[MCN] A rant on fire: What do we most need to "manage"?

Lance Olsen lance at wildrockies.org
Thu Aug 24 21:30:06 EDT 2017

Today, a politician said in a press conference that we need to “manage” the forests in order to manage fires, and smoke

At this stage of the game, it’s much, much more important to manage the fossil fuels than to throw the management burden on forests. 

We were always going to have fires. That much won’t change, no matter what we manage. After all, the amount of fossil carbon we’ve already pulled from the ground and sent into the atmosphere means we’ll have more than the usual fires, even if we’d kicked the fossil fuel habit yesterday.  Because carbon dioxide has a lifetime of centuries or more in the atmosphere, we’ve already created a bright future for fire. That’s definitely not a good situation, and yet, it’ll be a bad situation gone dangerously worse if we can’t/don’t/won’t manage our use of fossil fuels. 

It was never going to be easy to tell whether any specific fire is due to climate change, or just another one of the fires we were going to get anyway. But that’s not the most important question anyone could ask about “managing” fire.

Harvesting trees to manage fire can make some difference, how much is debatable, but it’s a false hope if we can’t/don’t/won’t also push hard for harvest of the energy we can get from solar and wind

“Things are happening right now with the ice sheets that were not predicted to happen until 2100,” Schlesinger says. 
“My worry is that we may have passed the window of opportunity where learning is still useful.” 

John Bohannan, ”Trying to Lasso Climate Uncertainty.” 

“Personally, this is very disturbing to me,” McCarty said, because the fire indicates significant permafrost degradation
“sooner than [scientists] thought it would happen.” Researchers project significant permafrost loss in Greenland by 
the end of the century. Not 2017, she said.

https://eos.org/articles/greenland-fires-ignite-climate-change-fears <https://eos.org/articles/greenland-fires-ignite-climate-change-fears>

"In order to control climate change, a range of radical policies will have to be adopted by the world’s authorities –
towns, cities, states, national governments and their agencies, and international organisations.”

Paul Fisher, University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

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