California’s burning should not be blamed on climate change

Bronson Stocking explains at TownHall.com why it’s wrong to blame climate change for recent California fires.

Liberals are blaming California’s wildfires on “climate change.” Apparently, climate change now causes wildfires, but only in the state of California. Before this week, liberals thought rising sea levels would wash the state away. Now, they believe it will go up in flames unless we do something immediately to stop “climate change.” But climate change hasn’t turned California into a tinderbox, the environmentalists have.

California power company PG&E is preparing to pull the plug on 850,000 of its customers. PG&E has been deliberately cutting power to its customers in an effort to avoid wildfires. It isn’t working. Massive wildfires erupted in areas where PG&E provides service. The Tick Fire has burned down several homes and caused the evacuation of more than 40,000 people so far, and other wildfires are burning throughout the state. In Sonoma County, the Kincade Fire has already torched 34 square miles and destroyed 49 homes. That fire was likely caused by a broken transmission line belonging to PG&E.

But PG&E’s equipment couldn’t start these huge wildfires without a bunch of dead brush fueling the flames. As Chuck Devore writes in Forbes, “the outrageous cost to remove a few dead trees from private land is a consequence of California’s Byzantine environmental regulatory patchwork.” It’s not climate change that’s responsible for these massive fires, “it’s decades of environmental mismanagement that has created a tinderbox of unharvested timber, dead trees, and thick underbrush.”

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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