UNITED STATES NEWS

CLIMATE GLIMPSE: Here’s what you need to see and know today

Aug 11, 2023, 12:11 PM

In Hawaii, firefighters were still working Friday to fully contain devastating wildfires that have killed at least 55 people. As the fires diminish, thousands of residents of the historic coastal town of Lahaina are finding they lost everything — as this photograph by Associated Press photographer Rick Bowmer helps illustrate.

They’re wondering how they, and their town, will rebuild from fires that are also taking a toll on the environment.

Here’s what else is happening related to extreme weather and the climate right now:

— China said severe floods in the northern province of Hebei this month brought on by remnants of Typhoon Doksuri killed at least 29 people and caused billions of dollars in economic losses.

— Jakarta, which routinely tops the list of the world’s most polluted cities, did it again on Friday in a ranking by a Swiss air quality technology company. Inefficient and polluting vehicles that can be stalled in traffic for hours at a time are a major culprit.

—The U.S. Energy Department said Friday it’s giving $1.2 billion to a pair of projects that would directly remove planet-warming carbon dioxide from the air. Direct air capture doesn’t yet exist on a meaningful scale, and some skeptics say money would be better spent on more practical efforts.

—The Biden administration said it may soon launch a formal evaluation of risks posed by vinyl chloride, the cancer-causing chemical that burned following the fiery train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

—California took a step toward delaying closure of three gas-fired power plants through 2026. Officials say the plants are needed to guarantee power during major weather events such as heat waves. Activists say the state needs to more more quickly to add renewable power.

—The man who will lead the U.N.’s global climate summit later this year, United Arab Emirates minister Sultan al-Jaber, told Caribbean nations that some of the harshest effects of climate change had fallen on their region, and more money should be found to tackle the problem.

—The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration said record-hot oceans and a rising El Nino are doubling the chances of a bad Atlantic hurricane season this summer and fall.

—Officials reported that flooding from heavy monsoon rains in Myanmar have killed five people and displaced about 60,000 since mid-July.

QUOTABLE:

“I’ve got nothing left. I’m a disabled vet, so now I’m a homeless vet.” — Thomas Leonard, a retired mailman and Vietnam veteran, after the flames that burned Lahaina, Hawaii, destroyed his apartment and melted his Jeep. Leonard spent hours sheltering from the fire behind a seawall.

___

Associated Press climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. See more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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CLIMATE GLIMPSE: Here’s what you need to see and know today