Suffolk Climate Watch: Is California becoming unlivable?


Hunter Berube

Suffolk Climate Watch graphic

California has been ferociously burning due to the most destructive wildfires in the state’s history, according to the New York Times. The past three years have especially began to take a toll on the land and the people inhabiting it.

The past two years alone have resulted in 24,000 California homes utterly destroyed, 126 dead and 460,000 acres burned, according to the Times. This does not include the current fires taking place today.

This week was a difficult one for California, as the blazes spread across the state. CBS News reports that since the 70s, “California’s annual wildfire extent increased fivefold.”

Scientists have agreed that these natural disasters correlate heavily with climate change. Average temperatures in the past decade have increased over two degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity has caused brush to dry faster, allowing for fires to start due to low moisture deficit.

“It’s not likely to get better as we continue to warm the climate,” said Jeff Berardelli, a CBS News climate weather contributor.

The recent fires have been increasingly dangerous. They’ve left communities in extreme distress. The Los Angeles Times reports how power outages have caused regions to go without cell service, traffic lights or emergency information. Local roads were jammed with residents trying to evacuate. The scene is becoming that of an apocalyptic film – except this time, it’s not on a screen, it’s in our backyards.

Though climate change is an important factor, the increase of residents occupying local towns also raised cause for concern. CBS News has reported on the millions of Californians bound by electricity shut-offs to prevent power lines from sparking.

Since climate change is making its mark on the state, things will only worsen. The Los Angeles Times reports how the state will have to compete with coastal erosion, deadly heat waves and floods as a result from everything that is already happening.

In response, the state is cutting greenhouse gas emissions to try to slow the effects of climate change.

According to the New York Times, many locals are upset with the White House and its lack of effort to address the climate issue that is plaguing our society. The U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord left many perplexed and concerned about what is to come.