Printed letters, June 18, 2010
Forestry policies hurt area economies
We are very conscious of all of the Gulf of Mexico fishermen who are now temporarily out of work. While these losses of fishing jobs are devastating, this is nothing compared to the thousands of good people who have lost their jobs, and their way of life, in our Western states since President Clinton severely restricted timber harvesting on our national forests.
From 1990 to 2000, the harvest of timber from U.S. Forest Service lands declined from 12 billion board feet to 2.5 billion board feet, an economic activity decline of over 80 percent.
Entire states that depended on national forests for raw material — such as Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada — have almost entirely lost a once-thriving forest industry. The rest of our Western states have a very limited forest industry because they have some private forest lands providing raw material.
Keep in mind that the U.S. government owns 87.6 percent of the total land in Nevada, 67.9 percent of Utah, 67 percent of Alaska, 65.2 percent of Idaho, 55.5 percent of Oregon, 49.9 percent of California, 49.7 percent of Wyoming, 44.3 percent of Arizona, 36.2 percent of New Mexico, 35.9 percent of Colorado, 32.8 percent of Washington and 31.9 percent of Montana.
Meanwhile, our national forests, which should be providing a raw material to a thriving domestic forest industry, are supplying food for bugs and fuel for forest fires.
The American public’s assets are being destroyed by the very agencies (U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management) charged with protecting our assets.
This is absurd.
Obama apparently learned old political adage well
While listening to President Obama’s speech on the Gulf oil spill, an old story came to mind.
The story is about an old, experienced politician teaching a newcomer to the field. The old timer says, “The key to political success is to be sincere. So, go to work and learn how to fake sincerity and you will be a political success.”
Teaching climate change will show its weaknesses
I totally agree with the recent letter noting that climate change is a scientific concept and should be taught in science classes. If climate change were taught, students would learn that climate change is a theory, not a fact.
They would learn that climate is never static but always changing and the Earth has experienced periods of both warmer and cooler climates. Students would learn that while the majority of climatologists believe that burning of fossil fuels is contributing to global warming, tens of thousands of scientists doubt that mankind is having any significant impact on climate.
Students would learn that glacial ice deposits show that increases in the Earth’s temperature are closely correlated with the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, but also would learn that the increase in climatic temperatures preceded that increase. However, theory holds that the concentration of carbon dioxide actually preceded global warming in areas of the Earth not covered by glaciers and the glacial ice analysis merely reflects a delay in the rise of carbon dioxide concentration in the cooler areas of the Earth.
Students would learn that efforts in the United States to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions will have no significant effect on the worldwide generation of CO2 unless major developing nations, including India and China, agree to also reduce their emissions. Given the current Kyoto and Copenhagen pledges for reduction of carbon dioxide emission intensity (i.e., CO2 emissions relative to GDP) from India and China, worldwide CO2 emissions will double by 2050, even if the United States reduces its emissions to zero.
Hopefully, students would use the knowledge acquired by such a course to conclude, as I do, that the best response to global warming is to find means to accommodate it and not futilely attempt to stabilize climate.