The situation: The wildfires raging along Australia’s eastern coast have already pumped around 400 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, further fueling the climate change that’s already intensifying the nation’s fires, reports James Temple.
In perspective: That’s more than the total combined annual emissions of the 116 lowest-emitting countries. It also adds up to about three-quarters of Australia’s otherwise flattening greenhouse-gas emissions in 2019. Although it isn’t an unprecedented amount at this point of the year in Australia, emissions are way beyond typical levels in New South Wales, where this year’s fires are concentrated.
A vicious feedback loop: Rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall dries out trees, plants, and soil, amplifying fires when they break out. In turn, these huge fires are fueling climate change. Read the full story.