Scientists Talk About SoCal Fire's Environmental Effects
WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2007 (KGO) -- Experts are studying the wildfires for to develop data on climate change.
While the fires are large in on a certain scale from a planetary perspective, scientists believe they're not contributing significantly to global warming. The fires do remind us of the collective need to reduce emissions into the atmosphere.
From a scientific perspective, the Southern California fires represent one more reason to step up the fight to stop global warming.
"The carbon that's on the ground in terms of the tree trunks, all the fuel would have decomposed slowly over decades, now with the fires, all that carbon is going up into the atmosphere within a week," said Professor Inez Fung from Berkeley Institute of the Environment.
Professor Inez Fung is co-director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment at UC Berkeley.
Fung says carbon dioxide emissions from the southland fires represent just a pulse in contributing to global warming; not even close to the amount of CO2 caused by fossil fuel combustion.
"What we worry about is not just the fires but associated with drought, the whole die back of forest. Less CO2 absorbed from the atmosphere by photosynthesis so there could be more litter so there's increased fire load," said Fung.
Scientists and public policy advocates agree the Southern California fires are a dramatic and tragic reminder that there needs to be a management strategy to reduce emissions and meet the caps set by Assembly Bill 32 - The Global Warming Solutions Act.
The Bay Area Council promotes policy changes for business growth. Spokesperson John Grubb says urban housing development is a key way to slow global warming.
"We have the same problem here in the Bay Area. We've been a long support of more in fill development for two reasons. One, it reduces the fire danger because if you're building more in the inner city. You're less likely to get burn out there on the hinterland. Second you're reducing your overall greenhouse gas emissions because you have shorter car trips, people can use public transit," said John Grubb from the Bay Area Council.
The city life may not be for everyone but professor Fung points out, as water sources decrease, fires and global warming will increase -- on a scale we can no longer ignore.
For a toll-free hotline for donations for the Southern California please call 1-800-750-2858.
Click here to read ABC7's Michael Finney's report on the Insurance State of Emergency in California.
Click here to read ABC7's Nanette Miranda's on how to protect you homeowners' insurance policy.
Click here to read ABC7's Wayne Freedman's report on the Witch Fire.
Click here to read ABC7's Erik Rosales' report on the Harris Fire.
Click here to read ABC7's Terry McSweeney's report on the Escondido Fire.
Click here to read ABC7's Don Sanchez' report on the Novato firefighters on the firelines.
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