Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy


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Wildfire – Policy and climate change

I read a wildfire article today that was breathless about the scope of total acreage burned across the drought-stricken northwest US and of course included a climate change angle.  This is the first wildfire article I’ve read that did not include some mention of decades of ill-conceived fire policies in the intermountain West.

Let’s not mince words: a lot of fires are burning on a lot of acres this year primarily because of those man-made policies.  Millions of overcrowded acres of forest because people put tiny fires out for decades and allowed trees (fuel) to grow and grow.  Fire is a natural process that we purposefully interrupted.  Prior years with extensive fires also generated media and environmentalist attention.  As I stated above, the difference between then and now is climate activists politicized the science.  An EcoWatch article now contains no mention of historical decisions because it is more important to satisfy the environmentalist base by claiming nature is pure without humans and impure with us.

This is disappointing but not surprising.  For now, I am glad there are more responsible media outlets that continue to acknowledge the very real and dominant influence people have on forests (forest management), the very real and strong influence nature has on forests (drought), as well as the growing influence that people will have on forests in the future (climate change).


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Random Stories 5/27/08

Out here in the Western U.S., we know that forest fires are a critical issue. Forest health is an issue that should receive serious attention by those we send to represent us in D.C. As usual with Republicans in charge, the publics’ best interests aren’t being considered. Here is the Bush administration’s plan to deal with forest fires: slash forest fire prevention budgets, then propose that the shortfalls in budgets be made up by selling off the timber that would have otherwise had to have been protected from fire. Ingenious, no?

But the proposal slashes the agency’s preparedness funding by $77 million, including a $13 million reduction in money to remove dead trees and overgrown brush that act as kindling for fires in 155 national forests.

Republicans are out to prove to the American public that government can’t work. That’s why you shouldn’t vote for them. Would you go to a doctor who wanted to prove to you that medicine didn’t work? The Bushies are out to pad the pockets of their corporate cronies. Affected citizens are getting the shaft.

Meanwhile, climate change continues to impact these areas that were mismanaged by forest policies for a century. A drier climate will not make the Forest Service’s future tasks any easier.

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Now, some economic news.

Last week, a barrel of oil cost $135, setting record after record. Following suit, gas prices continue to rise. The national average? $3.90 today. That’s putting some hurt on consumers.

The Federal Reserve last week lowered their 2008 economic forecast, then raised their projections for inflation and unemployment. Which should worry all of us because the most widely accepted values of both inflation and unemployment miss significant portions of our economy. If those commonly accepted values are increasing, the values that more closely match reality are also rising, and likely doing so more quickly.

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Dick Wadhams and Bob “Sweatshop” Schaffer are in the news trying to make something out of nothing. They’re pushing the meme in the corporate media that Mark Udall really does live in Boulder, gosh darn it! Why would they be wasting their time on this? Aside from the fact that they have nothing of substance to offer Colorado voters this fall, they’re trying to magically legitimize Dick’s favorite name for Mark: “Boulder liberal”. Mark Udall moved to Eldorado Springs over five years ago. Dick’s latest plug: showing Udall’s mailing and physical address zip codes, the former is in Boulder, the latter is in Eldorado Springs, according to the Assessor’s office.

Stygius at S2 shared a good zip code that’s much more relevant to the issues:

96950. That’s the zip code for the Mariana Islands, where Bob Schaffer helped out labor bosses and Jack Abramoff’s agenda. Human rights, labor rights, the child sex trade and forced abortions: issues Bob Schaffer and Dick Wadhams want to distract our attention from by repeatedly calling Mark Udall names. It’s one reason why Bob Schaffer will lose this election.