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Extreme heat continues with scattered storms throughout the weekend

Officials respond to air quality concerns as it reaches crisis levels statewide

Gov. Kathy Hochul says the Canadian wildfires impacting New York air quality are a prime example of why enacting measures to battle climate change is dire.

News 12 Staff

Jun 8, 2023, 4:25 PM

Updated 380 days ago

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The smoky skies have many concerned about long-term impacts of climate change.
New York state has deployed a forest ranger crew to help battle hundreds of wildfires raging in Quebec. Putting the fires out is the immediate concern, but many people are starting to think about what's causing these fires.
Gov. Kathy Hochul says the Canadian wildfires impacting New York air quality are a prime example of why enacting measures to battle climate change is dire.
"We are the first generation to really feel the effects of climate change and the last one to be able to do anything meaningful about it," she says.
New York has set aggressive targets to clean up its air. By 2030, state leaders want 70% of electricity coming from renewable energy and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40%.
"It's really hard almost to find words to describe what we are seeing. Unprecedented comes to mind," says Dr. Dan Westervelt.
Westervelt is an atmospheric scientist at Columbia Climate School in Rockland County and an air pollution advisor to the U.S. State Department.
"With climate change, things like warmer temperatures, things like worsening droughts, things like changing precipitation patterns, all of those things tend to make wildfires worse. So that's the connection to climate change," he says.
This is why environmental activists were pushing state lawmakers to pass environmentally conscious bills on the last day of the state's legislative session.
"This is an incredibly important session. We need to implement our climate law and get some of these things rolling. So, the next 24 hours are really important," says Roger Downs, conservation director of the Sierra Club's Atlantic Chapter.
Assembly Member Dana Levenberg was in Albany Thursday fighting to pass into the law a bill to stop the dumping of radiological wastewater into the Hudson River.
"I know it may not be the one that deals with the wildfires out there, but every bit really makes a difference," she says.
She says we only have one earth and that the time to save it is running out.


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