California Governor Jerry Brown was on This Week with George Stephanopoulos Sunday morning and made assertions that the severity and timing of last week's wildfire in San Diego were somehow do to climate change.
You can see the ABC interview here - but we'll show the briefer video from a press conference where he made a similar assertion:
“And then I would just say, the climate is changing in ways that will bring about more forest fires. Our fire season is much longer than it has been historically. We're spending a lot more money. This year alone, I signed a bill for over a half a billion, in fact, about $640 million to deal with drought.”
Scientists are definitely not convinced that the fires have anything to do with a changing climate. Norman Miller, an hydroclimate professor at University of California, Berkeley said in an interview with National Geographic, “What we're seeing right now is just a real anomaly. Whether it's part of natural variability or climate change, we need to have a longer record of occurrences so we can construct a trend and make sense out of it.”
Luckily for them, Steven Goddard has the trend for them. Government data and the following graph clearly show that Brown is wrong:
Just like with many other weather and climate variables, the data themselves show no trend. A few other datapoints for those interested:
2013: Least Extreme Summer on Record in U.S. (Goddard)
2013 Shattering Record for Fewest Tornadoes (Heartland)
2013 Hurricane Season Ranks as One of the Least Intense (Accuweather)
Exaggeration and emotional appeals that are factually untrue are not a basis upon which to form policy.
Of course, the threat of wildfires are serious, but one wonders if the notion of spending more taxpayer money is what's actually driving claims that what we're seeing out of the climate is somehow “new.” It's not.