The summer of 2021 has seen extreme heat and dry conditions sparking wildfires around the globe. From California to Greece, Turkey to Canada, these raging fueling blazes are destroying land and livelihoods.
California, in particular, is having a record-breaking year of wildfires with more than twice as many acres burned in the first six months of this year than during the same period last year — and hundreds more fires, officials said.  Clearly, climate change is an issue that cannot be ignored. A new United Nations scientific report issued earlier this month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change noted that even if nations started sharply cutting emissions today, total global warming is likely to rise around 1.5 degrees Celsius within the next two decades, a hotter future that is now essentially locked in. 
The new report leaves no doubt that humans are responsible for global warming, concluding that essentially the rise in global average temperatures since the 19th century has been driven by nations burning fossil fuels, clearing forests, and loading the atmosphere with greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane that trap heat. 
“There’s no going back from some changes in the climate system,” said Ko Barrett, a vice-chair of the panel and a senior adviser for climate at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But, she added, immediate and sustained emissions cuts “could really make a difference in the climate future we have ahead of us.” 
While climate change is a global issue and sustained emissions cuts will be imperative to solving this issue, there are also solutions that we can all do locally that are relatively easy to implement. This includes using LED lightbulbs, washing clothes in cold water, being cognizant about water usage, and reducing food waste. There is also our role as investors which can help move our economy towards a lower carbon path. There are many mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) zeroing in on climate change exclusively. By reducing exposure to fossil fuels, investors can look to reduce climate-related risks and participate in the low carbon energy transition.
The Dixie Fire, burning in Butte and Plumas counties in California, has now become the second-largest wildfire in state history, proving that it is imperative to take every action necessary to lessen the effects of climate change. According to California Gov. Gavin Newsom: “Extreme weather conditions and extreme drought conditions are leading to extreme conditions and wildfire challenges the likes of which we have never seen in our history.”  Climate change is real and intensifying, and its impacts will be catastrophic if we don’t act now.