No, Google News, Less Severe Wildfires Cannot ‘Keep Getting Worse’

Among its top search results today for “climate change,” Google News is highlighting an article titled, “Massive Wildfires Will Keep Getting Worse – Even in ‘Best Case’ Climate Scenarios.” For something to “keep” getting worse, however, it must be getting worse in the first place. In reality, objective measurements of wildfires by NASA satellites show wildfires are burning less land than in decades past.

The Google-highlighted article is published by a leftist website called Truthout. The website self-identifies as “dedicated to providing independent reporting and commentary on a diverse range of social justice issues.” That did not stop Google News from placing Truthout’s article at the very top of its search results for the scientific topic of climate change.

According to the article, “Massive wildfires have shattered records across the world in recent years.” To seemingly support its assertion, the article provides an embedded link in the words “shattered records.” The link, however, is to a propaganda article published by the climate activist group Carbon Brief. That is not science.

So, what do objective scientific data report?

As we documented in a recent article here on Climate Realism, wildfires globally are in long-term decline. NASA satellites have measured a 25-percent decrease in global lands burned since 2003. That is an objective scientific fact.

Also, U.S. acres burned each year are much fewer now – even in our worst years – than was the case in the early 20th century. This is also a scientific fact.

Also, as documented in Climate at a Glance: Drought, drought in the United States is far less frequent and severe than in decades past. In two of the past three years, new records were set for the least amount of U.S. land experiencing drought. Also, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports we are currently enjoying the longest period in recorded history without more than 40 percent of the country experiencing “Very Dry” conditions.

Truthout and Google News are either ignorant of the “facts” they are reporting, or they believe the ends of motivating climate action justify the means of being dishonest in their reporting.

Either way, the objective truth is wildfires are not currently getting worse, so they cannot “keep” getting worse.

James Taylor
James Taylor
James Taylor is the President of the Heartland Institute. Taylor is also director of Heartland's Arthur B. Robinson Center for Climate and Environmental Policy. Taylor is the former managing editor (2001-2014) of Environment & Climate News, a national monthly publication devoted to sound science and free-market environmentalism.

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  1. Mr Taylor,

    Good day to you sir. In the article, “No, Google News, Less Severe Wildfires Cannot ‘Keep Getting Worse'”, dated 3/15/2021 you state that US acres burned in recent years are less than in the early 20th century. But in the 7/19/2019 video, “Why Forest Fires Are Caused by Government”, presented at ICCC13 by Jennifer Fielder, she displays a graph that looks like it tells a different story. Can you explain the seeming inconsistency? I worry about push back from my alarmist “friends” and would like to be able to stand our ground against it. And I do mean our ground, I have been a “skeptic/denier” for quite a while.

    Looking forward to your reply,
    Phil Paulsen


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