Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Smoke Gets in Your Lungs

Writer David Wallace Wells was just on All In with Chris Hayes.

This is my note-taking from what he said about the heavy smoke blanketing the East Coast from wildfires in Canada, which I mentioned yesterday.

There is currently13 times as much land on fire in Canada as is typical this time of year compared to the past 10 years, and the last 10 years were atypical because the country had bad wildfire seasons during that time, too. The whole country is on fire, not just the west.

This appears to be a step change. 

In California, meanwhile, 15 of the state's 20 largest wildfires have happened since the year 2000. Six of the worst seven have happened since 2020.

The Canadian fires are worse, larger, and earlier, as shown in this graph:

In California, people are saying they don't have fire season, they have fire year.

Canada has large areas of uninhabited land where fires can get out of control more easily.

The health damage from particulate pollution is multi-pronged. It will undo the advances from the decrease of pollution over the past 50 years, since the Clean Air Act was passed. Wildfire smoke may be worse for health than other kinds of air pollution, according to some studies. 

In 2020, half of all pollution that was breathed in the western U.S. came from wildfires. More came from that than from all other human activity combined (industry, etc.).

After noting the way smoke crosses all kinds of borders, Chris Hayes concluded the segment with this: "Climate is the one thing we all share."

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