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‘Vote like your life depends on it — because it does’: Obama shares alarming pictures of West Coast fires in stark message about climate crisis

‘The fires across the West Coast are just the latest examples of the very real ways our changing climate is changing our communities,’ former president says 

Louise Boyle
New York
Thursday 10 September 2020 13:39 BST
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Obama interrupted

Barack Obama has underlined the connection between the raging wildfires in America’s West and the climate crisis, noting that: “Protecting our planet is on the ballot”.

The former president tweeted the message and four photos of the eerie glowing orange sky over San Francisco on Wednesday night.  A massive cloud of smoke from raging wildfires has covered much of California, dimming the sun. 

President Obama wrote: “The fires across the West Coast are just the latest examples of the very real ways our changing climate is changing our communities. Protecting our planet is on the ballot. Vote like your life depends on it—because it does.”

Winds have stoked an unprecedented number of fires, driven by the climate crisis, across California in recent days that have forced rescues and thousands of residents to evacuate.

Further north in Washington state, more acres burned in a single day than firefighters usually see all year. Fires also forced people to flee in Oregon and Idaho.

A number of recent studies, including reports by federal Environmental Protection Agency, have linked bigger wildfires to the climate crisis.

“The frequency of extreme wild fire weather has doubled in California over the past four decades, with the main driver being the effect of rising temperature on dry fuels, meaning that the fuel loads are now frequently at record or near-record levels when ignition occurs and when strong winds blow,” Stanford University climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh told the Associated Press.

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