SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Governor Gavin Newsom sounded a five-alarm climate warning where giant sequoias have stood since well before the time of Christ. Scientists say, one of the world's oldest living and biggest trees has survived millennia, but may not survive the wildfires threatening it.
Newsom was at Sequoia National Park Thursday where the KNP Complex Fire has grown to the size of San Francisco.
It is one of ten major wildfires burning in California right now in what is already California's second worst fire season ever, still with months to go.
"I mean, traditions, lifestyle, people, places wiped off the map. That's what climate is about. Something extreme is happening and it's happening decades before the scientists even believed," said Newsom.
In fact, the governor says think Fahrenheit, not Celsius, about ever rising temperatures.
"Eight degrees. That's the track we're on. That's the inheritance we're leaving kids; can't imagine our grand kids," said Newsom. He signed a $15 billion climate bill, the largest in state history; any state's history. "So, with that, it's signed, this $15 billion package into law," said Newsom.
The $15 billion climate bill has immediate and long term aims, which boil down to three words: Future proof California.
An immediate concern is tackling catastrophic wildfires. Longer-term concerns involve building a more resilient California of the future.
The bill also includes immediate drought response, long-term water resilience, promoting sustainability wherever possible, and community protections. Those protections include dealing with many combined climate extremes such as extreme heat and rising sea levels.
The governor said there's no time left to lose. "Scientists had predicted, but predicted ten, twenty, thirty years from now."
The New York Times reports that over the last three months, California's wildfires alone, emitted more global warm greenhouse gases than any entire Golden State summer in the last two decades.