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NYC Mayor Eric Adams Blames Climate Change for ‘Accelerating’ Smoky Air

NYC Mayor Eric Adams Blames Climate Change for ‘Accelerating’ Smoky Air

New York City Mayor Eric Adams told reporters at a briefing Wednesday morning that the city’s air quality emergency is not the last time New Yorkers will experience an event like this, thanks to climate change.

New York, along with much of the Northeast U.S., faces unhealthy air quality levels due to smoke blowing in from one of Canada’s most raging starts to wildfire season on record. According to Canadian Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair, who was cited by CNN, there are a total of 414 fires still active across the country, and approximately 9.4 million acres—about twice the size of New Jersey—have been burned.

A recent storm system moving in from the Atlantic Coast pushed smoke from the unprecedented fires southeast into the U.S., reported The New York Times, settling over some of the nation’s most densely populated metros and impacting cities as far south as Washington, D.C.

Smoky haze from Canadian wildfires clouds the visibility of the Empire State Building on Wednesday in New York City. New York topped the list of most polluted major cities in the world Tuesday night, as smoke from the fires continues to blanket the East Coast.
David Dee Delgado/Getty

New Yorkers in particular woke up on Wednesday to find out that they were experiencing one of the worse air qualities in the world, according to IQAir. Detroit, Michigan, just over 200 miles southwest of Toronto, Canada, was also ranked among the worst cities for air quality as of Wednesday evening.

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Adams addressed his city’s concerns during a news briefing Wednesday morning alongside New York City Emergency Management Commissioner Zachary Iscol, and urged residents to limit their outdoor activity as much as possible while smoke lingers over the city for the next several days.

“While this may be the first time we’ve experienced something like this of this magnitude, let’s be clear, it’s not the last,” Adams said. “Climate change has accelerated these conditions. We must continue to draw down emissions, improve air quality and build resiliency.”

“New York City is clearly a national leader on public health and climate action,” Adams continued. “These dangerous air quality conditions are clearly an urgent reminder that we must act now to protect our city, our environment and the future of our children.”

Canada’s wildfire season typically spans from May to October, although blazes to this extent so early in the season are rare. Much like the rest of North America, however, parts of Canada experienced record heat and drought in May, triggering conditions for rampant wildfires.

Wildfires in general are not caused by climate change—according to the U.S. National Park Service—which said nearly 85 percent are sparked by humans either intentionally or unintentionally. However, warming weather across the globe allows for environments that make wildfires more intense. Natural Resources Canada says that climate change could increase fire activity and double the number of areas burned annually by the end of the century.

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According to forecast analysis from the Times, the worst of the smoky air will last in New York City through Thursday morning but haze is expected to vary in thickness across the city throughout the day.

Newsweek has reached out via email to the National Weather Service for additional information.

Published: 2023-06-07 22:50:23

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