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Hawaii warned of man-made threat years before lethal wildfire, but activists scream 'climate' now

Calls for Biden to declare a federal climate emergency fail to understand what caused the raze to begin with.

Published: August 10, 2023 11:28pm

Updated: August 10, 2023 11:53pm

The massive wind-fueled wildfires that killed dozens and scorched Maui to the ground this week are prompting liberal activists to blame climate change and demand President Joe Biden declare a national state of emergency. But a wildfire expert at the University of Hawaii warned years ago that man-made hazards like imported grasses risked such tragedy.

Dr. Clay Trauernicht, a Specialist in Wildland Fire Science and Management at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, published research and analysis in 2014 with Pacific Fire Exchange that warned humans are largely responsible for “much of the increase in wildfire threat by increasing the abundance of ignitions” and “introducing nonnative, fire-prone grasses and shrubs” to the chain of islands.

Trauernicht has published dozens of peer-reviewed scientific studies, and his expertise covers fire ecology, ecosystems, tropical forest and savanna dynamics, and statistical modeling. 

These grasses and shrubs, Trauernicht wrote “cover nearly one quarter of Hawaii's total land area.” This, coupled with “warming, drying climate and year round fire season, greatly increase the incidence of larger fires.” Forbes quoted him as telling The New York Times that bad forestry practices and a failure to understand bio-diversity are far more culpable for making the islands “incredibly vulnerable.”

A study published in 2020 found these unchecked and non-native overgrowth accounted for more than 85% of land razed by a trio of wildfires two years earlier n 2018. 

But despite this, activists and outlets alike have rushed to blame this week's devastatingly deadly wildfires on a popular villain: climate change.

"We need legislation that is as bold and urgent as the scale of the wildfires choking Hawaii," Green New Deal Network’s Kaniela Ing, told Newsweek, without providing any data or studies and simply assuming the so-called climate crisis caused the engulfing flames. "How many more lives lost or families displaced… is President Biden willing to tolerate before he declares a climate emergency and activates politicians to take further climate action?" Ing also blamed "colonial greed" for the fires, adding that "Walking Front Street end-to-end is like a Disneyland ride through the colonial timeline of capitalism in Hawaii: starting from royalty, to whaling, sandalwood, sugar and pineapple, tourism, and luxury goods, the fire is a tragic symbol of this trajectory's terminal point."

Current demands for issuing a "climate emergency" ignore that the state of Hawaii already passed legislation declaring a climate emergency in 2021.

Outlets like The Guardian, CNBC, and others have echoed the climate change narrative in their reporting on Hawaii, which Trauernicht has suggested is a deceitful narrative.

"Blaming this on weather and climate is misleading," Trauernicht tweeted Wednesday. "Hawaii’s fire problem could be far, far more manageable with adequate support, planning, and resources for fuel reduction projects, agricultural land use, and restoration and reforestation around communities and the foot of our forests."

He also said Hawaii’s "grasslands accumulate fuels very rapidly" and that this, combined with "hotter" and "drier" bouts, is "only going to exacerbate the problem."

Drawing a direct line from climate change to wildfires to has become the latest rush to judgment. This was shown when Canada’s wildfire season ravaged millions upon millions of acres this year, sending smoke across the Canadian border and affecting several states.

Climate hysteria produced countless headlines about how the fires were caused by "climate change" but in a normal season, half of Canada's wildfires are started by lightning and the other half are human-caused in various ways from discarded cigarette butts to sparks from passing trains, reported the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

In Alberta, the RCMP charged John Cook in May for a series of arsons, including what they say were intentionally set wildfires going back as far as 2022.  That same year, a woman from Kamloops, B.C., was also charged with wildfire arsons. She pled guilty and has yet to be sentenced. The RCMP added that "While the vast majority of these fires have been attributed to naturally occurring sources, such as lightning, the RCMP Forestry Crimes Unit is currently investigating 12 suspicious wildfires (January 1, 2023, to June 12, 2023) where human activity is believed to be a factor.” it said in a media release on June 14.

Both Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Biden suggested climate change was at fault, despite Canada largely neglecting to do proper forest management like controlled burns, removing debris, and more.

Yesterday, Biden was asked by a reporter if he was prepared to declare a national climate emergency. He falsely said his administration has "already done that" before clarifying they "practically"—not literally—have.

Such a declaration would reportedly grant the president 130 new powers to do everything from ending crude oil exports, offshore oil/gas leasing, and more. Moreover, it’s also feared the declaration would trample free speech, the same way that during the COVID-19 state of emergency, dissent against mainstream lockdown or mask narratives, was largely suppressed.

"If you disagree with the climate emergency, [speech] can be shut down," U.S. Oil and Gas Association President Tim Steward said of emergency powers.

This hasn’t been enough to quell declaration demands. Last month, a young woman interrupted remarks by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, where she exclaimed that "asking nicely" for Biden to grant their wishes "hasn't worked out."

"We need you to act on your campaign promises," she said to Jean-Pierre. "Will the administration stop approving new oil and gas projects and align with youth, science, and frontline communities?"

In 2020, Biden promised fossil fuels and fracking would be "eliminated" when he became president.

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