Why the world needs a fire department

Why the world needs a fire department

Douglas P. Fry writes:

The threats posed by extreme wildfires are a global challenge that require a global response. Wildfires are increasing in frequency and severity on all inhabited continents. Writing in Science this month, Bo Zhang and colleagues note that an “increase in fire emissions poses a widening threat to climate.” For example, the record-breaking 2020 fire season in California negated more than 18 years of carbon dioxide reductions in the state.

Wildfires fuel climate change, and climate change fuels wildfires. This accelerating feedback loop means that extreme wildfires are projected to increase by 14 percent by 2030, and by 50 percent by 2100, if nothing is done. Meanwhile, this burning issue remains largely unrecognized and unaddressed. The global community needs a collaborative, synchronized strategy to protect the planet from wildfires and the immense amount of greenhouse gases they emit, the toxins they produce, the ecosystems they ravage, the species they endanger, and the health toll they exact. Of course they also cause billions of dollars in damage and kill people as well.

An international threat. Wildfires anywhere have safety and security relevance to countries everywhere. Loss of the Earth’s biodiversity and habitats endanger all of us. Likewise, the effects of carbon dioxide emissions from wildfires hold the potential to eradicate gains in greenhouse gas reductions made in other sectors, adversely affecting every nation and every person on the planet. [Continue reading…]

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