wildfire01-wide.jpg
Oct. 5, 2020 by Darya Minovi

We Need to Better Protect Communities from the Climate Crisis, COVID-19, and Wildfires

Amidst the president and First Lady testing positive for COVID-19, an embarrassing spectacle of a presidential "debate," and a pandemic that has now claimed more than 200,000 lives in the United States and 1 million worldwide, the West Coast wildfires have lost the attention of the national news cycle. But California and nearby states are still very much ablaze.

As I write, 70 active large fires are raging in 10 western states. More than a third of these are in California, where more than 2 million acres of land are currently burning (an area larger than the state of Delaware). Four of the five largest fires in the state’s history started in the last two months.

These historic fires have already killed at least 35 people, forced thousands to evacuate, and exposed hundreds of thousands to extremely hazardous levels of fine particulate matter, or PM2.5. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Ambient Air Quality Standard, or maximum safe exposure level, for PM2.5 is 35 ug/m3 (averaged over a 24-hour period). On one particularly smoky day, PM2.5 concentrations near Mammoth Lakes, California, reached 660 ug/m3, nearly 19 times greater than …

Aug. 24, 2020 by Daniel Farber
wh-coronavirus-brfg-whphoto-flicker-040920-wide.jpg

This post was originally published on Legal Planet. Reprinted with permission.

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has driven home some lessons about governance. Those lessons have broader application — for instance, to climate governance. We can't afford for the federal government to flunk Crisis Management 101 again.

Here are five key lessons:

  1. Effective leadership from the top is indispensable. Major problems require action by multiple federal agencies. These agencies need help coordinating; they may also need to be pushed into changing priorities and revamping procedures to deal with a major new issue. This is going to be very much true of climate policy. The trick is to provide leadership without hampering front-line agencies.

  2. Agency expertise is also indispensable. We've seen how decision-making in the White House has too often ignored the expertise of public health experts. The result is bad policy. Trump is extreme in this …

June 18, 2020 by Darya Minovi
farmworkers-ca-strawberry-field-wide.jpg

A blog post published last month by the Chesapeake Bay Program, a collaborative partnership focused on Bay restoration, addressed the many ways that the climate crisis will affect farms in the region. Data from the program shows temperatures on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore, home to a high concentration of industrial poultry farms, increased between 2 to 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit, on average, between 1901 and 2017. By 2080, temperatures in the Chesapeake Bay watershed are projected to increase by 4.5 to 10 degrees, posing a serious risk of heat stress to farmworkers and livestock.

As the post discusses, rising temperatures can hurt farms in several ways. Warmer temperatures make for a longer growing season, which may temporarily promote higher crop yields but can also stress water resources and result in additional fertilizer application, which is not what the doctor ordered for the Bay’s nutrient …

  • 1 (current)
CPR HOMEPAGE
More on CPR's Work & Scholars.
Oct. 5, 2020

We Need to Better Protect Communities from the Climate Crisis, COVID-19, and Wildfires

Aug. 24, 2020

Pandemic Lessons in Governance

June 18, 2020

The Climate Crisis and Heat Stress: Maryland Farms Must Adapt to Rising Temperatures