Sep 22, 2019

Number of first responders drops amid growing frequency of natural disasters

Photo: Getty Images/Stevecoleimages

A higher frequency of natural disasters in the U.S. is putting a strain on first responders who are already grappling with lower staff numbers, AP reports.

The big picture: While the population of career firefighters has increased in recent years, approximately two-thirds of the United States' 30,000 fire departments are made up of volunteers. Per the National Volunteer Fire Council, the number of volunteer firefighters has dropped from 814,850 to 682,600 over the past 4 years.

  • "The bottom line is that people have a lot less time than they used to," Natalie Simpson, an operations management professor at University at Buffalo, told the AP.

The number of calls to emergency fire departments is also on the rise, according to the National Fire Protection Association Survey. With that has come higher expectations and standards for the types of services firefighters must provide.

  • Per the AP: "Both career and volunteer firefighters are now trained in emergency medical services and multihazard responses. It’s rare that they respond to actual fires, and even rarer to a natural disaster. Still, experts say they need to be prepared."

Between the lines: Climate change doesn't cause natural disasters to occur, but it's an aggravator factor in extreme weather events such as hurricanes and heatwaves.

Go deeper: How climate change affects our weather

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USDA's silence on climate crisis makes little sense to farmers

Photo: Jean-Francois Monier/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration's resistance to addressing climate change is exacerbating the Department of Agriculture's mostly unsuccessful attempts to help farmers cope with extreme weather, Politico reports.

Why it matters: Farmers and ranchers are already reckoning with the impacts of climate change today in their businesses, making federal action (or inaction) on the issue especially relevant.

Go deeperArrowOct 15, 2019

Climate change's vanishing act at Trump's G7

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Next year's G7 summit is shaping up to be unusual — not only because the White House will host it at the Trump National Doral Miami resort, but also because acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters Thursday that "climate change will not be on the agenda" at the June meeting.

Why it matters: Climate's absence from the discussions will mark a sharp break with G7 meetings dating back a decade, according to veterans of global climate diplomacy. It will occur in a state that's grappling with sea-level rise and threatened by Atlantic hurricanes that global warming is making more powerful.

Go deeperArrowOct 18, 2019

Climate denial among D.C. policymakers thrives in echo chambers

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The tendency for Washington policymakers to not accept mainstream climate science is growing inside echo chambers and under President Trump, according to a new peer-reviewed study.

Why it matters: The research adds some quantitative heft to the notion that Trump, who regularly dismisses and mocks climate change, is having a tangible impact among America’s most influential policy experts working inside the beltway of Washington, D.C.

Go deeperArrowOct 3, 2019