The Voice of America Babbles Nonsense About Climate Change and California’s Wildfires…

Guest ridicule by David Middleton

I miss the good old days when it was Radio Free Europe.

From today’s Real Clear Energy headlines, totally unrelated to energy…

Climate Change Fuels California Fires

September 12, 2018

Mike O’Sullivan

California has experienced record heat waves and catastrophic fires in recent years, and climate experts say it is likely to get worse.

report released Aug. 27 by the state of California, the fourth in a series of assessments, puts the blame squarely on climate change.

[…]

The Trump administration, however, has pledged to overturn emissions curbs and has promised to withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, an accord of nearly 200 countries that requires national targets for emission cuts but which lacks enforcement powers.

President Donald Trump said the pact is ineffective and kills jobs. Climate experts say something must be done to slow the climate shifts that are underway.

[…]

Deep State (Voice of America)

Why do you call VOA Deep State?

Voice of America (VOA) is a U.S. government-funded international radio broadcast source that serves as the United States federal government‘s official institution for non-military, external broadcasting.

[…]

Wikipedia

Deep State… ¿Comprende?

The “report released Aug. 27 by the state of California” is just a pamphlet, published by “a European financial services company headquartered in Munich, Germany“.

“Climate change” appears in the pamphlet six times:

  1. Natural Catastrophes and Climate Change both ranked in the top ten of global risks in the 2018 Allianz Risk Barometer, the annual corporate risk survey based on insight from more than 1,900 risk management experts from 80 countries.
  2. CLIMATE CHANGE NOTES: IMPACT ON THE WORLD’S LEADING WINE REGIONS
  3. China may be the climate change winner, as areas previously untenable for wine production will become more suitable
  4. Deutsche Welle, How climate change is increasing forest fires around the world, June 19, 2017
  5. Euro News, Climate change blamed as EU’s forest fires more than double, October 16, 2007
  6. Union of Concerned Scientists, Western Wildfires & Climate Change, 2013

Mr. O’Sullivan cited a pamphlet that wasn’t a report, wasn’t from the State of California and documented no relationship between climate change and fires.  He then goes on to babble…

If nothing or little is done, the reports say to expect temperature rises of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius (5.6 to 8.8 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100…

Nothing in the pamphlet says this.  Nor is it even possible outside the bad science fiction of RCP8.5 scenarios “to expect temperature rises of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius (5.6 to 8.8 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100”.  Temperatures are tracking below RCP4.5, a strong mitigation scenario,

Original image from Climate Central, HadCRUT4 shifted to 1970-2000 baseline.

Mr. O’Sullivan then goes on to quote the Father of all hockey sticks…

“I think we’ve reached the point where the impacts of climate change are no longer subtle,” said Michael Mann, who directs the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University.

Mann was not involved in the study, but said he thinks its finding are, if anything, conservative.

“We are literally seeing them play out in real time in the form of record heat waves, floods, droughts and wildfires,” he said.

Mann was not only “not involved in the study,” but probably oblivious to the fact that it wasn’t a study and it didn’t connect California wildfires to climate change.  For that matter, NOAA concluded that the worst drought in California history (2011-2014) was not due to climate change.  So,,, If the droughts aren’t due to climate change, the fires can’t be due to climate change.

California Climate Change 1895-2018

 

The worst drought in California history was 2011-2014, and NOAA concluded it was not due to climate change.

That takes care of climate change and California droughts.  Now let’s look at a historical perspective of wildfires in these tangentially United States.

Recent History of Wildfires in the U.S.

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

Fire is a major influence on the dynamics of most forest ecosystems in the United States. The frequency and occurrence of fires has been influenced by humans living in or near these forests for about 12,000 years. Brose and others (2001) present a graphic representation of fire history of Appalachian oak forests and show three profoundly different fire regimes (Figure 5). This model generally applies to all of the fire dependent forest ecosystems in the United States. During the first the period prior to European settlement, indigenous tribes used fire to prepare sites for planting; drive game; encourage fruit and berry production; create open forests, prairies, and savannas desired for early successional wildlife and to maintain a network of trails to facilitate travel. These fires were periodic, low intensity surface fires.

Following European settlement, early settlers adopted the burning practices of the indigenous people. However the low intensity fire regime was replaced by high-intensity, stand replacement fires caused by the onset of extensive logging and mining activities and the introduction of steampower for transportation and processing of raw materials. This resulted in fires of increased size and intensity, often burning over vast areas. The massive wildfires of the late 1800s and early 1900s contributed to a nationwide movement that identified fire as an undesirable, destructive force that must be controlled.

Following the massive wildfires of 1910 in the Northern Rocky Mountains, fire protection improved and eventually reduced destructive wildfires by more than 90 percent: from 20–50 million acres per year to 2–5 million acres (Frederick and Sedjo 1991, Powell and others 1994) (Table 3, Figure 6). This third phase resulted in virtual exclusion of fire from many ecosystems, causing significant changes in the character of the vegetation and fuel conditions. These forests are now susceptible to intense, stand replacement fires. Foresters and ecologists have begun to recognize the role of fire in these ecosystems and are re-introducing prescribed fire as a vegetation management tool.

US Forest Service, 2003

PDF of Fire  Historical Perspective

Prior to European settlement, periodic low-intensity surface fires cleared the forest floors of fuel.  Coming Soon: This conceptual model with global temperatures and CO2 overlaid… It’ll be a HOOT!

The fire protection programs of the mid-20th century left the forests “susceptible to intense, stand replacement fires, which began to increase in the 1980’s, particularly in the west.  This is supported by numerous recent studies.

Area burned in 11 Western States, 1916-2000.

For the overall contiguous U.S., fire was far more severe in the early 20th Century than it is today, particularly in the South RPA…

Area burned by RPA region, 1938-1978.

Average number of fires and area burned by decade, 1919-1999.

And the relationship between fires and climate change is comical, at best…

Area burned form NIFC, Law Dome CO2 from MacFarling-Meure et al., 2006 and MLO CO2 from NOAA via Wood For Trees.

While some areas of the West have experienced slightly worse drought conditions lately, compared to the early 20th Century, there are no statistically significant trends…

PDSI in 4 western regions, NOAA.

NOAA Climate Regions Map

And the Lower 48 States exhibit no trend at all…

Palmer Drought Severity Index, Contiguous United States, 1895-2018, 13-month rolling average (NOAA NCDC).

Conclusions

Who the HELL is Mike O’Sullivan? And what qualifies him to babble nonsense about California fires and climate change… as the Voice of America?  According to his LinkedIn page, he has a PhD in Religion and Social Ethics from the University of Southern California.  On his way to becoming West Coast Bureau Chief for Voice of America, he doesn’t appear to have ever had a real job:

Previously LA Correspondent, VOA, 1983-90. Associate Professor, Gunma Prefectural Women’s University, Japan, 1992-1995. Assistant Professor, San Diego State University, 1981-1983. Various poorly paid public radio/freelance gigs prior and in between. Part-time college teaching at various campuses in the Cal State University system.

What qualifies me to ridicule the Voice of America?  The ability to look things up… A major part of my education in geology. So… Dr. or Rev. or Mr. O’Sullivan…

 

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60 thoughts on “The Voice of America Babbles Nonsense About Climate Change and California’s Wildfires…

  1. “California has experienced record heat waves and catastrophic fires in recent years, and climate experts say it is likely to get worse.”….

    Just for a second, assume this is true…and even Moonbeam believes it
    Wouldn’t it be wise to start investing in water bomber and fire retardant planes?…and the infrastructure to put these fires out fast….while they are still little?
    From what I’ve seen, California puts people on the ground first to fight the fires…putting them in danger…..doesn’t work…and finally when the fires are out of control then they decide to call out the big guns
    That’s stupid….blow these fires out of the water right off the bat when they are still small…almost all of these fires would not even happen if they would hit them hard and heavy first thing

    ….but then that’s California….who let in over 10 million immigrants…and didn’t add anything to the infrastructure to support them…I guess they figure these immigrants are from desert countries and are used to doing without water…../snark

    • Fighting fires from the air is both dangerous and expensive.

      Any who, hitting them hard and fast while they are still small is what got California into this mess in the first place.

      • ..you and I never disagree….but this time I do
        Fighting fires on the ground…and letting them get out of control…killing people and destroying millions of property…is a lot more dangerous and expensive
        …and they end up calling in the big guns anyway
        That’s the way they are doing it now…every one of these California fires started out small..and they knew about it when it was small

        Call in the big guns day one….do what it takes to put it out first thing…that is the least dangerous and expensive

        • Yes and no. The forests need the occasional fire to clear out the build up of fuel. If you try to stamp out the fires hard and fast immediately every time, then that fuel only builds up until one day you get a huge expensive fire that will rage out of control.

          What is needed is better forest management: occasional controlled burns and even a bit of logging to help keep the forests fuel loads low enough so that when fire does break out, you don’t need to rush in the “big guns” to keep it under control.

          • “Yes and no. The forests need the occasional fire to clear out the build up of fuel.”
            I think they call that “controlled burns.” You plan those when the weather is such that you are fairly certain you can control the fire after you start it. You don’t sit around and let unplanned fires burn in dangerous conditions hoping they’ll only burn the underbrush and then burn themselves out without getting out of hand.

          • Yes which is why I said in the second paragraph “What is needed is better forest management: occasional controlled burns“, do try to read the entire post before replying next time.

          • It’s a balancing act. In Australia, fire services seem to balance up the threat of the fire. Life and property is protected, but there is also a “let it burn” policy on occasions. Depends on many factors. If it can burn in safety, better to allow it, than have to come back next year to a fire in the unburnt portions.

          • John, it’s too late for controlled burns in a lot of these areas..
            ..they are way to populated now….the fires in the hills around LA race up the hills, are brush, and can’t be controlled like that
            That’s why they need to have a system in place to put the fires out immediately
            …and there are way too many examples of control burns getting out of control too

          • Just like people who build on flood plains and expect other people to pay to protect their houses, people who build where wild fires are a common problem need to stop expecting other people to put their lives on the line to protect their homes.

          • “they are way to populated now….the fires in the hills around LA race up the hills, are brush, and can’t be controlled like that
            “That’s why they need to have a system in place to put the fires out immediately”

            Or rent and let loose herds of goats on those hills when they’re green.

          • “John, it’s too late for controlled burns in a lot of these areas..
            ..they are way to populated now….the fires in the hills around LA race up the hills, are brush, and can’t be controlled like that”

            which is why I included “and even a bit of logging to help keep the forests fuel loads low” in one of my prior posts. Controlled burns are just one of many steps that can (and should) be taken *before* a fire ever occurs to make sure that when fires do break out, they aren’t as bad and don’t need to “immediately rush in the big (expensive) guns”. Clear out some of that brush – lower the amount of fuel available and the fires (when they occur) will be much more manageable. If you won’t or can’t take the necessary steps to prevent out of control mega-fires from happening in the first place, then you shouldn’t be populating areas where out of control mega-fires are prone to happen.

            “…and there are way too many examples of control burns getting out of control too”

            Only when they are done wrong. Do them in the wet seasons not the dry ones for starters.

  2. It is appalling that government funded broadcasters, at least with English language outlets, are apparently uniformly Koolaid drinkers. PBS and NPR in the US, the BBC in the UK, CBC in Canada, and ABC in Australia have all drawn the same sort of criticism in this blog and elsewhere.

    • It’s appalling, and completely inevitable that media outlets that are funded by the state will inevitably follow the deep state line of thinking.

    • They are infested with Socialists, who go there for the state job security and pension plans. Most couldn’t gain or keep employment in the private sector.

      • A lot of them wouldn’t take a private sector job, even if offered.
        They consider the private sector to be dirty, corrupted by things such as the “profit motive”.
        Better to work for government where you can remain pure and not care what the people who pay your salaries think.

    • CBC buys Koolaid in bulk but as a former CBC radio fan, I don’t recall that it was always populated by flakes. I listened to it slowly unravel over 2 decades. There should be some sort of management principle that says that a flake with authority feels threatened by clarity of thought in others and so surrounds themself with other flakes. Thus begins a death spiral of mounting incompetence. l think accidentally putting a flake in charge can happen in any organization but government institutions seem particularly prone because elected leaders, in Canada anyway, seem to come predominantly from three low critical thought capacity groups- lawyers, land developers and real estate agents. Our current PM has added a new group- high school drama teacher. The playboy centerfolds always wanted to meet an intelligent man and I always wondered how they would know if they did? Can a politician who can’t construct a complete sentence hire the best leader for a national broadcaster? Having watched a few organizations crumble by creeping flakiness, l have wondered if there is any way to recover from a bad infestation or should you just let nature run its course. MSM have been in a more or less continuous decline for decades and as they enter their death throes they still do not fathom that their own ineptitude is their undoing. As Roy said “Time to die”.

  3. Asking a Climatist to “next time, do a little research” is like asking a homeless person to next time shower, shave, and put on some clean clothes. Not gonna happen.

  4. And as you know the libtards gobble this up as gospel. Why can’t the conservative side of the argument, whether it is “climate change” or conservative politics in general provide a rational explanation of our point of view, (assuming you are conservative), and get it before the public? Are we just too non-confrontational compared to the “antifas” for example or are we being blocked by the liberal mass media. Isn’t there something we are capable of thinking up that will surpass the efforts of mass media and social media?

    • Blaming everything on something (body) else is a common juvenile trait found also in various groups. “He (she) made me (did it) do it.” This would indicate (what so many scientific papers loosely conclude) that all this blaming of things on “loss of wetlands, ice, etc., (fill in the blanks)” while expected in juveniles, in adults is a clear sign of inability (incompetence) to handle the problem. Curiosity is also a juvenile trait, apparently lacking in those blaming things that they don’t know how to fix on something (body) ephemeral and difficult to prove. There is a better word than ephemeral.

      If I were politician, no doubt impossible, I would simply say all that about my opponent. But then again, he may be smarter or slyer than I am.

    • I actually vote. When the political people show up at my doorstep, I ask them how to get the windturbines tore down. When, automatically, they shriek climate change, I let them know that they are not going to get my vote because I would never vote for a follower of the cult of CAGW.

    • ” a rational explanation of our point of view,”

      Because it has nothing to do with that…
      This is all about pushing a agenda….it’s impossible to push a non-agenda

    • Paul,

      The main reason is there isn’t a “conservative” messaging center. Most conservatives have a set of principles they follow (not always the same set by the way) but not a bunch of agreement on the particulars of policy. Part of the problem in “conservatism” is it is a bunch of different people with a general philosophy of small government and self-reliance, mixed with a bunch of people that are more concerned with Judeo-Christian morality. That push and pull between the groups will always prevent a unified voice on political issues. There is also large disagreement about the particulars of making that small government and self-reliance happen.

      There are policy differences on the left as well, but as they all are pushing for an all-powerful state, the messaging is pretty easy. The problems on the left will be when they finally accomplish (or are close to accomplishing) that all-powerful central control. Then the long knives will come out over which element of intersectionality will be supreme, while all others are crushed with the rest of us plebes.

      • We have our own purists as well. As a minarchist (I would like government to be between 1 and 5 percent it’s current size) I’ve gotten used to being blasted by both the big government types as well as the anarchist types.

    • Never happen. I’m sure you’re familiar with tl;dr or too long; didn’t read. Even your short paragraph is too much for the way most have been, if you’ll excuse the phrase, acclimatized to receiving their information. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook dominate information promulgation so that gives you an idea of the attention span. And media determine future reporting directions based on the number of Twitter and Facebook ‘hits’. So that is the future.
      When you couple it with the fact the majority of the public last showed any degree of interest in a science course was when it was mandatory in grade school you’ve got one heck of a hill to climb.
      “Won’t somebody please think of the children” is far easier to communicate and have absorbed than “well, we have considered the children on multiple occasions – if you look at the following graphs and information we can clearly illustrate that…” One requires you to leap to a conclusion, the other requires you to do work. Which one do you think will succeed more often?

    • Certainly we can put our heads together and come up with a plan to defeat the mainstream, social media deformation (defamation) of the truth. If we don’t, they will eat us alive. We are more clever than they are, aren’t we?

      • More honest, certainly.
        They do have some pretty canny operators.
        For example, those who helped HBO become POTUS . . . .

        Never underestimate them

        Auto.

    • Why? In addition to the fact the those on the right tend to be more gainfully employed as David Middleton suggested, the left is all about the feelings (hence why you get so much virtue signaling from them), doesn’t matter if something doesn’t work (exhibit A, the Paris agreement, which does nothing to curb CO2 since it allows China, for example, to keep on increasing its emissions. exhibit B, communism/socialism, which has failed everywhere it’s been fully implemented such as most recently Venezuela) what matters is that the left “feels good” about “doing something”. And because it’s all about the feelings, slogans and sound bites are all you need regardless how bogus those slogans are (for example: “97% consensus”, “Climate deniers”, “if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor”). Whereas the right is about facts and logic, which take more thought to consider than the length of a pithy slogan or witty sound bite. There are of course exceptions, not everyone on the left is a mindless virtue signaler and not everyone on the right is a logical thinker, even if it seems that way most of the time

  5. We should stop calling them “climate experts” they are zealots or rabbis – it is their religion not science and the sooner we accept this the better for all of us !!!

  6. Climate change, global warming, or whatever you want to call it really is a leftist’s political miracle. The ultimate power grab and the ultimate denial of responsibility for the failure of your politics all rolled up into one. How bad must it suck to be them and have it constantly just out of reach?

  7. David M. good one, i love your posts, OT a bit but a side note; the recent “Rise for climate change” march (Saturday), I have been viewing You Tube videos of the marches across the US and they all seem to be very small, compared to the climate march of 4 years ago. My how popular support for the cause has SHRUNK! It is hilarious. It shows we skeptics are winning.

    • Or it could be that all those people now have jobs thanks to a fossil fuel fueled, growing economy and can’t just go march endlessly anymore.

  8. “The worst drought in California history was 2011-2014, and NOAA concluded it was not due to climate change.”

    Make that recorded history. The paleo records indicate that recent droughts are pikers compared to ones that occurred during the Little Ice Age.

  9. By what mechanism could CO2 stop the Park Service from properly managing the forests? By what mechanism does CO2 cause 100 years of man-made fire prevention? Does CO2 vote for insane environmentalists to make policy?

  10. The virtue signaling for climate change in California is reaching a fever pitch. Now restaurants there are advertising “low carbon sustainable dining”. It can mean anything you want it to mean but basically there’s an ‘organization’ that measures the carbon components of the restaurant’s food sources and energy types used to cook it etc. then adds a “carbon offset” price to the item ordered. Who knows what they do with the money but to prove how wacko Californians are…… the restaurants are popular. Anyone that thinks climate change hysteria is going away soon is naive, they’ve only just begun the march to rid the planet of fossil fuel use.

    • If the restaurants are just keeping the money, it is truly genius. An interesting marketing strategy is to simply increase the price of a thing, which makes it more desirable due to perceived rarity or limitation of it. We all know people who buy things that are really expensive and exclusive, just to publicly exhibit their “success”.

      So it makes their food more expensive, while virtue signalling and giving the customer guilt assuagement. Win Win. At the same time, not actually performing any real service except for increasing the profits of the business. I approve. Stupidity should be expensive.

    • Anyone that thinks climate change hysteria is going away soon is naïve.

      I agree – they’ve created a religion. And they’re about to go full inquisition.

  11. It’s funny how alarmists will use satellite data when arguing that SLR is “accelerating”, but completely dismiss satellite data when it comes to Global Average Temp.

  12. I grew up overseas, mostly in the Levant. The Beeb was our primary news source. Secondary sources included Deutsche Welle, Radio Holland, Swiss Broadcasting and a few others, depending on propagation and propaganda levels. We did not trust VOA as they didn’t always supply the same facts as others. Somehow some things just didn’t get said. Once in a while Radio Moscow’s coverage of an event vs VOA’s version made one wonder if they were reporting from the same planet.

    To put an edge on this, I was in a boarding high school in Beirut during the Cuban missile crisis. As things unfolded we were huddled around my Hammarlund HQ-129 for more information. Each of us was wondering how we might ever get back to where our parents lived if things went bad. Sadly, our country’s ‘voice’ was not our news source of choice.

    Looks like nothing has changed since then.

    Tom Bakewell

  13. “I miss the good old days when it was Radio Free Europe.”
    _____________________________________________________
    .
    During the Cold War, Radio Free Europe (RFE) was broadcast to Soviet satellite countries and Radio Liberty (RL) targeted the Soviet Union. RFE was founded as an anti-communist propaganda source in 1949 by the National Committee for a Free Europe. RL was founded two years later and the two organizations merged in 1976.
    Budget: $108,414,000 (FY 16)
    Headquarters: Prague Broadcast Center
    Purpose: Broadcast Media
    Location: Prague, Czech Republic
    _____________________________________________________
    .
    I’d call that “Feindsender” – from US with love.

    Something Russia never answered vice versa to the US.

    / counterradio wostok anyone? /

  14. Citation VOA – USA

    “Climate Change Fuels California Fires”

    – “A warm atmosphere can hold more moisture, so there’s the potential for greater rainfall events, worse flooding,” Mann said. “A warm atmosphere so dries out the soils, causing drought.”

    He added, “You’re moving the probability curve, and at the tail of the curve are the extreme weather events.”

    – Mann, of the Earth System Science Center, said one of the most destructive storms in U.S. History, Hurricane Harvey on the Gulf Coast, released huge amounts of rainfall as it staged in Houston in 2017. He said, “You’re moving that over the course of weather patterns,” and at the tail of the curve are the extreme warm events. ”
    ___________________________________________________

    very fact-rich scientific statement:

    “You’re moving that probability curve over” on the graph of weather patterns, “and at the tail of the curve are the extreme warm events.”

    – if Mann says that 2 times

    then Mann must be 200% right.

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