(USNewsMag.com) – A new study suggests that the biggest fossil fuel companies in the world are to blame for upwards of a third of the land area lost to wildfire disasters in the western section of North America for roughly the previous four decades.
According to the study’s primary author and ‘Union of Concerned Scientists’ climate scientist Kristina Dahl, normal Western North American wildfires have become extremely devastating occurrences due to climate change caused by humans over the past few decades.
Increased wildfires have been connected to global warming for a long time, and recently scientists are beginning to establish a quantitative correlation between the number of acres burnt and the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.
According to research published in “Environmental Research Letters” on May 16, 37% of the entire area burnt in Southwest Canada and the Western United States since 1986 may be traced back to emissions that trap heat. The 88 major cement and fossil fuel industries worldwide are responsible for these emissions; the former industry is estimated to be responsible for about seven percent of total emissions of carbon dioxide.
The scientists relied on a metric they call ‘vapor pressure deficit’ to evaluate air’s capacity to extract moisture from soils and plants. Monitoring if climate change has been making wildfires worse requires the use of this atmospheric thirst gauge. By measuring the deficit of vapor pressure, the researchers were able to determine that emissions associated with large fossil fuel companies were directly responsible for the dramatic increases in both fire-danger situations and the area burnt.
The scientists utilized computer models to show that emissions from the largest 88 corporations were responsible for approximately half of the observed increase in world-wide mean temperature since the turn of the twentieth century. The vapor pressure imbalance in the western region of North America has increased by 11% due to the global warming trend during the same time period.
Dahl said that these results provide credible explanations for who is to blame for the wildfire destruction.
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