Monday, January 20, 2020

Paul Driessen at WUWT suggests Australia remove its forests

Sou | 10:57 PM Go to the first of 14 comments. Add a comment
Wildflowers & snowgum
The weird get weirder. A bloke called Paul Driessen, whose job includes telling lies about climate change and bringing back smog to the USA, has come up with a wild idea and it's been posted at WUWT. This time he's really gone bananas. What he's saying is that Australia should get rid of all its trees, or those of the eucalypt species which is pretty much the same thing, and that would stop fires. In other words, he's suggesting we get rid of almost all our forests. That's one solution to stopping fires, though not original.

Don't believe me? Here's what he wrote:
In both California and Australia, people bemoan the loss of eucalyptus trees in fires. But many don’t want them removed or even thinned out.

Many don't want them removed? Really? How about almost no-one wants them removed. It's only a few shock jocks in Australia, and Paul Driessen, and probably Rupert Murdoch, who want to chop down all our forests. I can understand that people in California would regard the Australian blue gum as a pest - in California. (That's probably the only eucalypt they know.) What I don't understand is why anyone would want to remove all the eucalypts in Australia. All 894 varieties, coast to coast? (What about the koalas?)

In case anyone is thinking, well, Australia has forests dominated by other species, you'd be right. However, most of our forests are eucalypt forests. Here's a map showing the different types, courtesy the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES):

Many of the other species: acacia, melaleuca etc also burn quite readily. Should we chop them down as well? And what about the rainforests that have burnt for the first time in thousands of years? How about the rivers, firebreaks, cleared areas, areas burnt several times already? Maybe we should just cover the country in tar and cement!

Paul Driessen is really and truly suggesting we strip bare our continent of the tree species that defines us and our forests, the eucalypt, destroying the homes of birds, kangaroos, koalas, possums, gliders and protects so many species of other flora.

Deniers want us to chop down millions of hectares of forests and become a treeless nation.
No-one but a dastardly climate criminal could even consider chopping down these beautiful snow gums.
Deniers really are most peculiar.

BTW, I've been watching out for this and Paul is the first denier I've come across who says "CO2 is plant food" is one reason Australia's fires were so bad (those weren't his exact words).

Oh, and ignore the rest of his article, it's complete and utter nonsense. Paul got most of it from various wacko websites in the USA and people who know nothing about Australia (like himself). It's a mix of lies, conspiracy theories and nut-job politics that WUWT is known for (i.e. to anyone who has the misfortune to know it). Paul is pushing the crazy line that scores of people spent days hiking and climbing for miles deep into inaccessible parts of the Great Dividing Range, waited till they were caught in the middle of electrical storms, then set the forest alight. These people, he must assume, were highly coordinated and set off fires all over NSW and Victoria at the same time as lightning was shooting about. These arsonists who want to get rid of Australia's forests are very cunning, aren't they.

Next he'll be recommending we blow away all the clouds to stop the hailstones.

WUWT is not recommended for the sane.


  1. Well, he may have a point. I do not think Antarctica has had a wildfire in millennia. How many trees do you see in Antarctica?

    Best wishes from the frozen North

  2. we freely gave you our rabbits, cats etc. remove the gums and go for true British trees. We can then send you more of our native species for repopulation.

    I'm sure nothing bad could happen. British trees don't seem to burn (often) and we do not have to sweep, rake and vacuum our forest ground!!

  3. Alternative title:

    Paul Driessen wants to starve cuddly koalas.

    WUWT is one of the most bizarre homepages I know. It main aim seems to be to make people despair about humanity. Fortunately, most people are okay and do not visit that place.

  4. It may well be that - thanks in part to the efforts of WUWT and their ilk - an ever larger part of the planet should now boast the fauna and flora currently found in Death Valley.

  5. "In both California and Australia, people bemoan the loss of eucalyptus trees in fires"

    You didn't mention that Eucalyptus trees are not generally lost in fires, they have evolved to thrive and benefit in several ways from a fire.

    " But many don’t want them removed or even thinned out. "

    Strictly speaking this could be intepreted as people don't want ANY eucalypt areas removed (for a firebreak for instance) whereas you are interpreting it as people don't want ALL eucalypts removed.
    But seeing that US people are often ignorant about aspects of Australia, I couldn't be sure that he didn't mean ALL, because he just assumed Australia Eucalypt issue was like the California situation.

    1. George, I get that as a denier you feel compelled to stick up for them.

      I didn't write the first quote, that was Paul Driessen. I didn't comment on a lot of the rubbish in his article. I focused on one point - how he's suggesting removing our eucalypt trees and hence almost all of our forests.

      However I'm saddened (understatement) by the beautiful stands of eucalypts lost in the fires. The dead grey trunks are visible on the hills and I see them every day. Unlike many trees here, they didn't sprout new greenery after the fires earlier this century. They've suffered too many fires that were too hot this century. Some entire forests are at risk of never recovering and will be forever changed, along with extinction of the some of the plants and animals they house. That will get worse as global heating continues and there are more frequent and fiercer fires.

      Some forests recover from fire, some don't. Some plant seeds need fire or smoke to sprout, some don't. Some forests haven't seen fire in thousands of years, till now. Some have evolved with fire, but won't withstand high intensity fires that repeat too often.

      It's interesting to find you've such a close relationship with Paul that you can read his mind. If only he'd said what he really means instead of what he wrote.

      There are a lot of instant experts on Australia who know just what we should do about the fires. Lots of instant experts sitting in armchairs all over the world, including in Australia. The ones who mention climate change being a fundamental problem are probably closest to finding some way to stop things getting so much worse.

    2. Enough more fires at close enough intervals and the problem of forests will take care of itself. A whole treeless continent in the equatorial zone of the planet! Oh joy!

    3. jgnfld, I made this point elsewhere a few weeks ago - this is exactly how climate change-induce desertification starts.

      And extinction commences long before the deserts arrive. These fires were so hot that most of the biomass in the forests was utterly destroyed. Included in that extremely-devastated biomass would have been cryptic species of limited distribution: we'll never know that they were there, and are now lost.

      There are also species about which we do have knowledge, and we'll document their decline and loss over the coming months and years...

      The Australian Coalition political parties have actively facilitated - and participated in - the deliberate desertification of the nation's ecology. The only thing that remains to be determined is how much further they'll participate in the process in order to make a buck for their funders, for their mates, and for themselves before they're stopped by our choice... or by nature...

    4. I'll stay anonymous for now.February 10, 2020 at 12:27 AM

      "You didn't mention that Eucalyptus trees are not generally lost in fires, they have evolved to thrive and benefit in several ways from a fire."

      Ok, I'm gonna just assume that your definately not a local. Yes, many (not all) Eucalypts do have a specific adaption that reacts to fire. The seeds of some species will germinate after a fire. Now, ask yourself, why does nature need this specific adaption? Its because Eucalypts don't just burn down in a fire. In many cases they straight up explode. Eucalypts defining fire feature is just how catastrophic the outcome of burning them is. The oil burns explosively, and in the canopy can straight up tear the tree apart.

      Of course the catch is with the seed mechanism, is that if the fire is hot enough, and a full blown eucalypt fire can be incredibly hot burning, it can actually kill the seeds, at least ones closer to the surface. The adaption is something that works fine with traditional bushfires, but climate change has left the forests drier and hotter, and these are causing fires far hotter than they've evolved to handle.

      I spent a number of years working in fire management in australia, so I do actually have some expertise here.

      And for the record, cutting down the forests would be an act of insanity. Australia is already suffering for its logging. Farms are having terrible trouble with salination due to logging. Basically when you pull up all the trees, the water table rises bringing salt with it. You can see a rather extreme example of it in the wheat belt in australia where so much former agricultural land is turning into salt planes. Projects have been in place to plant eucalypts and other natives around the farms, as well as experiments with things like raising sheep in plantation forests, where the trees actually provide great cover and higher quality wool. But in some respects its been too little too late, and a series of governments on both sides of the bench uninterested in putting the hard work, and money, into turning this around.

      And considering that the *only* safe geo-engineering solution , other than water mist towers in the arctic, that we know of to combat climate change is to plant billions, and perhaps trillions, of trees, vandalizing our iconic forests for a misguided quick fix to fires would be a catastrophically stupid response, and one that would leave us a (sinking) desert island with no indigenous food production capacities. Then again, we're going ahead with new coal mines, so I guess scientific rigor isn't informing decision making right now

      Oh well.

  6. I think we should be grateful to Mr Driessen. He has encapsulated the spectacular stupidity of science deniers and selflessly made an utter spectacle of himself in furthering that cause.
    Please continue Paul.

    My wife and I have a weekender on the escarpment at Medlow Bath in the Blue Mountains of NSW, Australia.

    During the recent horrific fire season we had a cunning plan to defend our house.

    We'd put our greyhound in the car and drive away.

    1. Is your house okay, PG? Those fires were monstrous.

  7. Nothing in the Megalong Valley. It was like the crisis did not exist. But we have zero defence against any fires in the Megalong coming up the hill.
    One thing's for certain, we will not defend it.
    There is nothing in the house that is sacred.
    If it burns then we will rebuild.


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