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Excerpt: "No single fire can be specifically linked to climate change, and certainly other factors, such as increased development or logging and grazing activities, are involved. But scientists say there is a clear connection between global warming and the increase in recent years in the severity and frequency of wildfires in the West."

A firefighter works to defend homes from the 
approaching wildfire in Sonoma, Calif., on Saturday. (photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters)
A firefighter works to defend homes from the approaching wildfire in Sonoma, Calif., on Saturday. (photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters)


See It, Say It: Climate Change

By The Washington Post Editorial Board

16 October 17

 

OTHING MORE than ash and bones.” That grim description of how some victims were found underscores the horror of the wildfires that swept through and devastated Northern California. At least 38 people were killed, including a 14-year-old boy found dead in the driveway of the home he was trying to flee, a 28-year-woman confined to a wheelchair and a couple who recently had celebrated their 75th anniversary. In addition to the lives lost, approximately 5,700 homes and businesses were destroyed, including entire neighborhoods turned into smoldering ruins.

Some 220,000 acres, including prized vineyards, have been scorched, and the danger is not over, as some fires are still burning and officials fear the return of winds could spread more catastrophe. Fire season is part of life in California, something that residents know and prepare for after the hot, dry summer months. But the events that began last Sunday have been unprecedented, and so the question that must be confronted is what caused the deadliest week of wildfires in the state’s history.

Gov. Jerry Brown (D) pointed the finger at climate change. “With a warming climate, dry weather and reducing moisture, these kinds of catastrophes have happened and will continue to happen and we have to be ready to mitigate, and it’s going to cost a lot of money,” he said last week.

No single fire can be specifically linked to climate change, and certainly other factors, such as increased development or logging and grazing activities, are involved. But scientists say there is a clear connection between global warming and the increase in recent years in the severity and frequency of wildfires in the West. “Climate change is kind of turning up the dial on everything,” expert LeRoy Westerling told CBS News. “Dry periods become more extreme. Wet periods become more extreme.”

While California prepares for what promises to be an arduous rebuilding, Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and other places hit by this year’s unprecedented back-to-back-to-back hurricanes are still mopping up and, in Puerto Rico’s case, just beginning to rebuild. So it would seem to be a natural time to talk about the possible role climate change played in these disasters and about measures the nation should be taking to slow global warming. Instead, we have an administration that refuses even to consider the possibility of a connection, much less talk about solutions. Worse, it is taking steps in the wrong direction: pulling out of the Paris climate accord, reversing rules on power plant emissions, staffing key agencies with climate-change deniers. Sadly, that will increase the likelihood and frequency of tragedies such as the fires in California’s wine country.


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-14 # brycenuc 2017-10-16 10:19
There is no prof that climate change has increased the fires in the western United States. There is proof, however, that man's production of CO2 has negligible effect on climate. Increase of CO2 does however increased world food supply and the world's greenery. It is ironic that the "greens" are working to defeat the world effect from which they take their name.
 
 
+5 # Dust 2017-10-17 17:50
But you have demonstrated repeatedly that you have zero understanding of CO2 and the role it plays in the atmosphere. Your 'oft cited paper' (to use your phrase) was 'cited' only be denier blogs whose authors wet their pants at the site of a graph purporting to show that human beings do not affect climate. Not a single scientific journal or author cited your 'work' in their own published research.

You and I discussed once what it would take to publish your CO2 model, and you refused to undertake the effort. Having read the opening paragraphs of that 'paper', that's a wise move, as the sweeping declarations and dismissals that deniers hold as sacred fact were presented with no citations, no evidence, no scientific support whatsoever.

All of the above condenses your posts, in essence, to a summary "Nuh uh!", sans science, not in the least because, as usual, you offer not a single published scientific paper here in support of your assertions.

Your objections to the idea that human beings affect climate are not scientific. They are rooted in a political world view that then scrambles to appear scientific.
 
 
+3 # Elroys 2017-10-16 11:25
Lies, lies, corruption, ignorance abound in the White House and the Repub establishment. These people are destroying the future for our kids and ourselves, just to make their wealthy donors more wealthy. How sick is this?
If our democracy is unable to effectively deal with this, then we need to fix our democracy. Is Robert Mueller and his team really all we have left?
Where are the real leaders? Why is there no hue and cry, no gathering of "tribal leaders" standing on stage together and telling the truth about Trump and his cronies, calling out some of the more vile Republican political hacks (like tea party nuts), like those who continue lying about global warming and climate change, about coal, about the "tax cuts" (this is not tax "reform"), about health care?
America is breaking down. Is this leading to "breakthroughs? " We'll soon see. Good luck to us all.
 
 
+2 # draypoker 2017-10-16 12:19
The main cause is the addition of CO2 to the atmosphere. The US burns too much oil and coal.
 
 
+3 # Wise woman 2017-10-16 12:21
This administration cares not one iota about the catastrophic events caused by climate change. It would mean they would have to explain to the world about how stupid they are. Not about to happen particularly since they're still receiving big bucks from big oil. Big losers are spawning big losses for this country.
 
 
+1 # Allears 2017-10-18 08:57
Stop this divisive discourse over carbon! One paper based on this data says this,and another paper based on that data says that.Data can be manipulatively gathered and reproduced for whatever outcome is desired.
Humankind is causing a problem,but CO2 is only one manifestation of it.The carbon debate is a convenient,dive rsionary tactic preventing us from seeing what each of us is really doing.As Pogo said,I've seen the problem,and the problem is us.That is,too many of us,and more and more of us joining the ranks of capitalist consumption with the aim to lift everyone not yet in the system to be lifted out of poverty and placed on the capitalist treadmill.Even if rising carbon levels is the pinnacle of all threats, no-
where is there a mention of how overpopu-
lation of the planet,and the continual rise of consumerist behaviours lies at its root.Mesmerized by the CO2 Jeremiahs and their futile,hollow solutions,we are doomed to a fate far more nuanced with multiple forms of tragedy for future generations.The carbon debate is a little like the fake news phenomenon, designed to distract those people who have the luxury to be concerned and buy into CO2 as a worry,but who continue to buy, reflectively and unsuspectingly, into the throwaway society, producing and disposing of frighteningly ever more man-made materials, using carbon to make them, transport them for sale, and then transport them for disposal and isn't disposal such a tidy, convenient word?
 
 
0 # Dust 2017-10-18 10:25
"Stop this divisive discourse over carbon! One paper based on this data says this,and another paper based on that data says that."

Not really. Can you produce examples of peer-reviewed, published research that suggest differences of sufficient magnitude? Certainly they can suggest that (for example) the Atlantic Thermohaline will slow at rate X and another at rate Y, or that the 700+ M ocean layer will heat at rate X or rate Y, but these are all still consequences conditioned on planetary warming due to human-released CO2.

"Data can be manipulatively gathered and reproduced for whatever outcome is desired."

True, but only insofar as the data and methods are not clearly specified when published, which is a general requirement when submitting scientific papers for publication (I exclude bio-pharmaceuti cal research from that condition). It becomes even less true when multiple researchers find similar results when working with different data sets.

Your points regarding consumerism and overpopulation are perfectly, 100% valid. But to suggest that the CO2 discussion, which began in the late 1800s, is somehow fake, is utter bullshit.
 
 
+1 # Kootenay Coyote 2017-10-18 12:43
’Climate change’ & particularly ‘Global Warming’ are namby-pamby, deliberately neutral phrases chosen for their low impact: it’s like calling Nuclear War a Disturbance. What we’re seeing is Global Heating, & that’s the label to use. At least until it becomes Global Scorching.
 
 
0 # draypoker 2017-11-03 12:54
There are many sources of energy that do not emit CO2 to the atmosphere. They should be developed as fast as possible. Wind, solar, biogas, geothermal, tidal are all capable of supplying much of our needs. Moreover, quite a lot of our "needs" will turn out to be unnecessary. Oil and coal should be left in the ground where they do the necessary job of saving us from climate change.
I do not include nuclear power which has many undesirable outcomes and is far more expensive than the others.
 

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