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Report: Wildfires Cutting Into Greenhouse Gas Reductions

Mike McMillan
A still from the documentary 'Wilder than Wild' by Bay Area filmmakers Kevin White and Stephen Most is shown in this undated image.
California’s frequent wildfires are hurting efforts to stem climate change.

A new report from the non-partisan think tank Next 10 finds California needs to triple its greenhouse gas reduction targets if the state hopes to stymie carbon dioxide fueled climate change.

Next 10’s Green Innovation Index found wildfires are making it more difficult to reduce the amount of carbon finding its way into the atmosphere.


Devastating wildfires released 45 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air in 2018. That is 9 times more greenhouse gas emissions than the state reduced that year.

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“We thought it was important to highlight that that was another challenge that we as a state will be facing in the coming years,” said Noel Perry, founder of Next 10.

California is currently experiencing larger and more destructive wildfires and the risk is expected to climb as the climate changes even more.

The report urges political leaders to dramatically increase greenhouse gas reduction efforts to stay on track.


“We’ve got to really be creative at this point in our history and really hunker down and come up with some new solutions that can really address these climate challenges because we’ve set some very, very, ambitious goals for ourselves,” Perry said.

California’s economy is growing and greenhouse gas emissions are falling, but Perry said more needs to be done.

RELATED: Melting Arctic Ice Caps May Speed Up Global Warming

Perry suggested tripling greenhouse gas reduction targets from current levels.

The report said the explosion of renewable energy in California has helped mask a lack of progress in other areas such as transportation, industry and construction.

The Green Innovation Index found that there are more electric cars on the road, but consumer preference is trending toward larger less fuel-efficient vehicles. People are also driving more.

Report: Wildfires Cutting Into Greenhouse Gas Reductions
Listen to this story by Erik Anderson.