During the 2020 fire season, an estimated 4.3 million acres burned, the most since record-keeping began. These forest fires emit more carbon emissions than all the cars on the road for an entire year. Sadly, those emissions are not included by the state in their scoping plan.
Climate change is not the primary cause of California’s recent super fires. Misguided efforts have prohibited environmental health.
Climate change must be addressed holistically. I believe Sacramento can do better. The Legislature voted down my bill (SB 495) that sought to smartly update California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 to require the California Air Resources Board to count emissions from wildfires into its pollution scoping plan. We have to address massive wildfires that are now causing carbon emissions comparable to the state’s vehicle emissions, not to mention their other harms. Climate is one factor, but even more important is our decision to ignore forest fuels while pretending that leaving forests unmanaged is good for the environment. We must get on a sustainable path.