‘Connecting the dots is not enough’: Greta Thunberg demands that the climate crisis ‘dominate’ news cycle

‘If we are to have a small chance, this needs to be our main focus,’ says the teen activist 

Barack Obama meets with Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg has called for the climate crisis to “dominate the news” adding that simply “connecting the dots” between current extreme events and global heating  doesn’t go far enough.

The 17-year-old activist on Thursday posted a composite image of recent disasters - including the glowing orange sky over San Francisco as California’s wildfires continue to rage; the recent monsoons which devastated the Indian subcontinent and huskies pulling a sled across rapidly melting ice.

She wrote: “Reporting is not enough. Connecting the dots is not enough. Mentioning the link to the climate crisis is not enough (even though it would kind of help...). If we are to have a small chance, this needs to be our main focus. It needs to dominate the news. All the time.”

For more than a month, wildfires have raged in the American West, springing up across California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. At least seven people have been killed and thousands of homes and businesses destroyed.

Evacuations have been ordered in coastal communities, wine country north of San Francisco and along the Sierra Nevada.

Thick smoke choked much of the state and cast an eerie orange hue across the sky on Wednesday.

In some areas of the San Francisco Bay Area and to the east in the Sacramento Valley, the smoke blocked out so much sunlight that it dropped the temperature by 20 to 30 degrees over the previous day, according to the National Weather Service.

The US Forest Service, which had taken the unprecedented measure of closing eight national forests in Southern California earlier in the week, ordered all 18 of its forests in the state closed on Wednesday.

In Southern California, fires burned in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. People in foothill communities east of LA were warned to be ready to flee, but the region’s notorious Santa Ana winds were weaker than predicted.

On Thursday, a multi-storey building that developed cracks during recent heavy monsoon rains in the city of Karachi, Pakistan, collapsed, killing at least one person and injuring 10, the Associated Press reported. 

Last month’s rains flooded most of Karachi’s neighborhoods, killing dozens of residents and causing widespread damage.

The Indian subcontinent was hit with a powerful cyclone and torrential monsoon rains earlier this summer, killing dozens of people and displacing hundreds of thousands. 

Dr Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) in Bangladesh, told The Independent in July that the "fingerprint" of the climate crisis could be seen in the magnitude of the recent disasters.

And on Wednesday, Dr Tom Jordan, an aero-geophysicist from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), spoke with The Independent about the rapidly melting Thwaites “doomsday glacier”. 

Dr Jordan, leading a team of UK and US researchers,  found a series of deep channels beneath Thwaites thought to be acting as pathways for warm ocean water to melt the underside of the ice.  

Around 80 billion tonnes of ice from the glacier is currently draining out into the Amundsen Sea each year – accounting for around 4 per cent of the planet’s annual sea-level rise.

The runaway collapse of Thwaites – which is around the size of the UK – could lead to an increase in sea levels of around 65cm, and scientists want to find out how quickly this catastrophic scenario might happen.

“I was shocked to fly over the glacier and see all the debris left behind as the ice shelf has collapsed – it was stunning,” he said.

Dr Jordan added there was no doubt carbon emissions from human activity have contributed to the warming of the ocean in Antarctica. “It’s generally accepted that the warming of the ocean is part of what is driving the retreat at Thwaites Glacier,” he said.

Wires contributed to this report

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