More than a third of the area charred by wildfires in Western North America can be traced back to fossil fuels

By Rachel Ramirez
May 16, 2023
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, United States

Millions of acres scorched by wildfires in the Western US and Canada can be traced back to carbon pollution from the world’s largest fossil fuel and cement companies, scientists reported Tuesday. The study by the Union of Concerned Scientists, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, found that 37% of the area burned by wildfires in the West since 1986 — nearly 19.8 million acres out of 53 million — can be blamed on the planet-cooking pollution from 88 of the world’s major fossil fuel producers and cement manufacturers, the latter of which have been shown to produce around 7% of all carbon dioxide emissions. …Researchers found that since 1901, the fossil fuel activities of these companies, including ExxonMobil and BP, among others, warmed the planet by 0.5 degrees Celsius — nearly half of the global increase during that period. …Carly Phillips, co-author, said the findings adds to research that directly links climate change to burning fossil fuel. …Fossil fuel companies have denied the conclusions.

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