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OUR VIEW: Fiery end to debate about climate change

BC has had four of its worst wildfire seasons ever in the last six years. (Mission Fire Rescue Service Facebook)

We must end the debate whether global warming is real, and get on with solutions.

“What will it take to wake us up to the need to address climate change? Fires and floods have always been here, and are often nature’s way of renewing ecosystems – but as the world warms, they’re increasing in frequency, size, and severity. Experts warn wildfires could double in number in the near future, with the Pacific Northwest seeing five or six times as many.”

Those prophetic words were written by iconic BC scientist David Suzuki in August of 2017.

B.C. has experienced four of its worst wildfire seasons in the six years since, yet there are still those who need convincing that climate change is happening.

READ ALSO: Canadians unified on forest protection, cause of wildfire jump divisive: poll

Suzuki wrote about destructive and even deadly forest fires in California, Greenland, and Portugal. This summer the story is the same, but the locations have changed. Maui and Greece have seen a tragic toll from wildfires.

Canada is still experiencing its worst wildfire season on record – seasons becoming longer, due to changes in weather.

Suzuki explained six years ago how climate change doesn’t start fires, but creates the conditions for them to easily ignite from a tossed cigarette, sparks from machinery, or lightning strikes.

More severe storms were also predicted to be part of climate change. Close to home, you can look at the flooding in Abbotsford in 2021, and the washout of sections of BC highways including the Coquihalla.

Prof. Andrew Weaver, of the UVic School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, said 20 years ago human-induced climate change has had a detectable influence on the area burned in Canada over recent decades.

It’s time to believe scientists like Weaver. This summer he warns: “This year’s fire season record will be broken in the near future as warming continues. And once again, it’s not as if what’s happening is a surprise.”

Public education, and public opinion, is important, because it impacts how our politicians act, or don’t act.

READ ALSO: Growing wildfire risk puts pressure on insurance industry: experts

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