Ignoring the Reality of Global Warming

The annual fire season for North American forests has begun with monstrous fires raging from British Columbia to Nova Scotia in Canada. (I note the locations of British Columbia and Nova Scotia for those of you forced to endure a teachers union led education in Portland Public Schools.) They have produced clouds of smoke centered for the most part from Minnesota eastward although there have been days of smoke also occurring in the Pacific Northwest as well as Idaho, Montana and into Wyoming. According to a June 27, 2023, article in Rueters:

June 27 – Wildfires burning through large swathes of eastern and western Canada have released a record 160 million tonnes of carbon, the EU’s Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service said Tuesday.”

An October 20, 2022, article in the Los Angeles Times noted with regard to the California forest fires of 2021 and 2022:

A nearly two-decade effort by Californians to cut their emissions of planet-warming carbon dioxide may have been erased by a single, devastating year of wildfires, according to UCLA and University of Chicago researchers.

The state’s record-breaking 2020 fire season, which saw more than 4 million acres burn, spewed almost twice the tonnage of greenhouse gases as the total amount of carbon dioxide reductions made since 2003, according to a study published recently in the journal Environmental Pollution.

Researchers estimated that about 127 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent were released by the fires, compared with about 65 million metric tons of reductions achieved in the previous 18 years.”

A University of California Irvine-led study found northern-latitude forest fires to be the highest source of carbon dioxide emissions

Carbon dioxide emissions from wildfires, which have been gradually increasing since 2000, spiked drastically to a record high in 2021, according to an international team of researchers led by Earth system scientists at the University of California, Irvine.

Nearly half a gigaton of carbon (or 1.76 billion tons of CO2) was released from burning boreal forests in North America and Eurasia in 2021, 150 percent higher than annual mean CO2 emissions between 2000 and 2020, the scientists reported in a paper in Science.

According to our measurements, boreal fires in 2021 shattered previous records,” said senior co-author Steven Davis, UCI professor of Earth system science. ‘These fires are two decades of rapid warming and extreme drought in Northern Canada and Siberia coming to roost, and unfortunately even this new record may not stand for long.’

The researchers said that the worsening fires are part of a climate-fire feedback in which carbon dioxide emissions warm the planet, creating conditions that lead to more fires and more emissions.”

In marked contrast, according to a newsletter by Aaron Smith of the University of California at Davis: May 19, 2023

Cooking with natural gas produces 6 MMT of CO2 annually, or about 0.1% of total US emissions.  Gas stoves use a relatively small amount of energy, so they are a small contributor to climate change.  

Guess which source of carbon dioxide poisoning our feckless federal government has chosen to attack? That’s right – natural gas appliances – the source that will cause the greatest pain for American consumers with the least positive results. But academia, the mainstream media and every progressive who can read, write or mimic what (s)he heard from other progressive morons has signed on. Millions will be spent first on studies conducted at universities already bound to the progressives conclusions. Many more millions will be spent crafting rules and regulations implementing the predetermined results. And finally even more millions will be spent forcing compliance on American consumers by restricting the use of gas fired appliances. All of which will be lost in the rounding to the worldwide concern about carbon dioxide and climate change OR more likely the forest fires of this summer.

Six million metric tons of CO2 from cooking with natural gas in America versus one hundred twenty seven million metric tons from the California forest fires alone, not to mention other massive forest fires annually in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and Arizona. Just 0.1 percent of the total CO2 production in a given year. You’ve got to be kidding.

But that’s what progressives do. Got a drug problem in your cities – decriminalize drugs, provide “safe places” to shoot up, and provide millions to those addicted for food, shelter and medical care. The last thing you would do is enforce the criminal law banning sale, possession and use of drugs. Got a homeless problem – ignore the fact that sixty-five percent of those who are homeless are addicted to drugs or alcohol and that twenty-five percent are suffering from significant mental and psychological problems, instead give them tents, food stations, free medical care and use of the public streets for urinating, defecating, fornicating and indulging their addictions. Got a problem with gun violence – ignore the existing laws about the use of weapons in pursuit of crimes and instead take away the guns owned for decades by innocent civilians who have never once abused a weapon. Got a problem with government employees paying their taxes (yes, Virginia that is a real problem) – ignore the government employees and instead hire 80,000 new armed IRS agents to harass citizens over the filing of returns so complex that advice given by an IRS agent to a citizen is not sufficient to avoid fines and penalties for mistakes made in good faith.

It’s always this way. If the government has a problem it seeks a solution that will cause the greates burden on its citizens, be the least effective and will swell the ranks of the public employee unions to address the problem – real or imagined.

In this instance the problem is the refusal of the state and federal governments to administers the forests on public lands to reduce the effects of fires caused by nature or man.

You cannot prevent lightening caused forest fires but you can mitigate the extent of the damage and the speed of recovery by engaging in common sense forest practices. Visible proof of that exists right along the highway running from Santiam Pass to Bend. Prior to the fires that consumed Santiam Pass, the forests on both sides of Highway 20 were overgrown with conifers packed so tightly together one would need a chain saw to walk a dozen feet in a straight line. The result was a jumble of standing and fallen dead trees packed cheek to jowl with diseased trees that would soon add to the fuel load. Even the healthy trees struggled to push past the accumulating waste. They were government forests – mismanaged like most everything else the government does under the mistaken belief that “one size fits all” and the unshakeable belief that flexibility is an anathema to government wisdom.

Meanwhile, down the road a scant dozen miles as the crow flies lining Highway 20 in the area near Black Butte Ranch are groomed forests where the slash and brush are routinely removed, the natural seedlings are removed to allow spacing for healthy growth and diseased (dead and dying) trees are removed. The trees are large and healthy and in most instances can withstand low-lying fires on the forest floors.

While the fires of the B&B Complex engulfed over 90,000 acres, little damage was done to the groomed forests on private land near Black Butte Ranch. But the government adamantly opposes grooming the forests. Instead the government peddles that notion that forest fires are a part of the natural process for the creation of healthy forests and that any interference in the “natural process” will cause more harm than good. While there is evidence that wildfires “clean” the forests, the belief that that is universally true is bizarre and contrary to actual results. And yet it has become the Holy Grail for environmentalists inside and outside the government. So much so that one wonders whether it is the inalienable belief in the perfection of nature or simply the horror of someone profiting from cutting trees. (As with most causes on the left, consistency of thought means nothing – it is often the same people who decry intervention in the natural order of the forests who demand intervention in the natural order of man by abortion.)

The B&B Complex fires destroyed over 90,000 acres of forest land and two decades later virtually none of it has recovered. There is a tangle of scrub brush interrupted occasionally by the burnt husk of a dead tree waiting to fall. Yes there is evidence of some new growth of conifers but they are packed tightly together and will presumably mature into the same jumble of dead and dying trees that provided the fuel for the B&B Complex and that await the inevitable next lightening strike. That’s right, between the government and the environmental lawsuits, logging the dead and dying timber and replanting it with healthy seedlings was prohibited. And not only is the underlying problem being recreated at the behest of government, but the remains of the last mistake are a constant eyesore.

Again evidence is bountiful that systematic logging accompanied by replanting can maintain healthy forests. There was a “blow down” – a microburst that decimated a portion of the forests bordering Highway 26 near Cannon Beach. It was apparently private land because before the downed timber became unusable, it was recovered and removed and new trees were planted. Sufficient time has passed to show that a healthy forest is well underway.

The forests surrounding Sunriver in Central Oregon similarly has groomed forests with healthy distancing between trees, with downed trees and brush removed, and replanting where appropriate allowed. It is a beautiful forest and one that has withstood more than one forest fire. Grooming our forests doesn’t prevent forest fires, rather it mitigates the intensity and spread of those fires. And along the way, grooming those forests provides good paying jobs, material to build housing, and support for local governments. But it also provides profits and that, apparently, is enough for the progressives to try to destroy it. In this instance that same can be said about the pursuit of natural gas. It’s not that natural gas is a significant element of global warming, rather it is that it is profitable. And that is one thing that those who have failed themselves wish to impose failure on others.

Remember that a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds (Ralph Waldo Emerson). It speaks volumes about the quality of those in government who are responsible for our forests and virtually all of the other problems they have created and refuse to entertain common sense solutions.