California is Still Burning

It’s November 20 and California is still burning. To date, the Camp Fire has burned through 150,000 acres of Northern California. To the South, the Woolsey fire has covered over 95,000 acres. Together the fires have destroyed 15,000 structures in Butte County, and more than 1,400 in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. 81,000 people have been evacuated. At least 80 are confirmed dead. 700 missing.

California’s fire season is getting longer, if not never-ending, and we need to consider why this is our new normal. The words climate change likely won’t surprise you here.

California is hot and dry. Due to rising temperatures, we are seeing wildfires much earlier in the season than we used to expect. Just a few months ago, the Mendocino Complex Fire was considered one of the most destructive wildfires in California history — a title that has quickly shifted hands. California’s fire season is also extending later into the Autumn and Winter months. With drought patterns and little rain, our vegetation is parched. And flammable. Everything on the forest floor is combustible, and these flames haven’t been shy about taking their share.

So, it’s November 20 and California is still burning. It’s still hot and it’s still dry. While rain may be around the corner this week, the effects of change will get worse if we do not act quickly – within a decade as we recently learned from the IPCC report.

Sunrise on Capitol Hill

There was lots of bustle last Tuesday at the Capitol Building. The freshman class goggled at the halls on their first day of orientation, while 200 climate activists sat in protest in Nancy Pelosi’s office. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is emerging as a potential leader on environmental issues in the House, joined in. The young elect is calling for immediate and ambitious action on a “Green New Deal” and is gathering a following. Here’s more.

2018 Midterms: Talking Climate Change

With Democrats in the House, we can expect increased committee action and congressional oversight of executive actions. At the state level, several key gubernatorial victories will likely lead to support for major renewable energy policies. From voters, we got a mixed bag. Washington said no to a carbon tax, Colorado failed to pass limits on fracking, and Arizona voted against renewable energy standards. However, Nevada went in for renewable power, and Florida turned down offshore drilling. Thanks for voting. Stay tuned.