wildfires


Bushfire-Ravaged Australia Is Crying for Climate Action

, climate scientist

I’m writing from Australia with a heavy heart and a growing sense of anger.

Uncontrolled bushfires, sparked in September and raging since October, continue to ravage the southern and eastern parts of the continent. So far, 25 people have lost their lives, thousands of houses have been destroyed, and whole towns have been razed to the ground. Countless native animals and livestock have died. Communities are grieving.  And there are months left to go in this fire season.

While the unfolding tragedy that has captured global headlines highlights our vulnerability in a rapidly warming climate, it also exposes a gaping absence of climate leadership both in this country and globally. Communities have been left shattered, exhausted and looking for answers. As a climate scientist who has been working on these issues for decades, I share below some thoughts on how we got here and the urgent new course we need to set. Read more >

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Simon Pierre Barrette

Extreme Fires, Creative Solutions

Dr. Brendan Rogers, Assistant Scientist, , UCS

We live in a time of extremes. Our daily news cycle is replete with extreme language, extreme corruption, and extreme threats. It’s easy to become numb, a self-defense mechanism, and equate these extremes with normal. I sometimes find myself falling victim to this mentality, and quickly snap out of it.

Before this barrage of daily extremes I had a much more benign, Earthly connection with the concept of ‘extreme’. I’m a scientist who studies our northern forests, boreal forests. I’ve always been fascinated by the ability of boreal trees, animals, and other organisms to thrive in such extreme conditions. After flying north and setting foot in a dense, mossy boreal forest, the extreme is palpable. Read more >

Photo: Simon Pierre Barrette, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
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California Wildfires and Power Outages Signal Long Road Ahead, But Climate Ambition Sets the Right Course

, Senior Energy analyst

In California, this fall marked the third consecutive year of catastrophic blazes ripping across the state. It marked the first year in which those blazes were accompanied by the widescale deployment of multi-day, multi-city pre-emptive power outages.

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Forest Service Photo by Kari Greer
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What do Alaska Wildfires Mean for Global Climate Change?

, Kendall Science Fellow

During the (on-going) 2019 fire season, over 2 million acres have burned – an area roughly equivalent to that of Yellowstone National Park. In comparison to many fires in the conterminous United States, many fires in Alaska burn far away from population centers, and as such can be fought and responded to differently. However, to put the alarming nature of this season in context, the 2019 fire season in Alaska has already burned greater acreage than ALL fires in California during 2018 (~1.8 million acres), the year of the devastating Camp, Woolsey, and Carr fires. Read more >

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Cushion plant community destroyed by Tasmanian wildfires in 2016. Each mound takes several hundred years to form. Photo: Dan Broun

It’s Time to Stop Ignoring the Climate Change Threat to World Heritage

, Deputy director, Climate & Energy

The World Heritage list comprises more than 1,000 of our planet’s most important natural and cultural heritage sites, but from the ancient city of Venice to the forests and rivers of Yellowstone National Park, these extraordinary places are increasingly vulnerable to climate change. Read more >

Dan Broun
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