October 28th, 2020

It’s lazy to blame CO2 emissions for wildfires in Australia


By Letter to the Editor on January 18, 2020.

An apocalyptic theme of fire and transformation plays to our sense of foreboding. We naturally intuit Australia’s fires as a sign of the end. What lurks behind this nightmare spectacle?

Start with Australia’s actual climate – it hasn’t changed. Its latitude on Earth is in the southern hemisphere’s desert belt, with the Namib and the Atacama. It’s naturally arid, its summer occurring as the Earth orbits nearest to the sun. All consonant with headline events.

Depicted in Aborigine art is the motif of birds carrying fire. This actually happens: black kites and brown falcons not only congregate at the edges of brush fires to catch small animals, they grasp burning twigs in their talons and fly off to start more fires, flushing out more prey. Could this natural event have burned out of control?

It turns out the headline fires are more anthropogenic than avian. However, it’s lazy to blame CO2 emissions. (Enough atmospheric CO2 would inhibit open flame, making fire impossible.)

Australia’s wildfires are the result of arson. By the end of 2020’s first week, police in New South Wales, Queensland and even Tasmania reported 183 arrests. Malicious mischief by holidaying students, some efforts at “civilization jihad,” and honest loss of campfire control accounted for much, not all, of the ravage. Angry property owners are singling out Green policy.

The Aborigines mitigated summer wildfires by burning out underbrush during Australia’s cool season. Settlers fanning out from Botany Bay adopted this practice. But Green activists in a fit of “re-wilding” disrupted controlled firebrake burns with punitive legislation: “Too much CO2 release!” Well, what have they got now?

The fires along Australia’s southeastern coast burn where Beijing investors plan a high-speed rail corridor. Beijing (shades of “Shock Doctrine”) won’t let this crisis go to waste. Nor have the instruments of the UN.

Incoming UN envoy Mark Carney warns that an economic collapse could be “climate-related,” e.g. CO2-associated. But it might actually come from noncompliance with would-be global regulators – not directly climatic. What they’re relying on is a climate of apprehension, and with it a mass compliance that doesn’t ask questions.

Tom Yeoman

Lethbridge

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John P Nightingale

It seems TY has stepped down from the pulpit and is now preaching the evils of climate change advocates.
The writer would do well to peruse the following link exploding the myth of arson related current Australian bushfires.
Climate change/global warming is indeed complicated but to use false arguments to advance a “cause” does absolutely nothing to further reasoned discussion.
https://www.factcheck.org/2020/01/setting-the-record-straight-on-climate-change-and-arson-in-australias-bushfires/

Fescue

But, JPN, since the continents aren’t moving very fast, doesn’t that mean that climate change scientists are all wrong!? And if boyscouts and magpies start a fire, aren’t they also to blame for the decade-long drought and dry conditions that add to the severity of the fire?

Tris Pargeter

True John. If anyone has the energy, the two pulpits are related. Check out DeSmog’s link on the “Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.” Or “dominionism” for that matter. The lord rules supreme…

Seth Anthony

For intents and purposes, Australia’s summer days are around 30 degrees Celsius. Of what consequence is it if that was 1 degree higher? I’m finding it difficult to imagine how going from 30 to 31 over a span of around 100 years now suddenly means massive and extensive droughts / wildfires.

Fescue

Seth, I hope you are not living in one of those low oxygen environments that George is worried about.

Try studying the definition of both ‘average’ and ‘variance’. That should help you understand climate disruption better. You don’t have to thank me, you’re already welcome!

Seth Anthony

The Australian temperature records I found claimed a 1 degree Celsius increase in the last 100 years.

My question was very specific, and your reply doesn’t answer my question.

Fescue

Okay. The 1 degree is a shift in the average. This is accompanied by a flattening of the distribution (greater variance) that leads to more extreme events more often.

Since temperature is only a proxy for thermodynamics, look up the amount of additional energy required to shift global average temperature 1 degree C. This is the energy greenhouse gases trap in the atmosphere. And it is this energy that is added to extreme wind and hurricanes, and absorbs more water vapour, amplifying the heating and the enormous mass in hurricanes, not to mention adding to epic rain events.

Just one big system being disrupted by the burning of fossil fuels.

Seth Anthony

Thanks for all that Fescue. However, you posted generalities that still fail to answer my question. I’ll rephrase it:

Claims are being made that the Australian wild fires are caused by climate change. So how exactly did climate change cause those fires? In other words, is there now more lightening in the area due to climate change? Are the trees and underbrush in that area significantly drier due to climate change? If the latter, has there been any long term studies on the moisture level of the trees and underbrush to prove such?

Fescue

The ’cause’ of the extreme bushfires is a prolonged drought and current hot and dry conditions. Like you said: it’s dry.

The ‘Big Dry’ is apparently related to ocean temperatures, particularly the Indian Ocean ((which is also connected to extreme weather in India and Bangladesh). The ocean has absorbed much of the additional energy trapped by ghgs.

This might be interesting:

https://ummenhofer.whoi.edu/southeast-australian-drought

Seth Anthony

You may have replied before I made an edit to my last post. The edit was, “If the latter, has there been any long term studies on the moisture level of the trees and underbrush to prove such”? Also, has there been more underbrush for some reason? Has clear cutting for fire prevention changed?

There’s no doubt that the Earth is getting warmer and humans play a role. The question is by how much?

One of my passions (and career) is the closed system of computer science. I’m finding climate science to be be highly convoluted and ambiguous. I’ve equated it to trying to count the number of bubbles in a boiling pot of water. To give you an example of that, I’ll try to find a climate science website that I’ve frequented. For every climate fact presented, there are countless posts from climate scientists legitimately refuting the validity of such facts for various reasons. It’s nothing like what governments and main stream media are stating.

Above and beyond all that, my biggest beef with the whole topic is people are being forced to pay for non solutions, forced to pay more for using the cleanest fuel we have to avoid freezing to death, etc, yet none of these things is going to help the environment in any manner. It’s just going to hurt it more.

diplomacy works

Unpopular as the fact may be among our conservative friends – more than one thing can be true, all at the same time.

As in, there are Australian birds that carry fire to force out prey.
And there are arsonists.
And there is climate change that makes fire seasons longer and hotter and more destructive than before.

It’s just laziness to blame your favourite hobgoblins, but the arson claim has been thoroughly debunked.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-51125898

Do UCP Cons actually enjoy the spectacle of some billion animals burning up in fire in Australia? More to die a slow death as their food sources have been scoured with fire?

You lot will be the death of us all.

George McCrea

Funny Tom, no one has challenged your statement
Of more CO2 less fires.

phlushie

George, How can anybody debunk true science? It is only “Democratic” science that can be debunked by consensus.

Fescue

Yes, George, algae took care of these levels of CO2 about 3 billion years ago.

Tom is confused because this exceeds the 6000 year timeline he works with.

johnny57

Hopefully Tom, Greta has not made it down there yet because she WILL be asking questions and making statements! “How dare you.”