Earthjustice President Says Catastrophic Wildfires Show Need for Stronger, Faster Action on Climate Change

Extreme weather is putting our lives, our communities and the economy at risk


Keith Rushing, Earthjustice, (202) 797-5236 (o), (757) 897-2147 (c) 

Earthjustice President Abigail Dillen released the following statement in response to the climate change issues raised by the California wildfires:

“As California struggles to recover from the most devastating wildfires in its history, we call on the nation’s elected leaders to take immediate action to strengthen climate resiliency and move legislation forward that will speed the transition to a clean energy economy.

“These catastrophic fires are part of a pattern of extreme weather that is putting our lives, our health, our homes, our cities, and our economy at risk. Hotter and drier conditions have turned our forests into a tinderbox.

“Over the past 30 years, the area affected by forest fires in the western U.S. has doubled because of climate change, according to a study from the National Academies of Sciences.

“This nation’s leaders must commit to 100 percent clean, renewable energy. We need a massive investment in a green energy economy, with a just transition from fossil fuels that would not only help stem climate change by limiting greenhouse gas emissions but would drastically reduce the life-threatening pollution that comes from burning coal to produce energy.

“But, instead of talking about ways to strengthen climate resiliency and reverse the worsening impacts of climate change, President Trump is using his platform to divert attention away from these issues.

“An untold number of people lost their lives due to the Camp Fire wildfire in California, many are missing and communities have been destroyed. Last week, the air quality in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay were the worst on the planet.

“The increasing risks make it clear that this nation must deepen its commitment to stemming climate change now. We cannot accept the tragic loss of life and displacement from these wildfires as the new normal. We must honor the victims now by fighting for a better and safer tomorrow for their families and communities.

A comprehensive United Nations report released last month showed we have 12 years to take dramatic action on climate change or the world will face massive famines, displacement and upheaval.

“Earthjustice has already begun meeting with newly elected members of the House of Representatives who are more determined than ever to promote legislation that will address climate change. For decades, Earthjustice has been working to end reliance on fossil fuels and remove barriers to renewable energy.”

Firefighters monitor a backfire while battling the Ranch Fire, part of the Mendocino Complex Fire, on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018, near Ladoga, Calif.
Firefighters monitor a backfire while battling the Ranch Fire, part of the Mendocino Complex Fire, on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018, near Ladoga, Calif. (Noah Berger / AP Photo)

About Earthjustice

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people's health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.