The problem with emotional people like Bill McKibben, is that they seldom delve beyond headlines and live in a world of imaginary constructs that fit their expectation.
In this case, McKibben cites an LA times story as scientific proof of a worsening early fire season in California. Problem is, the real world data doesn’t even come close to supporting it.
Here’s what the LA Times says:
This is the sort of scenario that climate scientists have been warning us about for decades — off-kilter weather patterns, increasing dryness in Southern California and, with it, added fire risk. Whether or not last week’s confluence of parched hills, hot days and fast winds was caused by climate change, the dryness of the vegetation points to a wildfire threat that won’t wait for the usual Southern Californian procrastination over thinning plants.
But gosh, the National Interagency Fire Center data says we are at a 10 year low so far not only for the number of fires, but also the acreage. Note what I highlighted in yellow and compare to previous years, as well as the 10 year average at the bottom:
Even if you add the 28,000 acre springs fire (which started late on 5/2, and I don’t know if the total acreage is included in the NIFC table) to the total above (up to 5/3), it still falls short of any other year in the past 10.
He’s got the twits all a tweeten though, he’s saving the planet with his iPhone.