Writing in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Bjorn Lomborg, Ph.D., discusses the fact that, despite near constant media reports to the contrary, amid recent modest warming the number of wildfires and the acreage lost to them has declined dramatically over the past few decades. Lomborg is right, as data cited in dozens of Climate Realism stories in the past few years have consistently shown. Globally, the number and scope of wildfires have fallen sharply from earlier decades and centuries.

In the WSJ article “Climate Change Hasn’t Set the World on Fire,” Lomborg writes:

One of the most common tropes in our increasingly alarmist climate debate is that global warming has set the world on fire. But it hasn’t. For more than two decades, satellites have recorded fires across the planet’s surface. The data are unequivocal: Since the early 2000s, when 3% of the world’s land caught fire, the area burned annually has trended downward.

In 2022, the last year for which there are complete data, the world hit a new record-low of 2.2% burned area.

Lomborg is correct. As Climate Realism has repeatedly discussed here, here, and here, for example, NASA’s satellites have measured a 25 percent decrease in acreage lost to wildfires since 2003.

And what is true of the world as a whole is also true of Canada, Australia, and the United States, all regions discussed by Lomborg because the media has mispresented the scope and causes of wildfires there in recent years.

As Lomborg notes, nowhere wildfires have recently been in the news can they honestly be attributed to climate change. By contrast, almost universally, changed forest management policies by governments and arson have significantly contributed to recent instances of large wildfires.

Amid out of control and dishonest wildfire reporting burning up most newsrooms, the Wall Street Journal and Lomborg stand out as honest brokers shining a light on the truth about the decline in wildfires. Kudos to them for doing so.

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is the Director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News. In addition to directing The Heartland Institute's Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy, Burett puts Environment & Climate News together, is the editor of Heartland's Climate Change Weekly email, and the host of the Environment & Climate News Podcast.


  1. Gee, I wonder who might perceive a possible benefit from starting a wildfire.

    If I recall correctly, two California fires were intentionally started by academics who were climate alarmists.


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