Just a three hour drive from the ongoing international climate negotiations taking place in Warsaw, Poland, a natural gas pipeline explosion on Thursday killed two people and injured 13 others, revealing a deadly irony within the pervasive dangers—both local and planetary—presented by humanity's continued dependency on fossil fuels.
The pipeline disaster, which generated a fireball that incinerated a row of houses, "occurred in the early afternoon in the western village of Jankow Przygodzki," the Associated Press reports. "[Local TV news] footage showed yellow flames and black smoke billowing above the village's rooftops and some houses on fire. They were still burning hours after the blast."
According to a nearby hospital, one adult and one child remain in critical condition.
Malgorzata Polkowska, a spokeswoman for the Gaz-System S.A. corporation which operates pipeline, called the explosion "a very large-scale tragedy."
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It remained unclear what caused the explosion, though an investigation was being initiated.
Meanwhile, as the "COP19" UN climate talks in Warsaw neared their half-way mark, it remains uncertain whether participating countries will succeed in agreeing to meaningful reforms when it comes to tackling the runaway crisis of climate change. With continued political pressure by the fossil fuel industry and many of the most developed nations balking at even meeting previously agreed to carbon-cutting targets, the mood of most climate activists remain pessimistic about meaningful progress.