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There’s been a noticeable increase in wildfires in California this year and there are clear signs that human industrial pollution and smog are major contributors to the problem. The state’s no stranger to wildfires with its naturally dry climate, but the frequency of these fires is on the rise with more than 3000 buildings destroyed in 2017. The question is who’s to blame and can we do anything about it?
It’s a complicated question and the answer isn’t straightforward. In truth, a combination of issues is at work here. Stalled government regulations, the actions of major utility companies, over population, and individual actions are all playing a part. These factors are driving our average annual temperatures up and creating unpredictable weather extremes that threaten to make some parts of California almost uninhabitable.
Political Indecision on Emissions Cuts
The federal government, in the form of the Environmental Protection Agency, recently made a controversial decision to delay tighter regulations on ozone emissions by another year. Ozone is known to cause ailments such as asthma and it’s a by-product of various industrial processes. That’s why the state of California is continuing to pursue its own ozone reduction policies in spite of this curious decision by the federal government.