Climate change: Nature is lighting the signal fires of the climate emergency – Scotsman comment

In India, there have already been four heatwaves this year, with some areas enduring temperatures of between 40 and 45 degrees Celsius for the past two months.

A wildfire burns near Kyle of Lochalsh after weeks of dry weather (Picture: Lochalsh and South West Ross Community Fire Stations)
A wildfire burns near Kyle of Lochalsh after weeks of dry weather (Picture: Lochalsh and South West Ross Community Fire Stations)

Meanwhile in America, major wildfires have been raging in 13 states from Florida to Colorado in the past few days. More than 870,000 acres of land across the US has burned so far this year, 30 per cent more than the 10-year average.

Even on the west coast of Scotland, weeks of dry weather have contributed to a three-mile-long wildfire near Kyle of Lochalsh.

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While there are obviously a number of factors at play, the fingerprints of climate change are fairly obvious.

Roxy Mathew Koll, of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, told the BBC global warming was “the root cause for the increase in heatwaves”.

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And scientific studies have demonstrated a link between the rise in temperatures in the western US – which has been higher than the global average – and a dramatic increase in the scale of wildfires.

The carbon in the clouds of smoke rising into the atmosphere may be reabsorbed as vegetation starts to grow again. But the fear is that as the fires become increasingly intense and widespread, they could cause an ecological shift-change in which the world’s vast boreal forests are unable to fully regenerate, creating a global feedback loop as the fires cause increases in carbon emissions, and therefore more warming, and therefore the fires.

Nature is lighting the signal fires that warn just how serious the climate emergency is becoming. Despite many serious problems, such the cost-of-living crisis and the war in Ukraine, we still must act.

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