Drought-Parched California Burns While Prospects for Federal Climate Action Dim

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Perhaps multiple crises in our most populous and agriculturally productive state will focus policy makers’ attention.

Over the past six months, prospects for serious federal action on climate change have dimmed. Sen. Joe Manchin (D.-W.V.), a literal coal baron, wields de facto veto power over federal legislation, and he has repeatedly used it to whittle down and ultimately kill President Joe Biden’s once-ambitious climate agenda. Reeling in the polls, Biden himself has declined to publicly hector Manchin to change course, instead busying himself boasting about falling gas prices and pleading with Saudi Arabia to ramp up oil production. With the midterm elections—and the real possibility of losing Democratic control of Congress—looming in November, the president declined to declare a formal climate emergency, as several prominent Democratic politicians had urged him too. Instead, he vaguely promised executive action “in the coming weeks.” 

While the administration’s policy experts debate what precise actions to take, a look west to California, the nation’s most populous and agriculturally productive state, might prove a bracing way to focus their attention. Here are a few climate-related developments from the Golden State:

• In sharp contrast to recent summers, California’s 2022 fire season got off to a mercifully slow start, a surprise given that the state was mired the third year of an historic drought. That changed Friday, when a blaze erupted in Mariposa County, at the edge of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Deemed the Oak Fire, as of Sunday afternoon it was still “0% contained, according to the state’s fire agency, which warned of weather that’s “expected to remain hot with minimum humidity between 5 and 10%, which will hamper firefighting efforts.” 

Here’s Fresnos ABC affiliate, KSN:

 

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