A spate of huge fires in northern Russia, Alaska, Greenland and Canada discharged 50 megatonnes of CO2 in June and 79 megatonnes in July, far exceeding the previous record for the Arctic. The intensity of the blazes continues with 25 megatonnes in the first 11 days of August – extending the duration beyond even the most persistent fires in the 17-year dataset of Europe’s satellite monitoring system.The smoke cloud covers 5 million square kilometers -- larger in area than the entire European Union. It is depositing soot on what's left of the ice, accelerating the melt. The fires this year alone have discharged as much carbon into the atmosphere as 36 million automobiles.
This is what's called a positive feedback loop. It's what climate scientists have long feared but were reluctant to incorporate into their models because the effects seemed speculative -- until now. It's happening. Iceland is preparing for the time soon to come when it will be ice free. Will they have to change their name? This New York Times article refers to "the massive, centuries-old ice sheets of Greenland and the polar regions." In fact the Greenland ice sheet is the last remnant of the arctic ice sheet and it is not centuries old: it is almost 2 1/2 million years old. At the rate we're going, it will be gone in less than 1,000 years, and while you probably aren't planning to be around for that you probably are planning to be around for the global food shortages and killer heat waves that are coming soon.
I'm sorry to be a downer but I am writing this because I want to inspire action. Sure, do what you can to reduce your own carbon footprint but that isn't going to save your ass -- only political action will. So get out in the streets, get out the vote, yell and scream at your congresscritter, and do whatever it takes to get rid of the putrid, stinking excrescence occupying the office of president.
Update: China is the nation with the most carbon emissions, but they are working to eliminate them and they appear to be ahead of schedule on their Paris commitments. The U.S. needs to assert leadership, both politically and technologically, if we are to save our sorry butts.