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Climate Change Puts People's Lives at Risk

"The risk of climate change is substantial, and it puts people's lives at risk. We need to stop talking about it, and we need to take real positive action."

Those are the words of energy scientist and renewable energy advocate Jack Kerfoot on the Lean to the Left podcast as he wrapped up a five-part series of episodes analyzing regional progress as states establish and implement policies in varying degrees to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global warming.

In this episode, Kerfoot examines actions in five western states, Arizona, California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington to determine which states are making real progress at addressing climate change and which ones are indeed paper tigers.

"The type and power potential of renewable energy resources (wind, solar, hydropower, etc.)vary significantly across our nation," Kerfoot explains, noting that states in the West have a diverse range of climates, ranging from semiarid in Arizona to temperate in Washington. As a result, the dominant type of renewable energy resources in western states range solar to hydropower.

"Environmental philosophies and policies also vary from state to state," the renewable energy guru says. "Identifying which states are making real and timely progress at reducing greenhouse gas emissions is best done by comparing states in the same region of the country, which have similar renewable resource potential."

His conclusion in this episode is that of those five states, only Washington and Idaho are making real progress in fighting climate change, while he says California, Oregon and Arizona are paper tigers -- talk, but little real action.

Climate Change Puts People's Lives at Risk

"The clock," warns Kerfoot, "is ticking," and the wildfires in the western states are evidence of that.

"The intensity of the forest fires in California have increased, particularly over the last 20 years," says Kerfoot. "And they've marched steadily north, and they've gotten into Oregon, and they've also gotten into other parts of the U. S. as well. So climate change, the risk of climate change is substantial, and it puts people's lives at risk."

Editor's note: This is the conclusion of a five-part series, "Climate Change: Progress or Paper Tigers," in which energy scientist Jack L. Kerfoot analyzes regional progress as states take varying degrees of action to increase the use of renewable energy resources and reduce reliance on coal and natural gas, both fossil fuels.

Here are links to each of those episodes:

You can learn more about Jack Kerfoot and his work here.

Listen to this episode:

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