Headlines of the Month - 1/31/22

Most Destructive Wildfire in Colorado History Incinerates Boulder (Associated Press, NPR, Washington Post)

  • Hurricane force winds helped fuel a raging wildfire in Boulder, CO earlier this month, destroying nearly 1,000 homes.

  • This damage was done in only one day, making the Marshall Fire the most destructive wildfire in the state’s history.

  • More than 30,000 people were forced to evacuate and the fire was virtually extinguished by snowfall the following day.

Climate Disasters in 2021 Cost Hundreds of Billions (Axios, Reuters, AP, The Hill)

  • Climate disasters in the US cost at least $145 billion and probably more in damage. This total comes from only 20 extreme weather events. Globally, extreme weather cost the world $280 billion.

  • The most expensive US disaster was Hurricane Ida which left a mark of $74 billion and still has the East coast dealing with its impacts.

  • These climate disasters also caused over 700 deaths in the United States.

Massive Diesel Spill Near Mississippi River (Daily Green World, Chron)

  • The Meraux pipeline was found to have spilled 300,000 gallons of diesel fuel just outside of New Orleans, and less than a few hundred feet from the Mississippi River.

  • The pipeline was in severe condition, with a 22 foot long section of the pipe in need of serious corrosion repair.

  • The pipeline operator, PBF Energy, has been aware of the issue since October 2020 and yet did nothing to fix the issue.

Nearly 2 Million City Dwellers Killed by Particulate Pollution (Axios, The Hill, USNews)

  • A recently published study has determined that 1.8 million urban living people were killed by particulate pollution in 2019.

  • Fine particulate pollution is produced by fossil fuels and wildfires and becomes harmful to humans because the pollutants can travel deep into lungs and enter the bloodstream.

  • Roughly 9 in 10 people in urban areas are exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution, which can lead to many health issues including asthma.

Despite La Nina Cooling Cycle, 2021 is the Sixth Hottest Year on Record (Reuters, The Guardians, Axios, AP)

  • The NOAA, NASA and Berkeley Earth scientists have all concluded that 2021 was the sixth hottest year on record. All seven of the hottest years on record have occurred in the last seven years.

  • This is particularly alarming since 2021 saw a La Nina cycle, which generally acts to reduce global temperatures.

  • Global temperatures are continuing their ‘indomitable march upward’ in 2022, where we’ve already seen a record high temperature of 123.3 F in the Southern Hemisphere.

Biden Administration Approves Hundreds of Public Lands Drilling Permits in First Year (CommonDreams, MSN, NexusMediaNews)

  • In its first year in office, the Biden administration approved 3,557 oil and gas drilling permits on public lands. This is almost 900 more permits than the Trump administration in its first year.

  • The administration has touted its 30 by 30 plan to conserve 30 percent of all public lands and waterways, yet has failed to get a hold of these public lands drilling permits.

  • One of Biden’s campaign promises was to end the leasing of public lands to oil and gas companies.

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