Warming climate likely leading to larger California fires

Warming climate likely leading to larger California fires

Enlarge / The 2018 Camp Fire burned more buildings and claimed more lives than any other fire in California’s history. (credit: NASA Earth Observatory)

The last couple years have seen devastating and record-setting wildfires in California, leaving many in the region to wonder what to expect in the future. Elsewhere in the US West, research has found that fires were increasing due to a combination of climate change and other human activities, which exacerbate both the fires and the damage they cause. But California is a different beast from much of the West and requires its own analysis.

A new study from a team led by Park Williams and John Abatzoglou—also the scientists behind a recent study of western US fires—uses government records of California wildfire areas going back to 1972, along with weather data and climate model simulations. The work breaks California into four different regions based

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A 10-year-old natural gas plant in California gets the coal plant treatment

A 10-year-old natural gas plant in California gets the coal plant treatment

Enlarge / Inland Empire Energy Center outside of Riverside, California. (credit: Oohlongjohnson)

Late last week, General Electric told a California regulator that it would close down a 10-year-old Southern California natural gas plant because it’s no longer economically competitive in California’s energy market.

The news, first reported by Reuters, is surprising because natural gas plants tend to have 30-year lifespans on average, and natural gas is currently the cheapest fossil fuel on the market today. But the two 376 megawatt (MW) turbines at the Inland Empire Energy Center (IEEC) outside of Riverside, California, are not built to play well with the increasing amount of renewable energy on California’s grid. On top of that, renewables’ low marginal cost and ubiquity throughout the state mean that during certain times of day, they’re often the cheapest energy option.

Natural gas needs quick-start options

GE told the California Energy Commission on

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Anti-vaxxers defeated: NY bans exemptions as doctors vote to step up fight

Anti-vaxxers defeated: NY bans exemptions as doctors vote to step up fight

Enlarge / Actress Jessica Biel supporting prominent anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in an effort to protect non-medical vaccine exemptions. (credit: Instragram)

Anti-vaccine advocates received a blow in New York Thursday as state lawmakers banned non-medical exemptions based on religious beliefs—and there may be more blows coming.

Also on Thursday, the American Medical Association adopted a new policy to step up its fight against such non-medical exemptions. The AMA, the country’s largest physicians’ group and one of the largest spenders on lobbying, has always strongly support pediatric vaccination and opposed non-medical exemptions. But under the new policy changes, the association will now “actively advocate” for states to eliminate any laws that allow for non-medical exemptions.

“As evident from the measles outbreaks currently impacting communities in several states, when individuals are not immunized as a matter of personal preference or misinformation, they put themselves and others at risk of disease,”

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The secretive nonprofit that made millions suing companies over cancer warnings

The secretive nonprofit that made millions suing companies over cancer warnings

Enlarge / SAN FRANCISCO, CA – MAY 18, 2013: A sign in a Starbucks coffee shop warns customers that coffee and baked goods sold at the shop and elsewhere contain acrylamide, a chemical known to cause cancer and reproductive toxicity. (credit: Getty Images | Robert Alexander)

Coffee is now officially free of cancer warnings in California. But the secretive organization that first brewed the legal dispute over the beloved beverage vows to keep fighting.

On Monday, June 3, state officials finally approved a new regulation declaring that coffee poses no significant risk of cancer, thus exempting it from having to carry cancer warnings. The regulatory move follows lengthy lawsuits from a little-known nonprofit called the Council for Education and Research on Toxics (CERT).

Back in 2010, CERT sued around 90 coffee roasters and brewers, including Starbucks, Folgers, and other big names, claiming that coffee poses cancer risks. That’s despite

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