Climate: mega-fires will experience a “dramatic increase”, according to a UN report

The world is not ready to face the exceptional fires like those which ravaged Australia in 2019-2020, and whose number will increase by the end of the century, warns the UN in a report (in English) posted Wednesday 23 February. Fires, natural, accidental or caused, are not directly caused by global warming, but the increasingly frequent and intense episodes of droughts and heat waves create particularly favorable conditions for their development, warns this report.

“Even with the most ambitious efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the planet will experience a dramatic increase in the frequency of conditions conducive to extreme fires.”

The United Nations Environment Program

in his report

If the world manages to limit warming to +2°C compared to the pre-industrial era, the main objective of the Paris agreement, the number of catastrophic fire episodes should increase between 9% and 14% d 2030, between 20% and 33% by 2050, and between 31% and 52% by 2100.

Risks that can be reduced

However, these figures only concern the most exceptional fires, which in theory only occur today once every 100 years. Although the report does not provide estimates for the rest of the fires, “less extreme episodes are likely to increase as much”at nevertheless explained one of the authors, Andrew Sullivan.

On the other hand, the risk of fires can be reduced. Especially since, according to the report, the costs of the damage caused by fires are far higher than the investments to fight them, in particular by reducing activities that can cause fires to start, by better managing dead plants on the ground, by clearing around houses…

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