August besieged California with a heat unseen in generations. A surge in air conditioning broke the state’s electrical grid, leaving a population already ravaged by the coronavirus to work remotely by the dim light of their cellphones. By midmonth, the state had recorded possibly the hottest temperature ever measured on earth — 130 degrees in Death Valley — and an otherworldly storm of lightning had cracked open the sky.
On Thursday 20 August, it will be exactly two years since the first school strike for the climate took place. Looking back, a lot has happened. Many millions have taken to the streets to join the decades-long fight for climate and environmental justice. And on 28 November 2019, the European parliament declared a “climate and environmental emergency”.
Over 400,000 acres of wildfires burn in Arizona in a devastating opening to Southwest’s wildfire season. And neighboring California has approved more fracking in a 97% Latino town as oil tankers spew pollution.
Brazil’s government simultaneously risks triggering the next pandemic, endangers its indigenous people, and accelerates the climate crisis by scaling up deforestation of the Amazon.
This week the climate justice movement says Black Lives Matter, disaster capitalists are still looting Puerto Rico, and California is neglecting to fix the environmental racism of its oil infrastructure.
The climate crisis is the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. At the current rate of greenhouse gas emissions, we are headed for 4°C to 7°C of warming above pre-industrial global averages within the lifetimes of young people. Temperature increases in this range would lead to a hothouse planet with devastating extreme weather events, and make most if not all of our planet
Commentators like to point to Wuhan’s “wet markets” as the source of the pandemic, but COVID-19 is the result of a much larger, global phenomenon of environmental degradation. Combatting both means putting the politics of food production and land use at the very heart of our socialist project.
In this week’s Climate Crisis News Roundup, COVID-19 has meat production in crisis, but what’s its climate impact? And a new report says President Trump has the worst public lands protection record in history, while the EU and Spain will soon release a green economic stimulus plan.