November 16, 2018

"'Worse than no rain is negative rain'... The air was so dry, it was sucking water out of the land...."

"According to the U.S. Forest Service, fighting a fire in such conditions is almost by definition a losing battle: 'Direct attack is rarely possible, and may be dangerous, except immediately after ignition. Fires that develop headway in heavy slash or in conifer stands may be unmanageable while the extreme burning condition lasts.' The Camp Fire burned so hot that it cremated people in their homes and cars.... It may take generations for California’s forests to adapt to the warming and drying climate. Nearly every square mile of the state’s forests may need to burn for that to happen — for new life to emerge and for new tree species to migrate northward toward new water sources and cooler air. We can’t continue on as if the fate of Paradise was just a fluke... It’s our choice whether last week’s fires become a cautionary tale, or the new normal. It doesn’t have to be this way."

From "The bizarre and frightening conditions that sparked the Camp Fire" by meteorologist Eric Holthaus (Grist).

Is it "our choice"? Look what Holthaus is calling a choice: It's just whether to view the Camp Fire as the new normal, not whether we would prefer not to have more fire like that. We may choose feel activated and alarmed and yet still not have any way to do something about the coming fires in California. But if people are activated and alarmed, they may want to adopt more of the policies that might slow climate change.

106 comments:

rehajm said...

There’s still no evidence extreme weather is becoming either more extreme or more frequent. It’s still all the domain of computer models.

Dave Begley said...

"It doesn’t have to be this way."

So with this one event we will have to change our entire economy to avoid - at best - the potential warming of .01 by 2080? I'm off on the numbers slightly, but not by much. Steve Hayward at Power Line has the story and exact numbers.

How about this? The forest policy given to us by liberal created the conditions for this fire. Better yet, those people shouldn't be living near those pristine forests. They all need to move into apartment buildings in the big cities.

I'm sorry this happened, but bad things occur. Man can't control every aspect of Mother Nature.

Henry said...

The worst forest fires in U.S. History. It took a while for California to be populated enough to make the list.

Hagar said...

One might also vote to practise nature management policies to minimize the probabilities of runaway forest fires.

Unknown said...

He blinded me...

with Science!

Gahrie said...

The fires in California are caused by shitty forestry practices and building homes where they don't belong. There is nothing new about these fires, they have been happening for thousands of years and are part of the native ecology.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amadeus 48 said...

It's almost as if inland California is a semi-arid climate that has been subject to periodic droughts for thousands of years...oh, wait...

Carol said...

When you fly over the northern Sierras it's solid timber. Few clearcuts like Oregon. I wonder if they do any thinning at all? It worried me when I saw it 17 years ago.

I mean it's lush and beautiful, but...what could we do other than forest management that would make any diff for the next 100 years?

zipity said...

Trump was right. 100 years of suppressing fires in areas that had burned and regenerated regularly for millennia led directly to the conflagrations we see now.

But sure, let's blame it on "climate change", since the science is settled.

Never mind that a recent peer reviewed paper screaming that the oceans are warming far faster than predicted turned out to be JUNK science due to basic math errors.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/14/world/ocean-warming-study-errors-intl/index.html

Lucid-Ideas said...

I love how people are only now (last 20 years) pretending that California wasn't always an arid environment with water challenges. Funnier still is how most modern Californians don't view the massive water/irrigation projects that made much of the state inhabitable as fundamentally transformational, and not always ecologically for the better. Combine that with 100 years of huge residential and commercial development and it's a wonder why people in Cali haven't approached the ecosystem for natural disasters within their state in very much the same way Floridians have with hurricanes...

...it really does come with the territory.

rhhardin said...

I suggest cross-country lumbering of everything.

Henry said...

By "bizarre and frightening" I guess he means "predictably variant, within the bounds of historical norms, while in the context of a long-term trend."

Kevin said...

In North Carolina we just dealt with 4 solid non-stop days of 40 degree rain, in the exact same period as the California fire. Tell us again how it is so hotter and drier.

stevew said...

Six to eight inches of snow in and around Boston overnight. According to the weather record this is 6+ times the average for November in the area. When are we going to make the changes necessary to stop greater and less than average things happening?

rhhardin said...

Negative rain is how there's any water in the air at all. It's a cycle powered by the sun.

traditionalguy said...

Historically California always rains and snows for 3 nonths and then dries out for 9 months. That is why they irrigate their crops and pipe in their water supply from rivers fed by mountain snow pack. This is article pure disinformation. And it does not mention recent years of Chem Trail spraying of the area with desicants that kill trees which then may not be harvested because...ecology stupid.

Kevin said...

Things we're told our government can't control and thus require a "new normal":

- Immigration on our southern border
- The rate of economic activity, and whether jobs are created in our country or others
- Whether our forests are properly managed to prevent wildfires

Things we're told our government can:

- The global rate of the Earth's warming and cooling.

zipity said...

stevew said...

Six to eight inches of snow in and around Boston overnight. According to the weather record this is 6+ times the average for November in the area. When are we going to make the changes necessary to stop greater and less than average things happening?

11/16/18, 8:41 AM

Please tell me this is sarcasm. I think it is. I hope it is.

Derek Kite said...

British Columbia is facing the same issue. The forest fire management along with the population living in the forests has created a catastrophe. Forests grow to burn. It is part of the lifecycle, and if let be burns often. The natural fire is usually less intense not burning the countryside to the gravel but clearing brush and opening the forests.

A generation of environmentalists got what they wanted.

The blathering about global warming is the cowardly reaction of politicians unwilling to take on the powerfully entrenched interests who want to stop tree cutting and who want to develop these areas for housing.

Seeing Red said...

Policies like picking up the brush so it doesn’t turn into tinder?

Henry said...

Worse than negative rain is ice nine.

Rain, negative rain, ice nine. It's like rock paper scissors.

stevew said...

Yes zipity, tongue firmly in cheek. I probably should have deployed the sarc tag.

Unknown said...

I've seen it elsewhere, that when averaged over a long enough time period to smooth regular climate drivers such as the "Pacific Decadal Oscillation", El Niño, & La Niña , California temperature increase over the last century is 0.2°C, and California rainfall decrease over that same century is 0.5-inches - both concerning, but small changes.

On the other hand, harvesting of wood from the state's forests has dropped by 80%.

Between attributing the increase in fire acreage to change in climate, or attributing it to change in land use, when the logging roads that act as fire-breaks are being allowed to grow over, wet-year fuel is being allowed to dry-out and remain in dry years, and grazing being curtailed because of other ecological concerns, it seems that one has to squint really hard to see past the land-use changes and say "it's because of climate change!!!"

Seeing Red said...


Blogger stevew said...
Six to eight inches of snow in and around Boston overnight. According to the weather record this is 6+ times the average for November in the area. When are we going to make the changes necessary to stop greater and less than average things happening?



How do you know it’s not average?


England was very warm and a few centuries later the Thames froze.

Or are snowfalls a thing of the past?

How do you suggest we control the sun?

Tom Grey said...

Better forest management.
Much much better water management, and more reservoirs for the endangered communities.

Higher prices for fresh water, to reduce water being wasted. Like a carbon tax, except for water -- best with a small amount very low cost per person, higher for higher. Kills agriculture tho, which uses vast amounts of water.

When will global warming, er, climate change be such an urgent issue that more nuclear power plants are built?

If CO2 is not a big enough crises to build more nukes, then it's not such a big crisis.

WK said...

California: where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the weather is above average.

Henry said...

@Seeing Red -- I think you're missing stevew's sarcasm tag.

EDH said...

Seems it never rains in southern California
Seems I've often heard that kind of talk before
It never rains in California, but girl, don't they warn ya?
It pours, man, it pours

Jim said...

""'Worse than no rain is negative rain'... The air was so dry, it was sucking water out of the land...."" They call it the Santa Ana winds. Normal weather pattern is coastal winds from the ocean to the coastal mountains. Santa Ana winds come from the interior, the DESERT, and blow off shore. Native Americans knew about it. The Spanish knew about it. It is something that happens almost every year. The winds have been written about before. http://theessayexperiencefall2013.qwriting.qc.cuny.edu/files/2013/12/Joan-Didion_on-the-Santa-Anas-.pdf, and by Raymond Chandler.
In other words, the writer of this PC narrative could have talked to anyones grandfather, grandmother, or great grandmother and found out what was happening.
When huge tracts of forest are wet for a few months, and then subject to extremely dry conditions for the rest of the year, forest management becomes important. That hasn't happened in California.
So yes, it will happen again. As will the terrible mud slides later this winter when the rains come back. And the writer of that worthless PC narrative will continue to bitch about the 'causes'.
The pictures and pretty words sell lots of clicks and make people so upset.
Much can be done, but there is no desire to actually do anything meaningful. Short term hysteria, combined with long term insanity, seems to be the preferred solution.

stevew said...

LOL, I've got to improve my commenting game so that my sarcastic comments, which come naturally for me, do not upset my fellow commenters.

Jess said...

Negative rain? That's a good term for evaporation, although it is more cumbersome to write.

Leland said...

It may take generations for California’s forests to adapt to the warming and drying climate.

Paradise is right next to Lake Oroville. In Feb 2017, here was the conditions then:
Heavy rainfall during the 2017 California floods damaged the main spillway on February 7, so the California Department of Water Resources stopped the spillway flow to assess the damage and contemplate its next steps. The rain eventually raised the lake level until it flowed over the emergency spillway, even after the damaged main spillway was reopened.

Francisco D said...

When are we going to make the changes necessary to stop greater and less than average things happening?

When we create a society where everyone is above average.

gspencer said...

Forest management, or more accurately forest mismanagement by both CA and the US Forest Service, is the chief cause here.

TreeJoe said...

I like being one with nature, but not via a natural burn cycle...

From what I understand CA faces ridiculously dry conditions and hurricane force swirling winds in areas with a long history of forest fires.

This doesn't sound to me exactly unpredictable or unmanageable.

Regardless, I would ask that commenters here look at specific videos of neighborhoods that are burning. These are neighborhoods with houses made out of stone exterior and non-combustible roofs, with almost no combustible material around - and flaming embers are being blown 150-200 feet down the street in large swaths. This is well beyond the boundaries of a specific forest and into developed land with minimal combustible material around and it's still burning like crazy.

The only thing I can think of that would help avoid that might be.....wait for it....a large wall around such neighborhoods to prevent air transfer of combusting materials.

Fernandistein said...

The MSM doesn't use pictures which honestly represent what they're talking about, but am I the only one who thinks that picture looks fake? Why aren't the trees burned?

LYNNDH said...

There is not ONE thing that the US can do to effect "climate change". If CA wanted to do something that would make them feel good, but be ineffective, they could immediately ban all gas powered vehicles and any thing that uses a gas motor. Instead they ban plastic straws.

mandrewa said...

So many lies.

(a) It's not a bizzare and unusual situation for California. This level of dryness is almost normal for California at certain times of the year.

(b) The next sentence quoted from the article is not quite a lie: Nearly every square mile of the state’s forests may need to burn for that to happen — for new life to emerge and for new tree species to migrate northward toward new water sources and cooler air. But it is a piece of nonsense. It's a lie in the sense that it is a false explanation for what is going on.

(c) It's never a lie to not say something, but for this journalist to not mention what he was probably told is deceptive. Somehow the author doesn't describe the one real way that our changing climate is impacting the situation. As carbon dioxide concentrations grow this causes plants to grow faster, and the effect is substantial -- at least a 15% increased growth -- and probably far more than that in the California context, since California is dry for most of the year, and plants in dry conditions benefit more from increased CO2 (because it decreases their need for water) than plants in wet conditions. (It's fascinating and an aside, but what is it that makes people on the left so resistant to certain ideas? Even ideas that one would think would be non-political?)

(d) It's never a lie to not say something. But still: molten salt reactors.

They don't emit CO2. They are natively cheaper than coal or any other energy source we know of. They can be constructed so that they are like a ball on the tip of a pin, where if anything goes odd the ball metaphorically falls off the tip and the reactor stops fissioning and therefore meltdowns are impossible.

The only reason molten salt reactors are not being built right now are regulatory barriers.

They are, natively, dramatically cheaper than solar panels or windmills and unlike solar panels and windmills don't emit vast quantities of CO2. (That last line may sound strange but really it's true and it's a direct consequence of solar and wind being intermittent energy sources whose only rational backup at this point in our technological development is fossil fuel power plants.)

Unknown said...

This graph always put's CA's piddly droughts in perspective.

Chris N said...

At Peace Pavilion West, the free-range goats were granted full human rights a few years back and since then all the vegetation is gone. No more butchering.

Since the fight with the EPA, our bureaucratic brothers and sisters have deemed our canals too invasive for native species and the natural cycle is very dry here

They are coming for the goats, too. Community goats. We’ve appealed to the UN Climate Change Council.

We are returning to a primitive, tribal state, feral and free.

Starchild wept.

Howard said...

... and then there virga

Chris N said...

We are hoping tribes of Yale English majors and writers for the Guardian, funded by wealthy visionaries, can write enough articles to save us. The bureaucrats and grant money are running as dry as Gaia’s Gulch.

Namaste.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

There is not ONE thing that the US can do to effect "climate change". If CA wanted to do something that would make them feel good, but be ineffective, they could immediately ban all gas powered vehicles and any thing that uses a gas motor. Instead they ban plastic straws.

Maybe they should ban electricity since the fire was most likely started by a defective PG&E power line sparking the underbrush that was allowed to grow in the supposed cleared zone.

Yeah....let's ban electricity! How are they gonna power their itty bitty electric cars or get delivery of goods from other areas that haven't gone insane and still allow trucking? As the saying goes..."If you bought it, a truck brought it"

Those planes and helicopters dropping water and borate on the fires are also gonna have a hard time using just electricity.

Perhaps, allowing forest management practices that thin undergrowth, selective logging to get rid of the pecker poles that are choking the forests and forcing people to create sane fire breaks, brush clearing around their homes.... would be a better idea.

Plus mandating that if you create a dense community in a dense forest, you at least have decent roads to allow evacuations/ Ways OUT of the area.

Chris N said...

Also, ‘negative rain’ is now on everyone’s lips. Buzz. Buzz. Sweet honey for the hive.

JML said...

I work for the Forest Service. In two more months I'll be eligible to retire. I'll share my thoughts regarding this more freely then.

JHapp said...

A million dollar fine per acre burned.

Jupiter said...

"But if people are activated and alarmed, they may want to adopt more of the policies that might slow climate change."

What would those be?

Jupiter said...

Oh, that's rich! From the Sacramento Mercury;

"Editorial: California must hold PG&E accountable for wildfires"

tcrosse said...

What would those be?

More conferences.

320Busdriver said...

Last year Santa Rosa burned to the ground, again.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/santa-rosa-ignored-natures-warning/2017/10/18/54240560-b425-11e7-be94-fabb0f1e9ffb_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.4833829b5733

Currently, rebuilding.

We are dumb all over

hombre said...

A high school classmate is an M.D. in Santa Barbara. He has rebuilt three times during the past forty years due to fires in the foothills aggravated by drought conditions. It is not surprising that two of the fires occurred before the U.N. Invented Global Warming/Climate Change.

I see from Drudge that one of the “scientists” from NASA is speaking about the forthcoming “mini ice age” as this “scientist” bleats about the evils of warming.

Ain’t science grand - and flexible.

320Busdriver said...

Common denominator. PG&E

And maybe mountain wave. Spoke to a co worker who lives there and he recounted a horrific tale of the wind gust recorded late that Sunday evening. Hilltop measured winds of 96 mph.

http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2017/10/the-real-story-behind-california.html

mockturtle said...

But if people are activated and alarmed, they may want to adopt more of the policies that might slow climate change.

And they might want to piss in the ocean, too, and believe they made a difference.

cubanbob said...

mandrewa your comment is rather interesting but when it when it comes to molten salt nuclear reactors I wonder why they aren't being put in service globally. While I can see regulatory issues here in the US and in Western Europe being a detrimental reason for those reactors not being used in the USA-EU, why wouldn't China, India and other Asian countries not deploy them?

As for the fires in California, they are tragic but not unforeseeable bolts out of the blue.

stevew said...

Seen on wunderground.com: "Winter Storm Avery Wrapping Up After Setting Records".

What the F is this? Do all storms have names now? And doesn't "Winter" begin around Dec 21, so we are still in "Fall" right? Sheesh.

gilbar said...

someone said...
In other words, the writer of this PC narrative could have talked to anyones grandfather, grandmother, or great grandmother and found out what was happening.

Actually, NO; most people in California are recent (1st or 2nd generation) immigrants to the state (from Chicago, Honduras, Tai Wan, etc), and have No Idea what california was like 50 years ago... Hell, writers of PC narratives don't no what things were like Yesterday

Leland said...

I would ask that commenters here look at specific videos of neighborhoods that are burning. These are neighborhoods with houses made out of stone exterior and non-combustible roofs, with almost no combustible material around

Um, I've seen the videos and even the aftermath pictures. If the homes had stone walls and non-combustible roofs; then why are they burning in the videos and burned to their concrete foundations? My guess is those stone exteriors are a façade, and the structures are actually made of wood rather than concrete cinderblocks.

Besides good forest management, I wonder what would be the situation if California actually retained as much of the flood waters as they could. Then, instead of making it a law not to water lawns and only using 55 gallons of water a day; you would have neighborhoods with healthy vegetation that can withstand the occasional spark.

Alas, there is money to be made protecting fisheries and then suing PG&E. I look forward to PG&E losing more money, then not having sufficient funds to maintain outdated equipment, jacking up rates to pay for lawsuits and maintenance, and Californians staying oblivious to death spiral.

virgil xenophon said...

@mockturtle/

My Gal!!

rhhardin said...

You can't get money out of PG&E. It's all paid by ratepayers because you need the company to stay in business.

rhhardin said...

If there were more CO2, it would put the fire out.

Owen said...

Stevew at 9:02 said: "LOL, I've got to improve my commenting game so that my sarcastic comments, which come naturally for me, do not upset my fellow commenters."

NO. Stevew, never change. We savor the subtle sarc. If you make it too easy for the literal-minded, it will fail for the rest of us connoisseurs.

Also? Your comment caught perfectly the idiocy of these alarmunists. Nobody has defined (or IMHO can define very well) the overall probability density function of various "climate/weather events" over time. It is a moving target, our records are very shaky and short, we are trying to guess at what "is really happening" and of course we are putting several fat thumbs on the scale because funding and votes. Result: this mess.

Your stingers are just what we need.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

And maybe mountain wave. Spoke to a co worker who lives there and he recounted a horrific tale of the wind gust recorded late that Sunday evening. Hilltop measured winds of 96 mph.

YES. This is a huge part of why the fire went towards Paradise from its origination point EAST in Pulga.

We are North of the Paradise area and our prevailing wind are generally from the West to East. We can count on it about 4pm in the Summer. This time when the fire started we had VERY strong winds here from the East to the West. The winds were continual, relentless and gusting up to 45 miles in our flat valley floor.

To have those types of winds being funneled, and amplified, down the steep and narrow canyons West of Pulga (Feather River) and then up the ridge into the Paradise area is most likely the reason that the fire advanced SO rapidly and became literally impossible to stop in the early stages.

Once the fire reached the prime fire area of Paradise, Magalia and ramped up on the dense vegetation, forested areas....well....that's all she wrote.

Carol said...

They hate it that we're not all running around with our hair on fire.

Gotta admit, it makes me even more placid. Is that passive-aggressive?

Carol said...

"hair on fire" ooh that was bad, sorry

gilbar said...

people said...
The only reason molten salt reactors are not being built right now are regulatory barriers.

While I can see regulatory issues here in the US and in Western Europe being a detrimental reason for those reactors not being used in the USA-EU, why wouldn't China, India and other Asian countries not deploy them?


where are you going to get your U235? gleaning U235 out of natural uranium ore requires HUGE front end costs. Since the US is Too Cool for nukes, we're not going to give money for that!

The 'real solution' is fast breeder reactors (probably molten salt) turning plentiful and inexpensive Thorium into U235. If you breed U235 from Thorium instead of gleaning it out of uranium ore; your supply of U235 is basically unlimited! You can make as many bombs; oh! sorry, i mean REACTORS, as you want.
You'll Still need some U235 to start the process, There's NO WAY we're not going to give money for that!

The REAL QUESTION is; where are OUR thorium fast breeder reactors?

gilbar said...

and since when you're done with a breeding cycle, your Thorium is now mixed with U235 (with no U238 present); you can use simple and inexpensive chemical means of extraction rather than expensive centrifuging

Dust Bunny Queen said...

You can't get money out of PG&E. It's all paid by ratepayers because you need the company to stay in business.

True. As I recall from my time as a Director on a public water and sewer system district, California law says that as a PUBLIC UTILITY, they can charge rates commensurate with the cost of providing service with a set percentage of profit built in for maintenance and other items to continue to provide service and expansion of facilities.

What they cannot do is to raise rates because they have been sued for whatever reason or to do things that are not connected with the service provided. A rate increase is regulated by law.

I may be wrong....wouldn't be the first time.

JAORE said...

The worker bees in the environmental industry (I worked there for decades)fall into two camps.

First are the true believers. Anything promoted by the Sierra Club, Green Peace or others is GOSPEL.. It can not be questioned. It can not even be thought about. They control the management ranks.

Then there are the others. They are skeptical on occasion. They respond with, "Let me think about that" when faced with inconvenient facts. And then they do.

ALL of group one will blame climate change for the fires.

MOST of group two have seen evidence that forest management has gone loco. But they know better than to speak up.

Ray - SoCal said...

Jml - look forward to your thoughts in 2 months!

OldManRick said...

Increased population requires increase infrastructure. Both infrastructure and population increase the odds that a fire will start. Several of our recent fires were started by downed power lines supporting populations in more remote areas. The current approach to management of the forests and wild areas by neglect creates catastrophic failure modes, and, with increased population visiting the forests and increased logistical support running through the areas, increases the odds of the failure occurring.

I've seen this coming for 20 years in California. I abandoned a planned trip to Domeland Wilderness years ago when a combination of extended wilderness boundaries removing fire road access/fire breaks and a careless backpacker started the Manter Fire of 2000. This was a perfect example of creating the potential for a catastrophic failure and then upping the odds to realize it.

One area where I haven't seen massive wildfires is around Mammoth Lakes. If you drive the roads near the town, you will see the Inyo National Forest has a policy of brush and debris clearing. There are stacks of combustible materials on the scenic route out of town ready to be removed or composted.

Good Forest Management would recognize the risks and try to mitigate them, not exacerbate them.

Abdul Abulbul Amir said...

The climate is going to change. Period. There is no such thing as climate stasis. We must adapt.

mandrewa said...

cubanbob, China and India are pursuing molten salt reactors. China in particular has over a thousand engineers working on a project. I am a bit mystified why they don't already have something running. Or then maybe they do.

To briefly recapitulate a molten salt reactor was built in the United States in the 1960s. It was classified. The project was cancelled in the 70s but the people who had pursued this thought it was important and did a great job of documenting what they had done. Probably fewer than 50 people at the time had any real understanding of what had happened.

It was declassified in the first decade of the 21st century.

There are lots of different ways to do molten salt reactors and there are a number of different startups in the United States as well as around the world that are pursuing the idea.

One idea I like is thorconpower.com/docs/exec_summary2.pdf because it focuses on the economics.

It takes the molten salt reactor that was built in the 60s as its starting point and says we can start off by just building these, or something very similar, because although, yes better designs are surely possible, still this is already a big improvement over the power plants being built today.

The main barrier is regulatory. And then behind that it's like some people are afraid to do something before all possibilities have been exhaustively researched. That could take a hundred years.

It sometimes seems like there's a serious shortage of people around the world that know how to think and perhaps more importantly know how to take an idea and turn into something real.

Here's the at-the-time classified film of the building of the original molten salt reactor.

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyDbq5HRs0o

Gordon McDowell has hundreds of short videos on YouTube interviewing people that are working on this.

Sacto_Dave said...

Slow climate change? How arrogant of the human race to think we can change the weather. It ain't gonna happen. Parts of the northern hemisphere are getting warmer, the glaciers are retreating, there's been a drought going on in my part of the world, northern California, for years. California has the world's strictest environmental laws and it's not making one bit of difference in the air currents that carry Pacific storms our way. Poor forest management is in part to blame. Instead of controlled burns to clear the slash and debris from the beetle-killed trees we leave it there to burn. If we did controlled burns it would release too much carbon into the atmosphere doncha know.

stlcdr said...

The people who live on the south east coast in the path of hurricanes are stupid and get what they deserve /sarc

Leland said...

You can't get money out of PG&E.

They are being sued. And whether the lawsuit goes against them or there is no material financial punishment; lawyers aren't cheap. I don't see that lawsuit getting tossed either.

I do completely agree with the next part that Californians need PG&E to stay in business. That's sort of my point. Doing what Californians do to PG&E always seems counterproductive.

I always remember the movie Erin Brockovich and its ending. PG&E was fined $333million. $133million went to the winning law firm. Erin got $2.5 million herself. Julia Roberts got $20million for playing Erin in the movie. The remaining $200million was split across the 900 litigants, or less than $250,000 per person (if I recall, few even got close to that amount) for the people actually facing the threat of cancer.

I'm not opposed to holding companies accountable, but it just seems to me that the people actually suffering harm should be the main beneficiaries.

Fernandistein said...

Worse than no rain is negative rain

Negative Rain
from Glossary of Meteorological Terms (2015)
by American Meteorological Society
"Rain that exhibits a net negative electrical charge."

Why is rain with a negative charge worse than no rain?

Big Mike said...

In the past it was recognized that many -- most? -- wildfires in Southern California were caused by illegal immigrants setting campfires that were not properly extinguished. That cause of wildfires is not politically correct anymore, so, mirabile dictu neither does it happen anymore.

Big Mike said...

In the meantime there is a lot that a government that cared about its people could do. No housing developments out in the forest with only one way -- or even only two ways -- out of town. One of the issues for Paradise, CA, was that there were only two ways out of town and when the fire blocked both of them then people died.

But at the state and local levels developers are major contributors to political campaigns, so do not look for anything to be done about housing developments that are deathtraps waiting to happen. Easier to put regressive carbon taxes on the poor and middle class.

Seeing Red said...

Meanwhile, Lockheed. Martin is testing a fusion or fission reactor.

cubanbob said...

gilbar India has the world's largest thorium reserves and lots of other countries outside of the US-EU have plenty of thorium reserves.

Considering the air pollution situation in China just for their own public health reasons one would think the Chinese would be working intensely on these types of reactors and one would think India would be as well.

mandrewa said...

Seeing Red, Lockheed Martin is doing development work on a fusion reactor. So are a lot of other people.

No one has yet succeeded. I have no doubt that someday we will figure out how to do controlled fusion. But we don't know when. Meanwhile we have molten salt reactors, which we do know how to build, or close enough.

And molten salt reactors could be very inexpensive and easy to do. Cheaper than any other option. We can't figure out the cost of fusion until we know how to do it and it's quite possible that it will prove more expensive.

mandrewa said...

cubanbob, the United States has immense thorium reserves. We have so much of it that certain mining companies would pay you to take it from them.

cubanbob said...

mandrewa thanks for the reply. Considering the funds that have been spent and are continuing to be spent on nuclear fusion, alternative fission powered plants that are probably closer in time to being operational and in commercial use would be both cheaper to develop and more likely to succeed in the near term. I don't see why we aren't working on this in a serious way instead of wasting time with limited utility alternative electrical production schemes like solar energy. The science and engineering is beyond me but there are enough scientific and engineering geniuses in China and India to make these types of reactors workable unless there is some fundamental issues that make implementation rather difficult. As for money, China certainly has more than enough of it if they were to make this a national concern along the lines of their space program.

viator said...

"It may take generations for California’s forests to adapt to the warming and drying climate." Except we are entering the beginning of a wetter colder climate. More clouds, less sun, more snow, ice and cold. Winter is coming.



tim maguire said...

Is it the new normal?

No, it's the old normal.

gilbar said...

mandrewa said...One idea I like is thorconpower.com/docs/exec_summary2.pdf

Thanx mandrewa! I'm Literally decades out of date, so it's cool to see that work is being done. I didn't think about U232

Back when i was flunking out of the ISU Engineering college (for the second time), i'd go past a Nuke E professor's door everyday, and see a bumpersticker that he had posted on hid door:
"more people died in Teddy Kennedy's car than at Three Mile Island"

I miss the Eighties!

Richard Dolan said...

It may well be true that California's climate is changing, becoming drier than it was before. I don't know one way or the other. But if so, the residents will have to adapt -- perhaps, first, by not living in heavily forested areas where these fires take place. The author contends that a situation so dire requires "bold, radical plans." Here's one: To end the loss of life from these fires, the new California will have to become just like Brooklyn -- nobody living anywhere near a forest that can catch on fire.

It's worse than useless to pretend that the solution lies in reducing global CO2 levels. And this is pure magical thinking lacking any connection to reality: "We know the kinds of bold, radical plans that scientists say are now necessary to steer the world toward a safer future — including remaking the American economy to rapidly reduce emissions immediately. We have the money, the time, and the knowledge to implement them."

Delusional. Perhaps it makes the author feel better about himself to spout such nonsense. If that's the proposed solution (and it's California, so it probably is), you an be sure that nothing will happen to prevent a repeat of this tragedy.

gilbar said...

viator said...
"It may take generations for California’s forests to adapt to the warming and drying climate." Except we are entering the beginning of a wetter colder climate. More clouds, less sun, more snow, ice and cold. Winter is coming.

And that's Not a Good Thing

Seeing Red said...

Via Insty:

A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000.

Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of “eco- refugees,” threatening political chaos, said Noel Brown, director of the New York office of the U.N. Environment Program, or UNEP.

He said governments have a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it goes beyond human control.

—The Associated Press, June 29, 1989.

Seeing Red said...

Winter is coming and Cali doesn’t have the water retention facilities.

Will there be 30 gallons a day allowable except for pools and hot tubs in their future?

Seeing Red said...

Sorry Steve.

viator said...

Approaching 'grand solar minimum' could cause global cooling

Winter Is Coming

mandrewa said...

gilbar, you will probably like this idea proposed by Elysium Industries

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqVt8cxx-44&t=5s

which is for a fast-spectrum molten salt breeder reactor.

Note that it can burn and extract energy from a long list of different radioactive species including the nuclear waste that the traditional high-pressure, water-2moderated nuclear reactors produce.

More specifically it can burn thorium, depleted uranium, low-enriched uranium, spent nuclear fuel, different grades of plutonium, natural uranium, as well as all the other actinides. It can take nuclear waste that needs to be stored for tens of thousands of years and turn it into something that only needs to be stored for hundreds of years.

tim in vermont said...

Paleoclimatology tells us that North America suffered droughts hundreds of years long regularly. The party of "science" ignores this fact and opens the southern border to millions of new residents.

tim in vermont said...

How much PG&E power is consumed by Google? Don't worry, Alphabet will protect them.

PM said...

Today, a NYT front page story claimed the Camp Fire worsened the CA housing crisis, proving once again that NYers don't know dick about California. Paradise was a lovely, tragically destroyed, retirement community in the foothills - nowhere near urban and suburban centers where housing's an issue.

Leland said...

Why is rain with a negative charge worse than no rain?

I don't think this is particularly related; however, negative charge lightning strikes tend to be more Cloud to Ground (CG) with electrons traveling towards the ground placing more energy there. However, I think using context, the meaning here was net negative amount of rain, which is usually known as drying, so maybe I'm wrong.

DirtyJobsGuy said...

Ann,

As a Wisconsin dweller, you should go and see the memorial to the 1000+ People who died in the giant Peshtigo fire in the 1870’s. This occurred at the same time the great Chicago fire and in larger part was due to an extended drought period coupled with high local temperatures. The dry forest floor and accumulated slash literally cremated many.

David in Cal said...

There's no agreement whether climate change is the cause of our droughts here. Furthermore, there is no way for us to have more than an insignificant impact on climate change except over a period of many decades. So, we need to look for more practical ways to help ameliorate wild fires.

PM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FIDO said...

They build a GD city in a desert. They use all the water available for washing their cars and almond crops.

Then they wonder why everything is so GD dry.

Yet this is the Woke Green State. Sure it is.

PM said...

David in Cal:

Well spoke. One actionable solution is to thin overgrown land. As noted in a recent guest editorial by a forestry expert in, of all places, the SF Chronicle, reducing overgrowth to 40 trees + or - per acre would go along way to de-fuel fires and aid in containment.

Howard said...

Blogger tim in vermont said...

Paleoclimatology tells us that North America suffered droughts hundreds of years long regularly. The party of "science" ignores this fact and opens the southern border to millions of new residents.


Paleoclimatology also gave us the Hockey Stick, which you know is incorrect. People come to California to fulfill the American Dream, so you are an UN-nationalistic anti-patriot.

tim in vermont said...

That wasn't paleoclimatology. That was a novel and incorrect use of statistics which tried to turn paleoclimatology on its head. It's a real science, but I guess not the kind of science that progressives believe in.

tim in vermont said...

People come to California to fulfill the American Dream, so you are an UN-nationalistic anti-patriot.

Always nice to sight a "No true Scotsman" argument in the wild. Of course the whole "Whatever we do, we must never control our borders" argument from the Dems is one big "No True Scotsman" argument. It's based more on what it means to be a "true American" according to their definitions, than any kind of honest logic about what is best for the country.