Oct. 8--The wildfires that raged last year from Paradise to Malibu made for California's deadliest, most destructive fire season on record.
But the eruption of blazes marked another distinction for California, as one of the worst for the climate. In 2018, fires released more than 45 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere--the most in a decade and trailing only slightly behind 2008, when the state was also stricken by two of the largest wildfires in modern history.
Those state emissions estimates are highlighted in a report that a San Francisco organization released Tuesday that identifies rising pollution from wildfires, transportation and landfills as among the biggest obstacles standing between California and its ambitious climate goals.
The report, prepared by the independent consulting firm Beacon Economics for the Next 10 think tank, describes a vicious circle in which air pollution from fires, growing more intense and destructive with the warming climate, threatens to undermine the state's progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Though California has successfully cut carbon pollution, meeting its 2020 target four years early, "these achievements were eclipsed several times over by the 2018 wildfires, which produced more than nine times more emissions than were reduced in 2017, " according to the report.