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Climate Crisis Strikes Libya Continuing Global Trends



5300 presumed dead, 10 000 presumed missing, and 30 000 displaced is what the UN International Organization for Migration reported on September 13th regarding the damages caused by the flood which assaulted Libya's northeast by the Mediterranean coast. Every morgue in the city of Derna is at capacity and the bodies are being left on the sidewalks at the mercy of the elements. The situation's high casualty count comes from two forms of governmental mismanagement. The first being climate change and the second being weak infrastructure in the war torn country of Libya.


As ocean temperatures grow higher from the monstrous amounts of CO2 being burned into the atmosphere annually, the amount of water evaporated increases the warmer it gets. This greater rate of evaporation unleashes storms with magnitudes unseen and will continue to do so as the 21st century labors onward. Libya's National Center of Meteorology reported there would be more than 16 inches or 414.1 millimeters of rain from Sunday to Monday. Most of this rain fell within 6 hours and is an oceans difference from the 21.4 inches of rain that Libya averages annually. Floodwaters in Derna were up to 10 feet tall. The storm named Daniel was brought in from Spain, which had recent flooding and record breaking heat.


The city of Derna was destroyed as a result of infrastructural mismanagement alongside the worsening climate conditions. Two rivers flow into Derna which are dammed off in a fork which separates the streams. Battles in 2018 and 2019 with Islamic extremists has left the infrastructure damaged without rebuild. During this recent storm, both dams gave way and unleashed a flood upon Derna. The city had no telephone or internet service and was cut off from the rest of the country for 36 hours.


These are the early days of the global climate crisis. If you believe that living in a first world country like the U.S.A will somehow keep you safe then you haven't been paying attention. The number of hurricanes in the U.S. hasn't changed but the intensity and danger has grown increasingly with two category 4 hurricanes having already taken place between 2021 and 2022. The most frequent number of category 4 hurricanes per decade from 1851 to now is zero. Couple this with the Republican tendency to defund any infrastructure initiatives due to criticisms of government spending and you have a combination of factors which can easily lead to a Libya situation in any country on planet earth.


This possibility hasn't escaped the eye of the pentagon either. A report from General Mark Milley calls on the US military to deal with several climate related disasters that will occur by mid century. The Pentagon’s consensus is that: the more resources the military has to spend dealing with climate disasters, the less resources will be expended on threats. For example, in the wildfires in California in 2013, US military C-35 water bombers were used to help put out the fires. In Australia, military planes were used to dump flame retardants on the bush fires. Floods and hurricanes that hit Texas, Florida, and the East coast have directly damaged military bases in Langley. 17 F-22 Air Force fighters were damaged by Hurricane Michael in 2018, resulting in a cost of $4.7 billion.


The Pentagon is vulnerable to flooding and drought with their most powerful bases located on the east and west coast respectively. Moderate sea level rise can see flooding 100+ times a year by 2050. These bases hold war planes, roads, buildings, runways, and ammunition. Rising sea levels will displace military personnel and their families. This will occur with 90cm of sea-level rise. At this level, 4 of 9 coastal mid Atlantic states will lose 10% of their land area, making the terrain part of the sea.


The more time spent dealing with these issues will not allow them to deal with other threats. The US national power grid is unprepared for meteorological stress. The power grid infrastructure was not built to withstand alternating conditions. Electricity generating power plants, electric transmission infrastructure, and distribution system components will be vulnerable to new weather patterns such as increased rainfall levels or extended periods of heat which can overwhelm the power grid. In 2019, a California utility power firm shut down power to over a million California citizens to avoid power lines sparking another wildfire during the dry season. From the 1950s - 1980s, the number of significant power outages was less than 5 per year. In 2007 there were 76. In 2011, there were more than 300.


If the power grid collapses, America would experience a loss of water and waste distribution systems, heating and electrical lighting systems, computer and communication systems including satellite networks and GPS, a loss in public transportation, field distribution, and all electrical power systems. The Republican party and the American corporate empire represents a danger for all present and future Americans and must be completely eradicated to properly prepare for such a vast and pervasive threat as climate change.

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