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California governor’s attempt to link climate change and wildfires disputed by scientists

Monday, October 19th, 2015 7:59am MST

What do meteorologists know about climate change?It is a familiar refrain from climate change alarmists:  This latest wildfire (or hurricane or tornado or rain event) is the worst we have ever seen and manmade climate change is to blame.  The fact is though that these over-the-top claims rarely are true.

Certainly California has seen some devastating wildfires this season.  Governor Jerry Brown was quick to jump on the ‘blame climate change’ bandwagon.

With the Rocky Fire still smoldering in northern California, the governor used his bully pulpit to push his agenda:

“California is burning,” the governor dramatically declared. “What the hell are you going to do about it?

“This is a wake-up call. We have to start coming to our senses. This is not a game of politics. We need to limit our carbon pollution. These are real lives and real people. This problem cannot be solved year by year.”

“The fires are changing…. The way this fire performed, it’s not the way it usually has been. Going in lots of directions, moving fast, even without hot winds.”

Governor Brown’s statements do sound dire and make one believe that the wildfires and their behavior are unprecedented.  However, as the LA Times reported yesterday, the link between the blazes and climate change is tenuous at best.

But scientists who study climate change and fire behavior say their work does not show a link between this year’s wildfires and global warming, or support Brown’s assertion that fires are now unpredictable and unprecedented. There is not enough evidence, they say.

University of Colorado climate change specialist Roger Pielke said Brown is engaging in “noble-cause corruption.”

Pielke said it is easier to make a political case for change using immediate and local threats, rather than those on a global scale, especially given the subtleties of climate change research, which features probabilities subject to wide margins of error and contradiction by other findings.

“That is the nature of politics,” Pielke said, “but sometimes the science really has to matter.”

Historical fire suppression policies and land management are considered to be far larger concerns and are more likely to have contributed to the wildfires.

Wildfires are of course not the only natural disaster that gets blamed on climate change.  Indeed, many have blamed the Golden State’s drought on global warming but there is little evidence to back the claim.  In a study, NOAA said, “natural oceanic and atmospheric patterns are the primary drivers behind California’s ongoing drought.”

Despite the facts that show these events are cyclical and natural, you can be assured political leaders and activist scientists will continue to use them to push their climate change agenda.

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