Fires in Canada emit the equivalent of more than one billion tonnes of CO2

Thousands of forest fires are ravaging Canada this year they emitted the equivalent of more than 1,000 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), an unprecedented record, Canadian authorities announced this Friday.

The value is almost the same as Japan’s annual emissions (1,120 million tons of CO2 in 2021), the world’s fifth largest polluter, and exceeding the annual emissions of the entire global aviation sector in 2022 (nearly 800 million tons of CO2).

“This summer has turned into a real marathon”highlighted Michael Norton, general director Canadian Forest Serviceat a time when the west of the country is bracing for another heat wave.

“Our initial estimates show that this season’s emissions exceed the equivalent of 1,000 million tons of carbon dioxide,” he said.

The fire risk will remain “above normal” through September

Michael Norton also warned that the risk of fire should be present “above normal” Until September. By the end of July, carbon emissions caused by fires in Canada were more than double the previous record annual maximum in 2014, according to data from Europe’s Copernicus observatory.

This year’s recorded ‘big fires’ spread across the country with high intensity, breaking records in many provinces. This Friday, Canada has been on maximum fire alert status for 90 days, the longest on record, after 50 days in 2021.

“This year’s bushfire season was instructive, it showed us what awaits us if we do nothing to reduce emissions”highlighted this Friday the Minister of Natural Resources, Jonathan Wilkinson, during a press conference in Vancouver.

The area burned broke records

The government official cited global warming as the “main cause” of the ‘megafire’, which resulted in four deaths. Fires have so far scorched 13.5 million hectaresequivalent to the area of ​​Greece, almost double the area of ​​the last absolute record, in 1989 at 7.3 million hectares, according to Canadian Interagency Wildfire Center (CIFFC).

Since May, Canada has received assistance from nearly 5,000 firefighters from 12 countries, including from Portugal, in June. More than 200 evacuation orders were issued, forcing some 168,000 Canadians to temporarily leave their homes.

British Columbia, the province hardest hit this month, is expected to experience extremely high temperatures this weekend and next week, which will worsen the drought.

Clara Burton

"Geek zombie. Subtly charming social media scholar. Beer enthusiast. Lifelong bacon pioneer."

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