COMMENTS: Smoke and Fire

CBS and NBC both offered environmental follow-ups. NBC sent Mark Mullen to the Shanxi province of China for an In Depth report on the world's dirtiest city. So much coal is burned in the steel mills and power plants of Linfen that the air is thick with old-fashioned soot, let alone greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. Farmers need to grow tomatoes in greenhouses, not to keep their plants warm but to keep the dirt off them. Children sometimes attend school with face masks to block smoke particles. Life expectancy in Linfen is 60 years, ten years shorter than the rest of China.

On CBS, Jerry Bowen followed up on the climate panel's prediction of hotter weather, smaller snow packs and drier forests in the southwestern states of the United States. The Grand Prix forest fire in southern California in 2003 "was thought to be exceptional at the time" but it may turn out to have been "just a practice lap." The duration of an average forest fire was seven days in the 1970s; nowadays it is 37 days. The length of the average fire season is 78 days longer than then and climate change may mean "a never-ending fire season."


You must be logged in to this website to leave a comment. Please click here to log in so you can participate in the discussion.