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Wildfires Cause Climate Change

This season's massive Arizona fires have destroyed dozens of structures and burned nearly three-quarters of a million acres. But they've also done something else: They also are contributing to global warming by upsetting the carbon balance while they are burning and for years to come. Trees breathe in carbon dioxide, but how long they hold onto it affects the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Ecologist Mike Stoddard says, "These large fires are devastating our forests. We’re concerned that (trees are) not regenerating after these wildfire events."

In a study conducted from 2001 to 2007, forest ecologist Matthew Hurteau found that the nation's wildfire emissions were the equivalent of 4 to 6% of all emissions from burning coal, oil and natural gas. The percentage of lingering emissions is even greater. Forestry expert Tom Kolb says, "(A forest) fire has had a long-term legacy effect on the capacity of this site to take in and store carbon dioxide. (These sites have) gone from being a carbon sink, where carbon was being stored, to a carbon source, where carbon is being released."

In 1998, Whitley Strieber had never heard of climate change, but the Master of the Key burst into his hotel room in Toronto and told him all about it (The new, UNCENSORED edition of The Key (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show), with a foreword that talks about how many of his statements later turned out to be true, is in bookstores NOW).



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