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Greek fires – the dangers of climate change

According to ABC News the fires that have been ravaging Greece have claimed 74* lives so far, with over 150 people being hospitalised with injuries.

This makes the fires the deadlier that those Greece has suffered in August 2007, when 67 lives were lost.

The Greek Reporter says that the government thinks the fires may have been started by arsonists.

Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science, writing at The Scotsman warns that climate change may have played a role in this fire, and may result him more fires in future.

He linked to work by Italian researchers showing that Eastern and Southern Europe have suffered more, and more severe, droughts since 1950.

He warned that climate models show that Greece and the other southern European states can expect more in the way of drought conditions in coming decades – along with more fires.

My take

These fires are horrific, and it is not that long ago that we had a similar disaster hit Knysna. In South Africa we saw a lot of the impact of climate change with a record drought that left Cape Town in danger of running out of water.

Unfortunately right now America has elected Donald Trump as president. Trump has historically denied climate change is happening, while building a sea wall in Ireland to protect his golf course from climate change.

The science on climate change is in, it is happening, we’re causing it, and globally politicians are dithering, banking on the idea that when the crisis hits it will be the next administration’s problem.

This dithering has been aided by conservative “news” vendors such as the Telegraph pushing climate denialism when they’re not pushing the idea that demons are real, because somehow the Telegraph managed never to exit the 10th century.

Except we are seeing it becoming our problem right now. We cannot expect the world to do anything concrete to stop climate change, we’re going to have to make plans for how we’re going to cope with it ourselves.

I look at Greece and I see our future in South Africa if we don’t make plans for how to handle the new climate we’re getting now.

*Updated with new death toll

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