California Is a Preview of Climate Change’s Devastation for the Entire World

Flames from the LNU Lightning Complex fires jump Interstate 80 in Vacaville, Calif., Aug. 19, 2020 (AP photo by Noah Berger).
Flames from the LNU Lightning Complex fires jump Interstate 80 in Vacaville, Calif., Aug. 19, 2020 (AP photo by Noah Berger).

California prides itself on being a national and global trendsetter. Unfortunately, the state is also setting the pace for climate change disasters, with searing heat and intense wildfires now regular features of its endless summer. Last Sunday, Aug. 16, the aptly named Furnace Creek ranger station in Death Valley posted the highest temperature ever reliably recorded on Earth, when the thermometer hit 130 degrees Fahrenheit. That same weekend, lightning strikes north of Lake Tahoe set off the massive Loyalton Fire in desiccated Lassen and Sierra counties, producing a rare “fire tornado” as high winds whipped flames into a violent, all-consuming […]

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