30 Apr 2010, 12:25pm
Saving Forests
by admin
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The Burden of the Generalist

Foresters are generalists. Forest management requires stewardship of myriad resources, and the job of the forester is to consider them all, balance them all, and care for them all.

Some people think foresters are solely concerned with timber production. Nothing could be further from the truth. Foresters are responsible for producing forest products for the benefit of the economy, but we are also responsible for wildlife habitat for thousands of creatures; riparian zones, aquatic habitat, hydrology, and water quality and quantity; recreational uses and scenery; soils and soil productivity; heritage and historical cultural resources; fire control, management and prescribed burning; public health and safety; roads and engineering; education, outreach, and public involvement; laws and regulations; bookkeeping and accounting; biology, mathematics, statistics, and probably some more categories I missed.

Foresters need to understand and be well-versed in all the specialties because we oversee the work of wildlife biologists, loggers, campground hosts, and all the other specialized technicians involved in forest management activities. Foresters are similar to general contractors in some respects.

All the various resources and resource values must be considered, measured, accounted for, and managed for in a balanced way. Maximizing the output of any single resource generally diminishes the output of all the others. Hence an optimal mix must be provided for.

Many special interests and factions tug and pull at foresters to produce their favored resource to the exclusion of all others. Some factions want spotted owls and nothing else. Some want timber production and nothing else. Some want elk, or salmon, or hang gliding, or mountain biking, or mushrooms, or human-excluded wilderness, or what have you.

There is a faction with advocates for every resource. They can be notoriously closed minded. SOSF commenter and forester Ken P. noted a conversation he had with the Director of Idaho Conservation League who said that he’d rather see National Forests burn to the ground than one load of logs harvested.

How’s that for “conservation”?

That kind of bellicose all-or-nothing attitude is not uncommon. When I started blogging, a fellow who called himself “GreenInk” wrote to me saying that he would rather set off bombs in school rooms than see a single clearcut. He actually put plans for constructing “incendiary devices” on his website. I don’t know what happened to GreenInk. I think the FBI might have nabbed him. I hope so.

There are factions in SoCal that worship “old-growth” tick brush. They don’t care one whit if the cities in SoCal burn to the ground in catastrophic chaparral fires. Human life is secondary to preserving 50-year-old tick brush.

There are factions that advocate burning old-growth trees in order to “recycle” the forest. They would like to see 1,500-year-old giant sequoias killed in forest fires to make room for seedlings.

All these tuggers and pullers have to be dealt with by foresters. We can’t ignore them nor can we acquiesce to their demands. As generalists, foresters have to consider all resources and resource values. That includes the “value” of destroying resources in conflagrations.

We have been blogging about the Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC) lately. The WFLC is a faction of government functionaries whose special interest is Let It Burn. They value holocaust destruction of all forest resources, primarily because that’s what funds their bureaucracy. The more fire, the more funding.

The WFLC is a particularly onerous faction because they are powerful and very well funded, to the tune of $billions per year. The “fire community” has circumvented the law and displaced foresters as the primary forest management decisionmakers in government forests. They do not balance resource demands — the fire community incinerates any and all resources without prejudice toward any one or the other. They favor Let It Burn on private land, too, including right down Main Street in communities that are within 30 miles of the Federal Estate.

In that regard the WFLC is no different than the Idaho Conservation League or GreenInk the would-be Unabomber Jr. They all have that crazed look in their eyes typical of criminally insane murderers and arsonists.

As generalists, we foresters have to deal with all factions, including the criminally insane. It’s not an easy job, but it’s the one we signed up for. Forests cannot be properly cared for with good stewardship unless all factions and their often outrageous demands are considered, addressed, and if necessary, quashed.

As you might imagine, it can be a frustrating job, especially when powerful bureaucracies are taken over by arsonists, and forests are subsequently incinerated in hundred-thousand-acre chunks. All the work of dozens of foresters over decades can be destroyed in a matter of hours by firestorms of biblical proportions, while the crazies cheer on the destruction.

Forestry used to be a honored profession. Society used to value and appreciate the work of foresters. Now society, large factions of it anyway, disrespects those would would care for our forests in a rational, balanced, professional manner.

A large portion of society is made up of hysterical nutwads who crave apocalyptic catastrophe for one reason or another. They may make money from catastrophe, or are inflamed with hatreds and welcome tragedies of biblical proportion, or are confused, disoriented, and drugged into stupors by the mass media, or who knows what or why.

Through it all foresters hang tough. We have seen the enemy and shrugged them off. Nobody said it was going to be easy. We remain dedicated to good stewardship, balanced resource production and values, and professional forest management for the greater good.

We live in interesting times. Society seems poised to implode, again, in another outburst of mass insanity and inhumanity. But foresters take the long view. We study forest history deep into the past, and plan for forest perpetuation far into the future. We look at the big picture, and remain true to our profession and common sense stewardship.

That’s what generalists do. We are big picture adepts. And that’s how good forestry must be done.

Cost-Plus-Loss, the Tea Fire, and Al Gore

In the previous post [here] we discussed the concept of cost-plus-loss as it relates to wildfire damage assessment. Specifically we noted that a recent GAO report FAILED to consider potential damages from wildfires in its advice to the Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC) “Cohesive Strategy” planning process.

All the GAO cares about, and by inference and extension all that Congress and the WFLC care about, is fire suppression expenses. They wish to minimize the amount spent on firefighting. Among their cost-saving strategies: Let It Burn wildfires and a “Leave Early Or Stay And Defend” policy that calls for homeowners to run for their lives or else defend their own properties from wildfires.

To the Federal Government “cost containment” means reducing fire suppression costs.

But to the real world, the costs of wildfires include the economic damages (losses) of the resources destroyed by the fire.

Allow me to segue for a moment. Hot off the news wire: Al and Tipper have just purchased a home in Montecito, CA.

Al Gore, Tipper Gore snap up Montecito-area villa

by Lauren Beale, Los Angeles Times, April 28, 2010 [here]

Former Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, have added a Montecito-area property to their real estate holdings, reports the Montecito Journal.

The couple spent $8,875,000 on an ocean-view villa on 1.5 acres with a swimming pool, spa and fountains, a real estate source familiar with the deal confirms. The Italian-style house has six fireplaces, five bedrooms and nine bathrooms.

Sounds swanky, eh?

Montecito just happens to be the site of the Tea Fire [here] in 2008. The Tea Fire burned up a mere 1,940 acres. Suppression costs were $5.7 million. That’s nearly $3,000 per acre, way too steep for the GAO. They’d like suppression costs down around $100 per acre.

The GAO fails to consider resource losses to wildfires, however, which in the case of the Tea Fire were in the $500 million ballpark.

more »

The GAO Let It Burn Policy

The newly reconstituted Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC) has embarked on a “Cohesive Strategy” planning process [here, here, here].

The “Cohesive Strategy” was mandated by the Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement or FLAME Act [here, here, here].

National Blueprint on Wildfire Management

by Phil Leggiere, HS Today, 26 April 2010 [here]

On Wednesday April 21 at the Wildland Fire Leadership Council in Washington, DC, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar jointly announced a blueprint for the first comprehensive national strategy for wildfire management. …

The new strategy will analyze three key components: landscape restoration, fire-adapted communities, and response to wildfire and is scheduled to be completed this fall in accordance with a recent act of Congress.

The FLAME Act of 2009 requires the Forest Service and Department of Interior to submit to Congress a report that contains a cohesive wildfire management strategy consistent with recommendations in recent General Accountability Office (GAO) reports regarding management strategies. Following its formal approval by the Secretary of Agriculture and Secretary of Interior by October 2010, the Cohesive Wildfire Management Strategy is to be revised at least once during each five year period to address any changes with respect to landscape, vegetation, climate, and weather conditions.

According to the legislation the Cohesive Strategy is required to provide for the identification of the most cost effective means for allocating fire management budget resources. This includes the reinvestment in non-fire programs by the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture, employing the appropriate management response to wildfire, assessing the level of risk to communities, allocation of hazardous fuels reduction funds based on the priority of hazardous fuels reduction projects, and assessing the impacts of climate change on the frequency and impact of wildfire. …

Note two key points. First, the “Cohesive Strategy” is to be consistent with recent General Accountability Office (GAO) reports regarding fire management strategies. Second, the goal is “cost effective” fire management budgeting.

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27 Apr 2010, 10:42pm
Federal forest policy
by admin
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Missoula County: Forest lands are essential to rural communities

The Clark Fork Chronicle, April 25, 2010 [here]

Editor’s note: The U.S. Forest Service is hosting a series of public meetings in April and May 2010 to provide opportunities for public input and dialog on the development of a new planning rule. For further information about how you can participate in the development of a new planning rule, visit their website at http://www.fs.fed.us/. The Missoula County Board of Commissioners submitted its comments in advance of this month’s public meetings. The full text of the letter follows:

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the above referenced Notice of Intent. We greatly appreciate the Forest Service for its open and transparent process to consider amendments to the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement and ultimately, the Planning Rule.

Four “Substantive Principles for a New Rule” are outlined in the NOI’s Proposed Action for the EIS. We are providing comments on each, but ask that you include the two additional Substantive Principles noted below in the Proposed Action.

* In recognition of Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack’s publicly noted key objectives for the USFS, we ask that you include his sustainable communities objective as a Substantive Principle in the EIS. The Secretary has frequently noted the importance of cultural, social, economic and resource issues that link Forest Service managed lands with local communities. In western Montana, failure to make such a link can result in poor forest management, increased risks to human safety, declining wildlife values and the loss of economic opportunities that can benefit humans and wildlife alike. We respectfully request that any Forest Service Planning Rule recognize the nexus between rural communities and public lands.

* As part of the Rule, Missoula County encourages the USFS to enter into Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with local government agencies that are impacted and influenced by Forest Plans. Strong local leadership at the Forest Supervisor level has resulted in such an agreement between Missoula County and the Lolo, Bitterroot and Flathead National Forests. Other signatories include the Bureau of Land Management, the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. This extremely proactive and valuable agreement with local, state and federal agencies allows local input on issues ranging from Forest Plans and local economies to wildlife, fisheries, timber management, restoration and recreation. Our MOU fosters “continued and improved communication and coordination of land use planning and management that will benefit the public and all lands within Missoula County.” We encourage such agreements across all Forests.

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How Not to Manage the Border

The US Fish and Wildlife Service manages the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in south Arizona, on the Mexican border. So-called “humanitarian” groups have requested that the Refuge establish drinking water stations for the thousands of illegal border crossers who travel through the Refuge.

Plan would clear way for water stations on Buenos Aires refuge

Dale Quinn, Arizona Daily Star, April 4, 2010 [here]

Officials are asking for public input on a proposal to establish and maintain drinking water stations in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge to prevent migrant deaths in the rugged terrain southwest of Tucson.

The proposal signals a resolution to a standoff between refuge officials and humanitarian groups that have left gallon-jugs of water on illegal immigrant trails southeast of Arivaca.

“We tried to reach a happy medium,” said refuge manager Michael Hawkes.

Refuge staffers and representatives from the aid organizations have been working together for months on ideas about positioning water stations in a way that causes the least impact to sensitive wildlife, said Gene Lefebvre, a retired minister and co-founder of No More Deaths.

Volunteers from No More Deaths, Samaritans and Humane Borders have received littering tickets in several instances over the past two years for putting out jugs on refuge land.

A prosecutor recently asked the court to dismiss charges against 13 people who had placed water jugs, Lefebvre said. …

“Humanitarian aid” is not what that plan would achieve. Encouraging illegal border crossers leads to frequent deaths of the illegals and to legal residents, via murder and other violence. Border deaths in Arizona exceed 200 per year. Enticing illegal transit through a wildlife refuge is a crime against humanity and the environment.
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Doubling the National Monument Acreage

Obama’s plan to usurp local control over landscapes and what local governments can do to stop him

MEMORANDUM

TO: INTERESTED PARTIES

FROM: KAREN BUDD-FALEN, BUDD-FALEN LAW OFFICES, LLC

DATE: APRIL 23, 2010

RE: DOUBLE NATIONAL MONUMENTS?

Below please find some information that I hope you will find useful relating to local government influence of federal land management decisions, including management of the new proposal by President Obama to almost double the acreage in National Monuments.

On April 16, 2010, the Obama administration held a White House conference as a first step in its plans for the America’s Great Outdoors initiative. While this conference was touted as providing a chance for all viewpoints to be voiced in order to create a comprehensive conservation plan for public lands in the United States, an Interior Department document leaked on February 14, 2010 shows that the Obama Administration is also seeking to limit access and use to over 10 million acres of land in the West, by possibly designating 14 new National Monuments under the Antiquities Act. While the designation of National Monuments is technically supposed to only include the minimum amount of land necessary to preserve America’s “antiquities,” in reality, in recent years these designations have been significantly larger and have had a severe negative impact on the tax base on many Western communities and counties. But because National Monuments are designated under the Antiquities Act pursuant to an Executive Order by the President, there is not much legal recourse in opposing the designations themselves in federal court.

Even without Obama’s proposed designations, currently there are 100 National Monuments across the Nation, located in 27 states. President Teddy Roosevelt established the first National Monument, Devils Tower in Wyoming in 1906. President Bill Clinton created the most National Monuments, 19 plus the expansion of three existing monuments. Only Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush did not create any new monuments under the Antiquities Act. Over 12,091,930 acres are included in these 100 existing Monuments; President Obama’s proposal would add 10,000,000 acres more to that total.

The question is what can be done by local counties and communities to protect their economies, environment and citizens when more and more land is “saved” from the people who care about the land. There is a serious misconception by elite bureaucrats and radical environmental groups that those who live on the land are destroying the land. Being a bureaucrat in Washington D.C. does not make them an expert in land management; just as someone belonging to a radical environmental group that claims to care about the planet, does not make their loud claims valid. Who better understands the neighborhood than the people who live there–whether that neighborhood is a city block in Chicago, a farm in Iowa or a ranch in New Mexico. Local opinion and knowledge should not be discounted just because there are more people on your block in New York than on mine in Wyoming.
more »

WFLC Cohesive Strategy Field Forums

The newly reconstituted Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC) has decided to open up their deliberations to a wider audience.

Background:

The WFLC is an intergovernmental committee of Federal, State, Tribal, County and Municipal government officials convened by the Secretaries of the Department of Interior, Agriculture and Homeland Security, that is dedicated to coordinated implementation of wildland fire policies, goals and management activities. The Council provides strategic oversight to ensure policy coordination, accountability and effective implementation of Federal wildland fire management policy and related long-term strategies to address wildfire suppression, assistance to communities, hazardous fuels reduction, habitat restoration and rehabilitation of the Nation’s forests and rangelands.

In the past the WFLC has been secretive and exclusionary. The policies they have promulgated have had a significant effect on the environment, both public and private lands, yet the WFLC has not complied with various environmental laws such as NEPA and the ESA.

But those defects have been brought to public attention (by SOS Forests), and now the WFLC is making an attempt to rectify the situation — to some extent.

First, the WFLC is undertaking a Cohesive Strategy process “to develop a strategy to more effectively address America’s wildland fire challenges.”

U.S. To Develop More Effective Wildfire Strategy

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, GovMonitor, 21st April 2010 [here]

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced the formation of a federal partnership with state, regional, local and tribal leaders to develop a strategy to more effectively address America’s wildland fire challenges.

“At a meeting of the Wildland Fire Leadership Council in Washington, D.C., local officials joined governors, representatives of tribal governments and the departments of Agriculture, Interior, and Homeland Security to establish a blueprint for a “Cohesive Wildfire Management Strategy.”

“The Council provides the right framework for a strong national strategy to address the growing threats of wildfire,” said Secretary Salazar. “The Council’s partnerships are key to the establishment of a national, intergovernmental wildfire policy that will ensure the safety of our firefighters and the citizens they protect as we confront longer and more intense fire seasons in more regions of the country.”

“There are no easy solutions to the challenges of wildland fire,” said Secretary Vilsack. “But a cohesive wildfire management strategy will provide the best blueprint to ensure community safety and the restoration of ecosystems that will, in the long run, benefit all Americans, especially those who live in rural areas.”

“Developing a comprehensive national strategy to prepare for and protect against wildfires that threaten the safety of Americans is an important part of our efforts to build a culture of resiliency in communities across the country,” said Secretary Napolitano.

At the Council meeting, federal, state, local and tribal government representatives agreed to develop a comprehensive landscape-scale analysis of all wildlands, based on the best available science, and a strategic blueprint of policy and program alternatives for the wildland fire community. The strategy will analyze three key components: landscape restoration, fire-adapted communities, and response to wildfire.

The Cohesive Wildfire Management Strategy will address America’s increasing wildland fire challenges. Currently, millions of acres of public lands across the country are at risk of large wildfires due to overcrowded stands of trees, insect infestations, and invasions of non-native species. …

As part of that process the WFLC will be conducting “field forums” to “to enhance collaboration and the raise the visibility of the strategy formulation process.” For an update (April 14) on that process see [here]. For an initial schedule see [here].

Attendance at the field forums is by invitation only. Yours truly has not received an invitation but I’m working on it. If I don’t receive one, I might go to one anyway, stand outside on the sidewalk, and pass out screeds. Or not — I haven’t come to any final decision on that.

Secondly, the WFLC has intimated that they might “establish a ‘public portal’ on the website to solicit and receive input for the Cohesive Strategy Oversight Committee and accommodate those interested but unable to attend the scheduled field forums.”

That particular accommodation has not been made yet, but if it happens, we will be the first to flood their new site with input. I will let you know so you, too, can participate in the process. Your forests, watersheds, and communities are in the line of fire, so to speak, and so you should avail yourself of the opportunity make your voice heard.

I am certainly going to do so. The fate of our forests should not be placed in the hands of non-foresters with a Let It Burn agenda who operate in noncompliance with the law. We have tried that style of forest management, and it has failed catastrophically.

20 Apr 2010, 9:50pm
Uncategorized
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Taking a Break

I’ll be taking a short break from blogging while I earn some much needed funds. See you next Monday.

Necessary Changes to the Equal Access to Justice Act

Federated Women In Timber [here]

Position Paper [here]

FEDERATED WOMEN IN TIMBER EQUAL ACCESS TO JUSTICE ACT

POSITION: Federated Women in Timber (FWIT) urges Congress to make necessary changes to the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). This well intended act, which requires the federal government to pay plaintiffs’ court costs incurred in successful lawsuits against federal agencies, has become misused and abused through endless appeals and lawsuits by so-called “non-profit” environmental groups who are, technically, allowed to sue under this act and benefit financially from the results. The actions of groups such as these are holding our rural communities hostage to an uncertain future. FWIT suggests the following changes to the act to add accountability without limiting a private individual’s right to fairly protect their liberties and lives in court.

* Consider having plaintiffs pay government attorneys’ fees if they lose.

* Ensure meaningful accountability by requiring litigants to post a significant bond to cover the cost of delaying projects.

* To reduce legal fees, use the average hourly rate for the state in which the case is filed.

* Consider limits on total amounts awarded.

* Consider pro-ration of costs based on claims supported or lost.

* Add a means test for non-profits to meet the same qualifications as individuals or small businesses.
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DOI Responds to W.I.S.E. Letter to Salazar re WFLC

On March 6, 2010, in my capacity as Executive Director of W.I.S.E., I wrote an Open Letter to Ken Salazar regarding the reconvening of the Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC) [here]. In that letter I observed that in the past the WFLC:

… did not work with stakeholders but instead was a closed door, exclusionary, non-transparent Federal advisory group that violated various laws with impunity. The laws repeatedly violated by the WFLC include the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), the National Forest Management Act (NFMA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

I also observed that:

The WFLC excluded the public and the press from their meetings. They did however seat deep-pocket lobby groups including the Nature Conservancy and the Wilderness Society. Federal funds were passed to these lobby groups through the WFLC. The lobby groups also provide a “revolving door” of high-paying positions to former government employees formerly seated on the WFLC.

and furthermore:

During closed door meetings in 2008 the WFLC directed the five Federal land management agencies under their purview to adopt Appropriate Management Response (AMR) and Wildland Fire Use (WFU). The agencies did so without implementing any NEPA process, without public comment or review, and in violation of the laws listed above.

As a result, numerous wildfires were allowed to burn without aggressive suppression actions. Tremendous destruction and degradation of natural resource values occurred.

Finally, I advised Sec. Salazar that:

The WFLC in its prior manifestation violated transparency and the rule of law with disastrous consequences.

Please be advised that if you reconvene the WFLC under the previous format and model, you will be doing a great disservice to America.

Yesterday I received a response from DOI, a very nice letter from Pamela Haze, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget, Finance, Performance and Acquisition acting on behalf of Ms. Rhea Suh, Assistant Secretary for Management & Budget and CFO.

That letter in its entirety follows:

more »

16 Apr 2010, 7:13pm
Climate and Weather
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The Great Global Warming Hoax

Presentation to the TEA Party rally held at The Oregon State Capitol, April 15, 2010

by Gordon J. Fulks, PhD

Thank you for inviting me.

One of the foundations of American Democracy has been an adherence to basic honesty. Unlike totalitarian regimes that tell their people what to think and strongly suppress dissent, we permit an open marketplace of ideas and absolutely guarantee the right of every citizen to speak freely.

Unfortunately we have seen openness and honesty severely curtailed in recent years by those politicians and their supporters who realize that it is MUCH easier to convince people to do things against their own best interests if they do not know the facts.

Through substantial domination of the mainstream media, they say that those who call upon their government to reform are morons in the case of Tea Party participants or both morons and deniers in the case of scientists who won’t go along with Al Gore’s Global Warming.

Discussions between partisans on both sides usually degenerate into a war of words that certainly proves that the political climate is warming, while the earth’s climate is actually cooling.

Fortunately a recent event, largely ignored in the American press, has dramatically changed the Global Warming debate. The highest ranking proponents of climate catastrophe were caught in a scandal that has become known as ClimateGate. It involved the release of e-mails where scientists were discussing ways to control the scientific debate to make sure that their ideas prevailed.

They had become a sort of climate-cartel, rigging the debate. The “utter honesty” required of all scientists had long since sold out to political expediency and government contract dollars.

Doctoring data and working with others to exclude competitors does not meet the standards for honesty in any profession. Misusing scientific publications to allow publication of papers favorable to a particular point of view, while excluding other points of view, is especially damnable in science, because it prevents both the wide dissemination of newer and better ideas and the retirement of ideas that have run their course.

Scientific societies and university administrations that have become so interested in the $99 billion federal dollars (your tax dollars) spent on Global Warming that they are willing to support the politically correct over the scientifically defensible. This has eliminated ALL corrective actions against substandard scholarship.

It has also led to many attempts to persuade people that science, like politics, is governed by authority or consensus. This flies in the face of the history of science where individuals, working outside accepted belief and far beyond the accepted authorities have carried the day.

One of the earliest examples was Galileo, who suffered greatly at the hands of the Roman Inquisition. Albert Einstein, who was but a clerk in a law office, took on the 19th century Physics Establishment in a huge way.

The fundamental logic of science assumes that there exists an objective reality which can only be ascertained by honest evidence from rigorous independent testing.

Hence, nothing is ever settled until it is settled right. And everything is open to re-examination if someone believes that it has not been settled right.

Politicians fail to understand that real science requires real evidence. They can continue to pretend that their hypothesis was proved long ago. While that approach may work in politics, but it does NOT work in science.

The central theme of all Warmers is that our climate started to come apart in the middle of the 20th Century, due to man’s burning of fossil fuels. The central piece of evidence presented is Michael Mann’s ‘Hockey Stick’ graph which shows an uneventful temperature history for the earth going back a thousand years, followed by a dramatic upturn in the 20th Century. The Wegman report to the National Academy of Sciences cited serious analytical errors in this temperature reconstruction.

A more recent reconstruction from Keith Briffa showing the same dramatic upturn was found to be based largely on a single and very unusual tree. For a scientist to base his conclusions on a single tree that he knows to be unrepresentative, is in my opinion, pure scientific fraud.

If that is pure fraud, what is the truth?

Many studies have shown the earth was clearly warmer a thousand and two thousand years ago during both the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods. During the Roman Warm Period just before the birth of Christ, the great Carthaginian General Hannibal was able to march war elephants across mountain passes in the Alps. Such a feat is impossible today because of snow in the passes.

The Medieval Warm Period allowed the Vikings to colonize Greenland. But in the colder period that followed, called the Little Ice Age, they were abruptly forced to leave or perish. They left behind one cemetery that is now permanently frozen because our climate is colder than it was then.

The earth started to slowly warm up from the Little Ice Age about 1830, and glaciers in the Alps started a gradual retreat that continued until recently.

Very recently we have seen glaciers in California, such as those on Mt. Shasta, grow dramatically.

Over the 20th Century, temperature data shows a globally averaged rise of about 0.5 C. Because this rise is so slight and the year to year variations so large, it is consistent with no net rise at all in the United States. There are two peaks in the United States temperature record, one during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s and one at the end of the Grand Solar Maximum in the 1990s. The peaks are almost identical.

It became colder after the Second World War when we were greatly expanding our industrial production and escalating our burning of fossil fuels. But we did not warm up until the Great Pacific Climate Shift of 1977 which we now realize was due to a periodic shift in the Pacific Ocean, not to carbon dioxide.

The essential thing to understand is that the oceans contain the vast majority of mobile heat on this planet, not the atmosphere and therefore largely control our weather year to year, decade to decade, and even century to century. Most people have heard of the year to year cycle we call El Nino. The El Nino this winter gave us a generally warmer than usual winter in the Pacific Northwest while giving the rest of the country harsh cold conditions.

Over much longer periods, our climate experiences transitions to and from substantial ice ages. It is no coincidence that human civilization developed during one of the interglacial periods. These usually last about 10,000 years and are followed by 90,000 years of cold. We have had our 10,000 years of good luck and now face a long ice age.

Will the next ice age arrive when everyone parks his Hummer or Ford Expedition in favor of public transit? Hardly.

Even the most fanatical Warmers agree that Milankovitch Cycles involving slight changes in the Earth’s orbit are responsible for our very repetitive ice ages. Al Gore says that carbon dioxide plays a major role in these. But he fails to tell you that carbon dioxide follows changes in temperature by nearly a thousand years and is therefore a follower not a driver of our climate.

What about all the climate models that are said to predict disaster? They have all been dismal failures.

The celebrated meteorologist from MIT, Professor Richard Lindzen, says:

Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early twenty-first century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age.

One of the standard fall-backs for Global Warmers is to insist that even if their theory is wrong, they are still doing so many good things for the planet that they should be allowed to continue with their scam.

BUT their political plans call for vast new taxes on energy that will seriously harm the average taxpayer and seriously damage our already damaged economy.

Furthermore, enhanced atmospheric carbon dioxide is a huge benefit to every green plant and contributes significantly to our ability to grow enough food for the 6.5 billion people on this planet.

Saving the world from carbon dioxide is not the issue.

Saving the world from scientifically illiterate politicians is the issue.

Thank you for listening.

Backroom Deal Brewing On Carbon Taxzilla

The biggest single tax in the history of civilization is about to be imposed by the Obama Administration and his Democrat cronies in Congress — without due process and using the same dirty tricks that were used to pass ObamaCare.

Carbon Taxzilla will smack every man, woman, and child with a $10,000 per year Godzilla of a tax, that will not change global temperatures one scintilla of a degree.

Algore’s massive carbon hoax/scam is about to come to fruition, and the result will be the flushing of the American economy down the proverbial toilet.

Taxzilla will not go through any Senate committee. It will not be read by any member of the Senate, much less the public, before a parliamentary end-around will make it law.

Already Obama henchman Rahm Emanuel has met with the Goreacle’s money men and Democratic leaders to plan the stealth legislative strategy.

The WaPo announced yesterday that Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman will slip Taxzilla into the hands of Harry Reid on April 26, not April 21 as we reported [here].

Senators will unveil climate bill April 26

By Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post, April 15, 2010 [here]

Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) will roll out their compromise climate proposal April 26, according to several sources.

While the date is a bit later than originally expected — many environmentalists had anticipated it would become public next week, in time for Earth Day next Thursday — the definitive date shows the senators are coming close to finalizing their package. …

Kerry, Liebermann and Graham will not be introducing their bill. Instead, Harry Reid will take it straight to the Senate floor and bypass the committees.

In Liebermann’s own words: “If we introduce [the carbon tax bill], it’ll get referred to committees,” Lieberman said. “We want [Majority Leader Reid] to be able to work with it and bring it out onto the floor as a leader whenever he’s ready.”

Reid to ‘Backroom’ National Energy Tax Bill

HUMAN EVENTS, 04/14/2010 [here]

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is set to take charge of new legislation aimed at imposing a national energy tax on all Americans, according to Greenwire, the news service for all things environment (article available on the Senate Republican Environment and Public Works “EPW” Press Blog here.)

Called “cap-and-trade” or “climate change” or “global warming” legislation, the new attempt to place a crippling national tax on America’s energy resources is being cobbled together by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.). According to the new report, the trio will not formally introduce the bill in the Senate when it’s unveiled next week.

“If we introduce it, it’ll get referred to committees,” Lieberman said. “We want him to be able to work with it and bring it out onto the floor as a leader whenever he’s ready.”

This opens the doors for more Reid backroom deals on the bill instead of going through the normal committee process. …

Backroom deals will be cut, and the normal Committee processes will be circumvented. The same game plan, secret deals made behind closed doors and stifling of open debate, that was used to pass ObamaCare will be employed by the same power elite for Carbon Taxzilla.

And for what? Taxzilla will not have any effect on mythical global warming or dependence on foreign oil. It will merely jack up prices on everything and send the economy into a tailspin.

There is a big rush to get Taxzilla into law before outraged voters send every Democrat packing next November. By then, the scammers hope, severe and irreversible damage will be done to America.

16 Apr 2010, 9:11am
Climate and Weather Forestry education
by admin
1 comment

Did Native Americans Impact the Climate?

Researchers at Ohio University have found evidence that pre-Columbian Indians did a lot of landscape burning. The evidence includes carbon deposited in a stalagmite found in a cave near Buckeye Creek.

Study finds new evidence of pre-colonial land use patterns

Ohio University, Research Communications, Friday April 16, 2010 [here]

ATHENS, Ohio (April 15, 2010) – A new study led by Ohio University scientists suggests that early Native Americans left a bigger carbon footprint than previously thought, providing more evidence that humans impacted global climate long before the modern industrial era.

Chemical analysis of a stalagmite found in the mountainous Buckeye Creek basin of West Virginia suggests that native people contributed a significant level of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere through land use practices. …

One stalagmite does not make the case, but there is plenty of other evidence that human beings have been burning landscapes since we evolved from proto-humans. The Holocene is recent. The record of hominids and fire goes back 2 million years. We also know why our ancestors did all that burning:

The early Native Americans burned trees to actively manage the forests to yield the nuts and fruit that were a large part of their diets.

“They had achieved a pretty sophisticated level of living that I don’t think people have fully appreciated,” said Gregory Springer, an associate professor of geological sciences at Ohio University and lead author of the study, which was published a recent issue of the journal The Holocene. “They were very advanced, and they knew how to get the most out of the forests and landscapes they lived in. This was all across North America, not just a few locations.” …

This evidence suggests that Native Americans significantly altered the local ecosystem by clearing and burning forests, probably to make fields and enhance the growth of nut trees, Springer said.

This picture conflicts with the popular notion that early Native Americans had little impact on North American landscapes. …

The “popular notion” is changing, or has changed. We have called recognition of historical human influences on the environment a “paradigm shift”, so we are equally guilty of broad brush characterizations of the mass consciousness. To be completely fair, quite a few people have known all along that human beings burned landscapes just about everywhere on the planet. The shift from “quite a few” to “general knowledge” is difficult to track, however.

One question that remains controversial is whether setting continents afire every year altered the climate:

“Long before we were burning fossil fuels, we were already pumping greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. It wasn’t at the same level as today, but it sets the stage,” Springer said.

This long-ago land clearing would have impacted global climate, Springer added. Ongoing clearing and burning of the Amazon rainforest, for example, is one of the world’s largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Prehistoric burning by Native Americans was less intense, but a non-trivial source of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, he said.

Now hold on there, Dr. Springer. It can be established that fossil fuel burning is more intense today, but landscape burning is much less intense than in prior centuries and millennia. Prehistoric burning by Native Americans covered vastly more acres per year than are currently burned. The amount of sequestered carbon on the landscape is much greater today than it was 1,000 years ago in both the Americas.

Be that as it may, no causal connection has been established between atmospheric carbon and climate. There appears to be no correlation — as atmospheric carbon has increased during over the last 100 years, global temperatures have fluctuated up and down. Correlation is NOT the same as causation, but if there is no correlation then logically there can be no causation.

It is good to see that recognition of historical human influences is on the increase in the mass consciousness. We should not leap to conclusions, however, about the role of humanity in global warming.

Baden-Powell and Australian Bushfire Policy

A new essay about fire and forestry in 19th Century India and modern Australia may be found in the W.I.S.E. Colloquium: Forest and Fire Sciences [here]. It is Baden-Powell and Australian Bushfire Policy by Roger Underwood, renowned Australian forester and fire expert.

This is the sixth essay by Roger Underwood posted at W.I.S.E. [here]. That shows how much we respect and appreciate his writings. The only authors with more entries in the W.I.S.E. Library are Dr. Charles E. Kay (13) and Dr. Stephen J. Pyne (16). Not that we’re keeping score; it’s not a contest. Our goal is to post the best cutting-edge research and thought in the environmental sciences today. Those guys just happen to be outstanding leaders in that regard.

Mr. Underwood’s perspective is distinctly Australian. Application of his ideas here might not be an exact fit. His ideas are certainly worthy of discussion in any case. If you have comments, pro or con, on his latest essay, please append them to this post.

The truth shall make you free

Note: this gem of an essay is reposted from a gem of a blog, JoNova.

JoNova, March 30th, 2010 [here]

Art Robinson is a rare man. He’s transcended and laid bare a creeping failure in the infrastructure of science over the past 50 years. He describes how government has usurped control of the quest for knowledge from private industry and individuals.

At the end of the day, what does being a scientist mean if there is nothing more to it than a certificate? Where is the code of conduct? Where are the professional associations standing up and decrying those who breach fundamental principles? What sense of duty and honor is left in science when high-ranking scientists can make dishonest statements, yet keep their jobs and reputations?

I was struck with Art’s description of the true scientist as someone for whom the most important attribute is honesty, and humility is inevitable, because they understand how little we comprehend, and where “the search for truth” as a lifelong calling, rather than a nine-to-five job.

The 10 page paper How Government Corrupts Science [here] is worth reading in full.

Below are some select parts that especially struck a chord with me.

more »

 
  
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