Professor Michael Mann: Climate change behind the ferocious wildfires

The message that climate change is behind the drier conditions and rise in temperature of the planet, forming the base for ferocious wildfires, is sent by climatologist and geophysicist, Michael Mann, who is currently director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University.

In an interview with the Athens Macedonian News Agency, Mann highlighted the need to protect the environment with the dramatic reduction of carbon emissions.

Greece has experienced one of the worst wildfires in recent history. How normal or inevitable are fires of this magnitude and ferocity? How do they differ from wildfires in the past.

One thing we’ve seen in the U.S. as well as that the wildfires are not only greater in extent and intensity than in the past, but they spread far more quickly. This is a result of a confluence of changes?drier conditions, hotter temperatures?that come together in a “perfect storm” to give us these ferocious wildfires.

Do you think that main cause of such deadly wildfires is climate change?

There is little doubt that climate change is behind the drying and warming conditions that underlie these more widespread and ferocious wildfires.

How are wildfires best handled?

Fire management is not my area of expertise, but I can tell you this: Without acting on the major underlying cause of these more widespread and intense wildfires -human caused climate change- we can expect them to only get worse.

What measures would you propose to address this extreme phenomenon?

We must act on climate. That means dramatically reducing our carbon emissions as we transition away from the burning of fossil fuels toward renewable energy. The Paris accord is a good start but it gets us only about half way there. We will need more stringent commitments from all of the countries of the world within the next few years if we are to hold warming below truly catastrophic levels (more than 2C warming of the planet).

Source ANA-MPA
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