Balance of evidence

As many as 18 million trees have died in California wildlands and on private property in the past year, killed by drought and disease, according to the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

This sounds like a lot of wood, and the figure will be seized on by those convinced that climate change is wreaking havoc on Califonia’s trees. But the tree death numbers are actually lower than in previous years.

So we have the perfect death story, with room for conflicting conclusions.