This mandate helped reduce risk of wildfires destroying buildings in California by 40% — so why don’t more states implement it?

This mandate helped reduce risk of wildfires destroying buildings in California by 40% — so why don't more states implement it?

Left to their own devices, people don’t necessarily make the most responsible choices, especially if they cost money.

That’s the takeaway from a new working paper authored by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, and the University of British Columbia in Canada. The researchers examined the effectiveness of mandates in the context of climate change, specifically looking at wildfire building codes in California.

California’s upgraded building codes reduced the average risk of structural loss in a wildfire by roughly 40% for homes built in 2008 or later, as compared with a home built in 1990, the researchers found.

A mere look at the scale of wildfire-related losses across California is evidence of the necessity of updated building codes, they added. Efforts to have residents voluntarily implement wildfire protections have not been largely successful, the authors argue. California has recorded $40 billion in wildfire property damage over…

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