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Over 15,000 Square Miles of Siberia Are on Fire and It’s “a Global Ecological Catastrophe”
Wildfires are raging across over 15,000 square miles of Siberia, an area larger than the size of Massachusetts, and are causing what one environmental expert calls a “global ecological catastrophe.”
Some 46 thousand square miles have already been destroyed, and with the fires now threatening towns and cities, and large clouds of black smoke engulfing Russia’s third-biggest city, Novosibirsk, the Kremlin has come under increasing pressure from the public and from environmentalists to act to tackle the fires…
Homes being built fastest in many flood-prone areas
The study, by Climate Central, a New Jersey research group, looked at the 10-year flood risk zone — the area with a 10 percent chance of flooding in any given year — and estimated the zone’s size in 2050. Then the group counted up homes built there since 2010, using data from Zillow, a real estate company.
There are many reasons construction persists despite the danger. In some cases it is urban sprawl, in others it is a desire among government officials for property-tax revenue. But whatever the reason, this kind of building activity will “come back and bite,” said Benjamin Strauss, president and chief scientist of Climate Central, which produces and publishes research on the effects of global warming.
The researchers’ objective was to examine “the riskiest of the risky places” — those that “actually would predictably flood multiple times in the course of one mortgage,” Strauss said. “Even in a time of growing climate change awareness, lots of towns are building fastest in the riskiest places.” There is overwhelming scientific consensus that rising temperatures will increase the frequency and severity of coastal flooding caused by hurricanes, storm surges, heavy rain and tidal floods. At the same time there is the long-term threat of rising seas pushing the high-tide line inexorably inland.
Beyond the seemingly universal appeal of waterfront living, the continued coastal construction reflects a variety of local factors, according to state and city officials, as well as homebuilders…