29 May 2009, 1:11am
Latest Climate News
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The Coming Ice Age

By David Deming, American Thinker, May 13, 2009 [here]

Those who ignore the geologic perspective do so at great risk. In fall of 1985, geologists warned that a Columbian volcano, Nevado del Ruiz, was getting ready to erupt. But the volcano had been dormant for 150 years. So government officials and inhabitants of nearby towns did not take the warnings seriously. On the evening of November 13, Nevado del Ruiz erupted, triggering catastrophic mudslides. In the town of Armero, 23,000 people were buried alive in a matter of seconds.

For ninety percent of the last million years, the normal state of the Earth’s climate has been an ice age. Ice ages last about 100,000 years, and are punctuated by short periods of warm climate, or interglacials. The last ice age started about 114,000 years ago. It began instantaneously. For a hundred-thousand years, temperatures fell and sheets of ice a mile thick grew to envelop much of North America, Europe and Asia. The ice age ended nearly as abruptly as it began. Between about 12,000 and 10,000 years ago, the temperature in Greenland rose more than 50 °F. …

For thousands of years, people have learned from experience that cold temperatures are detrimental for human welfare and warm temperatures are beneficial. From about 1300 to 1800 AD, the climate cooled slightly during a period known as the Little Ice Age. In Greenland, the temperature fell by about 4 °F. Although trivial, compared to an ice age cooling of 50 °F, this was nevertheless sufficient to wipe out the Viking colony there.

In northern Europe, the Little Ice Age kicked off with the Great Famine of 1315. Crops failed due to cold temperatures and incessant rain. Desperate and starving, parents ate their children, and people dug up corpses from graves for food. In jails, inmates instantly set upon new prisoners and ate them alive.

The Great Famine was followed by the Black Death, the greatest disaster ever to hit the human race. One-third of the human race died; terror and anarchy prevailed. Human civilization as we know it is only possible in a warm interglacial climate. Short of a catastrophic asteroid impact, the greatest threat to the human race is the onset of another ice age. … [more]

Note: David Deming is a geophysicist and associate professor of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oklahoma.

29 May 2009, 1:10am
Latest Wildlife News
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Canada’s G-G eats seal heart

ABC.net.au, May 27, 2009 [here]

Canada’s governor-general Michaelle Jean has sparked anger from animal rights groups by gutting a seal carcass and eating a piece of its heart.

The tasting came during the kick-off of festivities for the 10th anniversary of the creation of Canada’s northern territory of Nunavut.

Ms Jean knelt above a seal carcass and carved out the meat using a traditional Inuit blade.

After cutting through the flesh she asked if she could try the heart.

She was given a piece and ate it whole, saying afterwards that it was absolutely delicious and tasted like sushi.

Her actions were welcomed by the Inuit but were quickly condemned by international animal rights groups.

One anti-seal hunt campaigner said he was amazed a Canadian official would indulge in such blood lust.

Europe has been moving closer to a total ban on seal products.

Asked if her action was a message to the Europeans, Ms Jean said “take from it what you will”

28 May 2009, 7:36pm
Latest Forest News
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Roadless Forest Areas Now Under Vilsack

By David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post, May 29, 2009 [here]

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today issued a temporary order governing development in “roadless” areas of national forests, requiring all new projects to be approved by him personally.

Vilsack’s order, which will be in effect for a year, is the latest turn in an eight-year-old battle over 58.5 million acres of pristine woods. President Bill Clinton made these areas off-limits in 2001, but President George W. Bush effectively reopened some in 2005. That led to a series of court cases that ultimately replaced the national policy with a patchwork of regional rules.

Vilsack, whose purview includes the U.S. Forest Service, did today what environmental groups had been urging: call a “timeout.” … [more]

27 May 2009, 1:36pm
Latest Fire News Latest Forest News
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National Forest Fire Managers Announce Beginning of Fire Season on Klamath NF

USFS Press Release, May 22, 2009 [here]

Yreka, CA (May 22, 2009)…Fire managers have analyzed fuel conditions and weather data and have determined that the risk of wildfire on the Klamath National Forest is on the increase beginning with the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Below normal rainfall and snow pack for the year has resulted in dryer vegetation conditions that are three to five weeks ahead of normal.

The Klamath experienced 92 wildfires in 2008. This year, the Forest Service is emphasizing early and frequent communication with partners and local communities in order to incorporate local input into decisions that are based on safety, property and natural resource protection, and the threat posed by potential wildfires.

Frequent fires are a part of California’s history and are a part of the natural ecosystem in northern California. Forest Service fire managers will continue to fight unwanted wildfire aggressively after having provided for firefighter safety. While successful initial attack is important, preparedness and prevention on the part of homeowners, communities, and firefighting agencies are the most effective means of protecting life and property from wildfire. For information about how to provide defensible space around your property, contact your local Forest Service or CAL FIRE office.

The risk of human-caused fires on the forest can be diminished by taking the proper safety precautions. Check the weather forecast before visiting the forest, let someone know your itinerary and be extremely careful with campfires. Have a shovel available and clear all flammable material away from the fire ring for a minimum of five feet. Extinguish all campfires with water.

Note: last year over 200,000 acres of the Klamath NF burned in wildfires. Much of that was in Let It Burn fires (WFU and AMR). Contrary to the assertion in the Press Release above, preparedness and prevention on the part USFS FOREST MANAGERS via restoration forestry and active biomass management on public lands is the most effective means of protecting life and property from wildfire.

26 May 2009, 1:44pm
Latest Forest News
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Outcome of yesterday’s occupation of federal offices

Forest Talk, May 26, 2009 [here]

Yesterday’s occupation of seven federal Conservative offices by representatives of Canada’s largest forest workers union has resulted in a high-level meeting and a conference on the future of the forest industry.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has agreed to meet with representatives of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union in Ottawa on June 2nd - the day thousands of forestry workers will join in a march to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Josée Verner also agreed to hold a regional forum on the future of the forest industry.

“This a good first step toward waking up Stephen Harper’s government,” says CEP President Dave Coles, who says his union “will continue to push for action to protect forest jobs, pensions and communities, as well as the future of Canada’s forest industry.” … [more]

26 May 2009, 10:15am
Latest Climate News
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Fairbanks a good place to live if you’re an ice cube

by Ned Rozell, Alaska Tracks.com, March 30, 2007, [here]

As of tonight, the temperature at the official thermometer at Fairbanks International Airport has not risen above freezing during the month of March. Or February. Or January. On one day in December, during a chinook wind, the temperature got above freezing for a few hours. Then it got cold again.

Martha Shulski of the Alaska Climate Research Center crunched some numbers for March, so far. She found that Fairbanks, with an average temp of -8.3 F this month, has never been colder as long as records have been kept here. Anchorage has a new record cold March too, with 13.5 degrees. Another spot with long-term records and its coldest March so far is Gulkana, at -1.1 F. … [more]

21 May 2009, 11:57pm
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The Green Bubble

by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, The New Republic, May 20, 2009 [here]

Why environmentalism keeps imploding

Sometime after the release of An Inconvenient Truth in 2006, environmentalism crossed from political movement to cultural moment. Fortune 500 companies pledged to go carbon neutral. Seemingly every magazine in the country, including Sports Illustrated, released a special green issue. Paris dimmed the lights on the Eiffel Tower. Solar investments became hot, even for oil companies. Evangelical ministers preached the gospel of “creation care.” Even archconservative Newt Gingrich published a book demanding action on global warming.

Green had moved beyond politics. Gestures that were once mundane-bringing your own grocery bags to the store, shopping for secondhand clothes, taking the subway-were suddenly infused with grand significance. Actions like screwing in light bulbs, inflating tires, and weatherizing windows gained fresh urgency. A new generation of urban hipsters, led by Colin Beavan, a charismatic writer in Manhattan who had branded himself “No Impact Man,” proselytized the virtues of downscaling-dumpster-diving, thrift-store shopping, and trading in one’s beater car for a beater bike-while suburban matrons proudly clutched copies of Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food and came to see the purchase of each $4 heirloom tomato at the farmer’s market as an act of virtue.

For those caught up in the moment, the future seemed to promise both apocalypse and transcendence in roughly equal measure. The New York Times and San Francisco magazine ran long feature stories on the uptick of upper-middle- class professionals who worried to their therapists about polar bears or who dug through the trash cans of co-workers to recycle plastic bottles, as though suffering from a kind of eco-OCD. At the same time, folks like Pollan and Beavan provided a vision of green living that seemed to offer not just a smaller carbon footprint but a better life. Amid the fear was the hope that the ecological crisis would bring us together and make us happier.

And then, almost as quickly as it had inflated, the green bubble burst. … [more]

20 May 2009, 11:28am
Latest Climate News
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What if global-warming fears are overblown?

In a Fortune interview, noted climatologist John Christy contends the green crusade to fight climate change is “all cost and no benefit.”

CNNMoney.com, May 14, 2009 [here]

NEW YORK (Fortune) — With Congress about to take up sweeping climate-change legislation, expect to hear more in coming weeks from John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at University of Alabama-Huntsville.

A veteran climatologist who refuses to accept any research funding from the oil or auto industries, Christy was a lead author of the 2001 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report as well as one of the three authors of the American Geophysical Union’s landmark 2003 statement on climate change.

Yet despite those green-sounding credentials, Christy is not calling for draconian cuts in carbon emissions. Quite the contrary. Christy is actually the environmental lobby’s worst nightmare - an accomplished climate scientist with no ties to Big Oil who has produced reams and reams of data that undermine arguments that the earth’s atmosphere is warming at an unusual rate and question whether the remedies being talked about in Congress will actually do any good. … [more]

20 May 2009, 11:23am
Latest Fire News Latest Forest News
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Refueling Outdoor America

Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park becomes a wilderness

Rocky Mountain National Park and other Colorado sites protected

Vail Daily, April 9, 2009 [here]

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar joined Colorado lawmakers, business and conservation leaders Thursday to celebrate the designation of Rocky Mountain National Park’s new wilderness area after 35 years of work.

The park and other Colorado sites were among more than 2 million acres in nine states set aside as protected wilderness in a bill signed March 30 by President Barack Obama.

Salazar told about 200 people that in other times of crisis, former presidents, including Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, had worked to preserve the nation’s heritage, including creating national parks and wildlife refuges.

“It’s very appropriate, it seems to me, that at this point in our history we stand up and we say we will refuel our spirit, refuel our strengths by celebrating the landscapes of America,” Salazar declared. … [more]

And refueling the landscape so it burns in catastrophic fashion. The word “protection” is used euphemistically in this case. Burn, Baby, Burn. Thanks a heap, Kenny.

16 May 2009, 11:52pm
Latest Fire News
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Rapid City couple seeks $346K for fire damage

KCAU-TV, April 4, 2009 [here]

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - A Rapid City couple is suing the federal government for $346,056 for damage caused by a 2006 fire that was set to burn forest debris - something crews plan to do this weekend in the Black Hills.

Richard and Janet Wipf filed the complaint in federal court in Rapid City, where they own 121 acres in the foothills and mountains south of town.

According to the complaint, employees of the U.S. Forest Service lit about 6,700 slash piles in February 2006, which is done to eliminate needles, limbs and tree tops.

The lawsuit accuses the workers of not preparing the piles and surrounding land properly and not monitoring the fires closely enough, which led to a fire and related damage that reduced the value of the couple’s house and property.

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