Wildfires Erase Years of Emissions Cuts

“The raging California wildfires of 2020 created enough carbon emissions to offset 16 years of reductions through the state’s green policies–twice over–according to a UCLA study published by Environmental Pollution. As Breitbart News reported at the time, the wildfire season in 2020 was so intense that smoke from the fires reached cities on the East Coast of the United States. The CalFIRE state agency describes the fires as follows: ‘The 2020 California wildfire season was characterized by a record-setting year of wildfires that burned across the state of California as measured during the modern era of wildfire management and record keeping. As of the end of the year, nearly 10,000 fires had burned over 4.2 million acres, more than 4% of the state’s roughly 100 million acres of land, making 2020 the largest wildfire season recorded in California’s modern history. California’s August Complex fire has been described as the first gigafire as the area burned exceeded 1 million acres.’ The study in Environmental Pollution, by two UCLA professors and one University of Chicago author, reports: ‘Viewed from the perspective of what this means for wildfire emission reductions from all other sectors combined, if we compare to reductions from 2003 to 2019 from 483 to 418 mmt CO2e, the likely amount of increase from the fires is close to double all the emission reductions achieved in the state from 2003 to 2019.’ In his book, Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters, Steven Koonin considered the scientific data and concluded that ‘whatever influence a changing climate might have had on wildfires globally in recent decades, human factors unrelated to climate were dominant.’”

“California Wildfires,” Breitbart, Mar. 1, 2023