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The double disaster in British Columbia


This kind of catastrophe-piled-on-catastrophe is going to become more common as climate change accelerates:

In June, the Pacific “heat dome” shattered temperature records throughout B.C., forcing climate scientists to reconsider their models and killing hundreds of humans and more than a billion marine animals, along with harvests of whole regions of farmland — “the cherries roasting on trees.” The wildfire season overall burned more than 3,000 square miles this year, an area of land about the size of Puerto Rico, releasing probably a hundred million tons of carbon into the atmosphere and destroying the city of Lytton. And now, as happened in California with much more modest rainfall after the historic wildfire season of 2018, a “storm of the century” powered by an “atmospheric river” has hit Canadian mountains totally stripped of tree protection, producing mudslides and rockslides and landslides, trapping hundreds of cars on roads suddenly piled with debris including “families in cars without food or medications.” The storm closed major highways, downed power lines, forced the evacuation of thousands, shut down two of the country’s biggest railroad lines and its largest container port, and literally washed away parts of the region’s chief east-west roadway, the Trans-Canada Highway. A thousand train cars carrying grain are currently idling, and it’s estimated that the railroads won’t reopen for weeks. Some of the highways may take longer. Farmers have been “trying to save their livestock by towing them in boats in water that was five feet deep.” Others have been herding cattle by Jet Ski.

The amount of disruption people will have to endure because of widespread unwillingness to endure lesser disruptions is going to be staggering.

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