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The wildfires in California over recent years have been extremely devastating and have destroyed entire communities. In a new paper, researchers found that California wildfires in 2020 caused twice the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that the state successfully cut between 2003 and 2019.

Source: NBC News/YouTube

In 2020, the wildfire season set a record for the number of acres burned in the state. California wildfires in 2020 wiped out 16 years of progress that California had made on climate change through things like replacing fossil fuels with clean energy solutions.

The research paper, published Monday in the journal Environmental Pollution, explained that because wood is full of stored carbon dioxide when it burns, the gas is released.

There were over 9,000 wildfires in California in 2020, and it sent smoke even over to the East Coast. The emissions from the burning of wood accounted for 30 percent of California’s total emissions, which made the fires one of the largest sources of emissions.

California is continuing its 22-year megadrought, and heat waves are scorching the state. As wildfires continue to become more prevalent, we must address this to continue to fight Climate change so that our progress doesn’t continue to be wiped out.

Although California has been working hard to make policies to drop emissions and has done a good job, it’s terrifying to know that all of the hard work can be swept away in an instant.

“To the great credit of California’s policy-makers and residents, from 2003 to 2019, California’s GHG emissions declined by 65 million metric tons of pollutants, a 13 percent drop that was largely driven by reductions from the electric power generation sector,” Michael Jerrett, professor of environmental health sciences at UCLA and an author of the study, said in a statement accompanying the report. “Essentially, the positive impact of all that hard work over almost two decades is at risk of being swept aside by the smoke produced in a single year of record-breaking wildfires.”

Sign this petition to help save the ancient trees of California’s forests and protect them under the endangered species act.

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