In the August 31, 2018 edition of the Glove and Mail, Margaret Wente suggests that linking of forest fires with climate change is rhetorical. Or, as she put it: ” The rhetoric matches the images”, a reference to the many photos of burning forests and communities impacted wildfires.
As an example of rhetoric, she quoted from a “tweet” by Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, that the BC Forest Fire situation “demonstrates that climate change is having a real impact on Canadians.”
Wente also claims that, globally, total wildfire activity has not increased, quoting a study from Sihan University and a research paper by the Royal Society. She does not refer to an assessment in the same Society research paper that states:
“We do not question that fire season length and area burned has increased in some regions over past decades, as documented for parts of North America, or that climate and land use change could lead to major shifts in future fire consequences, with potential increases in area burned, “ (underling added)
She invoked “support” from commentary of three experts in a previous edition of the Globe, but omitted their comment:
“Wildfire seasons are beginning earlier and summer droughts are more pronounced, likely enhanced by global climate change. . . . Understanding the cause and consequences of this problem is essential to find meaningful solutions.”
Her commentary is entitled: B.C. is burning. Is climate change really to blame? Our Answer, based on findings of climatologists, fire ecologists and scientists generally: yes, as it is a significant contributing factor, climate change is to blame.
She makes one claim that 4RG can accept:
“The trouble is that proper forest management is extremely expensive No one has the budget, and no one wants to pay the price to do it right.”
Sounds to us very much like problems facing Governments who wish to reduce GHG emissions.