Sign In or Create an Account.

By continuing, you agree to the Terms of Service and acknowledge our Privacy Policy


What We Read to Understand the Wildfires

Here are our favorite articles on the wildfires from around the web.

A man reading a smoky magazine.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

The past week of wildfire smoke blanketing the East Coast was confusing, unprecedented, and unnerving.

While Heatmap has covered the story’s many angles, our writers are also looking to other sources to understand — and help them explain — the last two days of extreme weather. Here’s a selection of stories that we found helpful:

Canadian Wildfires and Climate Change” (The Climate Brink)

I really enjoyed Zeke Hausfather’s review of what the research says about the connection between these wildfires and climate change. The science of these fires is more complicated than Western blazes, and I think Zeke threads the needle well. –Robinson Meyer

We Suffer Too Many Fools Who Start Wildfires” (TheNew York Times)

I liked this piece because, as a climate journalist, I have a tendency to see wildfires as the result of system changes in the environment that lead to more fires. This piece, an essay by a former fire protection official, makes what seems like an obvious point that's too often unheeded: wildfires are often the immediate result of very stupid behavior. –Matthew Zeitlin

Liberty Game Postponed as NYC Battles Air Quality Issues from Wildfire Smoke” (New York Post)

We hear so much about how we ought to stay inside during air quality events like this, but the indoors isn’t totally safe — apparently, smoke actually penetrated Barclays Center, where the game was supposed to be played. But if we can’t get away from the smoke indoors, where does that leave us left to go? –Jeva Lange

Trying to Breathe in a City of Smoke” (The New Yorker)

“We know the story of the climate crisis, of how wealthy nations have burned fossil fuels at an astonishing rate, pushing our planet to the brink. Yet we live as though we do not, and we breathe the consequences,” Carolyn Kormann writes for The New Yorker. –Neel Dhanesha

As Smoke Darkens the Sky, the Future Becomes Clear” (The New York Times)

“The haunting gray glow of the sky this week was both a throwback to a more contaminated past and a portent of a future clouded more regularly by airborne toxic events such as these," David Wallace-Wells writes. –Emily Pontecorvo

WGA East Cancels All NYC Picketing for Rest of the Week Due to Record Unhealthy Air Quality” (Deadline)

Wildfire smoke has all kinds of implications - including on labor, when the smoke in New York forced the Writers Guild of America East to cancel its planned pickets for Wednesday. But unions can't be stopped so easily, and ironically the air quality in LA was better, so WGA West pickets went on as scheduled. –Neel Dhanesha

Will Kubzansky profile image

Will Kubzansky

Will is an intern at Heatmap from Washington, D.C. He is also the editor-in-chief of the Brown Daily Herald. Previously, he interned at the Wisconsin State Journal and National Journal.


Why Republicans Grilled the Energy Secretary About UFOs

You have to get creative when you allege a “war on energy” during an oil boom.

Jennifer Granholm and UFOs.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

When Donald Trump met with a group of oil executives at Mar-a-Lago last month, his message was somewhere between “refreshingly blunt” and “blatant shakedown.” Attendees spilled to The Washington Post that Trump told the executives they should raise a billion dollars for his campaign so he could make them even richer by reducing their taxes and removing regulations on their industry.

One can’t help but wonder if any of them thought to themselves that as appealing as that kind of deal might be, there’s no reason for them to be desperate. After all, the Biden years have actually been quite good for the fossil fuel industry.

Keep reading...Show less

Biden’s Long Game on Climate

The president isn’t trying to cut emissions as fast possible. He’s doing something else.

President Biden playing chess.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Here’s the problem with President Joe Biden’s climate policy: From a certain point of view, it makes no sense.

Take his electricity policy. At the top level, Biden has committed to eliminating greenhouse-gas pollution from the power sector by 2035. He wants to accomplish this largely by making clean energy cheaper — that’s the goal of the Inflation Reduction Act, of course — and he has also changed federal rules so it’s slightly easier to build power lines and large-scale renewable projects. He has also added teeth to that goal in the form of new Environmental Protection Agency rules cracking down on coal and natural gas.

Keep reading...Show less

AM Briefing: Greenlight for Geoengineering?

On the return of geoengineering, climate lawsuits, and a cheaper EV.

Sunrise over a mountain.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Current conditions: Battered Midwest in for more bad weather this weekend • Tornadoes keep hitting the Great Plains • A heat wave in New Delhi that pushed temperatures above 116 degrees Fahrenheit on Friday is expected to last several more days.


1. Red states challenge climate lawsuits

Nineteen Republican-led states are asking the Supreme Court to stop Democrat-led states from trying to force oil and gas companies to pay for the impacts of climate change. Rhode Island in 2018 became the first state to sue major oil companies for climate damages and has since been joined by California, Connecticut, Minnesota, and New Jersey. The states pursuing legal action against oil companies are trying to “dictate the future of the American energy industry,” the Republican attorneys general argued in a motion filed this week, “not by influencing federal legislation or by petitioning federal agencies, but by imposing ruinous liability and coercive remedies on energy companies” through the court system.

Keep reading...Show less