Climate change is the catastrophe to end all others • Watts Up With That?

Essay by Eric Worrall

What catastrophe?

Climate change is the catastrophe to end all other catastrophes

By Fatima Bhutto
October 16, 2023 at 6:30 a.m. EDT

Fatima Bhutto is a Pakistani writer and novelist. Her latest book is “New Kings of the World.”

This past summer, the primordial elements conspired to ravage Greece, the birthplace of Western civilization. The Mediterranean’s many islands were swept by water, air and especially fire, leaving a trail of wreckage. Helios, the sun god, whose statue in Rhodes was among the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, brought scorching temperatures to that island, sparking hundreds of wildfires. In coastal Alexandroupolis, pine forests were “reduced to blackened, skeletal bark,” according to Reuters, while fires in the Dadia forest, home to a magnificent nature sanctuary, torched 281 square miles — an area roughly the size of New York City.

Across Greece, tens of thousands of people, locals and tourists both, had to be evacuated, …

In September, scant weeks after the fires, came the deluge. Storms buffeted BulgariaTurkey and Greece, precipitating massive floods. Regions logged record rainfall — a season’s worth in a day, according to one estimate. The crescendo — for now — was the inundation of Derna on Libya’s Mediterranean coast. Whole neighborhoods were swept out to sea after rains overwhelmed the city’s aging dams. The death toll there stands at 11,300, with 10,000 people still unaccounted for.

This barrage in and around Greece could not help but remind me of my country, Pakistan, and the so-called super flood it endured one year earlier. As more adventurous tourists will be aware, the reaches of northern Pakistan are home to Earth’s largest collection of glaciers outside the polar regions — surrounded by the three highest mountain ranges in the world: the Himalayas, the Karakoram and the Hindu Kush. The landscape is surreally beautiful: lunar visions of ice and rock, encircled by jagged peaks. But as global temperatures rise, glacial melt has led to the formation of more than 3,000 new lakes, posing flood risks to the 7 million people downstream.

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This is the nonsense climate believers want you to accept as a climate emergency.

None of this is historically unusual. Greece suffers large fires from time to time. If they want less destructive fires, they should try some forest management.

Libya suffered large casualties because not enough people evacuated. Libya is a political mess, large scale consequences to natural disasters are an inevitable consequence of nations suffering political chaos.

Pakistan is a land of droughts and floods – but there has been enormous neglect of water infrastructure.

Compare all this to how Florida handled recent hurricane disasters – like the highly praised evacuation of the Florida Keys during Hurricane Harvey. Modern countries rarely suffer major loss of life during disasters, simply because we are better organised.

Building wind turbines won’t help people who have suffered recent devastation. What would help them is fossil fuel modernity and better government – just as a modern, high energy lifestyle and better government has helped most of us.


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