Western US States

The Western United States is no stranger to climate change. But it’s also on the cutting edge of climate change policy—and we’re the lead scientist.


5 of California’s 6 Largest Fires on Record Are Burning Now: The Astonishing 2020 Wildfire Season in Context

, senior climate scientist

Editor’s note: This post has been revised to reflect the most accurate data on fire acreage in the 1980s. The original relied on data from the NIFC for 1980-1983 and the updated version excludes this period, as the data are less reliable. The 1980s statistics now reflect data from MTBS and CalFire.

California is a state that burns. Like epic snowstorms in Tahoe, fog in San Francisco, and the dry heat of Palm Springs, wildfires are a natural feature of California’s climate—and like all of those, wildfire is changing because of global warming. Rising temperatures are drying out soils, plants, and forests, which then act as fuel for increasingly large fires.

When you’re far from the fires, or when their smoke isn’t cloaking your neighborhood, it can be difficult to conceive of their scale. Here are nine graphics that put this year’s fires into context. Read more >

Mike Lewelling/National Park Service
UCS
NASA
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Hey, Oregon Senators: You Can’t Run Away from Climate Change

, director, California & Western States

In literally running away from an important vote, these Senators are fleeing their constitutionally-mandated work—and betraying their state. Read more >

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Photo: Juliwatson /Pixabay

100% Clean Electricity in Washington State: Everything You Need To Know

, Energy analyst

Washington state’s lawmakers are contemplating the transition to 100% clean electricity. Fortunately, Washington’s grid is already one of the cleanest in the nation, with much of its electricity coming from hydropower. So what exactly does “100% clean electricity” mean for the state? How would this transition affect Washington’s economy? And why should Washington do this in the first place? Read more >

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Voting on I-1631? Here’s How Much Healthier You Could Make Washington’s Climate

, Senior Climate Scientist

The Pacific Northwest has already warmed by at least 1.5°F since the first half of the 20th century. How will I-1631 help? Read more >

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California Takes Another Run at 100 Percent Clean Electricity

, Senior energy analyst

Last year, SB 100 passed the California State Senate, but stalled in the Assembly. The good news today is: it’s now scheduled for a hearing on July 3rd! Read more >

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