Climate change heightens Californias drought and wildfire risks

October 31, 2019 by  
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Global warming and climate change are to blame for creating the strong winds and low humidity that are currently turning California into a tinderbox. Tracts of Golden State land are drying out, making them more prone to insect infestation, forest disease outbreaks and extended wildfire seasons. In response, two of the state’s main electricity companies, PG&E and SDG&E, have implemented brownouts, unplugging entire cities to minimize fire hazard risks. The California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection , or CalFire, recently reported that “while wildfires are a natural part of California’s landscape, the fire season in California and across the west is starting earlier and ending later each year. Climate change is considered a key driver of this trend.” Related: Thousands of animals have been displaced by California wildfires The growing intensity of present day wildfires is a sobering reminder that greenhouse gas emissions and the global carbon footprint must be curbed, lest our planet be faced with irreversible climate consequences. Accelerated warming and the burning of fossil fuels trap more heat on the planet, shifting precipitation patterns and amplifying the risks of wildfires and their prolonged seasons. Temperature rises from climate extremes likewise lead to drier air that quickly desiccates vegetation on the ground. These drought conditions transform the landscape, inviting infestations of ravenous, bark-eating pests to excessively feed on trees, making them more susceptible to woodland diseases. These ailing California forests are thus compromised further, pushing them to the brink of mortality. High temperatures, strong winds, dry conditions and ailing flora are a formula for wildfire risks. But another variable to increased California wildfire occurrences is attributed to the sparks that can ignite the tinderbox; those sparks can be started by electrical utility infrastructure. Shutdowns of California power grids are now the new normal, according to the California Public Utilities Commission , which regulates services throughout the Golden State to “safeguard the environment and assure access to safe and reliable utility infrastructure and services.” To protect California, the regulatory board has implemented a number of climate initiatives that include a utility wildfire mitigation plan calling for electrical power-downs to customers, especially during exceptionally hot and dry conditions. Many customers in the Golden State oppose the electrical shutdown measures. So, what other solutions are there? California has been at the forefront of fighting climate change, even promoting renewable energy and solar power as go-to strategies. Similarly, insurance companies have been shying away from securing housing development in fire-prone locations, leading to a shift in household relocation trends. Plus, researchers — in academia, military and public and private sectors — are now studying fire-resistant or non-flammable materials to harden California buildings and houses in hopes of making them more resilient. Even with these ideas in place, the best practices will rely on curbing climate change, which increases the likelihood and frequency of wildfires in the first place. Via CNN Image via U.S. Department of Agriculture

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Climate change heightens Californias drought and wildfire risks

Is California’s low carbon fuel standard helping EV deployment?

August 6, 2019 by  
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Lessons from this deep dive may apply beyond the Golden State as well.

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Is California’s low carbon fuel standard helping EV deployment?

Leadership, patriotism and community service

October 30, 2018 by  
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The head coach of the world champion Golden State Warriors is more than just a basketball legend. He is also fierce advocate for freedom and self-expression on politics, community and social issues.

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Leadership, patriotism and community service

Here’s one clean energy policy California shouldn’t miss

August 24, 2018 by  
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The Golden State continues to lead the way — if this passes.

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Here’s one clean energy policy California shouldn’t miss

Innovation will permeate the dialogue at Stockholm World Water Week

August 24, 2018 by  
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The water sector seeks new approaches to addressing a ‘wicked problem’.

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Innovation will permeate the dialogue at Stockholm World Water Week

Design is the key to the self-driving challenge

August 24, 2018 by  
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Who will teach autonomous vehicles how to interact with pedestrians and passengers?

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Design is the key to the self-driving challenge

Look! An opportunity for the U.S. to get serious about recycling at home

August 24, 2018 by  
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The plastic waste crisis is an opportunity for the U.S. to get serious about recycling at home

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Look! An opportunity for the U.S. to get serious about recycling at home

4 bold collaborations tackling California’s drought

October 19, 2016 by  
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Nonprofits with corporates such as Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, General Mills are throwing their weight behind big water projects in the Golden State.

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4 bold collaborations tackling California’s drought

Inside California’s new energy storage mandate

December 11, 2013 by  
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The Golden State’s new energy storage program will serve as an industry kick-starter and experimentation enabler.

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Inside California’s new energy storage mandate

California to Break Ground on the Nation’s First High-Speed Rail Line This Summer

July 29, 2013 by  
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The Golden State is making history this summer with the start of construction on the United States’ first high-speed rail (HSR) line. The new line, which is slated for completion in 2029, will zip passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in under three hours on clean electrified trains traveling at speeds up to 220 miles per hour. The  California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA)  got the greenlight in June to begin building the first 65-mile stretch between the Central Valley cities of Fresno and Merced. Read the rest of California to Break Ground on the Nation’s First High-Speed Rail Line This Summer Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: ca train , california high speed rail authority , california train , california transportation , CHSRA , HSR , United States first high-speed rail line , usa hsr        

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California to Break Ground on the Nation’s First High-Speed Rail Line This Summer

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