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ITS EDUCATION ASIA ARTICLE


Multipliers we don't need: Wildfires Worsen Climate Change and Will Increase Because of It

By Danny Harrington, MD ITS Education Asia


A report - ‘Spreading like Wildfire: The Rising Threat of Extraordinary Landscape Fires,’ by UNEP and GRID-Arendal - finds that both climate change and land-use change are contributing to a trend of increasing wildfire frequency. Wildfires and climate change are circular, as fires contribute significant greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and thus strengthen climate change. Climate change is also worsened as previous “wet” environments such as peatlands and rainforests become drier and more likely to burn, rather than helping to slow temperature rise.

Not only is there an environmental impact but of course an inherent human impact: respiratory and cardiovascular problems caused by inhaling smoke; economic costs to rebuild; the degrading of watersheds by wildfires’ pollutants; and contaminated wastes being left behind.

The authors expect that extreme fires are projected to rise by up to 14% by 2030, 30% by 2050, and 50% by 2100. They recommend therefore that governments deploy far more resources to prevention. Currently the vast majority of wildfire related spending is in reaction and containment, but this will not work if frequencies increase as suggested.

 

 

 

 


Dulwich College Singapore

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.

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