ash blaze burn burning
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I know that I’m supposed to be “anti-science” and all, but once in awhile, I look at data. I apologize in advance; I simply couldn’t help myself. 

In the case of the wildfires currently raging in the Western states allegedly being “unprecedented” (a dubious description given that the earth is supposed to be 4.543 billion years old- Ha!) and a result of climate change, it doesn’t take long to see that the data gets in the way of the assertion.

First, there is the fact that the area burned in U.S. wildfires is down dramatically over the last century:

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

This fact is dismissed by alarmists by suggesting that the data is flawed and unreliable before 1960, and wasn’t highly accurate prior to 1983. A rather convenient postulation for them, given the numbers as illustrated in this graph.

Secondly, NASA, using satellite technology, has determined that global fires are down 25% since 2003:

I would think it harder for the alarmists to dismiss this data as flawed, although for the last 15 years or so they have made it clear that they generally don’t like satellite data where climate change is concerned.  I happen to agree with meteorologist Anthony Watts that this data is “irrefutable,” but a good alarmist can attempt to refute almost anything.

Finally, at the same time wildfires are down dramatically, CO2 emission levels are up dramatically:

If CO2 emissions are resulting in global temperature increases, and those temperature increases result in increased wildfires, then it makes zero sense that one rises as the other falls.

In short, it seems that the data simply doesn’t support the notion that wildfires are worse, let alone unprecedented, nor does it support the claim that these fires are the result of climate change.

But California Governor Gavin Newsom is desperately attempting to find someone or something to blame for the wildfires which have ravaged his state recently. He seems to think he has found it. According to ABC News, he said this:

I quite literally have no patience for climate change deniers. You may not believe it intellectually, but your own eyes tell a different story, particularly here in the state of California. Never have I felt more of a sense of obligation and purpose to maintain California’s status in terms of addressing climate change head on.

Danish environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg responded to Newsom’s position earlier this week in the New York Post:

Newsom is right that climate plays a part. It does create a more favorable fire environment by increasing hot and dry conditions. But experts estimate this plays a minor role. The much more important factor is the way we manage forest lands and develop our landscape. When we keep suppressing fire, we ask for bigger and more terrible future fires. And we know how to fix this. We simply have to make many more prescribed burns that eliminate the built-up fuel. This is doable and smart. It would help reduce fire risks in just a few years. Unfortunately, it is also unpopular…

And, like nearly everything else related to the climate change debate that’s actually important, the data isn’t popular either. Nor are truthful conclusions.

This is Brian Myers with your Caffeinated Thought of the Week.

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