Researcher Says Climate Change Increasing Severity Of Brush Fires, Drought In California

Jan 22, 2019

Some of the greatest threats from climate change aren’t from new problems it’s causing. They are from impacts on things which are already a part of nature. That’s according to Katharine Hayhoe, an internationally known expert on climate change who's set to speak on the South Coast this week.

Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist who’s director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. She’s been a part of more than 125 research projects and papers.

Hayhoe says it’s not the climate change is creating a lot of new issues. She says it’s taking natural problems like brush fires, and droughts, and making them much more frequent and severe.

The researcher admits it’s frustrating to still have people suggesting that climate change isn’t real. Hayhoe believes that people who have a hard time acknowledging the issue really don’t want to admit we are the bad guys messing up our environment.

So…what can we do? Hayhoe says while her focus for decades has been identifying impacts, she is starting to look more at the subject of solutions. Hayhoe notes some argue even if the U.S. cleans up its act, others around the world will continue the problem. She says we have to start somewhere, and that other nations like China are already stepping up regardless of what the U.S. does, leaving us to run the risk of falling behind.

Hayhoe will speak at Montecito’s Westmont College Thursday. The event is called Mitigate, Adapt—or Suffer: Connecting Global Change to Local Impacts and Solutions. The event is at 1:15 p.m. Thursday, at Westmont’s Global Leadership Center. It’s open to the public, and free.