President Biden has touted his actions against wildfires during 'a tour of California. But what is really in his power?
The presidentt Biden visited California this week to showcase his efforts to better protect the state from raging forest fires that have burned over two million acres, displaced thousands and pushed responders to the brink of exhaustion.
But Mr. Biden's record on wildfires, which includes more salary for firefighters and more money to strengthen communities against fires, demonstrates a disturbing truth, experts say: There are limits to what the federal government can do to reduce the scale and destructive power of fires, at least in the short term.
"The impacts of climate change cannot be resolved in a single year," said Roy Wright, head of the risk mitigationto Federal Emergency Management. Agency until 2018. The goal, he said, should be "investments that will pay off over the next three to five years.
Federal action is largely dependent on Congress approving new funding - but even if approved, that money might not make a difference. big difference soon, because Zolan Kanno-Youngs and I wrote this week. And even so, much of the damage reduction rests with state and local governments, which experts say should reduce development in fire-prone areas.
Mr. Biden could use the presidency's megaphone to encourage such restrictions, according to Michele Steinberg, director of the fire department.forest for the national fire protection association. but that would mean competing with a deeply held American view that land is something to be enjoyed, rather than conserved or protected. value this we can right now, "Ms. steinberg told me," and let the next generation worry about it. "
The increasing scale of fires : until 2018, the most Large state wildfires have rarely burned more than 300,000 acres, according to state data. In 2018, the Ranch fire consumed over 400,000 acres , and last year the August complex fire exceeded 1 million acres, making it the biggest fire in state history. North of the Caldor Blaze is the Dixie Blaze, which has already burned over 960,000 acres and is yet to be brought under control. This blaze could break last year's record. Image House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, center, called for climate action at the U.S. Capitol on July 28, 2021. Credit ... Shawn Thew / EPA, via Shutterstock
Democrats want a "Climate Corps ". 'They don't just can't agree on how to creer.
Democrats aim to pour tens of billions of dollars into a New Deal-style program that would hire young people to work on jobs projects aimed at protecting communities and the environment from disasters that are becoming increasingly destructive due to climate change.
The dynamics of a civilian body for the climate continues to grow since President Biden called for its creation in March. While the program does not directly reduce greenhouse gas emissions that warm the planet, it is a top priority for environmentalists as part of a Expenditure bill of 3 $ 500 billion Democrats hope to spend this fall.
Republicans have denounced the program as a boondoggle and it would create eco-vigilants who, as a lawmaker recently warned, "will signal who is watering their lawn, whose chimney smokes.
But the biggest obstacle may be the Democrats themselves, who have yet to agree on how to design a climate body. Some want to fund the program under the umbrella of AmeriCorps, a federally funded national service program. Others called for expanding existing apprenticeship and vocational training programs through the Department of Labor and other agencies, and legislation introduced by Senator Edward J. Markeyof Massachusetts and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, both Democrats, would demand that at least half of the members of a climate body come from "needy and underfunded communities.
Can they agree? Learn more about the debate in full article here .
Quote: "Whenever you negotiate about how to do it rather than whether to do it, you are in a pretty good position. And we negotiate how, ”said Collin O 'Mara, president of the National Wildlife Foundation. Image The agreement between the Biden administration and the airline industry is intended to reduce the environmental cost of flight. Credit ... Ted S. Warren / Associated Press
Biden presents a plan for a cleaner jet fuel. But how clean would it be?
The plane is one of the most difficult forms of transportation to make more climate-friendly. We are a long way from being able to travel from New York to Tokyo in a battery-powered plane.
But making the fuel used by airplanes more sustainable is an important step. Last week, the Biden administration and the airline industry announced an ambitious goal: replace all jet fuel with sustainable alternatives by 2050.
Like many climate policies, the devil is in the details. I wrote how, depending on the type of alternative fuel we use, using billions of gallons of it could harm, not help, the climate . This concern centers on the complicated calculations that make it possible to assess the true climate-friendliness of biofuels, a major subset of sustainable fuels.
Quote: "The problematic part is that today's biofuels do not reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is not where the state of the science is, "said Jason Hill, professor of bioproducts and biosystems engineering at the University of Minnesota. "They can actually make them worse.
Upcoming climatic events
Black in Bloom: How do you find purpose, joy and peace in the great outdoors? A Times event, Black in Bloom , explores these questions at a virtual event on September 19, as part of the Black History series, Continued. Get inspired to experience the outdoors with historian and author Blair Imani and a performance by singer Mumu Fresh, and join a discussion on food justice with Alexis Nikole Nelson, known as Black Forager on TikTok, and others. RSVP to attend this Sundayche at 2 p.m. Est.
Netting Zero: In episode 10 of Netting Zero (a series of climate events, hosted by Hfrance.fr), Times climate reporter Brad Plumer is joined by experts to discuss the return of international freight or the end of the era of cheap mobility . RSVP Now to join us on September 23 at 1:30 pm. Est.
Also important this week:
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Summer nights are getting warmer Image Credit ... Source: NOAA World Historical Climatology Network
By Aatish Bhatia and
This summer was unusually hot in the United States, especially at night. Minimum temperatures were the warmest on record for every state on the west coast and parts of the northeast. Most of the other states are approachinghes their nighttime record highs from June to August.
This is part of a trend that aligns with climate model predictions: through the United States, nights heat up faster than days . This effect is amplified in cities, which are generally warmer than their surroundings.
"At night, deserts cool very, very quickly, but not our city, "said Jennifer Vanos, professor at the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University, referring to Phoenix.
" Do not have this break from the heat is really hard on the human body - it just builds up, ”she said. "And knowing the temperatures in Phoenix, we're going to be in the '90s overnight and we're going to bere up to 110 sometimes in the day. None of these are safe for a person who doesn 't have access to air conditioning. "
To see how the nights are summer have gotten hotter over the past few decades, The Le Hfrance.fr has listed 60 years of daily weather data from nearly 250 airports in the United States that have maintained consistent weather records.
one last thing:
In last week's newsletter, a caption with the first photo misspelled the name of a town affected by Hurricane Ida. It 's Lafitte, Louisiana, not Lefitte.
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