(Bloomberg) — Fires burning across most Canadian provinces and territories since May have released 410 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, roughly the equivalent of Mexico’s emissions in 2021.
Canada’s wildfires have contributed 27% of the total wildfire carbon emissions for 2023, according to observation agency Copernicus. By comparison, Canada’s emissions from human activities in 2022 was slightly above 546 metric tons of carbon dioxide, according to data from the Global Carbon Project.
“As temperatures keep increasing and dry conditions become more long-term, the chances of experiencing devastating wildfires like those in Canada are increasing,” said Mark Parrington, senior scientist at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service. Wildfire emissions are tracked from space using satellites and have become a way to measure the fires’ impact on the warming of the planet.
Extremely high temperatures, stoked by climate change, are worsening drought across the planet and fueling fires that can reach unprecedented scale. Canada experienced its worst wildfire season on record this summer and that, along with drought in many parts of the country, have led to economic losses in agriculture, accommodation, food services, mining and quarrying. The area burnt as of Sept. 1 was larger than Bangladesh, with some fires still active.
Other significant wildfire episodes over the past few months took place in central and far eastern Russian districts, in northern and central Greece and on the island of Maui in Hawaii.