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Climate change didn’t cause Canada’s wildfires. Lightning has been starting forest fires for millennia.

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Climate change didn’t cause Canada’s wildfires. Lightning has been starting forest fires for millennia.

Is the hazy stuff out there smoke billowing down from Québec, or hot air emitted from smoggy-brained politicians and journalists? Chuck Schumer told the Senate on Wednesday that the smoke drifting over the Eastern Seaboard was caused by climate change. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez said it showed the urgency of going greener faster. Proof of carbon pollution, lectured the Canadian minister of the environment. A stark reminder of climate change, intoned Biden.

Every news organization and weather app out there suddenly became experts on a new hazard — not smoke or fire, well-known phenomenons that have been extensively documented throughout history — but a new threat, both more nebulous and more ominous: “air quality.” Electronic devices and weather stations began making unsolicited “air quality” reports. The New York Post made melodramatic comparisons with the aftermath of 9/11. Other outlets published analyses of the health risks of smoky air for pets and those in vulnerable states of health. The CBC, Canada’s state broadcaster/doomsayer, assured everyone who would listen that “air quality warnings are likely to become more common with climate change.” Climate change? Or social change — to be imposed via radical environmental policy? And what’s next, “air quality” sirens that urge you to duck for cover when a diesel vehicle rolls by?

The fires in Québec and Ontario are real — especially for those forced to evacuate their homes. So too is the unpleasantness of smoke blowing across eastern Canada and the United States. And just as real, unfortunately, is the propensity of politicians and their media cheerleaders to capitalize on human suffering in order to move society in their preferred direction: in this case, the fool’s gold of net-zero emissions.

But Canadian wildfires aren’t caused by emissions. Wildfires are as normal as thunderstorms. They form part of the natural life cycle of North American forests. While of course some fires are caused by human carelessness or arson, most of the fires currently ravaging Québec and northeastern Ontario are believed to be caused by lightning. Hate to shock the climate zealots, but lightning has been starting forest fires since long before the Romans began using fossil fuels to heat their baths in early Britain.

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