Four days ago, former California governor Jerry Brown testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Committee panel on the environment. Here is what he said,
California’s burning while the deniers make a joke out of the standards that protect us all. The blood is on your soul here and I hope you wake up.
His point was that climate change is the primary cause of California’s devastating wildfires, and the Trump administration is not interested in either the state’s plight or in California’s leadership in fighting climate change.
The governor’s specific reason for visiting Washington DC was to testify against the Administration’s plan to suspend the federal waiver that allows California to impose vehicle emission standards more stringent than those mandated by the federal government. The state views strict emission standards as essential in lowering CO2, the focus of California’s climate fight.
Let’s Review California’s Wildfire Scenario
Indeed, climate changes, and with change comes the need for adaptation. But the governor’s words when stacked up against some obvious facts sound more like prescribed rhetoric than a call for solutions. Here are some variables that are absent from the governor’s rhetoric.
* California wildfires have always been a fact of nature. Forest fires naturally take care of overgrowth and help seeds explode and propagate. However, while in the old days early inhabitants suffered smoky air and heat from the conflagrations today’s inhabitants are faced with tragic destruction of life and property.
* Recent poorly-managed population growth force people seeking room to build to locate in fire zones next to tinder-dry forests.
* An exploding number of homeless individuals and their campfires have spread out into fire-prone zones, just like their housed neighbors.
* Overzealous environmentalists have succeeded in stopping the culling of trees and trimming of underbrush.
* Nature-loving homeowners understandably enjoy forests, rendered deadly by droughts, right by their backyards.
* California’s perennial distaste for investor-owned utility companies such a PG&E and Southern California Edison preclude peaceful and efficient transition to renewable sources of energy.
Blood in Whose Soul?
Jerry Brown made headlines with his “blood is on your soul” accusation. But his climate change blame game sounds unconvincing when other factors affecting the destruction caused by California’s wildfires are ignored.
The former governor’s words brings to mind an image of another unraveling society of long time past, where someone fiddled as the city burned. Whose soul was tainted with blood then? And now?
More on the Subject
* For a more scathing opinion of California fires, the Just Vote No Blog recommends
California is Becoming Unlivable, Atlantic, October 2019 issue
* Picture: Note the dry dead branches in the center of this tree grove in a northern California residential community.