News Release

Global Warming: * Fires * War

THOMAS W. SWETNAM
Co-author of the piece “Warming and Earlier Spring Increase Western U.S. Forest Wildfire Activity” in Science magazine, Swetnam is director of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research and Dendrochronology at the University of Arizona. He said today: “Increasing numbers of large forest fires and total area burned in the western United States are significantly correlated with warming and drying trends. … There is a clear upward trend in the area burned and numbers of large forest fires in the western U.S., especially since the mid-1980s.”

This Sunday, Swetnam was interviewed on “60 Minutes,” where he said: “As the spring is arriving earlier because of warming conditions, the snow on these high mountain areas is melting and running off. So the logs and the branches and the tree needles all can dry out more quickly and have a longer time period to be dry. And so there’s a longer time period and opportunity for fires to start. … We’re dealing with a period of climate, in terms of temperature and humidity and drought, that’s different than anything people have seen in our lifetimes.”

Swetnam’s piece in Science is available online. “60 Minutes” “The Age Of Mega-Fires” segment from Sunday is available on video, and transcript.
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AMY LUERS
California climate manager for the Union of Concerned Scientists, Luers is co-author of the report “Our Changing Climate: Assessing the Risks to California.” She said today: “In terms of the wildfires we’re seeing today, while we can’t attribute these specific events to global warming, these are consistent with a trend of increasing wildfire activity throughout the West that has been linked to climate. …

“The science further suggests that if we do not make dramatic cuts in our emissions of global warming pollution, the wildfires throughout the West could lead to dramatic changes in the western landscapes.”
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TED GLICK
Glick was one of the organizers of Monday’s “No War, No Warming” protest at the U.S. Capitol Building, where he and over 60 others were arrested for civil disobedience. He is coordinator of the U.S. Climate Emergency Council and is on the 50th day of a “Climate Emergency Fast.” He said today: “The Iraq war is a war for oil. We get the oil, we burn the oil, we heat up the earth. We aggravate and make worse conditions of life for people all over the world as global warming has its impacts: droughts, floods, sea level rises; that’s going to lead to more and more climate refugees, going to increase conflict, going to lead to more war. It is a vicious cycle.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167.