CNN published an article yesterday titled, “This website helps you imagine what extreme climate change will do to your home.” According to CNN, a new website delivers “a surprisingly realistic sense of what it could look like” if your home address is struck by the ravages of climate change. To illustrate its point, CNN provided an Artificial Intelligence-manipulated photo of New York City’s Times Square engulfed in wildfire smoke.

Newsflash – wildfires have not engulfed New York City any time since SUVs were invented, nor will wildfires ever engulf New York City. Even if wildfires ever do engulf some area within hundreds of miles of New York City, the wildfires would almost certainly have been started by arsonists than climate change.

If we are going to talk about global warming and any alleged consequences, we have to look at global data. Although this past year has seen more wildfires than usual in California, with climate activists and their media sock puppets blaming global warming, NASA satellite instruments have been measuring the amount of land burned globally by wildfires since the 1990s. According to NASA, lands burned by wildfires have decreased by 24 percent since the satellite measurements first began.

Wildfires have always occurred on this planet and always will. When wildfires substantially decline as temperatures modestly warm – in conjunction with more precipitation and a greening of the Earth with more vegetation – it is counterfactual and dishonest to point to the fewer wildfires that still occur and claim that global warming is causing those that still occur.

No, CNN, wildfires are not destroying New York City, nor will they ever do so.

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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