wildfires


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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Photo: Bob Dass/Flickr

Winds and Wildfires in California: 4 Factors to Watch that Increase Danger

, senior climate scientist

Santa Ana influenced fires, which occur between October and April, are different from the warm and dry season fires, that typically occur between June and September. Scientists have found the main reasons why Santa Ana influenced fires contribute the vast majority of cumulative economic losses in California compared to other wildfires that typically occur in the summer.  From 1990-2009, Santa Ana influenced fires spread three times faster, occurred closer to urban areas, and burned into areas with greater housing values. Over the same years, other fires often occurred in higher elevation forests, were more sensitive to how old the vegetation was, lasted for extended periods, and accounted for 70% of total suppression costs.  In other words, other fires burned in remote forests, often with plenty of mature vegetation or ‘fuel’ for long-lasting wildfires. Whereas Santa Ana influenced fires scorched with greater speed through areas that were typically closer to more people. Read more >

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Washington’s I-1631: A Chance to Choose Hope, Not Fear

, director, California & Western States

Few issues have generated as much excitement for climate action as the Washington State carbon pricing initiative, I-1631. This initiative, developed after a painstaking and highly inclusive planning process that has garnered enthusiastic support from a large, diverse coalition of constituencies, would create a groundbreaking carbon fee on polluters that would be reinvested in Washington’s communities, businesses, and clean energy industries. While opponents to I-1631, mostly out-of-state oil companies, claim that Washington can’t afford to price and reduce carbon emissions, the fact is that individuals, businesses, and taxpayers are already footing a very large bill for the damage done by global warming pollution and the price tag will continue to grow unless emissions can be dramatically reduced. Read more >

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The prairie pothole region is home to 50% of North America's waterfowl, but a climate threshold exists where they might not survive a 2°C warming. Photo: USFWS

Half a Degree of Warming Could be the Difference Between Survival and Extinction for Many Species

, Deputy director, Climate & Energy

As a conservationist who has been ringing the alarm bells on climate change threats to biodiversity for more than 25 years, I hardly know where to start in responding to the findings of the newest, and most alarming, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on the impacts of a 1.5°Celsius global warming.  I’m not surprised that the IPPC delivers more bad news after reviewing more than 6,000 recent scientific reports, but I am surprised by just how bad the news is.

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Credit: USFWS
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New NOAA Report Shows 2017 Was the Costliest Year on Record for US Disasters

, Policy Director and Lead Economist, Climate & Energy

Today NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center released its yearly report on “billion-dollar weather and climate disasters” that affected the US in 2017. Not surprisingly, the numbers were staggering. Read more >

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