Orange Skies, Red Alerts and the Upcoming Future

    Sooner or later, we will suffer even greater climatic catastrophes. That scenario is already here; just look up!

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    This is how the world ends… Not with a bang—that is, with a sudden universal catastrophe—but with a series of smaller, local catastrophes that are growing in size and spreading. I have seen a surprising number of complaints about the media space devoted to orange skies and red alerts in New York. James Fallows, former editor of The Atlantic, writes: “Anyone who has lived in a big Chinese or Indian city in the last couple of decades, or in the Pacific Northwest, the San Francisco Bay Area, or Southern California during the fires in the United States and Canada is thinking: ‘Yes, we feel sorry for all those who are in New York, suffocated by smoke. And we cannot fail to realize the difference in attention paid by the press”.

    It is true, but air pollution in Asian cities is a product of local conditions. The recent worsening of the pollution problem due to wildfires in the western United States, by contrast, has been a harbinger of the coming climate disaster, and should have been seen as such. The point, however, is not that New York’s air quality disaster is getting too much attention, but rather that its predecessors did not get enough.

    Yes, it is unfair that the smoky skies of New York, still the center of the media universe, receive attention that comparable crises do not receive elsewhere. But that is a secondary matter compared to the importance of learning from these crises, now that enough influential people have seen what is happening with their own eyes.

    So let me make a few observations about this catastrophe that has disrupted the lives of tens of millions of people and will exact a heavy health price, including a number of premature deaths. Most of these observations are almost embarrassingly obvious, but climate change policies have largely been conditioned by denial of the obvious by some until disaster strikes, and sometimes even after.

    Climatologists have been saying for decades that global warming would result in the proliferation of forest fires. Last year a United Nations report warned of a “global fire crisis” as many areas of forest heat up and dry out.

    Indeed, the smoky skies outside my window are confirmation of what most climatologists hold: the experts did not predict this particular disaster for just this week, but it is exactly the kind of phenomenon that has been around for some time letting us know what would happen. Still, do not expect the climate change deniers, who by now effectively control the Republican Party, to be won over. Last Wednesday, Rudy Giuliani asked about the orange haze in New York: “Is it due to fires, climate change, or something more sinister?”.

    Conspiracy theories

    In fact, conspiracy theories about this catastrophe have spread, yes, like wildfire. The fires in Canada have been caused by directed energy weapons (the updated version of Jewish space lasers). No way; they were caused by government drones or antifa activists, or in any case, they are part of a plot to force people to wear masks again (which they should) and go back into lockdown.

    Given recent political history, it would be a very bad idea to assume that these conspiracy theories are not going to gain ground. But let’s get back to sanity. I think it is fair to say that even people who accept climate reality often assume that serious consequences are still years away. I myself sometimes surprise myself thinking like this, although rationally I know I do not.

    However, it has long been clear that the damage from climate change will gradually increase as what were once unpredictable catastrophes become larger and more frequent; that floods, fires and droughts that used to occur once a century begin to occur every few years, affecting more and more people. The climate crisis will get much worse, but the fact is that it is already well underway.

    No safe place anymore

    And there is no safe place anymore. Some people tended to assume that global warming is only bad for places far away where it’s already hot, like India and the Middle East, and that it might even be good for those living in colder climates. But now Canada is on fire, and central New York State — hitherto famous for its cold winters and lake-effect snowfall — has been hit as hard, if not more, than its capital. Things could be worse. In fact, they are sure to be worse: even effective climate action will not be enough to prevent catastrophes from becoming bigger and more frequent for many more years to come.

    The good news, if you can call it that, is that we are finally starting to see real action on climate change. All indications are that recent US initiatives to foster the energy transition are working better and faster than even their advocates anticipated, and that the private sector is rushing to invest in clean energy. Furthermore, there are reasons to hope that other countries will follow similar paths. So at least there is some hope that we can still avoid a total catastrophe.

    But at best, our belated reaction to warming will slow down the buildup of greenhouse gases, but not reverse it, so the climate will not improve. If anything, it will get worse more slowly. Consequently, in the near future we will face even greater climatic catastrophes. And that future has already begun. Just look up the signals!

    Resonance Costa Rica
    At Resonance, we aspire to live in harmony with the natural world as a reflection of our gratitude for life. Visit and subscribe at Resonance Costa Rica Youtube Channel
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