it be before we say, “Enough” – stop fooling with Adani and get on with de-carboning our energy industries and our transport systems?

David Lamb, Kew East

We’ll just use the desal plants … oh right

So there’s another predictable dreadful Australian drought?

Just wait a moment and all those coastal desalination plants, built by the federal government, will be turned on and all the drought areas will be irrigated.

That’s what intelligent government is all about.

It’s called planning.

Paul Drakeford, Kew

You can’t grow crops in cement

Understandably we are all concerned about the plight of farmers who are suffering in the drought-ravaged country as a consequence of the real effects of climate change.

However, successive governments of all persuasions are allowing developers to buy up vast tracks of arable land upon which to build houses.

Surely there are better solutions to solving housing shortages than plonking these buildings on land that could be used to grow food.

After all it is very hard to prepare an evening meal using bricks and mortar.

Ian Gray, Benalla

George Goyder, come back

In 1865, George Goyder, the assistant surveyor-general of South Australia, drew a line across the state north of Adelaide that became known as the Goyder Line.

After extensive surveys, Goyder claimed that because of consistent patterns of low rainfall farming would not be viable above the line.

However, over the next few years there was a higher than usual rainfall across South Australia.

Ignoring Goyder’s warning settlement grew and farms were established north of the line.

The problem was that after several years the rainfall returned to its past figures of little more than four inches a year.

Farmers went bankrupt and whole towns were deserted as anyone who has visited the Flinders Rangers can attest.

I wonder what would have happened if Goyder were the surveyor-general for the commonwealth?

Perhaps large tracts of the country would have been set aside for other purposes than agriculture.

By all means we must assist the drought-affected farmers, but with the effects of climate change already biting perhaps we need another Goyder Line.

Lance Sterling, Burwood

Salvation is in the pipeline

Instead of tax cuts, the government should start drought proofing Australia by installing a network of pipelines from desalination plants. Farming is essential to the economy and the drought is driving people off farms.

Zona Severn, Mount Martha

Little soil renewal

Suggestions that the drought in NSW may mean that the viability of agriculture is being affected by climate change are nothing new.

However, seldom said is the fact that agriculture in Australia is fundamentally unsustainable regardless of technological improvement.

Australian soils have experienced negligible renewal for 300 million years, whereas most soils in Europe, East Asia and the Americas are constantly renewed by the weathering of rising mountains and their glaciers.

Australian soils are thus a non-renewable resource, and thus agriculture in Australia should be treated like fossil fuels – something whose phase-out is a requisite for sustainability.

Although many Australian farmers would suffer from mass revegetation, many more in Eurasia and the Americas would gain opportunities for a new potentially sustainable livelihood that is now uneconomic, and many ancient Australian species threatened by land clearing and climate change would recover.

Julien Benney, Carlton

Press link for more: The Age

Think It’s Hot Now? Wait Until We Reach Hothouse Earth #auspol #qldpol #heatwave #StopAdani #NoNewCoal #ClimateChange now #ClimateCrisis @SciNate

Think It’s Hot Now? Wait Until We Reach Hothouse Earth

Steven Salzberg7:30 am

The river bed of the Rhine is dried on August 8, 2018 in Duesseldorf, western Germany, as the heatwave goes on. (Photo credit: PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s getting hotter all over the planet.

This week the temperature in Bar Harbor, Maine, reached 91° F (32.8° C).

In my 20 years vacationing here, this is easily the hottest weather I’ve ever experienced.

Up and down the U.S. east coast, cities are sweltering, and temperatures out west are even hotter, with California seeing all-time high temperatures, including the hottest July on record in some areas, which has fed damaging fires across the state. Death Valley is always hot, but this week has been crazy, with temperatures on August 7 reaching 122° F (50° C).

At the same time, Europe is baking under a “heat dome” that has brought unprecedented high temperatures, including 45° C (113° F.) in Portugal. It’s so hot that people aren’t even going to the beach.

Global warming is here, folks.

I know we’re supposed to call it “climate change,” because it’s much more complex than simply warming, but warming is one of the most obvious consequences.

And yes, a single heat wave doesn’t prove anything, and weather is not the same as climate. I know. But a just-released study from Oxford University found that climate change made this summer’s heat wave in Europe twice as likely.

And now, a new study published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says it could get much, much hotter if we don’t do something about it.

In this paper, an international team of climate scientists led by Will Steffen and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber explain that, thanks to human activities, the planet is well on its way to a “Hothouse Earth” scenario.

In a Hothouse Earth, global average temperatures would rise 4–5° C (7–9° F) and sea levels will rise 10–60 meters (33–200 feet) above today’s levels.

This would be catastrophic for many aspects of modern civilization.

Many agricultural regions would become too hot and arid to sustain crops, making it impossible to feed large swaths of humanity.

Low-lying coastal areas would disappear or become uninhabitable without massive engineering efforts, displacing hundreds of millions of people. As Steffen et al. put it:

“The impacts of a Hothouse Earth pathway on human societies would likely be massive, sometimes abrupt, and undoubtedly disruptive.”

That’s putting it mildly.

One reason this scenario is happening, as the study explains, is that we are very close to “tipping points” beyond which certain changes cannot be stopped. (We may have already passed some of them.)

These include losing the Arctic ice cap in the summer, and losing the Greenland ice sheet permanently: because they are basically white, these massive expanses of ice serve as giant reflectors to send much of the sun’s heat back into space. Without the ice, the darker planet surface absorbs far more heat, creating a positive feedback effect. Another example is the melting of the permafrost, land that has been frozen for thousands of years and that contains a great deal of carbon in the form of methane. Once that methane is released, it will create further warming.

We are also likely to lose the Amazon rainforest, all of our coral reefs, and huge swaths of boreal forests. (See here for a global map of these tipping points.)

If this seems grim, Steffen and colleagues point out that we still have time to avoid it. They propose that societies must act collectively to create a “Stabilized Earth” at no more than 2° C above pre-industrial levels, which is possible but not easy:

“Stabilized Earth will require deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, protection and enhancement of biosphere carbon sinks, efforts to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, possibly solar radiation management, and adaptation to unavoidable impacts of the warming already occurring.”

None of this is beyond our abilities.

We know what we need to do, but it requires large-scale, coordinated action that many governments must agree on if it’s to have an impact.

Unfortunately, humans (and our governments) tend to do nothing until faced with an emergency, and the tipping points leading to a Hothouse Earth may not look like emergencies, not at first. For example, Arctic sea ice has been declining steadily for 25 years or more, but because few people are aware of this (and even fewer experience it first hand), it doesn’t seem urgent.

Yet it is.

So perhaps this summer’s heat wave can serve as a wake-up call that we need to pay more attention to our planet’s health. Otherwise it’s going to get a lot hotter.

Steven Salzberg is the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, and Biostatistics at Johns Hopkins University.

I’m the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, and Biostatistics at Johns Hopkins University. From 2005-2011 I was the Horvitz…MORE

Press link for more: Forbes

$444 Million Grant to Great Barrier Reef Foundation won’t save the reef from #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #NoNewCoal might.

Great Barrier Reef grant likely to get messy for Prime Minister Malcolm Turbull |

The West Australian

By Paul Murray

I’ve spent the best part of a week trying to find the method behind Malcolm Turnbull’s madness in giving nearly half a billion dollars of taxpayers’ money to a six-person private charity.

Prime Minister Turnbull

The underlying ideology seems to be an attempt to use public funds to leverage a massive effort by corporate Australia into a noble task: saving the Great Barrier Reef.

But that is obscured by the ham-fisted, naive and potentially dangerous way the Prime Minister personally went about the biggest single grant in Australian history.

You’ve got to be completely cack-handed politically to turn the ultimate environmental motherhood statement into something that looks so dodgy.

But that’s Turnbull for you.

One of the peculiarities of this saga is that the Government announced the $444 million donation to the privately run Great Barrier Reef Foundation weeks before the Federal Budget to no criticism.

“As a highly respected philanthropic organisation, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation has a strong fundraising track record, and will seek corporate contributions to further enhance this work,” Turnbull said on April 29.

The grant would fund:

$201 million improving water quality with changed farming practices such as reduced fertiliser use, and adopting new technologies and land management practices.

$100 million harnessing the best science to implement reef restoration and funding science that supports reef resilience and adaptation.

$58 million expanding the fight against the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish.

$45 million supporting other work, particularly increasing community engagement such as indigenous knowledge for sea country management, coastal clean-up days and awareness raising.

$40 million for reef health monitoring and reporting to track progress and inform better management.

(But ignores Climate Change the number one threat to the reef)

Even when it appeared as one of the newsworthy items in the Budget there were only muted concerns from some conservation bodies which would obviously have preferred the funding went to them.

But since then, the protests have grown progressively and the matter has been split wide open under scrutiny in the Senate’s environment and communications committee.

The origins of the foundation in 1999 by five captains of business who came up with the idea while waiting for a plane, and its links to some of Australia’s biggest companies, have been intensely scrutinised.

Among the revelations were that the grant came as a shock to the foundation which had not applied for any funds, it was offered to the chairman John Schubert at a meeting with Turnbull and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg on April 9 with no public servants attending, and the usual tender process was waived.

Josh Frydenberg with Malcolm Turnbull

Labor senator Kristina Keneally has been adopting the time-honoured “follow the money” line of inquiry, revealing that the whole $444 million was paid to the foundation in one lump sum.

One of the witnesses last week was the Australian Conservation Foundation’s economist Matthew Rose, a former Treasury official, who noted the ACF with 70 staff was more than 10 times the size of the Government’s preferred agent for saving the reef.

Kristina Keneally

“Do you accept the key premise for the allocation and the partnership program, which was that the foundation has a track record over the last 10 years of attracting co-investment funds from the private sector and can therefore leverage this $444 million with increased private sector investment in public-good science,” Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson asked Rose.

“They have links, obviously, to the business community,” Rose said. “They’re business-founded and they have leveraged private investment. I think that is the term that’s used. That’s fine.

“We’re not saying that government and NGOs know best and that we can’t learn something from the business community.”

But then Keneally got to the nub of the issue, asking Rose to draw on his Treasury experience to explain why the money was paid in a lump sum, when it was intended to be spent over six years.

Rose disclosed that the Turnbull Government had promised the World Heritage Committee it would spend $716 million between 2015 and 2020 on the reef when evaluating whether it should be placed on the international endangered list, but was way behind.

Whish-Wilson: “Could you tell us what the implications would be for the Government if the reef were classified by the World Heritage Committee as World Heritage in Danger.

Rose: “I think there are implications for the Government and implications for the country. Obviously, it’s a terrible look for the Government with this iconic marine park that they’ve neglected to look after.

“The World Heritage Committee is quite a powerful committee in terms of the publicity it can generate in instructing or letting people know that it has been listed as in danger.

“There are ramifications for the country with that listing, as well, in terms of tourism and our role as a player in the international diplomacy. It’s a very big deal.

“So the Government does have that imperative to try and spend the money and show that it’s trying to do something about the reef.”

Whish-Wilson: “To try to head off a World Heritage in Danger listing?”

Rose: “Yes.”

The economist said that even with the one-off grant to be spent progressively, the Government would still be $34 million short of its promise at the end of 2020 when the committee reviewed the endangered listings.

“My understanding is that the environment department and the Government had to do a lot of lobbying around the World Heritage Committee in 2016 to avoid any endangered listing,” Rose said.

“So, if we haven’t met our promise, I’m not sure how fondly the World Heritage Committee will look upon us not being listed as in danger when they meet again in 2020.”

The Senate committee inquiry has provided mountains of ammunition for Labor to attack the coalition when Parliament resumes next week. Labor is demanding the Government withdraw the grant because of the lack of transparency and accountability in the process.

This is likely to get very messy for Turnbull.

Press Link For More The West

$444 Million Grant to Great Barrier Reef Foundation won’t save the reef from #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #NoNewCoal might.

Great Barrier Reef grant likely to get messy for Prime Minister Malcolm Turbull |

The West Australian

By Paul Murray

I’ve spent the best part of a week trying to find the method behind Malcolm Turnbull’s madness in giving nearly half a billion dollars of taxpayers’ money to a six-person private charity.

Prime Minister Turnbull

The underlying ideology seems to be an attempt to use public funds to leverage a massive effort by corporate Australia into a noble task: saving the Great Barrier Reef.

But that is obscured by the ham-fisted, naive and potentially dangerous way the Prime Minister personally went about the biggest single grant in Australian history.

You’ve got to be completely cack-handed politically to turn the ultimate environmental motherhood statement into something that looks so dodgy.

But that’s Turnbull for you.

One of the peculiarities of this saga is that the Government announced the $444 million donation to the privately run Great Barrier Reef Foundation weeks before the Federal Budget to no criticism.

“As a highly respected philanthropic organisation, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation has a strong fundraising track record, and will seek corporate contributions to further enhance this work,” Turnbull said on April 29.

The grant would fund:

$201 million improving water quality with changed farming practices such as reduced fertiliser use, and adopting new technologies and land management practices.

$100 million harnessing the best science to implement reef restoration and funding science that supports reef resilience and adaptation.

$58 million expanding the fight against the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish.

$45 million supporting other work, particularly increasing community engagement such as indigenous knowledge for sea country management, coastal clean-up days and awareness raising.

$40 million for reef health monitoring and reporting to track progress and inform better management.

(But ignores Climate Change the number one threat to the reef)

Even when it appeared as one of the newsworthy items in the Budget there were only muted concerns from some conservation bodies which would obviously have preferred the funding went to them.

But since then, the protests have grown progressively and the matter has been split wide open under scrutiny in the Senate’s environment and communications committee.

The origins of the foundation in 1999 by five captains of business who came up with the idea while waiting for a plane, and its links to some of Australia’s biggest companies, have been intensely scrutinised.

Among the revelations were that the grant came as a shock to the foundation which had not applied for any funds, it was offered to the chairman John Schubert at a meeting with Turnbull and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg on April 9 with no public servants attending, and the usual tender process was waived.

Josh Frydenberg with Malcolm Turnbull

Labor senator Kristina Keneally has been adopting the time-honoured “follow the money” line of inquiry, revealing that the whole $444 million was paid to the foundation in one lump sum.

One of the witnesses last week was the Australian Conservation Foundation’s economist Matthew Rose, a former Treasury official, who noted the ACF with 70 staff was more than 10 times the size of the Government’s preferred agent for saving the reef.

Kristina Keneally

“Do you accept the key premise for the allocation and the partnership program, which was that the foundation has a track record over the last 10 years of attracting co-investment funds from the private sector and can therefore leverage this $444 million with increased private sector investment in public-good science,” Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson asked Rose.

“They have links, obviously, to the business community,” Rose said. “They’re business-founded and they have leveraged private investment. I think that is the term that’s used. That’s fine.

“We’re not saying that government and NGOs know best and that we can’t learn something from the business community.”

But then Keneally got to the nub of the issue, asking Rose to draw on his Treasury experience to explain why the money was paid in a lump sum, when it was intended to be spent over six years.

Rose disclosed that the Turnbull Government had promised the World Heritage Committee it would spend $716 million between 2015 and 2020 on the reef when evaluating whether it should be placed on the international endangered list, but was way behind.

Whish-Wilson: “Could you tell us what the implications would be for the Government if the reef were classified by the World Heritage Committee as World Heritage in Danger.

Rose: “I think there are implications for the Government and implications for the country. Obviously, it’s a terrible look for the Government with this iconic marine park that they’ve neglected to look after.

“The World Heritage Committee is quite a powerful committee in terms of the publicity it can generate in instructing or letting people know that it has been listed as in danger.

“There are ramifications for the country with that listing, as well, in terms of tourism and our role as a player in the international diplomacy. It’s a very big deal.

“So the Government does have that imperative to try and spend the money and show that it’s trying to do something about the reef.”

Whish-Wilson: “To try to head off a World Heritage in Danger listing?”

Rose: “Yes.”

The economist said that even with the one-off grant to be spent progressively, the Government would still be $34 million short of its promise at the end of 2020 when the committee reviewed the endangered listings.

“My understanding is that the environment department and the Government had to do a lot of lobbying around the World Heritage Committee in 2016 to avoid any endangered listing,” Rose said.

“So, if we haven’t met our promise, I’m not sure how fondly the World Heritage Committee will look upon us not being listed as in danger when they meet again in 2020.”

The Senate committee inquiry has provided mountains of ammunition for Labor to attack the coalition when Parliament resumes next week. Labor is demanding the Government withdraw the grant because of the lack of transparency and accountability in the process.

This is likely to get very messy for Turnbull.

Press Link For More The West

California Wildfires ‘Undeniable Link to #ClimateChange #Drought ‘ #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #StopAdani @SciNate

‘Undeniable link to climate change’ in California’s fire season, expert says

Wildfires in California have broken records this year after the Mendocino Complex Fire became the largest in the state’s recorded history.

The Thomas Fire from last year set records as well, burning more than 280,000 acres before it was declared completely contained in January 2018.

Experts have said that rising temperatures linked to climate change are making the fires larger, more dangerous and more expensive to fight.

After several record-breaking wildfires in California last year, Gov. Jerry Brown said the severe fires were the “new normal” for the state and said that years of drought and rising temperatures from climate change contributed to the worsening fire season.

Firefighters conduct a burn operation to remove fuel around homes on Grand Ave as the Holy Fire grows to more than 10,000 acres as the wildfire comes closer to Lake Elsinore, Aug. 10, 2018. Photo Credit: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/Polaris

Firefighters conduct a burn operation to remove fuel around homes on Grand Ave as the Holy Fire grows to more than 10,000 acres as the wildfire comes closer to Lake Elsinore, Calif., Aug. 10, 2018. Photo Credit: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/Polaris

Michael Mann, an atmospheric science professor at Penn State University, believes climate change is contributing to the level of these events.

“We’re not saying that climate change is literally causing the events to occur. What we can conclude with a great deal of confidence now is that climate change is making these events more extreme. And its not rocket science, you warm the atmosphere it’s going to hold more moisture, you get larger flooding events, you get more rainfall. You warm the planet, you’re going to get more frequent and intense heat waves. You warm the soils, you dry them out, you get worse drought,” Mann said on PBS NewsHour. “You bring all that together and those are all the ingredients for unprecedented wildfires.”

Mann said another part of the problem is that climate change is creating conditions that cause extreme weather to stay over the same area for multiple days, leading to unprecedented heat or rain events.

Before the Carr Fire broke out near Sacramento, the area was facing its hottest July on record — temperatures had been above average for months, as much as 10 degrees higher than normal.

ABC News Senior Meteorologist Rob Marciano said it was an exceedingly long heatwave and that the high temperatures could create more wind in the afternoon and evening, which is partly why the Carr fire spread so rapidly.

“Even by July standards, this is an unusually long July heat wave with triple-digit heat in areas for three weeks straight. And the night that the fire went off, temperatures were well above 110 degrees. In cases like this, there’s an undeniable link to climate change,” Marciano said.

While rising temperatures may not spark a wildfire, the heat often make fires more likely and more severe. Droughts dry out trees and vegetation that becomes fuel for fires more likely to spread farther, faster.

Noah Diffenbaugh researches the connection between climate and extreme weather as a professor of Earth System Science at Stanford University. He said the longer fire season in California is related to climate change because global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions has increased the average temperature by almost 2 degrees Fahrenheit.

“We’re getting warmer and warmer conditions around the globe but certainly here in California and in the western United States we’re getting earlier melting of snowpack,” Diffenbaugh told ABC News’ Brad Mielke on the “Start Here” podcast. “That means that when those warm conditions happen in the summer and fall all the vegetation is even more dried out and that means that when lightning strikes when a spark from a from a car or a campfire hits the ground that the vegetation is more dried out there’s more fuel available

Smoke rises behind a leveled apartment complex as a wildfire burns in Ventura, Calif., Dec. 5, 2017. Over 100 structures have burned so far in Ventura County, officials said.

Multiple studies have found a connection between rising temperatures and the severity of wildfires, but other research suggests other factors also are at play. One study published last year said that many studies that connect climate change and wildfires don’t account for unique factors in smaller geographic areas.

That study, published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, found that climate change had less of an effect in areas that were more populated because people can both start fires where they wouldn’t normally occur or can reduce the risk of wildfires by managing the land.

The researchers found that in some cases the way people manage or develop land in a specific area can counteract increased risks associated with rising temperatures or drought.

“Climate change may indeed be a concern for those areas with strong fire-climate relationships. However, our results suggest that, in some areas, anthropogenic (or human-caused) factors diminish the influence of climate on fire activity,” the authors wrote in the study, saying that humans’ influence on fires needs to be a larger part of the conversation about the connection between fires and climate change.

The U.S. Forest Service has been warning of the increasing costs related to fighting these wildfires for years, saying that it had to borrow money from programs intended to prevent fires to pay for fire suppression. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which includes the Forest Service, said that 2017 fire season cost more than $2 billion, making it the most expensive fire season on record.

A record-setting 129 million trees on 8.9 acres were dead at the end of 2017 because of the state’s drought, according to the U.S. Forest Service and California fire and forestry agency.

Press link for more: ABC NEWS