Guest essay by Larry Hamlin
An L A Times article shown below revealed the results of a UCLA and University of Chicago study showing that:
“A nearly two-decade effort by Californians to cut their emissions of planet-warming carbon dioxide may have been erased by a single, devastating year of wildfires”
The article notes that “researchers estimated that about 127 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent were released by the fires, compared with about 65 million metric tons of reductions achieved in the previous 18 years.”
The Times article provided the usual climate alarmist hype that “climate change” is responsible for the California’s increased wildfire damage noting:
“Forests have long played a role in that system, with large trees sequestering carbon and helping to alleviate some emissions. But California’s new breed of climate-change-fueled fires are burning hotter and faster than those of the past, sometimes slowing the regrowth process and even converting some areas from coniferous trees into grasslands, shrubs and chaparral, the researchers said.”
However a 2021 prior WUWT article addressed the fact that year 2020 wildfire emissions likely wiped out the state AB 32 emissions reductions and also addressed in detail the huge state government forest management failures that have contributed to the states wildfire growth and increasing risks over the past decade with these critical failures hidden from view in the Times article. This prior WUWT article notes:
“California’s climate alarmists claim “climate change” is responsible for this wildfire outcome but an extensive 2018 California Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) report presents clear and compelling evidence demonstrating that decades of forest mismanagement by the state have in fact created the growing wildfire crisis.
The LAO report notes that increased fire risks are present throughout California driven by forest conditions that have been allowed by the state to develop for decades.”
Provided below are some of the highlights (or lowlights) of the state governments forest management failures that have led directly to increased wildfire growth and risks that have nothing to do with “climate change” as addressed in the states LAO analysis and presented in the prior WUWT article.
The need for forest mechanical thinning and prescribed burning was addressed as follows in the LAO report:
The LAO report noted the failure to deal with huge numbers of the state’s dead and dining trees as follows:
“In addition to increasing fire risk, overcrowded forests and the associated competition for resources can also make forests less resilient to withstanding other stressors. For example, trees in dense stands become more vulnerable to disease—including infestations of pests such as bark beetles—and less able to endure water shortages from drought conditions.
This vulnerability has been on display in recent years, as an estimated 129 million trees in California’s forests died between 2010 and 2017, including over 62 million dying in 2016 alone. While this is a relatively small share of the over 4 billion trees in the state, historically, about one million of California’s trees would die in a typical year. Moreover, most of the die‑off is occurring in concentrated areas. For example, the Sierra National Forest has lost nearly 32 million trees, representing an overall mortality rate of between 55 percent and 60 percent. When dead trees fall to the ground they add more dry combustible fuel for fires, as well as pose risks to public safety when they fall onto buildings, roads, and power lines.”
The LAO report addressed how these prior described failures contributed to increasing the state forests wildfire growth and risks noting:
The failure to deal with the need for increasing the declining timber harvesting also contributed to the states increasing wildfire risks with the LAO report noting:
“These trends are due to a variety of factors, including changes in state and federal timber harvesting policies. For example, several federal laws were passed in the 1970s that shifted the USFS’s forest management objectives away from production forestry and more toward conservation and ecosystem management. Those laws included the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)—which requires federal agencies to evaluate any actions that could have a significant effect on the environment—and the Endangered Species Act—which prohibits federal agencies from carrying out actions that might adversely affect a species listed as threatened or endangered. Environmental protection policies have also contributed to declines in private harvests, along with other factors.”
The Times article confirms the fact that California wildfire emissions in year 2020 wiped out the states 18 years of hugely costly efforts to reduce its emissions. It also suggests needs for the state to continue these efforts in the future with even more aggressive targets.
Such ridiculous hype completely ignores the complete irrelevance of California, or the U.S., or the EU or the UK from doing anything to reduce global emissions given that the world’s developing nations control global energy use and emissions, and these emissions will climb by billions of metric tons regardless of what the clueless climate alarmists claim.
Since the year 2003 as mentioned in the Times article for measuring the start of the state’s reductions global CO2 emissions have climbed by over 8.1 billion metric tons with the developing nations responsible for over 10.6 billion metric tons of increased emissions (compared to California’s pathic 67 million metric tons absent the states wildfire emissions) during this period. The combined efforts of the U.S., UK and EU during this period saw about 2 billion metric tons of reductions with this massively costly reduction meaning absolutely nothing on the global stage while driving up energy costs, lowering energy reliability and bringing havoc to the economies of the UK and EU which Biden and the Democrats are bringing to the U.S.
What a load of crap.