There was an important news story in the Telegraph last Thursday: Climate scientist admits overhyping impact of global warming on wildfires to get published. It was written by Sarah Knapton, the Telegraph science editor, and it featured a climate scientist called Dr Patrick T Brown. He’s a whistleblower, and I totally applaud the guy. He was referring to a paper he co-authored that was published in Nature. It was called Climate warming increases extreme daily wildfire growth risk in California.
Nature cover, Volume 621 Issue 7977, 7 September 2023
Sarah Knapton said “A climate scientist has admitted overhyping the impact of global warming on wildfires to ensure his work was published in the prestigious science journal Nature”. She goes on to say “Dr Brown admitted that there were other factors influencing wildfires that he had purposefully omitted – such as poor forestry management and an increase in people starting fires deliberately or accidentally”. It’s good stuff, as is this from Brown: “journals would not publish climate studies unless they followed a specific ‘formula’ and ‘mainstream narrative’ in which global warming was viewed as the sole culprit for environmental destruction”. Brown also said when he had attempted to deviate from the mainstream narrative, his papers were rejected out of hand by journal editors, without going to peer review. Now doesn’t that sound familiar? He also said it was standard practice to calculate impacts for scary hypothetical future scenarios that strain credibility. That sounds familiar too, especially if you’ve heard about the modelling by Imperial College physicist Professor Neil Ferguson.
The vast majority of heath fires are started by people
There’s been some push-back of course. The Washington Post has an opinion piece by Mark Gongloff, who said it reads like a climate denier’s dream come true, and talks about “excited headlines in right-wing media”. But it’s unconvincing. There is no room for words like “denier” in science, and Brown has a lot to lose from this. Au contraire, I think Brown is spot on. I say that with some confidence, because I’ve known about journals for years, and about wildfires for even longer. Back in the 1990s I kept lizards, and was involved in the British Herpetological Society. I used to go out on Sundays doing nature tasks with Dave Bird, the curator of Poole Aquarium, and Martin Noble, the Chief Keeper of the New Forest. There would be maybe half a dozen of us in all. We would meet up at some designated heath at 9am, then Dave and Martin would start up their chainsaws and cut gorse or whatever. I and the other guys would gather it up and chuck it onto the fire. This was to keep the heathland open to benefit sand lizards and other reptiles. If left to its own devices, ungrazed heathland becomes overgrown with scrub or pine, and isn’t heathland any more. It was somehow very rewarding to do your bit for nature and get some good exercise too. We would work hard, we’d sweat, we’d get scratched, and we’d use the fire beaters to deal with any stray sparks. Then at lunchtime we’d sit around eating our sandwiches and drinking our coffee, chewing the fat about reptiles and nature and all sorts of things. Including heath fires:
Canford Heath fire: scorched earth reveals devestating effects of blaze, from the Bournemouth Echo
To cut to the chase, the vast majority of heath fires are caused by people. It might be a cigarette end thrown out of a car window, a camp fire setting fire to the surrounding grass, kids with matches, or some nutjob adult arsonist with an axe to grind. Some people will tell you that fires are started by the sun shining through a piece of broken glass, but that’s unlikely. Other people will tell you that fires are started by lightning, but that’s unlikely too, especially in England. On a hot sunny afternoon the weather sometimes turns close and sultry, and then you start to hear rumbling in the sky. That night, the thunder rolls, the lightning puts on a show, and the rain pours down. Then in the morning you smell the cool clean fresh air. You don’t smell smoke.
The vast majority of wildfires are anthropogenic
That’s not to say lightning can never start a fire. The August 2020 California lightning wildfires were “due to a siege of dry lightning from rare, massive summer thunderstorms”. It’s just rare. However grass fires, bush fires, and forest fires are not rare. Such wildfires don’t start themselves. Trees do not undergo spontaneous arboreal combustion. Bushes do not start burning for nothing. Instead the vast majority of wildfires are “anthropogenic”, to coin a phrase. Like I said they are caused by people. Every countryman knows this, as does everybody involved in forest management. They also know that if you let the undergrowth grow unchecked, you are storing up big trouble for the future. When a fire does come, it will be a bad one. See articles like decades of mismanagement led to choked forests – now it’s time to clear them out, fire experts say. It’s by Alicia Victoria Lozano, and it’s a good read. It isn’t the whole story of course, see California wildfires won’t be solved through public forest management alone. Author Mark W Schwartz says some fires are wind driven rather than fuel driven. He refers to the November 2018 Camp Fire as an example. He says “it was ignited by a faulty electrical line and travelled rapidly under high winds through mostly lightly forested land to reach the heavily forested town of Paradise. Once in town, both houses and trees were quickly ablaze”.
Public domain NASA image of the 2018 Camp Fire, see Wikipedia Commons
Schwartz also talks about drier windier autumns in the Western USA, so he’s saying climate change is a factor, but he still says most fires are caused by people. See for example Chloe Hooper’s Guardian article On the arsonist’s trail: inside Australia’s worst bushfire catastrophe. That was about the Black Saturday bushfires in Australia in 2009.
They even tried to erase the medieval warming period
2009 was of course the year of Climategate. Scientists at East Anglia fiddled the statistics, deleted data to dodge FOI requests, bullied dissenters, and tried to prevent publication of contradictory papers. They also conspired to hide the temperature decline indicated by tree-ring data, and they even tried to erase the medieval warming period with their infamous hockey stick:
Battle of the graphs image from the Arizona Daily Independent
Journalist James Delingpole said “the incompetence, corruption, malfeasance, bullying, and mendacity by these taxpayer-funded scientists was just so widespread and blatant”. It was blatant, and the denials were brazen. The Wikipedia article is particularly brazen, repeatedly talking about “climate change denialists” whilst glossing over the facts. The Wikipedia article on the 2019–20 Australian bushfire season is similar in tone. It refers to a “deliberate misinformation campaign started by climate-change deniers claiming arson is the primary cause of the ongoing fires”. How Jimmy Wales can give a free pass to that sort of thing absolutely beats me. Arson is endemic, and it is highly contagious. Google on copycat arson. Search for Sicily fires arson. Check out 130 arsonists made Italy burn: police. A fire starts one way or the other, and before you know it you’ve got ten other fires, and they aren’t downwind. Anyway, what a pity that articles like Ross Clark’s 2021 Spectator piece are a rarity: ‘Climategate’ still matters – but not how the BBC thinks it does. And what a pity that after Climategate, Nature doubled down with papers such as Building world narratives for climate change impact, adaptation and vulnerability analyses in 2011. There’s that word narrative again.
Thousands of fires in Africa continue to burn bright
Like Brown said, the narrative is that global warming is viewed as the sole culprit for environmental destruction. However this is not true. The real culprit is man, only it isn’t you and me. Check out the Lynn Jenner’s 2019 NASA article Thousands of fires in Africa continue to burn bright:
NOAA/NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite collected this natural-color image using the VIIRS instrument
Jenner talks about the thousands of fires seen in the image, and says the most likely explanation is the slash and burn agricultural practice. She also says “that is not to say that every fire in this image is controlled or contained”, and “what is definite is that these fires have been burning for at least a month”. That’s because the NASA staff can look back through the images and see that the number of fires appears constant for the previous 30 days. Jenner then refers to an ESA article which says sub-Saharan Africa “accounts for around 70% of the world wide burned area”. That’s an awful lot of CO₂. A whole lot more than what’s coming out of your gas boiler and your car engine. Sadly a lot of CO₂ was emitted by the recent Maui fire that tragically killed more than 115 people. The cause is unclear. Power lines brought down by high winds have been mooted, but apparently that fire was put out, and people have been arrested for arson. Perhaps it was both. Like I said, arson is contagious. Either way, note that “In Hawaii, less than 1% of fires are due to natural causes, according to Elizabeth Pickett, co-executive director of the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization”.
They’ll tell you that every bad thing in the world is caused by climate change, when it isn’t
Nature won’t tell you about this. That’s because they stick to the narrative that every bad thing in the world is caused by climate change, when it isn’t. The narrative says North Sea puffins are dying out due to climate change, when the real reason is industrial fishing for sand eels. It says the Sahara is spreading due to climate change when the real reason is nomadic overgrazing by people who count their wealth in goats. It says the Kilimanjaro icecap is shrinking due to climate change when the real reason is deforestation of the lower slopes:
Their friends in the Met Office will tell you this year is the warmest ever, when it wasn’t. When you say my melon plants died of the cold, they’ll say ah, we’re talking about average temperatures, or something else you can’t nail down. Instead they’ll tell you about the recent “Indian summer” with “tropical nights” when it’s been nothing of the kind. Instead it’s been a few days of sunshine after a grey July and August. Not in Southern Europe of course. Mention that and they’ll get their friends in the BBC to tell you how climate change caused all those fires in Rhodes, and play down the arson. Fortunately we have GB News to spill the beans on that, and now we have the Telegraph too:
Matt cartoon, Telegraph front page Saturday 9 September 2023
Extinction Rebellion will tell you the world is burning because of climate change, when actually it’s burning because people are setting fire to it, including climate activists*. They don’t want to tell you about China’s emissions, and nor will they tell you that population growth and human greed is primarily responsible for environmental destruction. Check out their website where they say their first demand is tell the truth, but they don’t tell the truth because it doesn’t fit the narrative. Nor does Nature.
It’s because of corruption
Why? I think it’s because of corruption. When I was a boy I asked my father why there were so many starving children in Africa, and he said because of corruption. He said it wasn’t because of drought. He said it was because Africa was full of dog-eat-dog countries which don’t have a Christian ethic, where people with power would take things from ordinary people and leave them with nothing. Hence their children would starve. He said that’s why Africa was not a good place, and was getting worse. My brother-in-law used to visit Africa for work, and he’d tell me about the gated compounds and the bars on windows and the safe rooms. He told me it was getting worse too. We can see that in South Africa, which is turning into a failed state with power cuts and rampant crime. Fancy a holiday in Cape Town? Me neither. We can see it in Ethiopia too, and we can also see that corruption, like arson, is contagious. For example, have a read of Live Aid: The Terrible Truth on the Spin website. Bob Geldof does not come out well. Unfortunately academia is a dog-eat-dog world too, and here in the UK the Christian ethic has been fading. So we are seeing more and more corruption. Honesty and decency are in short supply, as is fair play. For example Sadiq Khan paid for fake scientific advice from Imperial to justify his ULEZ expansion, and Rishi Sunak paid for fake legal advice from lawyers to justify not stopping it.
Your paper will never see the light of day
Meanwhile Nature pull the same old stunts with physics. Physicists have told me about this. If they submit a paper to Nature Physics which does not adhere to the mainstream narrative, it will be rejected out of hand by the editors without going to peer review. If you’ve written an electron paper that refers to a 511 keV self-trapped photon in a closed-path spin ½ configuration, your paper will never see the light of day. That’s because it would threaten the Standard Model, and as a result it would threaten the whole of particle physics. You know how I was irritated with Don Lincoln last time because he was peddling lies-to-children about antimatter falling up? The guy is a case in point. His Wikipedia entry tells how in 1995, he was a co-discoverer of the top quark, and was a member of the team that discovered the Higgs boson in 2012. The trouble with that is that is as Alexander Unzicker said in The Higgs Fake, the top quark had to exist because “the bottom quark needed a partner, as the Ws and Zs had to exist because otherwise the standard model was wrong”. This top quark allegedly has a lifetime of 10-25 seconds, and was “seen to decay” into a bottom quark and a W boson. But we’ve never actually seen a top quark, or a bottom quark, or a W boson. Fermilab were so desperate for a “discovery” to justify their existence, they inferred the existence of the top quark from particles that were themselves inferred.
Public domain top antitop quark event diagram by Reaky, see Wikipedia Commons
The gluons in ordinary hadrons are virtual, and nobody has ever seen a free quark even to this day. On top of that color charge is based on ignorance of what charge is, and if you believe the fairy tale called color confinement aka asymptotic freedom, I’ve got a bridge you might want to buy. As for the fabulous Higgs boson, the Higgs mechanism flatly contradicts E=mc². That’s where the mass of a body is a measure of its energy content. Photon momentum is a measure of resistance to change-in-motion for a wave moving linearly at c. Electron mass is resistance to change-in-motion for a wave going around and around at c, not the measure of an interaction with one of the 17 fields of the Standard Model. Nobody actually observed a Higgs boson. All they observed was a bump on a graph, then they trumpeted their “discovery” as a great triumph, and the media fell for it.
It’s the same for gravity
It’s the same for gravity. If you were to write a paper about Einstein’s variable speed of light, then if you were to send it to Nature, it will be rejected out of hand by the editors without going to peer review. That’s because it would threaten the ersatz general relativity of Misner Thorne and Wheeler, and so the whole of gravitational physics. It would mean black hole physics was wrong on multiple counts, that cosmology was flawed in a variety of ways, and that quantum gravity was utterly futile. Try submitting a paper pointing out the flaws in quantum entanglement, and it would be rejected out of hand because it would threaten all the vested interest in quantum computing, which still hasn’t delivered anything. Nor has CERN, nor has Horizon, nor has Big Science. That’s because your tax dollars are paying for the corruption of physics by gatekeepers who stand four-square in the way of scientific progress. Then for the cherry on top, after paying for all the “research”, you have to pay the gatekeepers to read it.
They reflect poor research practices and are not in line with the standards we set for our journal
They truly are the trouble with physics, and so is Nature. Of course Dr Magdalena Skipper, the Editor in Chief of Nature, disputed the accusations levelled by Brown and Knapton. Rather than saying she would investigate the matter with all possible haste, she gave a brazen denial and said this: “We are now carefully considering the implications of his stated actions; certainly, they reflect poor research practices and are not in line with the standards we set for our journal”. Poor Doc Brown. He blew the whistle, and now his career is over. Because Nature is going to blackball him. Because Nature and similar journals such as Science stick to the mainstream narrative, and as a result there is no scientific progress. Remember how clear the skies were during the first lockdown? Imagine if we had better planes. Planes that weren’t laden with fuel enough to bring down a skyscraper and kill thousands of innocent people. It hasn’t happened, because there’s been no scientific progress for decades, and that’s why the future isn’t what it used to be. Instead planes pollute our skies, airports are expanding all over the world, and there is no cheap clean energy. Because of that, billions of people are poor, they’re breeding like flies, and they’re burning the planet. Oh the irony. The corruption in science is leading to the very issue that corrupt scientists say is the greatest threat we face. Only it isn’t. The “climate emergency” isn’t an emergency. We face far bigger threats from war, pandemic, and mass migration caused by overpopulation. Or from rampant crime and people with power who would take things from ordinary people and leave them with nothing. Or we could be wiped out by a killer comet, like the dinosaurs. Or we might suffer an alien invasion, like in the movie Battleship. Take your pick. Meanwhile you might like to take time out from digging your bunker to write a letter to a science editor. Get it right, and you could say what Taylor Kitsch said at the end of the movie: “Sir, I saved the world”. Now that’s got a nice ring to it.
* Edit 12/09/2023: There was an article by Anita Singh in today’s Telegraph entitled Chris Packham: Climate activists are being ethically responsible by breaking the law. Packham, who works for the BBC, said the climate change movement could begin planting explosives, and pointed out that the Suffragettes set fire to things. He also said he hoped that this summer’s fires in southern Europe will spur people into action. I think he deliberately got that last one back to front. Read the Reese report: “Over ninety percent of wildfires are caused by humans and many of them are intentional, which is known as Arson. During the surge of wildfires along the West Coast of the United States a few years ago, several people were arrested for arson. Including a forty-one-year-old man who admitted to starting eleven wildfires. Security cameras show people’s houses being set on fire. A homeowner caught an arsonist dressed in all black. And a member of Antifa was arrested for arson in Washington state”.