Nov 14, 2020
10 Ways The Biden Administration Can Restore U.S. Climate Leadership
Today is truly a new day for climate action. Let’s lead like never before.
If 2020 has proved anything, it is to expect the unexpected.
More than 4 million acres of California went up in flames in 2020 – about 4 percent of the state's land area and more than double its previous wildfire record.
The U.S. Drought Monitor is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (Credit: NDMC)
Credit: Alizadeh, et al, Science Advances 2020<p>There are other drivers of the rise in fire damage, as well. More people moving into wildland areas means there are more cars and power lines and other potential ignition sources. Historical efforts to control fires have also meant more undergrowth in areas that would have naturally burned periodically in smaller fires.</p><p>The question now is how to manage this "new abnormal" in the face of a warming climate.</p><p>In the U.S., one in three houses are <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/115/13/3314.short" target="_blank">built in the wildland-urban interface</a>. Development plans, construction techniques and building codes can do more to account for wildfire risks, including avoiding flammable materials and potential sources of sparks. Importantly, citizens and policymakers need to tackle the problem at its root: That includes cutting the greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet.</p>