Tuesday, May 29, 2012 | 2:01 a.m.
This spring, and most recently last week, Las Vegas has been blanketed by the smoke from wildfires from central Arizona and northern Nevada. This smoke is a potentially serious medical issue for seniors, children, and for anyone with respiratory problems or compromised health.
Those who are healthy enough to go on with our lives too often just shrug and say there’s nothing we can do about these toxic forest fires. But in fact, fires like these are getting bigger and more dangerous all the time, and a prime contributor to these conflagrations is climate change. Global warming is changing our Western forests, making them sicker and more susceptible to huge wildfires.
Global warming is not “natural.” The nearly universal consensus among scientists is that it is occurring because we are pumping huge amounts of carbon into our air from the burning of fossil fuels, such as that from coal plants. We don’t have to do that. We need to make sure the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority and the will to limit the industrial carbon pollution this country produces. Doing so will make us, and our forests in the West, safer and healthier.
The writer is a Democratic state assemblywoman.