12 Mar 2009, 12:20am
Latest Climate News
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Climate change alarmists ‘intentionally mislead’

Tony Hake, Examiner.com, March 11, 2009 [here]

Dr. Harrison “Jack” Schmitt as a trained geologist was the first scientist-astronaut and walked on the moon with the Apollo 17 lunar mission.

Last month Apollo 17 astronaut and moonwalker Harrison Schmitt added his voice to the growing chorus of scientists speaking out against the anthropogenic [manmade] global warming (AGW) theory. In strongly worded comments he said the theory was a ‘political tool.’ Now, in a speech at the International Conference on Climate Change he outlined his argument in great detail saying, “the science of climate change and its causes is not settled.”

Schmitt recalled as a child in Silver City, New Mexico helping his father, also a geologist, take rain measurements. Those early experiments spurred the former astronaut’s interest in earth sciences at an early age. He recalled how later in life, while on the surface of the moon, he made weather forecasts for the southern hemisphere of the earth.

In wide ranging commentary, Dr. Schmitt made a point by point argument against many of the things that global warming advocates point to in support of the theory. In a similar vein to his comments last month, he continued to admonish scientists and politicians that have politicized the issue and said those that disagree do have a battle ahead of them. … [more]

10 Mar 2009, 8:44pm
Latest Forest News
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Angora Tahoe restoration plan released

By Adam Jensen, Tahoe Daily Tribune, February 18, 2009 [here]

LAKE TAHOE — A proposal by the U.S. Forest Service to restore 2,700 acres of land burnt by the Angora fire won’t try to recreate the forest that was there before the blaze.

Instead, the Angora Ecosystem Restoration Plan aims to move the forest closer to historic — and fire-resistant — conditions, said Forest Service spokeswoman Cheva Heck.

Like forests all around Lake Tahoe, decades of fire suppression left areas near Angora Ridge overgrown and prone to high-intensity wildfire.

“That forest was unhealthy,” Heck said. “We don’t want to go back and duplicate that forest.”

The proposal includes fuel reduction on up to 1,398 acres in the area, with a focus on the forest near homes, Heck said.

Also in the proposal is a plan to restore Seneca Pond.

The restoration is likely to decrease the water level at the pond and could affect recreation at the popular spot.

“It will be more of a wetland and less of a pond,” Heck said.

Although the Forest Service held a meeting to receive public comment on the plan in summer 2008, release of the proposal on Feb. 11 began a 30- day public scoping period under the National Environmental Policy Act.

“If people do have issues, now is the time you go ahead and bring those up,” Heck said.

Implementation of the project is not expected to begin until Fall 2009 at the earliest.

A public meeting to explain the proposal is planned for March 3 at Inn by the Lake, at 3300 Lake Tahoe Blvd. in South Lake Tahoe. The meeting will run from 4-7 p.m. and use an open house format.

Comments concerning the project should be submitted by the end of the 30-day public scoping period on March 13.

For more information regarding the proposal, contact Duncan Leao or Richard Vacirca, Interdisciplinary Team Leaders at (530) 543-2600.

The proposal as well as project maps are available on the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Web site: www.fs.fed.us/r5/ltbmu/projects.

10 Mar 2009, 8:39pm
Latest Forest News
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U.N. report: Forestry can create 10 million jobs

By Katy Byron, CNN, March 10, 2009 [here]

(CNN) — The United Nations is urging countries to invest in green jobs working with “sustainable forest management” to address the growing problem of unemployment worldwide.

At least 10 million such jobs could be created, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization will say in a report to be released this week.

The report does not mention any countries but is aimed at “mainly regions with substantial rural unemployment and degraded land areas,” said C.T.S. Nair, chief economist in the U.N. Forestry Department and one of the authors of the report.

While all countries could benefit from investing in these green jobs, Nair said, Asia and Africa — and to some extent Latin America — could benefit the most. India, China and almost all countries in Africa stand to benefit, he added. … [more]

10 Mar 2009, 6:44pm
Latest Climate News
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Dispatch from the International Conference on Climate Change in New York

Ronald Bailey, Reason Magazine, March 9, 2009 [here]

March 8, New York—”Global warming alarmism has always been a political movement,” declared Massachusetts Institute of Technology climatologist Richard Lindzen during his keynote address at the second International Conference on Climate Change.

Organized by the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based free market think tank, the conference has 700 registered participants who are attending the three day meeting in New York. Lindzen and Czech Republic and European Union President Vaclav Klaus were the featured speakers at the conference’s opening dinner. …

Klaus confessed that he was puzzled by the environmentalist ideologues’ approach to technological progress. They oppose the technological progress that free unregulated markets make possible. On the other hand, environmentalists want to mandate what they call clean technologies. “They want to operate technologies that have only one defect,” said Klaus. “They have not been invented.” Klaus added, “There is no known and economically feasible a way for an economy to survive on expensive unreliable clean green energy.”

Klaus called into question the common notion of inter-generational equity—that the current generation should sacrifice now to benefit future generations. Should we have a preference for future generations over poor people today? Klaus ended by observing that environmentalist ideologues say that they want to “save the planet. The question is from what and for whom?”

Lindzen decried what he sees as the intellectual corruption that global warming alarmism has brought to climatology. He noted that many climatologists are happy to issue ambiguous statements that are then spun by activists into alarms. The result is increased funding for climate research, so no one publicly complains about the spinning. Most of the funding for climate research would not be there were it not for the global warming issue. Lindzen added, “Most science funded under the rubric of climate does not actually deal with climate, but rather with the alleged impact of arbitrarily assumed climate change.” …

Lindzen also stated that the global mean temperature has not increased since 1995, even if one includes the anomalous big El Nino year of 1998. He added that this lack of warming is not a dispositive argument against anthropogenic global warming. Nevertheless, the lack of a recent discernible warming trend will have an impact on the public as debates about policies to cut emissions and increase energy prices to mitigate warming go forward. … [more]

10 Mar 2009, 6:38pm
Latest Wildlife News
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Enivro Groups Still Lily White

by Lawrence Jackson, Associated Press, NY Times, 03/10/2009 [here]

Lisa P. Jackson, Environmental Protection Agency administrator, says staff members should “look like the people we serve.”

Mr. Ringo, now president of the Apollo Alliance, a coalition of environmental, labor and business groups, says that even today, he is often the only environmentalist in the room who is not white.

“We’re not where we were, but we’re not where we want to be,” Mr. Ringo said of the environmental movement’s efforts to diversify.

National environmental organizations have traditionally drawn their membership from the white and affluent, and have faced criticism for focusing more on protecting resources than protecting people.

But with a black president committed to environmental issues in the White House and a need to achieve broader public support for initiatives like federal legislation to address global warming, many environmentalists say they feel pressure to diversify the movement further, both in membership and at higher levels of leadership.

“Our groups are not as diverse as we’d like, but every one of the major groups has diversity as a top priority,” said Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “There’s great commitment to making the environmental movement representative of what the country is.” … [more]

Note: Said Whitey with an insincere wink. Same old story, nothing new here. The lily white enviro groups are inveterate racists, both in membership and policy.

10 Mar 2009, 6:33pm
Latest Fire News
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Grazing: Good or bad for wildfires?

BLM researchers want to assemble data to judge environmental effects

by Patricia R. McCoy, Capital Press, 3/5/2009 [here]

BOISE - The Bureau of Land Management is launching studies to find out if livestock grazing can be a tool to reduce the threat of wildfires or if it may make them worse.

Mike Pellant, coordinator of the Great Basin Restoration Initiative for BLM, said grazing and anti-grazing proponents made claims on both sides of the issue after the 2007 Murphy Complex fire, Idaho’s second-largest wildfire on record.

“Our own studies indicate grazing made a difference and can be a tool, but it needs to be used properly. We think targeted grazing by specific kinds of livestock might be an answer, but we need solid, scientific data,” Pellant said.

He said the BLM wants to develop internal guidelines for grazing to reduce fuels. … [more]

10 Mar 2009, 6:32pm
Latest Wildlife News
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Wolf Pack Kills Cougar

By JASON KAUFFMAN, Idaho Mountain Express, March 4, 2009 [here]

A 2-year-old mountain lion believed to have been killed by gray wolves lies in the snow near Sun Valley’s Elkhorn neighborhood early Monday afternoon. A follow-up necropsy found multiple puncture wounds consistent with a wolf attack on the predator’s hindquarters, back and neck areas. Photo by Willy Cook

An age-old conflict between two formidable foes ended with the death of a well-traveled mountain lion in the foothills above Elkhorn this week.

The epic fight likely occurred Sunday night, Hailey-based Idaho Department of Fish and Game Conservation Officer Lee Garwood said as he ran his hand through the cougar’s matted fur just after noon on Monday.

“There’s still some warmth,” he said.

According to Garwood, the confrontation likely pitted the solitary, 2-year-old male cougar against an unknown number of wolves from the Phantom Hill pack. Tipped off by nearby residents, the seasoned officer found the crumpled remains of the big cat near the carcass of a cow elk it had likely been feeding on before its fateful encounter.

Only a few hundred yards from where Garwood stood was the first of several large homes in the lower end of Parker Gulch. … [more]

Note: Wolves are like any other dog, they are relentless and unmerciful on cats.

10 Mar 2009, 6:29pm
Latest Climate News
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Capping Economic Growth

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY, March 05, 2009 [here]

Tax-challenged Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and White House Budget Director Peter Orszag went to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to defend a federal budget that assumes $650 billion in revenue from a cap-and-trade carbon emissions scheme that may be worse than Bill Clinton’s defeated Btu tax on energy.

Under the plan, the Obama administration would sell or auction off emission credits based on a predetermined cap of carbon emissions arbitrarily set for the U.S. economy. Lower-polluting companies could then trade their excess. At least that’s the theory.

The problem is that capping emissions based on dubious climate science will also kill hopes for a rapid economic recovery. Any good that comes from the stimulus package will be wiped out by this energy tax that will be passed on to every consumer through everything we produce and consume.

Money that could be spent on creating jobs will be wasted trying to save the polar bear.

Geithner told the House Ways and Means Committee: “There is no other way to try to get us on a path of energy independence and address the critical problems caused by climate change without changing the incentives.”

Incentives? And just who has lost his job or had his house foreclosed while the Earth has actually cooled in the last decade? … [more]

10 Mar 2009, 6:25pm
Latest Climate News
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Cow Fart Tax Update

Farm Bureau Calls ‘Cow Tax’ Bill Timely and Critical

American Farm Bureau Federation, March 5, 2009 [here]

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 5, 2009 – Legislation introduced today to prevent a “cow tax” on farmers and ranchers is both “timely and critical,” said the American Farm Bureau Federation.

In a letter to the bill’s sponsors, Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), AFBF commended their bipartisan efforts and said the organization would work with them to ensure that the legislation gains broad support.

The Thune-Schumer bill would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from imposing Title V operating permits on U.S. agriculture operations under the Clean Air Act. Those permits automatically result in mandatory fees.

If EPA were to regulate greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) under the act, as the agency indicated it was considering last year in an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, AFBF calculated that it could cost farmers and ranchers $175 per dairy cow, $87.50 per beef cow and $21.87 per hog. The fees were arrived at using publicly available government data.

“The concerns farmers raise are real,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “They are all the more pressing now as the agency is reportedly looking at potentially regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.”

AFBF brought attention to the potential operating fees last year when EPA’s proposed rulemaking was published, along with a statement by the Agriculture Department that it would result in increased regulation of farming operations. The reaction from farmers and ranchers across the country was swift and widespread, leading to the legislators’ commitment to work on legislation. … [more]

9 Mar 2009, 12:15am
Latest Forest News
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Final WI ELF members are sentenced

Justice system works, says research facility director

Sarah Juon , Editor, NewsoftheNorth.Net, March 7, 2009 [here]

When the sentence was handed down last month for the final two Earth Liberation Front members who committed sabotage on the U.S. Forest Service research facility [Forestry Sciences Laboratory] in Rhinelander in 2000, a collective sigh of relief went up.

Eric Gustafson, a biologist and the new director of the Institute for Applied Ecosystem Studies at the forest research lab, said the nine-year wait for closure was satisfying. “It may not seem like a big deal after all this time, but we were grateful for the perseverance of the FBI and other law enforcement groups that helped. It shows the justice system works.” …

Gustafson said the Earth Liberation Front attack was based on a false idea about what the research facility is doing. “They thought we were doing lab work with the poplars – genetic engineering. These are strictly hybrids of aspen and cottonwood, bred for rapid growth.”

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8 Mar 2009, 11:44pm
Latest Forest News
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Can’t see the forest for the fees

by Lois Henry, The Bakersfield Californian, March 7, 2009 [here]

I’ve said this before and it never ceases to be true: giving government agencies near-total control with virtually zero accountability is always — always — a bad idea.

This axiom is playing itself out again in the Kern River Valley where Sequoia National Forest Service officials have earned the community’s ire by bumping up day use and camping fees.

Everyone knows it costs money to keep up with the potties, trash and vandalism massive crowds bring with them over the summer.

What’s sticking in residents’ craws, however, is this:

• The Forest Service isn’t keeping up with trash, sanitation and vandalism.

• It isn’t providing better amenities.

• It hasn’t properly accounted for fees it’s collected and spent over the last several years.

And, in the process of doubling its fees on several sites, it also proposed a host of new fee sites the community feared would ensnare the whole lake and upper Kern River into a scheme that would have seen visitors charged $10 for parking to snap a few pictures.

Oh yeah, and residents tell me they are fed up with the lack of communication, doublespeak and outright misleading information they’ve been given by Forest Service officials over this issue. … [more]

8 Mar 2009, 6:00pm
Latest Climate News
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The 2009 International Conference on Climate Change

Heartland Institute, March 7, 2009 [here]

The world’s largest-ever gathering of global warming skeptics will assemble Sunday in New York City to confront the issue, “Global warming: Was it ever really a crisis?”

The complete program for the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change, including cosponsor information and brief biographies of all speakers, can be downloaded in Adobe’s PDF format [here].

About 800 scientists, economists, legislators, policy activists, and media representatives are expected to register at the second International Conference on Climate Change, opening Sunday, March 8 and concluding Tuesday, March 10 at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel.

Produced by The Heartland Institute and 57 co-sponsoring organizations, the conference is devoted to answering questions overlooked by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. That panel concluded global temperatures may already have reached crisis proportions, and that human activity was a key driver in raising temperatures, primarily because of the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

But the 80 experts scheduled to speak at the Heartland conference say they will present a substantially different viewpoint.

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8 Mar 2009, 5:57pm
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Obamafusion

by Victor Davis Hanson, Pajamas Media, March 8, 2009 [here]

Why is Wall Street worried? — Let us count the ways.

1) The proverbial Wall Street capitalists believe that, with new federal income tax rates, the removal of FICA ceilings, increases in capital gains rates, decreases in deductions, and simultaneous tax raises, not only will Obama remove incentives for innovation and productivity, but that he does not seem to care about — or perhaps appreciate — the consequences?

2) On the spending side, investors see too many subsidies and entitlements that may Europeanize the populace and erode incentives, while creating so much debt that in the next decade, should interest rates rise, the federal budget will be consumed with servicing borrowing and entitlement obligations. A redistributive economy in which government ensures an equality of result is Wall Street’s worst nightmare. Debt can only be paid back by floating more foreign debt, issuing more U.S. bonds at home, raising taxes, or printing money — all bad options in the mind of the investor.

3) Too many are beginning to think Obama is, well, a naïf — and hence dangerous. He chest-thumps speeches Geithner cannot deliver. He says we are near the Great Depression — but then, after the stimulus package passes, suddenly hypes future growth rates to suggest that we will be out a recession, soon after all? Add in all the talk of high-tax, Al-Gorist cap-in-trade, wind and solar, socialized medicine in the midst of a financial crisis, and at best Obama comes across as confused and herky-jerky, and at worse, clueless on the economy — as if a Chicago organizer is organizing a multi-trillion-dollar economy. Talking about ‘gyrations’ and confusion about profits and earnings, and offering ad hoc advice about investing do not restore authority. … [more]

Victoria has snowfall just days after bushfire alerts

Queensland Courier Mail, March 05, 2009 [here]

SNOW has fallen in Victoria’s alpine region just days after the state was on extreme fire alert. It follows two days of rain which eased the state’s bushfire emergency.

Weather bureau duty forecaster Michael Halfpenny said with temperatures reaching a low of minus two degrees at Mount Hotham this morning, slight snowfall would have been seen.

“There would have been a few flecks this morning with a few possible showers, but it was not likely to settle,” he said.

Mt Hotham recorded 1.2 mm of snow with temperatures below zero degrees from about 2am to 10.30am today, Mr Halfpenny said.

Mount Hotham Skiing Company senior marketing executive Caroline Wheatley described it as a “very light dusting” of snow.

“We woke up to it, it was a beautiful scene of flecks falling down. It was quite surprising to see that,” she said.

She said it was probably the first snowfall seen in the region since November last year.

It also marks a week of weather paradoxes for Victoria, which was on extreme bushfire alert earlier in the week.

In the past two days many parts of the state have recorded high levels of much needed rain.

While central Melbourne only recorded about 4mm in the past 48 hours, Mt Dandenong saw 33mm, the Otway Ranges recorded 38mm, Mt Baw Baw recorded 34mm of rain and Marysville had 38mm.

7 Mar 2009, 7:49pm
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What Next?

by James Howard Kunstler, March 02, 2009 [here]

Isn’t that a question, though….

The Peak Oil story was never about running out of oil. It was about the collapse of complex systems in a world economy faced by the prospect of no further oil-fueled growth. It was something of a shock to many that the first complex system to fail would be banking, but the process is obvious: no more growth means no more ability to pay interest on credit… end of story, as Tony Soprano used to say. …

The collapse of complex systems is actually predicated on the idea that the systems would mutually reinforce each other’s failures. This is now plain to see as the collapse of banking (that is, of both lending and debt service), has led to the collapse of commerce and manufacturing. The next systems to go will probably be farming, transportation, and the oil markets themselves (which constitute the system for allocating and distributing world energy resources). As these things seize up, the final system to go will be governance, at least at the highest levels.

If we’re really lucky, human affairs will eventually reorganize at a lower scale of activity, governance, civility, and economy. Every week, the failure to recognize the nature of our predicament thrusts us further into the uncharted territory of hardship. The task of government right now is not to prop up doomed systems at their current scales of failure, but to prepare the public to rebuild our systems at smaller scales.

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