February 15, 2019 | Graham

CO2 may be responsible for more destructive forest fires

Queensland was hit by forest fires, and the Queensland Premier was at it, blaming climate change (and the Australian government):

“If you want to know what caused those conditions, I’ll give you an answer – it’s called climate change,” the Queensland premier told reporters. “It is only the LNP who could watch Queensland burn and then blame the trees.”

Tasmania is  burning, and here we have local novelist Richard Flanagan:

Climate change isn’t just happening. It’s happening far quicker than has been predicted. Each careful scientific prediction is rapidly overtaken by the horror of profound natural changes that seem to be accelerating, with old predictions routinely outdone by the worsening reality – hotter, colder, wetter, drier, windier, wilder, and ever more destructive.

But what if they were both right, but for the wrong reason?

Here is an image of the globe showing how is is greening. Land management and CO2 fertilisation is leading to more ground cover on every continent.

globalgreening_tamo_2017_lrgSource: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/144540/china-and-india-lead-the-way-in-greening

It’s strongest in India and China, where changing land use is the cause, but the east coast of Australia has a lot of spots that have picked-up at least 32% more cover in the last two decades, and that can’t be due to land use. Tasmania is also (contra the claims in Flannigan’s article) getting greener.

More vegetation equals more fire load, which, especially if you do maintenance burning less frequently, surely leads to bigger and more frequent fires.

So at last, a credible link between CO2 and forest fires. Just not the one that the Queensland Premier and the Tasmanian Bard were looking for.


Posted by Graham at 4:12 pm | Comments (11) |


  1. Yes you are right Graham, CO2 does act like a fertilzer and thee promotion of more green growt.It is clled the greenhouse effect. But doesn;tmean the crops have suddenly become more nutious, nor the cane with a higher sugar content. Plantsbreath in CO2 and sythise it back to O2 through photosynthisize. The absorbtion of solar radiation. On would have to be blind Freddy nt to see that climaate change is real and we are causing some of it! The fact that these xtreme wheather events are taking place during a solarr waning phase and therefore shouldn’t be possible, let alone happening! Speacks volumes. And it is not like we can’t do something about manmde climate change and in a waythat actually tubo boosts our economy.

    That turbo boost will come when we have the brains, foresit and courage to back in MSR thorium as our principle power source. And reap a bounty of miracle cancer cure (bismuth 213) as one off the spinoff bonuses, along with the massive medical tourism that could provide! And rolled out wherever the local econmy needs a boost or kick start.

    And save coal for a completely recusitated steel and metals smelting sector and all that relies on that.

    As for thermal coal. we coul be only if we use the brains we were borne with, cook out the methane then use that as our principle transition transport fuel. Moreover, we can and should get our future jet fuel from farmed algae. Fr reasons already ventilated in earlier comment. We can and should welcome climate change and the quite massive economic growth it could confer if we but had a untied team behind a knowlegable ratinal thinking leader with a few new innovative ideas.

    Comment by Alan Goulding — February 17, 2019 @ 9:30 pm

  2. Apologize for grammatical errors. Seems I have a bug in the system that effectively cripples the keyboard, makes it the enemy and prevents review and correction. Something a partially sighted, recovering stroke victim, just didn’t need!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan Goulding — February 17, 2019 @ 9:38 pm

  3. My grandfather, born in 1876, saw southern Queensland and northern NSW change from open eucalyptus forests, to thick forests of eucalyptus trees. One of the reasons was the cessation of Aboriginal burning, but also the settlers only cleared the flat country and allowed the trees to remain on the hills. Then the introduction of the European honey bee which colonised the dead limbs of older eucalyptus trees for hives and pollinated all the blossom resulted in a proliferation of eucalyptus saplings. Early district photographs recorded the difference.

    Comment by Margaret Helwig — February 20, 2019 @ 8:21 am

  4. I get that some folk with vested interest in coal, perpetually pontificate that CO2 levels a record highs and in previously uncharted territory. Is just not a problem and as we saw when these money-facedfolk had shares in asbestos or tobbacco, they cause no harm THEY CLAIMED, and were like the claim for CO2, completely benign!

    There has always been a group SELF IDOLISING NACSSISTS, that always-always, put profits before people! Therefore, climate change is BS and coal is king! And yummy!

    And with asinine gay abandon, dig it up, sell it and anything else not nailed down, even where that means harming local self reliance! And allowed us to become so dependant on COMMUNIST China, our economy can be sent into a spin dive tail spin, any time we jerk back on the strings!

    We MUST do a little more than that, but cut those strings. While we still can! And set about reclaiming our economic sovereignty and self reliant self determination! By finding alternative markets and suppliers ASAP! And more reliable allies!

    And MUST set about deccarbing our economy in such a way as to also massively turbo boost it with carbon free energy that could cost the average punter, less than 2 cents per KwH! By deploying MSR thorium.

    Thorium is the most energy dense material on the planet and we have so much it, we can never ever run out of the stuff.

    Moreover, MSR technology can make the world’s cheapest source of miracle cancer cure, bismuth 213. Last time I looked there was only 3 grams in the entire world.

    Supplies and ongoing continual production as a virual free waste product of making the worlds cleanest, safest, most affordable most reliable power! Would be unparalled medical tourism!

    And could be directed to regional centres of economic depression.

    We could, if we but used the brains we were born with, earn enough money deploying some of these reactors as waste burners, burning other folks nuclear waste and in complete saftey, whilst earning annual billions supplying the service. So much so that the projected income would pay for the entire rollout of MSR thorium!

    [Get online and type in, thorium in ten minutes, then take a butchers at engineer Jam Petersen’s presentation of thorium and MSR’s capacity as a waste burning technology to draw down in complete radiation free saftey, all current stocks of nuclear waste! And if we wish, all current stocks of weapons grade pluonium.]

    And with it a queue of energy dependant high tech manufacturers seeking relief from production harming power bills.

    As for thermal coal? Well even blind freddy can see how easily we can be harmed economically by a simple slow down at foreign ports!

    And would be far better served using MSR thorium as a flameless heat source to first cook out all the methane in this coal. Then as CNG, use it as a CO2 reducing transitional transport fuel, that’ll cost far less that the 26 billions plus worth of fully imported fuel we are using now.

    All that prevents any of the above are asinine party political and with it complete loss of any semlance of vision. We need to return to the future an get rid of the useless flotsom and jetson (extreme right wing conservatism) now contaminating politics. And return to an era of bipartisan pragmatism!

    Surely we don’t need another war to just do that!?
    Alaan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan Goulding — February 22, 2019 @ 10:39 am

  5. I had to fight the “help” I seem to be receiving, to post my previous comment, which auto corrected Alan, to Alaan. Apologies for any and all grammatical errors.

    Comment by Alan Goulding — February 22, 2019 @ 10:49 am

  6. Alan it is actually Flotsam and jetsam, that is what was washed overboard and what was thrown overboard from a ship. Not sure how you equate that with conservative political thought? However we could really do with a bit of conservative logic right now. Get rid of the left wing cheats continually doubling our electricity prices and reducing the supply grid whilst making themselves rich. They will keep going making electricity more expensive until they crash the grid and “Conservatives” will have to, again, sort out the inevitable mess!

    Comment by johnsnowyJohn Bowyer — February 22, 2019 @ 6:24 pm

  7. JB. Wasn’t equating F+J with thought by extreme right wing element, given there isn’t any!? Or is accompanied by a strange burning smell when there is. As the needle is removed fron the groove and previously unused cerebral circuits are forced into action!?

    Just the useless self serving VISIONLESS wind bags, pretending to care about anyone else or the economy.

    I get what you are saying about the equally useless union puppets that have introduced the British disease into the workplace and Australian politics. I mean, when Sir Robert Menzies left political office he was homeless. And the hat was passed around to buy him one.

    Contrast that with someone like a vastly better rewarded Kevin Andrews, who reportedly owns some 123 negatively geared properties.

    Moreover, haven’t heard any lefty proposing we spend billions of public money building coal-fired power stations. Is that what you meant by fixing it?

    Have no fear, would only vote labour in a blue fit. Alan B. Goulding.

    P.S. This comment all proceeding it were editored and corrected by Grammerly!

    Comment by Alan Goulding — February 23, 2019 @ 12:13 pm

  8. Is power from clean coal both possibe and economically viable!? Depends on how one does it. And we need to do it (show how) if only to preserve our massive coal exports, along with most of our, completely exported, resources dependant economy! And it is not as steam driven coal-fired power. Nor geosequestration of the CO2 product!

    We barely break even over thirty years at current prices and an energy coiffient of 20%. With just 5% of that reaching the end user?Imagine if you can, trying to make a busines case for a paradigm that starts with an energy coiffient of just 5%! An with just 5% of that reaching the end user as the saleable product or service!? Then there is the noise factor and hundreds of miles of pipes we’d likely have to lease (for annual billions) just to sequester the CO2! And still forced to compete with renewables and massively improving solar voltaic and battery technology.

    And must be sited near a reliable water source! And that manifestly limits our options to coastal regions!?
    If any coal-fired solution has to have massive pipeline infrastructure as part of any CLEAN COAL solution!? Then why not consider building a national gas grid for around the same money and off budget as a money earnig enterprise that like the impossible Snowy project, eventually pay for itself and earn a profit, when it really counts! Thirty forty years down the track, when those possible profits are 3-4 times what is possible today?

    Meaning, cash in hand returns 30 years from now three times better than today

    That said, let me demonstrate how that might be done with mostly pristine water vapour as the exhaust product!

    First cab off the rank is a quite massive industial oven that cooks out all the methane and any sulphides. And without the thundering roar of massive steam turbines! Nor needing water other than for the scrubbers that scrub out the sulphides as a useful sulphuric acid, used in many industrial processes. Meaning, the facilities can be built anywhere it is safe to build an oil refinery.

    And makes many outback towns suitable prospects. With the gas extracted using flameless heat, [can be solar thermal or vastly cheaper MSR thorium?] The gas allowed to flow into the national gas grid, all the way to the paying customer. Then piped into their storaage bladder(s)/ceramic fuel cell(s) where it is converted into on demand/flick of a switch 24/7 electricity and free hot water. The exhaust product being mostly pristine water vapour!

    With almost all the current transmission and distribution losses eliminated (75%) and the energy coeffient of the methane consuming fuel cell around 80% Plus no boilers and turbines to service, nor millons of miles of highly vunerable wires. Costs can be minimised and mostly upfront.

    Meaning, once the progressively increasing returns have paid for all capital outlays. the profit margins will be treble or quadruple what is possible now?

    Given one cubic metre of methane has the same clalorific value as a litre of petrol and will happily power either petrol or diesel engines. Some thought could be given to using this gas a transitional transport fuel. Where it can be used as CNG or after passing through a simple, well known, catalytic conversion process as a petrol and avgas replacing, liquid methanol. Which would liberate as much as 26 billion plus per, the current capital outlay for fully imported fuel!?

    How could we fund all of it? Well that’s the easiest part. And done with
    the creation of goverment guaranteeed, self terminating, tax free, thirty year infrastucture bonds. The hard to impossible part is finding a non conflicted government with the wisdom, vision, balls and leadership to get it up and with essential pragmatic bipartisan support!

    Balls in our court now, Ozzie pollies!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan Goulding — February 25, 2019 @ 11:55 am

  9. As you can see from all the foregoing, one never ever makes grammatical errors, when protected by Grammarly!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan Goulding — February 25, 2019 @ 12:04 pm

  10. Afterthought: The above extracted and scrubbed gas, produces as CNG, 40% less CO2 than petrol. And practically none of the carcinogenic particulates of diesel!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan Goulding — February 25, 2019 @ 12:16 pm

  11. A lot of clueless folk seem to believe, ceramic fuel cells burn their fuel and therefore believe, this just creates more CO2.

    No it’s not combustion but a catalyitally assisted revervsed electrolysis. Just as one introduces electical current into water to decompose it into hydrogen and oxygen. One can introduce a gas, i.e., hydrogen or methane into a ceramic fuel cell to poduce electrical current and pure prisitine water vapour plus endless free hot water.

    Every Australian family produces enough biological waste to create enough methane in onsite digestors, to power their homes 24/7 And if the biogas (methane) is srubbed to remove a small CO2 component.

    The pure methane can be fed into a locally invented ceramic fuel cells to produce around double the average family’s needs By products includ thoroughly santised, carbon rich soil improver and nutrient rich reusable irrigation sutiable water.

    Currently, we the driest inhabited continent in the world, flush millions of litres of this water along with wasted storm water out to sea annually. Where the nutrient and particulate load do nothing but harm!

    We have determined and resolute mindfull leaders, absolutely determined to do as little as possible to reverse and or ameliorate this situation!? Or the now regular fish kills that could be prevented? By sanely deploying this wasted, nutrient loaded, agricltural water!

    I mean what would all this extra water do to the highly profitable argricultural water market!? Or virtually free electricity to the electricity “market”? Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan Goulding — February 28, 2019 @ 12:09 pm

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