That’s Leadership

“New South Wales state emergency services minister David Elliott said residents were facing what “could be the most dangerous bush fire week this nation has ever seen,” says NBC News.

Take a moment if you can to read an article in The Sydney Morning Herald about the “catastrophic” fires sweeping New South Wales, written by Greg Mullins, a former NSW Fire and Rescue commissioner. It’s titled This is not normal: what’s different about the NSW mega fires, and it’s frightening.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack had this reaction, according to SBS News:

On Monday, Mr McCormack launched an attack against the “disgraceful, disgusting” behaviour of people who linked climate change to the bushfires in NSW and Queensland.

“We’ve had fires in Australia since time began, and what people need now is sympathy, understanding, help and shelter … They don’t need the ravings of some pure, enlightened and woke capital city greenies at this time,” he told ABC.

And Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he’s too busy to care about the changing climate. From 10 Daily:

“The prime minister refused to address global warming on Saturday, instead saying he was only thinking of the victims, their families and the emergency services personnel fighting the fires.

When asked by a journalist if he accepted that the fires were in “some way linked to climate change”, Morrison answered:

“My only thoughts today are with those who have lost their lives and their families. The firefighters who are fighting the fires, the response effort that has to be delivered and how the Commonwealth has to responded in supporting those efforts.”

Quotes: Greenland Is Falling Apart

The photos are mine. Text is from Greenland Is Falling Apart by Robinson Meyer in The Atlantic magazine:

“If Greenland were suddenly transported to the central United States, it would be a very bad day for about 65 million people, who would be crushed instantly. But for the sake of science journalism, imagine that Greenland’s southernmost tip displaced Brownsville, Texas—the state’s southernmost city—so that its icy glaciers kissed mainland Mexico and the Gulf thereof. Even then, Greenland would stretch all the way north, clear across the United States, its northern tenth crossing the Canadian border into Ontario and Manitoba. Kansas City, Oklahoma City, and Iowa City would all be goners. So too would San Antonio, Memphis, and Minneapolis. Its easternmost peaks would slam St. Louis and play in Peoria; its northwestern glaciers would rout Rapid City, South Dakota, and meander into Montana. At its center point, near Des Moines, roughly two miles of ice would rise from the surface.”

Quotes: Choosing Wisely on Climate

Joan Harvey is a fellow contributor to the Monday Magazine at 3QuarksDaily. Her latest column addresses the importance of developing the right strategy to address climate change.

“If we’re going to solve this problem on which the future of humanity depends, we need focus. For the layman, the question becomes: Are you a green consumer? Or are you a green citizen? A green consumer may own a Prius, recycle diligently, and worry about plastic straws. A green citizen focuses on policy, and makes sure the people they elect also understand good energy policy. They recognize which policies will actually be able to move us toward zero emissions in the next three decades and push for these.”

I like her idea of precision intervention:

“Half the carbon in the U.S. economy goes through monopoly pipes and wires, and these are controlled by Public Utilities Commissions in each of the 50 states. Each has five members, so there are 250 individuals who control half the carbon in the country…. If you go to them with an ethical or technical argument, they will listen to you…. This is relatively easy leverage.”

She’s right, too, that

“doing a little bit of everything is not going to save the planet. If we’re going to solve this problem on which the future of humanity depends, we need focus.”

But while they may not save the world, there doesn’t seem to be any harm in mini-crusades like this one here in Ho Chi Minh City:

Quotes: On Sea Ice

“Back in the early 1980s, the (Arctic) sea ice in September typically covered an area somewhat less than the size of the contiguous United States. Now it is much, much smaller – we have lost an area equivalent to all of the states east of the Mississippi, plus the Dakotas and Nebraska.”

– From an interview with Mark Serreze at FiveBookscom.

Sweden Swelters, Shrinks

Sweden’s highest peak, a glacier on the southern tip of the Kebnekaise mountain, is melting due to record hot Arctic temperatures and is no longer the nation’s tallest point, scientists said on Wednesday.

Sweden’s two highest points are a mountain with two peaks, one covered by a glacier, the other free of ice.

Last year, according to this story in English and this one in Swedish, the altitude difference between the two peaks was two meters.