May 7 News: California Governor Jerry Brown Links Wildfires To Climate Change

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In remarks delivered to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s aviation management unit in Sacramento, Governor Jerry Brown warned that earlier wildfire seasons will become the new norm thanks to climate change.[LATimes]

[California] firefighters have responded to about twice the average number of wildfires so far this year – more than 1,100 in all.

“Our climate is changing, the weather is becoming more intense,” Brown said in an airplane hangar filled with trucks, airplanes and helicopters used by the state to fight fires. “It’s going to cost a lot of money and a lot of lives.

“The big issue (is) how do we adapt,” Brown said ,“because it doesn’t look like the people who are in charge are going to do what it takes to really slow down this climate change, so we are going to have to adapt. And adapting is going to be very, very expensive.”

With the snowpack in the Sierra mountains at just 17% of normal, state officials are bracing for a long, destructive fire season.

Under a $7 billion Army contract, five companies recently prequalified to build and maintain a series of geothermal energy projects for the Defense Department, according to a news release from the Army Corps of Engineers. [Federal Times]

Sally Jewell, the new Interior Secretary, will face Senate lawmakers today for the first time since winning confirmation back in April, defending the Interior Department’s fiscal 2014 budget request before a sub-panel of the Senate Appropriations Committee. [The Hill]

A nuclear power plant in Wisconsin will be powered down today, while ongoing maintenance troubles at an already offline plant in California may keep it permanently dark. [Grist]

The Obama Administration looks likely to come down in favor of more natural gas exports, in order to maintain leverage over China in other trade disputes. [WaPo]

A key piece of data in the biggest tar sands oil spill in U.S. history just disappeared from the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, possibly reducing the resulting fine. [Inside Climate News]

Speaking on binding international emissions targets to fight global warming, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said yesterday that doing nothing is “not an option.” [Gulf-Times]

A new report says the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rapidly driving ocean acidification to critical thresholds. [BBC]

The damage from Hurricane Sandy released 11 billion gallons of sewage into East Coast canals, streams, and roadways, says a new study. [WaPo]

The editorial board of the New York Times argues that the European Union’s carbon trading scheme is worth saving. [NYTimes]

12 Responses to May 7 News: California Governor Jerry Brown Links Wildfires To Climate Change

  1. Mike Roddy says:

    Governor Brown is a warrior, thanks if he reads this.

    Western conifer forests could have survived global warming reasonably well had they not been 90% clearcut. Numerous studies show post logging hotter microclimates and even hotter stream temperatures (both up to 10F hotter), according to an exhaustive Oregon State Board of Forestry book from 1994 called Cumulative Effects of Forest Practices in Oregon.

    That book contains over 200 peer reviewed studies, detailing how the liquidation of forests in Oregon has led to watersheds and forests going on new ecological trajectories. The study caused such a commotion that it has been suppressed- if you want to read it, try to get one on the interlibrary lending system, or contact Native Forest Council in Eugene (they have hard copies).

    As many climate scientists have pointed out, it’s the double whammy of attacks on nature and carbon in the atmosphere that make for extreme danger. Brown will have to go after the timber industry, which no Western governor in history has found the courage to do.

  2. prokaryotes says:

    Part of affords the affords to limit emissions uptake means to prevent deforestation and to plant lots of trees. Which also means studies are required to assess, which kind of trees and which kind of setup is best suited locally. And this is a global mission!

  3. Oregon and other western US legislators are still calling for increased logging in prime carbon-storing forests.

    For instance, here’s a new letter on this from senators to the President:

  4. Mike Roddy says:

    Yeah, it’s madness, Kevin. Wyden is as bad as the Republicans.

    I suggest you contact Native Forest Council for more detailed information on this subject. Tim Hermach is the founder/CEO.

  5. Bernd says:

    2012 in Germany 9.1 degree C compared to the year long average of 8.2 degree C.
    This announced the German Weather-Service (Deutscher Wetterdienst)in Berlin today in a press conference.

    Could not find a news article in English but found that from the insurances and the UN.

    @ Governor Jerry Brown, every year will get more expensive, much more expensive, not only in California, this is a global issue needing global attention.

  6. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Angela Merkel is probably one of the best of a bad bunch but I wish she would get a consistent position on the relationship between climate and economic theory, still pursuing growth, emissions reduction and austerity which are all mutually incompatible, ME

  7. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Turkeys demanding a Christmas feast for their own offspring.

  8. David B. Benson says:

    Much too warm here, 25.6 degrees Celsius.

  9. Solar Jim says:

    RE: “A new report says the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rapidly driving ocean acidification to critical thresholds.”

    This disaster seems at least partially due to the continued linguistic use of a rather meaningless description of a formula, instead of the accurate description of the substance: Carbonic Acid Gas (and the directly associated Carbonic Acid).

    Dose determines toxicity.

  10. Bernd says:

    “Angela Merkel is probably one of the best of a bad bunch …”
    M.E. well said and you are probably right!

    A.M. environment drive is not because she is really committed to it, it is driven because she has an ability to see ahead, how the shit could hit the fan on an particular issue.
    Immediate German protests against nuclear power, after the Japan disaster, she changed her hole policy and took several nuke-power stations from the grid. Half a year before Japans earthquake she actually extended the running time of all nuke-stations.
    Today everybody is praising her for abolishing the nuke-power age, how weird.
    However, her reaction is been rather clever and not in the believe of a environment protection, it is to keep her voters happy!

    Same is with solar and wind power, actual it is handled disastrous, the population starts mouing again because of the financial constrain on them.

    Otherwise there is nearly nothing being done by A.M. for the environment or against climate change, political talking is cheap. People do not protest enough!

    Back to the fire fighting issue.
    Near Berlin we had a couple of very small wildfires last week, hardly mentioned in the news, fires which are not spectacular but unusual for the time and after that long winter.
    Only few wildfires have been reported in southern Europe so far, they had recently some record floods there due to bad weather. But the fires will start soon. I wonder how bad this year will get in southern Europe.

    A.M. should get Germans interested in whose wildfires in southern Europe, effecting the health of people in Germany as well, because of southern and the yet-stream winds. This puts additional costs on the health insurance system in Germany (other EU-states as well) and lowers at the end of the day the life expectancy of Germans.
    Apart from that, pollution limits are regularly exceeded in towns with this additional southern winds during the EU summer wildfire season.
    Overall the wildfires in southern Europe costs German taxpayers a lot of money. But it is only very difficult to put monetary-figures to it.
    As we know, the pollution from wildfires travel far distances, I believe as well the US wildfires effect Europe also on the pollution side.
    It is therefore not only an US issue, especially if wildfires are on such a large scale like in the US.

    The present approach to manage wildfires is wrong.
    Effected areas must be monitored if fires are developing. Immediate fire fighting action is essential to avoid spreading.

    This would be much cheaper than anything else.
    Governor Jerry Brown is correct, it is getting very expensive, if the present fire management is not being changed to wildfire avoidance.
    The small fires around Berlin in the last week caused no damage, the local fire brigades extinguished them quickly the fires were only in their developing stages.
    This is showing that observation, quick reporting and immediate response is the cheapest and a harmless way to deal with the threat.
    Handled in this way, it will be overall much cheaper for everybody.