No Link Between Climate Change and California Wild Fires

Governor Jerry Brown has been on his environmental soap box lately.  In front of television cameras, Brown is declaring there is a link between increased global warming and the most recent wild fires in California.

The Los Angeles Times reported:

“The fires are changing…. The way this fire performed, it’s not the way it usually has been. Going in lots of directions, moving fast, even without hot winds.”

“It’s a new normal,” he said in August. “California is burning.”

Politics does strange things to people.  Like making them fabricate information to support cases they are trying to make.  Brown has been trying to make a case on several different fronts.  Back in August, he wrote letters to Republican presidential candidates urging them to state their positions on climate change.  He also has argued on the issue with oil executives and hopes to influence leaders meeting in Paris in December on the issue.  Governor Brown has to keep pumping up the story that there is a  link between global warming and the fires in his state in order to keep his opponents interested.

The Los Angeles Times interviewed experts and gave this report:

But scientists who study climate change and fire behavior say their work does not show a link between this year’s wildfires and global warming, or support Brown’s assertion that fires are now unpredictable and unprecedented. There is not enough evidence, they say.  

University of Colorado climate change specialist Roger Pielke said Brown is engaging in “noble-cause corruption.”

Pielke said it is easier to make a political case for change using immediate and local threats, rather than those on a global scale, especially given the subtleties of climate change research, which features probabilities subject to wide margins of error and contradiction by other findings.

“That is the nature of politics,” Pielke said, “but sometimes the science really has to matter.”

Other experts say there is, in fact, a more immediate threat: a landscape altered by a century of fire suppression, timber cutting and development.

Public attention should be focused on understanding fire risk, controlling development and making existing homes safer with fire-rated roofs and ember-resistant vents, said Richard Halsey, who founded the Chaparral Institute in San Diego.

Otherwise, he said, “the houses will keep burning down and people will keep dying.”

“I don’t believe the climate change discussion is helpful,” Halsey said.

While Governor Brown continues to blame the wildfires on global warming just to build a political agenda, the truth is that global warming is a dying issue.  Brown is just making himself look foolish by trying to manipulate scientific information for his own political gain.