In short, the US climate is in most ways less extreme than it used to be. Temperatures are less extreme at both ends of the scale, storms less severe and droughts far less damaging. While it is now slightly warmer, this appears to have been largely beneficial.
Wildfires now burn only a fraction of the acreage they did prior to WW2
Sea-level rise is currently no higher than around the mid-20th century
Tornadoes are now less common than they used to be, particularly the stronger ones.
Floods are not getting worse
Hurricanes are not becoming either more frequent or powerful.
Summers were hotter in the 1930s than in any recent years.
Little or no rise in temperatures since the mid-1990s.
Delingpole: In 1859, Los Angeles County recorded temperatures of 133 degrees F. (The ‘record-breaking temperature claimed by Newsom was a relatively balmy 121 degrees F). According to the 1859 San Francisco Chronicle, cited by Tony Heller:
"In…eastern parts of Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties, the mercury rose in the shade to the startling figure of 133 degrees.
Cattle full in flesh perished in the fields and birds dropped lifeless from the trees in the withering blast."
It wasn’t just warmer back in 1859. Even as recently as 1983, it was significantly hotter at this time of year in downtown Los Angeles – 4.1 degrees F hotter, in fact, than the recent claimed ‘record’ temperatures.
In fact last month’s heatwave in LA was not unusually severe by historical standards, as the local temperature charts below will demonstrate. So how come according to the charts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) this August saw record-breaking temperatures in the Los Angeles region (known as Division 6 – South Coast Drainage)?
"The federal government through the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and National Park Service owns about 19 million acres of the total 33 million acres of forestlands in the state of California representing about 57% of the forest areas. Private nonindustrial entities own about one‑quarter (8 million acres) acres of forestland. These include families, individuals, conservation and natural resource organizations, and Native American tribes. Industrial owners—primarily timber companies—own 14 percent (4.5 million acres) of forestland. State and local governments own about a 3 percent (1 million acres) combined. In total these non-federal entities represent about 43% of the states forest areas."
“While forest management responsibilities typically align with ownership, natural processes—such as forest fires, water runoff, and wildlife habitats—do not observe those jurisdictional boundaries. As such, federal and state agencies have developed certain arrangements to collaborate on management activities across California’s forests. For example, federal law has a provision—known as the “Good Neighbor Authority”—that allows states to fund and implement forest health projects on federally owned land
"A large, well-managed forest appears to have turned a high-intensity fire into a low-intensity one, proving that how forests are managed outweighs the higher temperatures and longer fire season caused by climate change. “It ain’t over till it’s over but so far it looks as though [Southern California Edison (SCE) electric utility’s] decades of burning and selective cutting in its Shaver Lake forest has paid off, big time,” tweeted Jared Dahl Aldern, a forest historian, on Saturday. When the high-intensity Creek Fire arrived at the Shaver Lake forestlands it turned into what scientists call a low-intensity “surface fire,” which does not threaten the bigger and older trees. “The fire comes up to @SCE land,” tweeted Aldern, “drops to the ground, and stays out of the tree crowns.”
Lomborg: In other words, up to 12 percent of the entire area of the state — had its modern boundaries existed in the 18th century — burned every year. Old newspapers across the country were filled with descriptions of terrible fires. Back then, “skies were likely smoky much of the summer and fall in California,” as one academic paper noted. Elsewhere in the country in 1781, “the smoke was so dense that many persons thought the day of judgment had come,” The New York Times reported a century later. This all changed after 1900, when fire suppression became the norm, and fire declined precipitously. In the last half of the 20th century, only about 250,000 acres burned annually. Clearly, then, we used to have much more fire before global warming. Even this year’s record-breaking 2.3 million burnt acres is about half the lower end of a typical year in earlier times...
Californian fires are slowly coming back to their prehistoric state because of the enormous excess fuel load. Putting up solar panels and using biofuels will be costly but do virtually nothing to fix this problem. Prescribed burns will. What we choose depends on the information we get.