Europe is experiencing fiery weather. Not only in the south as before, but also in the north and in London, where it got up to 40 degrees for the first time.
The earth has fever
It’s getting “really dicey,” writes the FAZ Sonntagszeitung. Climate change deniers are audibly silent. In southern France alone, 20,000 people had to be evacuated these days because of forest fires. In California, wildfires caused $150 billion in damage over the past two years.
Europe is a hotspot of new wildfire dynamics
Our continent is already nearly two degrees warmer than in the pre-industrial era. The industrial age began the burning of fossil fuels on a grand scale. The connections are obvious. Today, we burn in one day what nature has accumulated in a million days of fossil raw materials. That is one in a million times against nature managed. We are experiencing the receipt right now.
Scientists are certain that climate change is the main cause of Europe’s current fiery weather. Ever-increasing CO2 emissions are the cause of forest fires, says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: “Climate change has taken control of fire weather.” That’s why more and more fire-sensitive regions are emerging in northern Europe, too.
Fire risks are highest in spring and summer. They are greater the drier it is. Globally, fire seasons are getting about seven percent longer every decade. Spanish scientists have identified the Alps, the tree-rich regions of the Pyrenees, the French Massif Central, the Apennines in Italy, the Carpathians and the Caucasus as particularly at risk.
The increasing forest fires emit millions of tons of CO2 and, of course, place an additional burden on the European climate balance. At present, European forests can still absorb 360 million tons of CO2 every year. But due to the forest fires, this CO2 sink is getting smaller year by year. This will additionally drive global warming, which in turn will lead to more forest fires.
Fire weather means fire alarms all over Europe
The fires are becoming more intense, the damage greater, and the need for a rapid energy transition ever more urgent. The silver bullet: a rapid shift to renewable energy and healthy mixed forests. The next eight years are crucial for this.
However, the climate protection targets pledged by governments to the UN Climate Secretariat are far from sufficient. The big opportunity is that the cost of solar and wind energy and batteries has fallen by up to 85 percent since 2010. And this process for ever more and ever faster renewable energy is far from over. The global solar revolution is the first real world revolution. The sun and wind don’t send a bill. They are gifts from the heavens.