2020 Wildfire season in California wiped away 16 years of climate gain

October 18, 2022

Yahoo! News- Ben Adler

The wildfires that have scorched the West in recent years are not just a consequence of climate change, they also are an increasingly sizable driver of the problem, according to a new study.

The research paper, published Monday in the journal Environmental Pollution, finds that California’s wildfires in 2020 caused twice the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that the state successfully cut between 2003 and 2019. In other words, 2020’s wildfire season, which set a record for the number of acres burned in the state, essentially wiped out 16 years of progress California had made on climate change through efforts such as replacing fossil fuels with clean energy.