Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Climate Change: Core Climate Solutions, Greenland Ice Loss, CO Forest Health

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Climate Progress has a Core Climate Solution Primer.  Recommended reading.

The rate at which Greenland’s ice sheets are losing mass has dramatically increased compared to rates in the 20th century, according to a new Geophysical Research Letters article.  From the abstract:

We find that the ice sheet was losing 110 ± 70 Gt/yr in the 1960s, 30 ± 50 Gt/yr or near balance in the 1970s–1980s, and 97 ± 47 Gt/yr in 1996 increasing rapidly to 267 ± 38 Gt/yr in 2007.

The 2007 number is just astounding.  Quantifying it is important for other research.

Gov. Bill Ritter has sent a letter to the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service requesting a larger portion of an upcoming federal allotment of forest health funding.  Citing Colorado’s ongoing drought and recent record fire years coupled with an expected explosion of human-forest interfaces in the next 20 years, Ritter made the argument that the current average of $6 million per year in funding wasn’t sufficient.  From his letter:

Regional Forester Rick Cables estimated the costs of addressing these concerns on national forests to be nearly $40 million dollars in fiscal year 2009 alone – a calculation that does not include any support to address equally critical needs on state and private lands.

More below.

Gov. Ritter also mentioned the Community Forest Restoration Act passed and signed last year which provides $1 million per year in matching funds to help communities implement projects that reduce risks to homes and infrastructure.  This year, of course, additional measures creating tax incentives for hazardous fuel mitigation on private land and utilization of beetle killed wood along with an authorization for the Water Resources and Power Development Authority to support municipal water providers in issuing bonds to pay for forest treatment were passed by the Democratic-led state legislature and signed by Gov. Ritter.

The request was initiated by Gov. Ritter’s Forest Health Council, which was created back in February.  I thought it was a good idea then and am glad to see their activities this year.  Something to keep in mind: while we’re told there’s no money for working on forest health (or any number of other issues), the U.S. is spending $12 billion per month to occupy Iraq.  The money is there, we just have bad priorities.  I’ve seen the areas devastated by the mountain pine beetle, both from the ground and from the air.  The beetle kill has produced a very large amount of dead wood, which could go up in flames in a hurry.  Fighting those fires and paying for the recovery will cost us many times what reducing their threat will.

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