Climate Change

Is Climate Change Making Australia's Bushfires Worse?

Maybe. Here's the evidence we have so far.

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"Australia is committing climate suicide," declares the headline of a New York Times op-ed. An op-ed in The Washington Post similarly admonishes, "Australia's apocalyptic fires are a warning to the world." Apocalyptic as a descriptor is not far off for the folks experiencing the fires in southeastern Australia that have burned 15.6 million acres (an area about the size of West Virginia) and killed 24 people so far.

"Australia is a fire continent," states Arizona State University environmental historian Stephen Pyne in his (2015) book World Fire: The Culture of Fire on Earth. A 2009 report to the Australian Senate confirmed Pyne's moniker when it noted that "about 50 million hectares [123 million acres] of land are burned across Australia each year on average and about 80% of fire-affected areas are in northern savanna regions."

In any case, is man-made climate change a significant contributor to the current conflagration?

Certainly, the last year in Australia has been one of the hottest and driest on record.

Australia's weather patterns are driven in part by the Indian Ocean Dipole—a phenomenon in which hotter and cooler water sloshes back and forth between the east coast of Africa and the western islands of Indonesia. During its positive phase warmer water near east Africa produces lots of rain there while cooler water near Indonesia dries out Australia. In the past year or so, the IOD has been in an unusually strong positive phase, reaching record values for at least the past 60 to 80 years. The result has been widespread drought Down Under.

Widespread drought

November rainfall was the lowest on record for Australia, according to the country's Bureau of Meteorology. The southeastern state of New South Wales experienced record low rainfall in 2019.

New South Wales Drought

Is climate change contributing to the current outbreak of fires? A September 2019 article by two Australian researchers in the journal PLoS One notes that the trend in the McArthur Forest Fire Danger Index has been rising since 1973. The index assesses dryness, based on rainfall and evaporation, along with temperature, humidity, and wind speed. After taking into consideration the effects of various global weather oscillations, the researchers propose that "anthropogenic climate change is the primary driver of the trend, through both higher mean temperatures and potentially through associated shifts in large-scale rainfall patterns." They specifically note that rise in the fire danger index is strongest in southeastern Australia, and that is exactly where the fires have been worst this year.

Of course, fires need fuel. Landscape management for fire prevention, specifically using prescribed burning to reduce fuel loads in the Australian bush, is controversial. In the wake of devastating fires in 2009, a royal commission issued a report that recommended raising the target of burning across all public lands from 1.7 to 5 percent annually in the southeastern state of Victoria where massive fires are currently burning. The state never met that goal. The current outbreak has torched around 3 million acres in that state so far.

As Wired observes there is an ongoing "tension in Australia between pro-fire foresters and urban environmentalists who lamented the destructive potential of fire, for wildlife in particular." Sadly, University of Sydney environmental scientist Chris Dickman estimates that at least 480 million animals have been killed by the fires.

The fire disaster has predictably been used by climate activists to cudgel Australian politicians, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who oppose deep cuts in their country's greenhouse gas emissions. (And it certainly didn't help that Morrison went on vacation to Hawaii as the fire emergency intensified.) But as the politicians correctly point out, man-made global warming is a global commons problem. Australia's greenhouse gas emissions amount to only about 1.3 percent of the annual global total, so cutting all of them would have essentially no impact on warming trends. On the other hand, as politicians like Morrison observe, the economic impacts of steep immediate emissions cuts would not be negligible.

The good news is that some rain has now fallen in southeastern Australia as the IOD has shifted into its neutral phase. However, Australian authorities expect only a brief reprieve from the recent rains and cooler temperatures.

As the world likely continues to warm over the course of this century, it is clear that Australians will need to be more vigorously proactive in managing their wild landscapes to ameliorate future fire risks.

NEXT: Iran's Foreign Minister: 'We Do Not Seek Escalation or War'

Climate Change Australia Wildfires

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171 responses to “Is Climate Change Making Australia's Bushfires Worse?

  1. “tension in Australia between pro-fire foresters and urban environmentalists who lamented the destructive potential of fire, for wildlife in particular.”

    “Muh feelz” wins over “trust the experts”.

    and are there really “anti-fire foresters”?

    1. The same shit is happening in the Western US, especially on public land. See California for and Washington state for perfect examples.

      1. It used to be policy for decades, then we wised up. The ecosystem needs regular fires for the health of forests. Some species of pine can only reproduce through forest fires. Unfortunately we let the underbrush and crap build up too much. So ordinary fires become raging fire storms.

        But we we were doing better until the Clinton years when the policy turned around to stop all fires. Then California got a bark beetle infestation that left a LOT of dead trees waiting for a match.

        Forestry management in the US has been a disaster. Not as bad in Washington where a lot of the forest lands are private and thus maintained (thanks Koch brothers). But in California where 99% of forest land is Federal, the state is just a giant powder keg waiting for a careless cigarette tossed out a car window.

        1. Washington States fires have been far worse than Idaho, despite Idaho having more public land. Maybe because Idaho hasn’t regulated our livestock and timber industry into non existence like Washington has.

        2. You don’t have anything to worry about Brandybuck… it’s against the law to throw a cigarette out the window in California.

    2. Smokey

      1. It would establish trends. A single data point doesn’t provide a good picture of current trends. Australia was wetter than average two years ago. And has been for most of the last decade. Growing about a single data point undermines the larger argument on Climate Change. It is happening BTW, but not at the rate nor impact that has been predicted.

        1. Yes. Look at the water anomaly graph. Before 1950 it’s almost all red – low water. After 1950 it’s about even. AGW supposedly started in about 1950. So AGW can only be causing MORE rainfall if it is having any impact at all. So we have conclusive, irrefutable proof from this article alone that AGW is not causing fires.

    3. Tons. Its actually the dominant management philosophy right now. Though signs are showing that that is breaking. Australia was already shifting (just before the latest fire outbreaks) to a more aggressive fuel management paradigm.

  2. I notice this article wanders freely between ‘man made climate change’, ‘climate change’, and plain old extra dry weather.
    As is usual.

    1. All the direct surface climate data starts at 1900, which pretty specifically limits your scope to the post-industrial climate and, rather nakedly, exposes a/the underlying Observer Effect paradox/oxymoron.

      1. Per the googles, several seemingly authoritative sources stated that 1880 is the first year that is used. Now I’m not a scientist or a historian, but Krakatoa erupted in 1883, and the resulting ash cloud caused a big dip in global temp. So unless that artificial low is adjusted for, it would seem to me that all the comparisons of temperature increases from that time period would be off, no? I have no idea where to even find this type of info. Completely outside of my area, but I’ve never seen it brought up or discussed anywhere. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong places.

        1. 1880 is as about as far back as any stationary, vaguely-reliable thermometers go. But when you’re looking at 1880, you have very few data points. Data points get added in, and many numbers get extrapolated from the nearest data available.

          Additionally, a number of thermometers that were outside of urban areas 120 years ago are now solidly inside of urban heat islands. Rather than throwing these numbers out, these numbers are averaged in with the other numbers, so that the urban heat island effect is blending in with generalized climate warming.

          Good information has been available since the satellites went up 30 years ago.

          1. 1979, not 1989.

            1. I still think of that as being 30 years ago. Christ, I’m getting old.

          2. Temperature measurement is not nearly as vague as many people infer. Weather thermometers are precision instruments subject to calibration. It is also normal to use multiple instruments which are compared with each other as well as with a standard.

            I am old enough to have been one of the people who took thousands of weather measurements using old fashioned instruments. Calibration was always an essential part of the process. Not just thermometers, but barographs , hygrometers, and anemometers. Instrument placement was also carefully considered. Thermometers were always located in shaded areas away from anything that would radiate heat or subject it to abnormal cold.

            I am confident that temperature measurements taken in 1950, 1850, or even earlier indicate exactly what the temperature was at that time. The urban heat island issue would not be a good reason to alter older readings down.

            And it is certainly no appropriate to discard decades or centuries of measurements because they fail to show the trends that you wish them to show.

            1. Temperature measurement is not nearly as vague as many people infer.

              Good thing no one said anything about them being vague. Thermometers are very good at measuring temperature at the location of the thermometer.

              We have some spots where data goes back as far as the 1880s or so, but those spots are few and far between, and are mostly in Europe and the eastern United States.

              The moment we got completely apples-to-apples data on global temperatures was when the satellites went up 30 40 years ago.

              The urban heat island issue would not be a good reason to alter older readings down.

              Good thing no one is suggesting altering older readings. But why include them in the aggregated data when we know they’re going to show localized warming that we’re specifically not looking for?

              And it is certainly no appropriate to discard decades or centuries of measurements because they fail to show the trends that you wish them to show.

              Good thing no one’s suggested that we should. And frankly I don’t feel like I’m the one who came here wanting the data to show a certain thing.

          3. “*Good* information has been available since the satellites went up 30 years ago.”

            The advantage of the ground data is that we’ve got reams and reams of it. Tens of thousands of monitoring stations world-wide, which makes calibration pretty easy.

            Additionally, if you do something like add some pavement next to your monitoring station, it shows up as a jump in temperature. Even if you don’t have notes indicating a change in the local environment (as we often do), you can statistically detect these changes and remove them.

            For satellites, on the other hand… most of the satellites we get our data from were not designed to measure temperature. They are subject to orbital decay, which skews the results by changing when the measurements are taken. And to interpret an optical measurement in terms of temperature, you have to make some pretty extensive assumptions about what kinds of clouds were present. We generally only had one satellite up there at at time measuring this stuff, so we didn’t have *any* capacity to calibrate them to each other, which is a major flaw.

            The result is that the satellite data is not very trustworthy at all, and the two main satellite series do not agree with each other and keep having major revisions as the scientists try to address these issues.

            If we’d flown satellites designed for measuring temperatures, that’d be another story, but… we didn’t. But the surface temperature series, with their tons and tons of data, are pretty rigorous.

            We’ve since added new surface temperature monitoring stations in “pristine” locations, and they show very good agreement with the existing temperature series.

      2. the post-industrial climate

        Prior to the mid 20th century there was not enough CO₂ in the atmosphere to cause climate change, according to climate change theory. See https://judithcurry.com/2015/11/16/400-years-of-warming/

        This raises the question of the early warming period, from 1910-1940, which accounts for ~40% of the total observed warming since 1900. Why do we say that current warming does not have the same causes?

    2. To be fair, man made climate change **IS* still climate change.

  3. Trump is responsible for ALL climate change, ever.

    And climate change causes everything – rising ocean levels, non-rising ocean levels, shrinking glaciers, growing glaciers, droughts, monsoons, lack of snow, blizzards, cold spells, heat waves, abnormally high hurricane seasons, abnormally low hurricane seasons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, even increased prostitution.

    I know all this is true because every single one has been blamed on climate change by reputable scientists, who of course are infallible.

    1. All I care about is Climate Change responsible for blowing the PI call that should have been called against the 49ers during the last Seahawks-Niners game?

      1. Ask New Orleans
        They’re the experts

    2. AR: Is Trump mentioned in this article anywhere?

      1. Ron, TDS comes in many forms.

        1. “chemjeff radical individualist
          January.7.2020 at 6:07 pm
          When your response consists of an insult, I know I’ve hit the mark”

          So you’re saying I’m the most correct person on this board for over a decade?

          Keep running, I enjoy watching you flee.

      2. Don’t engage with the trolls, it just encourages them.

        1. Yes, only engaging dumbass sycophants is worthwhile!

          1. I mean, that way you never have to respond to legitimate criticisms.
            Makes being a “science” author much easier

        2. Just censor them.

      3. “It’s Trump fault” is implied in EVERY Reason article, implicitly or explicitly.

        Those two neutron stars merging that were recently detected? Trump’s fault.

        Cat’s bombing at the box office? Trump’s fault.

        Ghengis Khan? Trump’s fault.

        If you keep that simple rule in mind at all times, you, too, can be a writer for Reason.

        1. LEAVE TRUMP ALONE!

          1. “chemjeff radical individualist
            January.7.2020 at 6:07 pm
            When your response consists of an insult, I know I’ve hit the mark”

            So you’re saying I’m the most correct person on this board for over a decade?

            Funny you won’t answer, because you know it’ll make you look bad. But fleeing makes you look worse.

            1. Why are you back? Run out of kiddie porn?

              1. Krugman has it all now.

      4. Sarc meter broken, Ron?

  4. There is a species of bird in Australia that actively spreads fire to help in hunting for prey. Several species of plants can not reproduce unless there is fire. Fires happen, especially in Australia.
    Anti-fire environmentalists in the US have used influence with the Forestry Service to allow the build-up of understory growth to the point that any fire gets huge. California Indians used to start fires to promote grasslands, where there is greater productivity of game. East coast forests used to have very little understory for the same reasons.

      1. There’s a joke somewhere in here about wind turbines killing two birds…

      2. Of course. It’s Australia. The Florida Man of nations.

        1. LOL
          So true

  5. Look, climate is something measured on the scale of centuries. The data shown barely reach that scale, and thus at most offer 2 data points. And despite what they teach in business school, putting a straight line through 2 data points is not a robust way to predict the future.

    1. I would like a longer sample than 1961 as a starting point.

      What was it like before that date? Say, 1900 to now?

      I know in the U.S. they do this all the time. ‘It’s the hottest on record since….1950!’ Completely neglecting how hot the 30s were.

      1. “I would like a longer sample than 1961 as a starting point. ”

        That won’t change the fact that 2019 was the hottest and driest year on record. This means that the conditions in the 1930s (or any other period when records were kept) were cooler and wetter.

        1. Yes but I’d still like to see the data.

          1. It would be nice if you could simply type in say, beginning ending dates, average temperature, location, and then get an appropriate chart.

        2. But what about 1919? 1819? 819?

          As for wetter, the data shown in the graphs have no trend. If anything, more wet years have occurred since 1970. Any conclusion based on 1919 is bullshit.

          1. “But what about 1919? 1819? 819?”

            Scientists use proxies for dates like 819 when no direct measurements survive. Tree rings and things.

  6. Australia has been markedly wetter since 1950, so no, climate change is not making Australia dryer.

    One year’s dry weather does not turn 70 years’ wet weather into a drought.

    1. But 70 years of wet, paired with decreased forest and grass management and an unusually dry year does equal much larger and numerous fires. But it must be AGW.

      1. Yes, always. I live in a forest fire area in northern California. If it rains too much, “Climate Change made more fuel!”. If it doesn’t rain enough, “Climate Change dried out more fuel!”

        1. If the climate models are to be believed places like the Great Plains and Australia will likely be wetter on average with short periods of intense drought. To some extent we are already seeing that. We had record rainfall in Northeast Montana last year, three years ago we had a record flash drought that was proceeded by numerous wetter than average years.

          1. A norther California weather man said records are broken every day of every year.
            But everyone wants to compare todays records with yesteryears averages. we need to compare yesteryear averages with future years averages which we can’t do

    2. Hi SQRLSY

  7. Nothing about the arsonists who started many of the fires?

    1. They too are caused by man made climate change – – – – – – – –

      1. Except they were girls.

        1. How do you know?
          There is no longer girls / boys / any other damn thing.
          Some people did something.

    2. 97% of all fires are caused by human activity. either arson or faulty equipment to lawn mowing mistakes or camp fires etc…

      1. Doesn’t surprise me. Remember when Toyota was shaken down by the Obama administration with the brake trouble even though it was eventually attributed to…..human error. Or stupidity.

      2. Maybe in some areas, that 97% number is true. Or maybe if you include every time a human lights a cigarette or turns on the stove as “a fire”.

        As a general statement, though, no that’s not true. The majority of wildfires worldwide are still caused by lightning.

        1. A recent Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper looking at the US over the period 1992-2012 found that 84% of fires and 44% of area burned were due to human causes. Lightning was 16% and 56%.

          https://www.pnas.org/content/114/11/2946

    1. Replacing them or “climate changing” them? Are they wearing the appropriate amount of climate change flare when climate changing the signs?

      1. You can forgive them for jumping the gun. After Miami and New York went under water in 2012, that seemed like a safe bet.

        Wait…..

    2. Climate change activists are basically the scientific equivalent of the tourist trap shops that are always having “going out of business” sales

    3. Still the end of the world though, if the article is to be believed. Lol

    4. In several decades they will be mostly gone. They will grow so small that they will disappear. They will certainly be gone before the end of the century,” Dan Fagre, the study’s lead scientist, had said.

      Predictions are moved much farther into the future and become vague as they are repeatedly proven false.

    5. My God! That article was hilarious!!! And the poor little bureaucrats say they don’t have enough money to change the signs (they could take out some money from the transgender restrooms budget, but whatever). The solution is simple and almost free. All they need to do is take a permanent marker and cross out the 2020, and write in a new date. When that date goes by, cross it out and add a new, revised date. As long as there’s space on the sign, they could do that for frigging-ever.

    6. The glaciers in Glacier National Park are not gone, it’s true. But the total glacier area has shrunk by 70% since the 1960s, and they continue to shrink rapidly.

      The prediction may have been too extreme, but it was more correct than incorrect.

  8. I see. Record low rainfall is a sign of anthropogenic climate change.

    Here in the midwest, we had record high levels of precipitation in 2019. Does that mean there is no anthropogenic climate change? Or is that just another sign of it?

    Ron, can someone put a number on what the appropriate amount of rainfall is for our earth to stay in balance? That way, I’ll know how to react to any deviation from the norm.

    1. Everything is a sign of anthropocentric climate change. That’s how conspiratorial thinking works.

    2. Under warming, arid regions are expected to get more arid, while wet areas are expected to get wetter. Australia is an arid region.

      Basically, the Hadley Cells are expected to expand as temperature goes up and the air can hold more water. But when it rises and cools, it’ll drop more of that extra water, and when it re-descends in the arid regions, it’s relative humidity will be lower.

  9. global warming gives arsonists twitchy trigger fingers…

    1. I,W: And higher temperatures and drier conditions certainly do make arson easier to commit.

      1. And higher temperatures and drier conditions certainly do make arson easier to commit.

        Arson capital of the world: Death Valley?

        1. m.c: And trees, brush, and grass.

      2. also a lack of forest management and people maintaining their own property. during the camp fire the fire department was knocking down wood fences between homes since it was the path way for the fire in many areas.
        I tell my clients do not store stuff next to the house and keep all lawn furniture and bbq’s and gas powered lawn equipment clear of the house min 10′

      3. Without disputing climate change claims, I still think that poor management practices and excessive fuel load are a much larger risk factor.
        Even if the temperatures were five degrees lower than usual, high fuel load would lead to more severe fires.

        But, if there is any good news, it will be that many of those burned areas will be healthier next year than last. Of course the high fuel loads mean that in many areas larger trees will be harmed that would have been unaffected otherwise.

  10. Of course, fires need fuel. Landscape management for fire prevention, specifically using prescribed burning to reduce fuel loads in the Australian bush, is controversial.

    So, maybe the fires are 1% worse because of climate change? I mean Australia was using aggressive fuel management techniques for tens of thousands of years before Europeans showed up. The Aborigines lit fires everywhere. Even used them in warfare.

    Australians were using them all the way up into the 1990’s – when the greens decided OMG! CO2! and stopped it. Now look at the place. These fires aren’t climate change related. They’re ‘put fires out as fast as possible and ensure that tons of burnable stuff builds up’ related.

    1. Same as in California.

      1. And Washington State.

    2. The fires are exacerbated by climate change alarmism.

    3. ” I mean Australia was using aggressive fuel management techniques for tens of thousands of years before Europeans showed up. The Aborigines lit fires everywhere. Even used them in warfare. ”

      This sentence makes no sense. How could there have been warfare before the Europeans showed up? As we all know, Europeans are the only people who wage war. All other peoples are sitting around the campfire singing Kumbaya.

  11. I don’t understand, Ron. The Annual Rainfall graph shows way less rainfall 1900-1945 or so. Was that global warming? If so, what happened afterwards?

    1. This is by far the most underrated question of this whole situation? Is it getting wetter in NSW and is that also considered to be a result of the claimed man made global warming?

      1. The inability of the AGW crowd to explain the rapid warming from 1910-1940 should tell you everything you need to know.

  12. 2021 is less than a year away. Where’s my at least Level 4 autonomous vehicle, Ron? Tick Tock.

    1. bs: Well, there is this, and this.” But point taken.

  13. If these fires are evidence of global warming, then dopes not snow on the Grapevine in November constitute evidence against global warming?

  14. As I understand it, Australia has been following the same moronic environmental policies that have been turning California into charcoal; no controlled fires, no brush removal, stop all fires up to the one that won’t be stopped for anything and then wring your hands and blame everything EXCEPT the policies responsible.

    1. That’s the government approved plan!

      Let’s put the government in charge of even more of the economy!

  15. knowing all those awesomely cute Australian animals are dying is making it worse.

    1. But, all of those gigantic deadly spiders are dying too. There’s always an upside.

      1. Hi, thank you for giving me this.

        “chemjeff radical individualist
        January.7.2020 at 6:07 pm
        When your response consists of an insult, I know I’ve hit the mark”

        So you’re saying I’m the most correct person on this board for over a decade?

      2. no i love spiders too.

  16. In the US, the number of wildfires has been decreasing (it peaked in the ’80s), but acres burned per fire has increased.

    AGW or land management?

    NIFC Stats

    1. >>it peaked in the ’80s

      Smokey’s lesson lost.

  17. Ron:
    Looking at the first charts you present, the trend does certainly appear to show rising temperatures. But, for rainfall, since 1974 there are a lot more years with more than average rainfall (and higher amounts of rainfall) than previous to that. And 2019 looks like a huge outlier.

  18. re: “Is Climate Change Making Australia’s Bushfires Worse?”

    I invoke Betteridge’s Law.

    1. I’ve never heard of that. Bullseye.

  19. Unfortunately, the climate cult has totally lost their shit and will not be satisfied with any solution short of the complete shutdown of the capitalist system and near extinction of the human species (except for prog elites like themselves who of course have zero carbon footprint). Proposing any kind of solution like geo engineering, land management, or nuclear power automatically makes you the enemy-they don’t want solutions, they want us to pay for our carbon sin.

  20. Is climate change making the fires worse? No. Environmentalists made the fires worse and arsonists *started* the fires. It’s been dry for a few months, but it’s no drier than it’s been at several other times before the 1960s. It’s also not especially hot: from 1899 to 1901 the mean maximum temperature for December was well over 38C. “Climate change” neither caused nor started nor worsened the fires. People did, through enviro-loon assholery that forbids forest management, but mainly through arson: 183 people have been arrested since the start of this year’s brushfire season. Of course saying you’re against arson is like saying you’re against shaking babies: There’s no virtue-signaling value to it. Sucking eco-loon dick while preening about how impartially you’re weighing “evidence” is so much more satisfying than writing an article that includes some fucking facts.

  21. I close my eyes and image Tony and Bailey hiding under a urine soaked blanket.

  22. I’d prefer to wait for an autistic truant to weigh in on this matter before I make up my mind.

    1. Are you REALLY that interested in what Tulpa has to say?

      1. He called and you appeared.

        Also, “chemjeff radical individualist
        January.7.2020 at 6:07 pm
        When your response consists of an insult, I know I’ve hit the mark”

        So you’re saying I’m the most correct person on this board for over a decade?

        1. I mean, you JUST insulted me right there, so by your own logic you know I’m hitting the mark.

          Of course, you’re afraid to admit that. Or that your initial premise was, wrong.

    2. “I’d prefer to wait ”

      A younger generation will have to sort this out. Old folks have too much invested in the status quo to contribute much to the discussion.

      Do you know, by the way, if the reluctance to employ controlled fires is related to urban and residential areas encroaching on hitherto wild forests? I believe this is true in California, and note that south eastern Australia is where the population is densest.

      1. Do you know, by the way, if the reluctance to employ controlled fires is related to urban and residential areas encroaching on hitherto wild forests?

        That’s part of it, yes. I had a friend who worked in the Forestry Service in CA about 20 years ago, and she said one of the biggest problems getting permission to do controlled burns is getting buy-in from nearby property owners.

        However, the federally-owned land in CA is largely pretty remote, and has its own policy and implementation troubles.

        1. I would also be very concerned if forest managers were preparing to have a controlled forest fire next to my acreage, especially in conditions of high temperature, high wind and drought.

          1. Me, too. It’s a tough problem to address. Blaming everything on Climate Change isn’t likely to help, though.

            1. “Blaming everything on Climate Change isn’t likely to help, though.”

              Not until the old folks with most invested in the status quo die off or become irrelevant. Younger people seem much more open to blaming everything on Climate Change.

              1. Younger people seem much more open to blaming everything on Climate Change.

                Agreed. But that’s still not helpful when the problems are being caused by things other than Climate Change.

              2. Hence the phrase: “Young and stupid”.

                1. The young may lack wisdom but I think they are at their peak intellectually. Mastering a language, a musical instrument, or memorizing an entire book of chess games can most easily done by preteens. Einstein contributed all his notable work by the time he was 30, I think, and contributed little after that, though I’m hardly in a position to judge – except that outlived him.

  23. Take a look at the effects of invasive plant species as well. WattsUpWithThat recently had a couple articles on the changing flora in fire-prone parts of the US and how they change the risk for fire. Essentially, they thrive then die out sooner than native plants, leaving lots of fuel behind during vulnerable times of the year. A quick online search pulls up similar concerns in Australia.

  24. Some thoughts.

    Well, duh, Jennifer Aniston said ‘make no mistake about it’ that climate change is the culprit. You wouldn’t question her right?

    Has anyone thought to wonder or ask what happens to the Wonder Twins and their ability to form ‘an ice bucket’ or some other icy thing?

    And yeh no. This climate hysteria is like the Iran escalation war hype. It’s all sensationalizing ‘muh climate gonna kill us’ jibber-jabber.

    To be perfectly honest, I’ve just about had it with these boneheads. Up here, the resident clown asshole has used five – FIVE – fricken planes to jet-set his family back and forth between Costa Rrrrrica and Canada. And just to make sure people don’t forget, the planes have ‘Trudeau’ emblazoned on them.

    Meanwhile, this jerk off is hamfisting an enormously unpopular (to the high info people) carbon tax across the country. He, like all political elites and celebrities like Lenny Dee-Capree-O, expect YOU AND ME to change our habits and lower or standards.

    If you think for one second they’re gonna stop eating filet mignon, you’re a fool; a buffoon; a naif, a useful idiot who deserves what you get: Malk filled with Vitamin R.

    Real pieces of hypocritical shit these people.

    1. Yes, most of the most prominent climate change activists are a bunch of hypocrites. They don’t realize how much they are hurting their own cause by not practicing what they preach to any significant extent.

      1. I think people are wisening up to this fact.

        The Yellow Vest protestors, as I understand it, started out as farmers and truckers and people who trek long distances for work or transporting or goods or whatever, angry at the spike in fuel costs because of the carbon tax.

        Macron and his Brie and foie gras eating pals won’t feel it but the pinch will be felt by the ‘rust belt’ folks. Who the elites clearly loathe anyway.

        So fuck ’em, amirite?

        1. Hey! Leave delicious Brie and foie gras out of this!

          1. Brie is inoffensive. But foie gras is literally Hitler.

            1. Delicious, delicious Hitler!

              Especially served on toasted brioche points with red onion confit and a nice Sauternes.

              1. I know people love it. The first (and last time) I had it was during the holidays in Paris visiting family. I was like Jerry with the mutton.

        2. “Macron and his Brie and foie gras eating pals won’t feel it but the pinch will be felt by the ‘rust belt’ folks.”

          Fortune will favor the wealthy, the educated, the young and the mobile. The FOX viewers – the older, the less educated, the dispossessed – will obviously suffer the brunt of profound changes in climate or society.

        3. Yeah they are hypocrites. What else is new.

    2. “If you think for one second they’re gonna stop eating filet mignon, you’re a fool”

      Politicians are even more susceptible to society’s prohibitions and taboos than the rest of us. Once upon a time politicians did most of their important work in ‘smoke filled rooms.’ These days they enjoy a smoke free working environment, and avoid being photographed smoking or injecting drugs, thanks to these taboos.

  25. On a somewhat environmentally related note:
    If you want to understand the anti-plastic hysteria that is gripping the nation (on and off), watch the movie A Plastic Ocean. It is a documentary on Netflix that I randomly got roped into watching. It is definitely slanted, in the direction you’d expect, but it will give insight as to why people actually think it’s a good idea to ban plastic straws and the like. It is quite sad to see what is happening to marine life, particularly sea birds – they scoop water (containing tiny plastic bits) out of the ocean, fly back to their nests, feed their young, and the plastic accumulates in the little birds until their stomachs are literally full of nothing but plastic, they can’t eat, and die.

    1. “If you want to understand the anti-plastic hysteria”

      I think I have a good handle on this hysteria. I’d like to understand why there is not nearly as much hysteria over single use aluminum cans, which have a big impact and can be easily replaced by returnable glass bottles.

      1. Aluminum cans are also returnable. Aluminum and glass have been recycled for decades because it consumes less resources to recycle glass and aluminum than it does to produce either material new, and so there is profit in recycling them.

        Plastic is just the opposite.

        1. “Aluminum cans are also returnable. ”

          According to my sources (aluminum industry associations), less than half of the potentially recyclable aluminum is actually recycled. Not a very encouraging result considering aluminum is the poster child for recycling, far far more efficient than paper or plastic recycling.

          1. Perspective. You are also saying that nearly half of all potentially recyclable alluminum is actually recycled. This is not were near true for most “recyclables” (Lead and Glass excepted, as I point aout below)

            1. That’s exactly what I’m saying. You can check if you don’t want to take my word for it.

              Copper also has a good rep among recyclers, as well, I’m led to understand. It’s so valuable that criminals have taken to stripping vacant houses of their wiring.

          2. So given that aluminum is imminently recyclable and that nearly half of all aluminum is recycled, why should hysteria over aluminum cans be equal to that over plastic bottles?

            Aluminum also doesn’t break up into micro-pieces that float.

            1. “why should hysteria over aluminum cans be equal to that over plastic bottles?”

              Processing aluminum is decidedly carbon non-neutral. This is something today’s youngsters are concerned about.

              1. I am telling you, watch the movie. It didn’t get into at all about the economics or energy costs of recycling. It was slanted and emotional (think of the poor birds). There are good economic reasons to recycle aluminum and not plastic. The movie doesn’t get into this sort of thing at all. Watch the movie if you want to understand why straw-banning is a thing.

                1. I hate to think of what birds put up with. Now is the time the rose breasted grossbeaks pass through. The past few years 3 have stopped by for a couple months in the garden and feasted on crushed corn offerings. This year only one has appeared.

                  1. They were probably shredded by wind turbines or roasted in a concentrated-solar power plant. So many birds are these days.

                    1. More likely they succumbed to cats or respiratory ailments from breathing polluted air. I’m still hoping the little guys will show up soon. They stick together and stand their ground against much bigger, less endearing species.

              2. Processing aluminum is decidedly carbon non-neutral.

                As is re-processing plastic. Moreso, actually. So back to the original question.

                1. “As is re-processing plastic.”

                  I’m sure you’re right, though I’m not sure comparing re-processing plastic and aluminum is a fair comparison, given the intense energy inputs required to turn bauxite into aluminum in the first place. My sense is that producing plastic has a less energy intensive chain of production, and re-usable glass bottle less still. Maybe some science editor out there can set me straight.

        2. Indeed, Aluminum, Glass and Lead, are consistently three of the most recycled materials (at least in the U.S.)

      2. There is a functional market for aluminum recycling. There isn’t one for plastic recycling. Whatever market exists is heavily subsidized.

        Furthermore aluminum won’t float on the ocean surface and be consumed by sea birds, so it’s less of an *obvious* environmental problem at least as far as the oceans go.

        1. I understand your point, but I’m not trying to detract from the message of the film, just wondering aloud why plastic gets all the attention and aluminum none. Replacing single use aluminum cans with returnable glass bottles seems like an inevitable step to me. It’s an environmental measure that could even contribute to more jobs and economic growth. Reusable drinking vessels have been a thing since before the days of Gilgamesh, so the transition back to glass bottles shouldn’t be too traumatic. They have different shapes, colors, and textures – they are so versatile in many ways compared to aluminum which has an alien industrial feel too it.

          1. Bottles break and the shards are sharp. That’s the reason so many were replaced with plastic and aluminum. It takes a bit more effort to cut yourself with “broken” aluminum and even more to do it with plastic.

            And, while the can may be single use, the aluminum can be recycled endlessly. Plus, it doesn’t need to be sorted according to type the way glass does.

            1. “Bottles break and the shards are sharp. That’s the reason so many were replaced with plastic and aluminum.”

              This is cultural. Wine bottles have always been glass and have never been replaced in any meaningful sense by plastic or aluminum. Beer has been stored in re-usable glass bottles for centuries. Personally I prefer beer in glass as aluminum somehow imparts a different taste to the stuff while glass seems more neutral. Glass is heavier, no doubt. A case of 24 bottles of any liquid required two hands, where I suppose 24 cans is a one hander. My impression is that aluminum cans cool faster, but doesn’t that also imply that glass bottles stay cool longer?

              It can be recycled over and over but usually it’s not. And even when it is recycled, I think it still makes a sizable contribution to carbon emissions. My guess is that recycling paper and other materials makes less.

    2. The USA is #12 in the world in oceanic plastic waste. What we contribute is the proverbial drop in the bucket.

      https://www.statista.com/chart/12211/the-countries-polluting-the-oceans-the-most/

      1. The movie also points this out. The US is not the major culprit, not by a long shot. It is mainly southeastern Asian countries.

        Pointing that out though doesn’t actually solve the problem though.

        1. Nor does banning plastic straws in California. That is my point.

          Woke-scolding in the US solves nothing, but no one is willing to go after the real problem, because frankly, those countries don’t care and it won’t get you press, money and praise.

  26. Just like Mad Max predicted.

    1. In the before time… the long, long ago?

  27. Why yes, I do think that ClimateChange(tm) is making Australia’s Eco-Terrorism problem worse.

  28. No mention of the part played by the nearly 200 Firebugs that have been arrested in Australia since these fires started.
    These are persons who have been caught in the act of setting wildfires or with enough circumstantial evidence to directly tie them to the start of a fire or fires.
    This said, it’s a world class disaster.

  29. Bailey keeps repeating the talking points created by climate change fear-mongers. The most this on record, the worst that on record . . . Wow, as if the “record” is proof of anything. Climate change occurs, always has. The opportunity to surrendering your liberty to those who promise to save you from climate change is a test of how much you value your freedom. No one can deduce climate change causation from correlation of anything during the short duration of human “records.” Fires in Australia, hot periods in Australia, are just part of history. Adapt and survive. Who in their right mind would want to put governments in charge of attempting to control global climate. Have you ever seen an honest politician? Or one you would place in charge of your life? Power corrupts and Bailey wants to give the powerful total power over our existence? Why does he write for Reason?

    1. ” Fires in Australia, hot periods in Australia, are just part of history. Adapt and survive. Who in their right mind would want to put governments in charge of attempting to control global climate.”

      Migration in America, folks moving north, folks moving south, are just part of history. Adapt and survive. Who in their right mind would want to put governments in charge of attempting to control the frontier.

  30. When is Reason going to get a science editor who is up on science. You would think Reason could afford someone with a STEM degree to be their science guy, but I guess your old buddies matter more than quality of content.

    1. “When is Reason going to get a science editor who is up on science.”

      Ron’s main interest seems to be refuting what Paul Ehrlich wrote 50 years ago. Reason might benefit from a medical editor or a computing editor, but writing about these topics (and any science probably) from a Libertarian perspective is constraining and gets old quickly.

  31. Repeating cycles of drought, heat waves, and flooding have been noted in Australia for several hundred years.

    1. Arsonists even longer.

  32. the standard deviation of that chart looks to be pretty darn big…and is the last 100 years typical of the previous or different. We just don’t know and “climate science” is a bit of a joke as it can’t by it’s very nature test models in controlled conditions (the hallmark of real physical science). They are just playing with models and making a ton of assumptions on very complicated nonlinear processes which govern the planet’s “climate.” As for reason…can you please get someone with a hard science degree who is by nature skepitical of pseudoscience to look into this topic. A physicist would be good…please not a biologist or some social science woke.

  33. Why do you say we are likely to continue warming when the evidence says we stopped warming years ago and we have entered another cooling cycle that could be as bad as the one in the late 1600 when the last Maunder Minimum occured? I also see NO mention of all of the potential arsonists that have been arrested – https://summit.news/2020/01/06/nearly-200-people-arrested-across-australia-for-deliberately-starting-bushfires/.

  34. We entered a drought cycle in 2017, that will go until 2025. Have you never heard of the Federation Drought of the Dust Bowl? Everything is cyclical and the next cooling cycle has already started and temps are forecasted to decline for the next 25 years. It is cooling cycles we should be fearing and preparing for, as society’s expand during the warming cycles and contract during the cooling, due to crop failures, famines, and plagues associated with malnutrition. Next, I suppose you will be blaming the increase in earthquakes and volcanoes on gloBull warming, when it’s actually global cooling that correlates.

    https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/world-news/climate/climate-change-that-ignores-history/

  35. Only in the 21st Century can there be a “blame-point” about if summer weather (21st century code-named “Climate Change”) can initiate brush-fires….

    For all previous centuries it was just a common-sense given as well as the idea that the weather DOES CHANGE no matter WHAT.

  36. Read this article by Dr. Roy Spencer, he is a climate scientist at the University of Alabama, Hunstville, http://www.drroyspencer.com/2020/01/are-australia-bushfires-worsening-from-human-caused-climate-change/

    He brings out the 1974-1975 wildfires that burned 15% of Australia occurred at a time when it was colder and wetter than normal. His basic thesis is that the current wildfires are caused by humans but just not by human caused climate change.

    He says, “My personal opinion, based upon the available evidence, is that any long-term increase in wildfire activity in any specific location like Australia (or California) is dominated by the increase in human-caused ignition events, whether they be accidental or purposeful. A related reason is the increasing pressure by the public to reduce prescribed burns, clearing of dead vegetation, and cutting of fire breaks, which the public believes to have short term benefits to beauty and wildlife preservation, but results in long term consequences that are just the opposite and much worse.”

  37. If Libertarians were serious about minimizing government interference in our lives, you would think they would have pretty strong skeptical views of the “climate emergency”.

    The current overreach will pale in comparison to the damage inflicted on personal liberty if the Alarmist Mafia is not stopped immediately.

    Climate Science is in its infancy, but thanks to fearmongers and crony-capitalists it has been presented as “settled”. Complete and utter BS.

    The stifling of dissenting views ought to be enough to convince the staff at Reason something nefarious is afoot.

  38. The trends for drought – regional or otherwise – are very close to flat. But looking at a graph and pointing out a local min or max is just amateurish bull shit. Ron is an idiot who has no experience in modeling/simulation, does not appreciate the corrupt history of the CAGW posse, and routinely confuses correlation/causation.

  39. How Much Pollution Will Be happend with this , and so much cute animals get die , very painful news

  40. If you’re going to seriously discuss the impact of climate change, it seems like a good idea to also mention all the people that have been arrested for intentionally setting a lot of these fires.

  41. Yes climate change, as the second derivative of weather, certainly plays a role in wildfires, among other things. That also could be related to temperature changes, as in USA in the ’30s. What it’s not related to is CO2, and therefore not to anything humans can do about it except preventing arson.

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