Despite breathless climate reporting about ever-increasing fires

US fires burn 5-10x less today

Even with extreme warming, area burned will stay about same across century

Climate does increase burned area,

but zoning and forest management much more important

Refs in thread
Fire data 1960-2020 from…, plus NIFC 2020 estimate from Jan 2 2021

1926-1970 from Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970, L48-52

1900-2000 from Fire history and the global carbon budget,…
Climate change played a minor role in the wildfires that devastated California in the past three years, a panel of
experts said yesterday, blaming most on land management and development.
... 25% ...from climate change, and "75% is the way we manage lands…
Is the data back to 1926 credible? Yes, from US Historical Statistics, based on individual year national reporting (p554)…
Here is the critique and why it is just handwaving…
At time, fires were well-known

Here US deputy of Forest Service: "in recent years fires have burned about 40,000,000 acres annually— an area greater than that of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hamp shire, Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia combined."…
Here is Obama-era National 2010 Sustainability report using the burn data back to 1926, p113…
Sargent map from 1880, in report from 1884, definite underestimate (because many didn't report back)

insert, p491…
4.5-12% of California area likely used to burn *every* year before 1800

2020, the biggest burn year in the records, burned 4% of California (1.7Mha/4.25M acres)…
New York Times 1781, "the smoke was so dense that many persons thought the day of judgment had come"…
EPA burn estimate with RCP8.5 (unrealistically enormous coal-based future) and RCP4.5 (emissions reduced by 82% below RCP8.5 by 2100, 62% across total emissions, 2020-2100)

I show 11-year trailing averages of their 5-model averages…
Notice, that over next 80 years, fire burden will shift with some areas seeing more fire and others less…
17x more homes in high-risk areas from 1940-2050

US forest area has not decreased since 1900, actually slightly increased… (p7)

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More from @BjornLomborg

24 Jan
Breathless climate reporting tells of ever-more US fire

Urging strong CO₂ cuts

But US fires used to burn 5-10x more area every year in the early 1900s

Forest management and better zoning will help

CO₂ cuts will help only little

Why don't we hear this?

Refs below
To get the whole picture, including what happens with US fire in the future, if we cut CO₂ — and if we don't

(Includes refs)
Remember, globally, fire also burns much less since 1900:
Read 5 tweets
18 Jan
Despite breathless climate reporting of ever-more fire

Data: Burned area strongly declined

Realistic climate models: area continue to decline, worst-case in 2100 similar to today

Even strong climate policy (70% reduction) makes modest difference

Shouldn't this be reported?
Normally, we hear that climate will make fire area go through the roof

But that is based on climate-only models, ignoring CO₂ fertilization and population

Such simple climate-only models don't fit data at all…
To get to the lower blue line, we have to enact implausibly strong climate policies, cutting 70% of emissions in all countries over rest of century

Yet, the reduction impact in burned area is only equivalent to reduction seen last ten years
Read 10 tweets
17 Jan
Despite breathless climate reporting on ever-more fire

Total area burned across the world has *declined* over past 117 years

Reduced about 25% over last two decades alone

Shouldn't this be reported?…,,…
This trend is entirely uncontroversial, well known across all research, here from Science magazine,…

This is mostly because of more people (humans don't want fire near their houses) and more agriculture (farmers don't want their crops on fire)
Here is the historical reconstruction with explanations — notice that climate (direct temperature and moisture changes) has lead to *less* fire, but CO₂ fertilization has increased amount of green stuff that can burn…
Read 6 tweets
15 Jan
Despite breathless climate reporting warning us of ever more damaging extreme weather

US relative flood damage has strongly declined from 1903-2019, from 0.5% of GDP to 0.05% today

Update of fig 10,……
This fits well with global weather-related damages not increasing (actually slightly decreasing)
Climate scares based on breathless climate reporting can lead to bad decisions

Climate change a real problem, but we must be careful not — in panic — spending so many resources, the cure is costlier than the affliction

Read my peer-reviewed article:…
Read 4 tweets
13 Jan
Dear Greta,

Worth taking these 'predictions' with a bucket-full of salt

One of the lead authors, Paul Ehrlich, has been predicting the imminent end of mankind for 50+ years, here from CBS national news in 1970

(from PBS…)
Yes, climate is a problem, but not the end of the world

UN estimates the cost of climate change in 2070s equivalent to losing 0.2-2% of income

In UN middle scenario: instead of each person being 3.63x as rich, we will 'only' be 3.56x as rich… Image
At the same time, the UN expects us to live much longer, have much better educations

- and inequality will drop dramatically, possibly below the levels 200 years ago

You can read about this and much more in my peer-reviewed… Image
Read 4 tweets
6 Jan
Breathless climate reporting told us of an extraordinary 2020 hurricane season

Yes. It was extraordinary. Extraordinarily *weak*

Globally 2020 was one of the weakest in past 40 years

Accumulated Cyclone Energy was 76% of average (1980-2010)

Update of…
But we were told of 2020 'record' hurricanes?

Yes, in North Atlantic

But most climate reporting conveniently left out:

much lower hurricane energy in Western Pacific+Eastern Pacific

lower energy in Southern Hemisphere, Nothern Hemisphere and Global…
We have data back to 1970, but before satellites (~1980), it is probably undercounted. Moreover, 1970s and 1980s were relative hurricane lulls, so starting there can give a spurious upward trend

Still, 2020 was a very un-active year
Read 8 tweets

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