11-3: Wildfire chemical fallout; Clovis concedes over credentials

Flame retardants rained from the sky to stop California fires last month. Now what?

Top news for Friday, 11-3: Fire retardants and Cali crops; Clovis credentials; Climate report points to people


1. Today's top read: Cleaning chemicals after fires

Northern California fires last month took a toll:

  • 43 people died
  • > 8400 homes destroyed
But what about the millions of gallons of flame retardants dropped from tankers onto crops and soil? In one week alone, more than 2 million gallons of retardant were dropped in California, according to the state's fire agency.

2. Past 115 years were "the warmest in the history of modern civilization."

NPR obtained a copy of the most comprehensive climate study to date by federal scientists and reports it is "extremely likely" that human activities are the "dominant cause" of climate change.

Quick hits:

  • Past 115 years were the warmest in history of modern civilization
  • Global average temperature increased by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit over past 115 years
  • Sea level has risen 7 to 8 inches since 1900
Full story from NPR:

Massive government report says climate is warming and humans are the cause (NPR)

3. Fed watch.

USDA senior White House adviser, Sam Clovis withdraws his nomination to become the agency's chief scientist because, well, he has no science or agricultural experience.

Oh yeah—and the Iowa talk radio show host and political scientist is linked to the ongoing Russia investigation.

Trump agriculture nominee Sam Clovis confirms he has no hard-science credentials, withdraws over ties to Russia probe (Washington Post)

Meanwhile, Energy Secretary Rick Perry—who holds a bachelor's degree in animal science from Texas A&M University—linked fossil fuel use to decreased sexual assault ...

"From the standpoint of sexual assault, when the lights are on, when you have a light that shines, the righteousness, if you will, on those types of acts."

Did Rick Perry really just bring fossil fuels into the fight against sex assault?

Related:

5. Toxics roundup - Pruitt to attend luxury chemical meeting

EPA head Scott Pruitt will head to South Carolina's Kiawah Island next week to address the American Chemistry Council's board meeting at a high-end resort.

He'll bring eight staffers with him. The government is paying for the group's expenses.

EPA's Pruitt and staff to attend chemical industry meeting at luxury resort next week (Washington Post)

Other toxics:

6. Of evolution ...

Cities are one big evolutionary experiment
Urbanization has unintended consequences on city-dwelling creatures, from the peppered moths of the Industrial Revolution to today's pesticide-resistant bed bug. (City Lab)

Evolution and climate change already at issue in new Utah school science standards.
The Utah Board of Education launched a review on Thursday. (The Salt Lake Tribune)

7. Something fun.

When temperatures plummet in eastern Turkey, people round up their buffalo, get outside and strip off.

"As anyone who has lived in subzero climates for more than a couple of winters knows, staying sane means getting out into the world, whatever the weather."

The Turkish hot springs where residents bathe with water buffalo

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