As pandemic rages across the world, waves of extreme, deadly floods hit London, New York, Detroit, many cities in Belgium, Germany, Austria (Salzburg), Poland, Mumbai and Zhengzhou, China – all in past couple of weeks! And cities are much hotter than the global average temperature. Scientists Matei Georgescu and John Dialesandro explain on Radio Ecoshock this spring. In this blog, I add notes about extreme city flooding all over the world – and memories of Stuart Scott.
The blog about it all with links to follow up here.
Thanks to Radio Ecoshock supporters, I was able to rebuild my studio damaged by lightning. I need some time off to rebuild myself too. Reporting with scientists predicting all this is hard. Seeing it come true so soon, so close to home, is mind-numbing. Even so, I feel compelled to cover the relationships between the super heat wave in North America, resulting fires, and the sudden increase in extreme rains in other parts of the world.
There is a new paper out exactly on the European extreme rains. I have requested an interview. If so, that will come out in a couple of weeks. Our old friend Canadian scientist Paul Beckwith was on Canadian CTV this week explaining how changes to the Jet Steam in the Northern Hemisphere have driven both events.
HAPPENING ALL OVER THE WORLD!
But it’s not just Europe. In April 2021, the holy city of Mecca in the desert Kingdom of Saudi Arabia flooded. That was amazing. Floods in Mumbai India are not uncommon, but the recent timing raises flags. Then July 20th the large city of Zhengzhou, China experienced unheard of flooding. They got a year’s worth of rain in about three days in a city of over 10 million people. You may have seen video of hundreds of people trapped in flooded subway cars there. But a lot of crops were washed away as well in the region.
This is climate change right now. Chinese officials are due to meet with U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry and the Europeans to talk about a climate plan. Better late than never. Analysts of Chinese find no links to climate change in state media reporting of events there. They agree it is “beyond standard” but go no further.
Or maybe not. When Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson add more carbon to the upper atmosphere with their space games and green talk, there is no more time left for big plans in the coming decades. The International Energy Agency just predicted 2023 will set new records for global carbon emissions. There is a time when it is too late. 2050 or 2030 won’t do.
Next week we have some great radio from Australia. Host Vivien Langford of 3 CR radio interviews musician David Rovics, about our experiences with the massive heat dome that is wreaking havoc in the West. David talks about 118 degrees F. (47.7 C) in the temperate coastal city of Portland Oregon. Then he plays his new song about it – and it’s one of his best. Vivien adds amazing readings about killer heat from the novel by Kim Stanley Robinson: “The Ministry for the Future”.
Vivien also interviews me about the Canadian experience. Meanwhile, there is a frightening fire in the lower Okanagan Valley that is spreading East toward our home. People in the next village have been given evacuation alerts as the hot wind howls, driving out-of-control wildfires. That is Rock Creek, which suffered a massive fire just a few years ago. Here it comes again?
Wildfire smoke from the West has reached all the way to New York City. You can hardly see the buildings at times there. Toronto Canada has the second worst air quality of any city in the world this week. Smoke in Alberta, home of the Tar Sands, is critically unhealthy. Everybody gets a share of climate change.
Do all those smoke particles help the overloaded atmosphere suddenly dump record rains in other part of the world? I am investigating that, along with the phenomenon of fire-drive storms creating tens of thousands of bolts of dry lightning – very similar to the shot that nearly knocked out my studio two weeks ago. This is new territory for science, meteorologists, and all of us living below.
On the West Coast, especially a little inland from the ocean, we have been living through a non-stop heat wave. It has been weeks, with no sign of rain or even a cooler day. The new heat can be punishing. We need climate action. Is there anything you can do?
A PASSING – REMEMBERING STUART SCOTT
Earth has lost a climate warrior. I first found Stuart Scott in 2014 as he brought powerful voices to a series of United Nations Climate meetings, including James Hansen and Greta Thunberg. Stuart also swapped his Air Miles to get Canadian climate scientist and Ecoshock guest Paul Beckwith to at least two of those climate summits. Paul appeared on a number of press panels in facilities established by the U.N.
I interviewed Stuart for the show in October 2018. You can find that blog here.
In earlier years Stuart’s climate activism was related to an inter-faith group of churches. Stuart founded a number of organizations which he then ran. This was the “United Planet Faith & Science Initiative.” They had an amazing cast of directors or spokespeople including NASA’s James Hansen, S.A. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Kerry Immanuel, Katherine Hayhoe, Rabi David Rosen, Michael Mann, and many more.
Of course, I had an in-depth talk with Stuart about this initiative and how he saw the (lack of) performance of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. That interview was in January 2016. The blog for it is here.
That program, and most of my shows can also be found on Soundcloud. This program “Through A Dark Portal” got over a thousand listeners on SoundCloud – that many more people hearing the real and serious message of climate change.
I don’t claim a personal relationship with Stuart. It often amazed me the number of top-level people and government contacts he had. There was a rumour – completely unsubstantiated – that Stuart retired from the CIA. I also heard he spent a long time in a Buddhist retreat. One person who actually knows is David Corn. David is a personal life coach who also helps various media outreaches by non-profit groups. In a chat, David suggested he might write a biography of Stuart Scott. David if you read this, let us know!
Despite Stuart’s many connections to people who were famous in their fields or even highly places in governments, I found him almost revolutionary. He told us big institutions, and particularly the IPCC, had failed. The real truth of science was not being applied or told, he thought. At times this made Stuart seem angry or irritable. Despite his training in religion including passive principles of acceptance, Scott could never accepted insanity so dangerous it could wreck a world.
There was resistance he told me. As a constant critic of the fossil fuel lobby, Stuart suspected corporations might be out to demean him, to shoot the messenger (so to speak). Here is one small story on that. Because of it’s supposed egalitarian direction, the United Nations wanted to establish an alternative press room. There mere citizens, scientists NOT invited, green groups, etc. might be heard – instead of the well-produced videos and speakers provided by governments and fossil fuel lobbyists.
The U.N. provided the room, professional cameras and media people to record it all. Stuart signed up for an hour every year for about 6 or more years. He lined up the guests and served as the interviewer. He prepared, read the science, and was obviously well educated.
The appearance of matching media authority was important to Stuart (and rightly so). He told climate scientist Paul Beckwith to straighten his tie for the cameras. But when the COP24 came to Katowice Poland in 2018 there were problems. The new Polish government was actually close to Trump and not at all sympathetic to climate action. The Poles provided a media room that was too far distant for attendees to reach easily. The room was a bit cold. It was very noisy, being right near a major fire and ambulance route. Stuart noticed that during his hour panel discussions there were a lot more sirens interrupting. He was probably right.
Millions of people heard more climate science, activism, and reality because Stuart Scott took up this mission. All his productions were free. He seldom asked for money from the public, although he raised some for his various organizations from major donors that he know. That’s my take.
Twenty nine months ago Stuart was feeling ill. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He should get his affairs together with only six months to live. Obviously he got a lot of bonus time. Under the pressure, Stuart went back and forth between whether to use the harsh medicines of the medical system, or alternative treatments. He told us he tried both, including visits to the Mayo Clinic.
Despite his battles with the disease, and the debilitating treatments (like chemotherapy), Stuart helped found “Scientist’s Warning”, and then set up his own vehicle called “Facing Future”. Both produced videos with almost timeless value. You can find them on YouTube. These are among his legacies.
The folks at Stuart’s Facing Future group released this interview about Stuart’s life on YouTube.
We need a hundred people to step up and take his place.