Green Flames: London’s Lesson

By Katie Kieffer

Forest Fire

Image credit: “Forest Fire” by Greg Clarke on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Blue flames are products of extreme heat but “green” flames are products of extreme environmentalism, as we saw last week when fire engulfed London’s Grenfell Tower.

From skyscrapers in London to wild lands in California’s Sun Valley, so-called green policies that disregard basic principles of fire safety are sparking deadly infernos. This issue deserves our attention far more than Russian hacking myths and fairytales.

The odor of burning plastic filled the air as 250 firefighters rushed to the scene of Grenfell Tower on June 14. But the flames spread too quickly and intensely for even this army of professional flame-stoppers. At least 30 people died, some 74 were injured and many more remain unaccounted for—meaning that the true death toll is closer to 60.

For years, the 24-story public housing tower’s residents had complained via the Grenfell Action Group that the building—originally constructed in 1974—was a fire hazard. Instead of heeding the warnings, London Mayors like Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson aggressively pressured local councils to reduce carbon dioxide by refurbishing older buildings. (The 2008 Climate Change Act obligates the UK to slash greenhouse emissions by 80% by 2050 in comparison to emissions in 1990.) Unfortunately, safety was sacrificed for the sake of reducing emissions.

No one knows what first started the Grenfell Tower fire. We do know that major experts are tying the “eco-friendly” exterior insulation or “cladding” to the fire’s uncommon force and rapidity.

Grenfell Tower underwent a massive retrofit in 2016 to reduce the building’s emissions costing 10 million pounds ($12.8 million). The building was clad with a form of insulated aluminum that experts like forensic architect Christopher Miers attribute to helping the fire quickly “leap from floor to floor.” Venting behind the cladding acted effectively as a chimney. This means London’s most devastating fire in years is especially heartbreaking because it was preventable.

London is not alone. Fires in Dubai and China have been attributed to similar style of insulation. In our rush to reach arbitrary green goals, we are unfortunately losing all common sense and forgoing basic tests (like fire safety) to ensure that new construction methods fulfill one primary job: sheltering human beings.

Preventable Pyres

In the United States, green policies are inciting metaphorical and literal funeral pyres in our forests—ravaging vast tracks of land from coast to coast.

We annually spend about $1 billion fighting fires. Certainly, fires are a natural occurrence, but not to the degree that we are experiencing. The New American reports on: “gross mismanagement of the national forests by the U.S. Forest Service and the incessant lawsuits of radical environmentalists that have thwarted all reasonable attempts at proper forest management. … Hundreds of millions of board feet of dead and dying timber … [are] left to rot and create massive bug infestations and fire hazards…”

Some 5.6 million acres burned annually in the U.S. for roughly the past decade, reports the National Interagency Fire Center. The Obama administration piggybacked on Clinton administration’s failed “Northwest Forest Plan” that eliminated tens of thousands of timber jobs without deterring fires by unconstitutionally putting an additional 9.2 million acres of land under federal (mis)management.

The FBI has long considered the environmental activist group called “The Family”—responsible for some 20 major fires in the West—to be the most “wanted domestic terrorist group” in America.

And in February, environmental activists protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline (supported by the Obama administration) showed their affection for the earth by torching it to cinders. Two children were burned so severely that they were rushed to a Bismarck hospital when their negligent guardians set fires in protest of the federal order to leave. 

The trend: radical environmentalism neglects to account for the basic safety and health of humans and forests. As a result, horrific fires occur that should never have happened.

Tell your legislators: Stop, drop, and roll up your sleeves. We have quite a few environmental regulations that need reform.

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  1. Ronnie N says:

    Liberals have cost this country and world so much. One attempt by liberals to improve the world that backfired was when they pressured the auto industry to remove ash trays from automobiles. In turn, the inconsiderate smokers of the world now flick their fiery butts out the window. Not only are they creating fire hazards, they are also littering our roads and water drains.

    • Margo Franco says:

      Hey Ronnie, I have never thought about that before…but you are correct about the cig butts.

      Keep up the great, informative posts, Katie:) Love them!

      • Ronnie N says:

        Take notice at the busiest intersections in your city. There are thousands of spent cigarette butts. It seems law enforcement and city government would take notice. Just like Grenfell Tower, government will turn a blind eye.

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