Climate change partly to blame for Colorado wildfires


Experts say record-breaking heat and an uncommonly dry winter created perfect conditions for the Colorado wildfires.

And over the weekend, the eastern/middle U.S. baked under record temperatures from Athens, Georgia, to Cairo, Illinois, while violent storms killed 15 people and knocked out power to millions.

Human-caused climate change?  While the science of attributing extreme events to global warming develops, let’s just say it’s not very scientifically sound to look at the window for a few days and conclude one way or another.

For example, when it snows a lot, as it did in February 2010, or at an unusual time of the year like it did in October 2011, science-is-bad skeptics are quick to conclude that climate change is a hoax.

So, should science-is-good climate change believers do the same and conclude that the heatwave is proof of climate change?

On Friday, Ed asked Dr. Michael Oppenheimer, Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs at Princeton University, about the wildfires in Colorado, temperature trends and what we can do about it.

“What’s unusual is to see this kind of explosive fire event occur early in the season. Usually, this kind of thing will occur later,” Oppenheimer said.  ”This is a dire picture of what the future holds if we don’t bring global warming under control.”

Also on Friday, Doug Kammerer, chief meteorologist for WRC-TV in Washington, D.C., said he believed global warming was adding a few degrees to the already intense heatwave.

Watch the video:

“If we did not have global warming, we wouldn’t see this,” Kammerer said. “I really believe that, I really think that this is because — maybe we would have seen 101, maybe we would have seen 102, but not 104.”

Of course, the science-is-bad global warming skeptics have attack Kammerer for his analysis, labeling him a “propagandist.”

Bill Nye the Science Guy will join Ed to discuss Kammerer’s analysis, and climate change in general, tonight at 8pET on The Ed Show on msnbc!  


Climate change partly to blame for Colorado wildfires