This morning we are kicking off a special NBC News series called Planet 2020, a look at the intersection of a rapidly changing climate with politics and a global pandemic. As 80 large fires burn across the west overnight.
The bobcat fire outside Los Angeles, grew to 142 square miles, fanned by strong winds and forcing new evacuations. Meanwhile, this week five named storms spun in the Atlantic all at the same time. That has not happened since 1971.
.So what exactly is causing all of this, and is it too late to do something about it? NBC’s. Ann Thompson. Has our Sunday focus the impact of climate change on full display this week, parts of California ablaze streets flooded along the gulf coast, air too thick to see through in Portland Oregon one side of the country on fire.
Another underwater and many asking what role climate change plays in the case of wildfires climate change is increasing the area burned by the average wildfire more than doubling it since the 1980s and in the case of hurricanes, they’re, not more frequent, but they Are bigger, they’re, intensifying faster, they’re stronger and they have a lot more rain associated with them today.
So, in effect, is climate change acting like steroids. Precisely, how can these two different things be true? At the same time as temperature increases more water, vapor evaporates from the surface, we get drier vegetation.
So when a fire ignites, it burns greater area, but when a storm comes along there’s, more water vapor in warmer air. For that storm to sweep up and dump on us. Is there any doubt in your mind that what we’re seeing are signals of a warming world? Absolutely not we scientists are.
I think the latest number was 99.999 confident that what we are seeing is indeed the impact of human choices on our planet, but president trump is not as confident it’ll start getting cooler, you just watch.
I wish science agreed with you. Well, i don’t, think science knows actually on a trip to california. This week he insisted the wildfires are the result of bad forest management. After previously suggesting breaking the forest floor was the solution.
The only place that raking would work is right out. Your back door to try to prevent fire from burning up to your back door. Forestry professor, dr wally covington, has worked on this issue for 45 years and while raking may be far-fetched, he says we should be thinning forests, removing small trees and conducting controlled burns and stop building in fire prone areas.
How much time do we have to really slow? This problem down or stop this problem if we could start immediately with about 10 times the funding that we now have in 40 years time, we could be on top of this problem, a problem that today in california, is bigger than anything before.
What makes this fire season different than all the others? The fire season in 2020 is extraordinary, almost no matter how you look at it largest fire, most acres, burned in a single season, most acres burned in a single day, and it’s, not over.
All of California has at least a month, if not two months, fire season yet to go. Do you expect it to be as intense it’s always possible? We get lucky with some early rain, but the reality is we’re, just starting this long, dry, offshore, wind season and Ann joins me now live and good morning.
Climate change obviously is a global phenomenon. The trump administration announced more than three years ago. It would pull out of the paris agreement that withdrawal now takes effect in just over a month.
So what is the practical impact of that move? Well, Willie that that withdrawal happens on November 4th the day after election and scientists say what it means is that the world’s. Second largest emitter of carbon, the us just behind china, will not be doing anything to do solve the problem of climate change and by pulling out it gives other countries cover not to do anything about solving climate change and that’s.
Just going to make the problem worse, willie, as we see again this week, the impacts are right in front of us ann thompson thanks so much. Our special planet. 2020 coverage continues all week across the platforms of nbc news.