Wildfires send American voters a smoke signal

<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"><head><title>BREAKINGVIEWS-Wildfires send American voters a smoke signal</title></head><body>

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

By Lauren Silva Laughlin and Sharon Lam

NEW YORK/TORONTO June 8 (Reuters Breakingviews) -Americans are struggling to breathe after an unusual weather pattern forced wildfire smoke from Canada into the skies over New York and Connecticut. It’s a warning that while countries still have borders, the atmosphere does not. And it might just provoke some subtle changes among the more climate-change-skeptic main-street Americans.

For those already convinced by the idea of anthropogenic climate change, toxic haze over the U.S. northeast looks like proof of a worsening problem. The land area that has burned so far is already about 15 times the 10-year average, Reuters has reported. On the other hand, people who don’t believe that emissions worsen climate change can argue that rising temperatures, and the weather events that scientists regularly note come with them, would have happened anyway.

What’s hard to refute is that hard-to-breathe air and ominous skies bring a toll, and likely discontent among voters. After spending two days oppressing northeastern states, smoke is set to move south and could hover over regions with populations that tend to be less sympathetic towards environmental concerns. Health officials in South Carolina, Ohio, and Kansas have all warned that spending too much time outdoors is dangerous.

Politicians already know that one country’s policies affect another’s, but they struggle to act on it. U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau both made climate a key tenet of their leadership. Yet both continue to pollute with abandon. Canada had the highest greenhouse gas emissions per capita in the world in 2019. The United States was the top producer of oil last year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Just last week, the U.S. Congress voted to ease barriers to fossil fuel projects, as part of a bill to restore the government’s ability to raise debt.

Companies – and their shareholders, who care about higher profit and stock prices – can’t be blamed for encouraging dirty ways. Reaching net-zero by 2050 would require over $9 trillion of annual investment in physical assets, the McKinsey Global Institute reckons. That’s twice as much as global corporate profit in 2021, according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve.

That leaves households. Certain Ohioans may not change their minds about the climate debate. But whether it's a higher propensity to buy an electric car or just switching to reusable water bottles, being forced to spend a summer weekend indoors might be enough to slowly change habits.

Follow @thereallsl and @sharonlam_ on Twitter


Wildfires across Canada have forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes, while spreading to New York City and other U.S. regions. By June 8, the smoke was starting to move towards more U.S. states like southern areas such as South Carolina and Midwest, including Kansas.

About 3.8 million hectares (9.4 million acres) have already burned, roughly 15 times the 10-year average, Reuters reported on June 8, citing Canada’s federal Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair.

The fires, which started in the western provinces, have also engulfed the provinces of Nova Scotia, Quebec, parts of Ontario, and have affected U.S. cities.

That's slick That's slick https://tmsnrt.rs/3X3gzxi

That stinks https://tmsnrt.rs/3J59Hts

Column by Lauren Silva Laughlin in New York, Sharon Lam in Toronto. Editing by John Foley and Streisand Neto


Disclaimer: The XM Group entities provide execution-only service and access to our Online Trading Facility, permitting a person to view and/or use the content available on or via the website, is not intended to change or expand on this, nor does it change or expand on this. Such access and use are always subject to: (i) Terms and Conditions; (ii) Risk Warnings; and (iii) Full Disclaimer. Such content is therefore provided as no more than general information. Particularly, please be aware that the contents of our Online Trading Facility are neither a solicitation, nor an offer to enter any transactions on the financial markets. Trading on any financial market involves a significant level of risk to your capital.

All material published on our Online Trading Facility is intended for educational/informational purposes only, and does not contain – nor should it be considered as containing – financial, investment tax or trading advice and recommendations; or a record of our trading prices; or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instruments; or unsolicited financial promotions to you.

Any third-party content, as well as content prepared by XM, such as: opinions, news, research, analyses, prices and other information or links to third-party sites contained on this website are provided on an “as-is” basis, as general market commentary, and do not constitute investment advice. To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, you must note and accept that the content was not intended to and has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such, it would be considered as marketing communication under the relevant laws and regulations. Please ensure that you have read and understood our Notification on Non-Independent Investment. Research and Risk Warning concerning the foregoing information, which can be accessed here.

We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our website. Read more or change your cookie settings.

Risk Warning: Your capital is at risk. Leveraged products may not be suitable for everyone. Please consider our Risk Disclosure.