How Environmentalists Killed Forest Management

And pretty well killed California’s Forests. It didn’t have to be this way. How environmentalists destroyed California’s forests

100 years of bad forest management was turned up to 11 in the past 30 years or so.

About 10 years ago, we started hitting a critical point. Forests that once had less than a hundred healthy trees per acre suddenly had over a thousand. Manzanita, dry grass, and other plants began to cover the forest floor so densely you couldn’t walk through it without cutting a trail. All of this vegetation is fighting over a water table that is stressed on an average year, let alone a drought year, and not a lot of the trees are healthy enough to be resilient. Bark beetles and other pests came in, and you began to see entire mountainsides covered in dead and dying trees. We couldn’t have created better conditions for devastating fires if we’d tried.

Go read the whole thing, and weep for what the environmentalists have done in the name of saving the environment. (Hat tip to Wirecutter.)


Climate Change? Try Environmental Insanity

Because it was important to save the forest for the animals. Environmentalists Destroyed California’s Forests. Or were we saving the forests for the timber industry?

Year after year, environmentalists litigated and lobbied to stop efforts to clear the forests through timber harvesting, underbrush removal, and controlled burns. Meanwhile, natural fires were suppressed and the forests became more and more overgrown. The excessive biomass competed for the same water, soil, and light a healthier forest would have used, rendering all of the trees and underbrush unhealthy. It wasn’t just excess biomass that accumulated, but dried out and dead biomass.

They torpedoed an agreement brokered by Feinstein in 2002. But the problem goes back a century or more. California Has Always Had Fires, Environmental Alarmism Makes Them Worse Than Necessary

US government scientists and journalists raised the alarm. In 1899 they claimed that forest fires resulted in “sterilization of the soil…for thirty years.”

The US Forest Service adopted a policy of fire suppression. President Teddy Roosevelt and his Forest Service chief, Gifford Pinchot, drummed up fears of timber scarcity in order to expand federal control over forests and to suppress fires.

Gee. Imagine a government interested in the increase in control. Too bad they didn’t know what they were doing.

Within half a century, scientists realized that fire suppression was a mistake. “By the 1960s when we realized it was a problem,” said Keeley. “Vast amount of fuels had accumulated for 50 or more years. The fires became far bigger than what could easily be handled.”

Historians agree. “But by putting out every fire,” noted Timothy Egan, who wrote a book on the Big Burn, “they created the greatest wildfires.”

At this point, the environmentalists are intransigent. There will be no change to the suppression of every fire, or the attempt, for a generation or more.

California Energy Problems

When something like the North Complex Fire breaks out in California, authorities assume that they are going to notify people via all kinds of modern communications. But there is a problem with that assumption. Power outages hamper evacuation warnings and distance learning in wildfire-torn California

PG&E turned out the power to keep power lines from starting even more fires. And in some of these areas, cellphone coverage isn’t too good. And internet goes away without electric power. Even if you have a generator, chances are your ISP’s entire network doesn’t have redundant power. And you wondered why the old copper telephone lines had their own power source.

Mays scoured the Butte County Sheriff and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) websites as best she could with her limited reception. “It was two hours past the evacuation order before I could even see the [evacuation] map on my phone,” Mays told NBC News.

Now it seems like she got out Okay, but in the case of the Camp Fire, two years ago, waiting two hours would have been a death sentence. Probably.

Now most of the cellphone towers around me have diesel backup generators, well, some of them do anyway, but they probably only have 3 or 4 days of diesel. Natural gas not being available. Where I am sitting right now, I often can’t make or recieve a cellphone call, and I don’t try to surf the web via 3G, because I finally have decent internet service at this location. One of the reasons that I have an old-style phone, not real-old-style, is to be sure that I can dial 911 in an emergency. The county recently announced that it can accept text messages to 911, though they prefer that you call. (They’re not QUITE ready for 1997.)

The moral of the story is, don’t rely on other people to make decisions for you, especially when

  1. Your life may depend on the actions you take, or don’t take, and
  2. You can’t reach those people to know what they are telling you anyway.

California Fires

Lots of fires in California. I will cover 2. You can find all of the info at CalFire, or most of the info anyway, though the website was apparently getting hammered from time to time.

First up is the El Dorado fire. This is a relatively small fire at 7500 acres. Relative to the other fires that is. But it is in a fairly populated area, San Bernardino, CA. There are a lot of striking photos and video, but I will just choose 1.

And of course the most insane thing is that at the height of fire season, someone throwing a “gender reveal party” thinks it is a good idea to use a “smoke generating device” – basically a pyrotechnic – and gets the whole thing going.

So what would have been wrong with old-fashioned balloons? I suppose they are not as flashy. They also are not as likely to cause a catastrophe.

The second fire I will deal with is the Creek Fire in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, east of Merced. This fire is 45,000 acres according to CalFire. It is in rough terrain, and there are few people to fight it. It grew very fast, and this being a holiday weekend a lot of people were in campgrounds and in the national forest.

One of the completely predictable issues is that people tried to follow the maps of Google Maps, and discovered that not all maps are 100 percent accurate. The video below goes into some of that. People who live in places like San Francisco are just shocked to discover that Google maps are not 100 percent accurate. There are a couple of signs within 15 or 20 miles of my location that basically say, “I don’t care what your GPS says, this is not a road.” One of them blocks access to a “bridge” that hasn’t been in existence in at least 50 years. Even dedicated GPS-units mapping can be seriously wrong. Anyway see the video for information on how to get updated maps for that part of California.

As usual Juan Browne of the Blancoliro channel has some good information.

The Way Climate Alarmists View the Developing World

It isn’t pretty. The “racism” of climate change alarmists

Fifteen years ago, Cameroonian journalist Jean-Claude Shanda Tomme said environmentalists “still believe us to be like children that they must save, as if we don’t realize ourselves what the source of our problems is.” Incredibly, this remains a prevailing attitude. [SNIP]

In its introduction, Congress Of Racial Equality national spokesman Niger Innis said the green elites’ policies “prevent needy nations from using the very technologies that developed countries employed to become rich, comfortable and free of disease. And they send millions of infants, children, men and women to early graves every year.”

Go read the whole thing.

California’s Electric Grid Is On the Brink

What happens when you bet heavily on unreliable power sources? California’s Electric Grid Is Near Collapse – California Globe

But California politicians and appointed agency officials, under pressure from radical environmental organizations and lobbyists, decided to ignore the energy producing natural resources, and instead move to an all-electric grid, and the only approved “renewable energy:” solar and wind energy.

A meteorologist friend, Anthony Watts, said Tuesday, “we are on the cusp of a massive failure of the electricity grid in California.”

Click thru for the ugly truth. Renewable energy doesn’t work the way it is advertised.

The Power Grid is Failing in California

Facepalm X 2Green energy. Not so green, and there is a distinct lack of energy. California’s Green Blackouts.

Millions of Californians have lost power in recent days amid a brutal heat wave, and state regulators warn of more outages in the days and perhaps years to come. Welcome to California’s green new normal, a harbinger of a fossil-free world.

And it is only going to get worse. That is the position of the Public Utilities Commission, not just my take.

California’s Independent System Operator (Caiso) has been warning for years that the state’s increasing dependence on intermittent renewables, especially solar, is making it harder to ensure reliable power. Renewables currently make up about 36% of California’s electric generation, and Democrats have set a 60% mandate for 2030 and 100% for 2045.

Who knew that cloud cover could be a problem for solar power, or that weak winds could impact wind energy? Anyone with 2 brain cells to rub together.

Hat tip to Moonbattery.

Turns Out Electric Car Batteries Aren’t Made From Unicorn Farts

Can it be that current battery technology is hard on the environment? UN highlights urgent need to tackle impact of likely electric car battery production boom.

I’m not sure why the article is accompanied by a photo of a stripping-shovel in a Brazilian coal mine; I guess it is supposed to represent ecological devastation.

So it turns out that the materials needed for your electric car’s battery have some problems.

For example, two-thirds of all cobalt production happens in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). According the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), about 20 per cent of cobalt supplied from the DRC comes from artisanal mines, where human rights abuses have been reported, and up to 40,000 children work in extremely dangerous conditions in the mines for meagre income.

And in Chile, lithium mining uses nearly 65% of the water in the country’s Salar de Atamaca region, one of the driest desert areas in the world, to pump out brines from drilled wells. This has forced local quinoa farmers and llama herders to migrate and abandon ancestral settlements. It has also contributed to environment degradation, landscape damage and soil contamination, groundwater depletion and pollution.

But the good folks driving electric cars can feel secure in knowing that when they drive their vehicle, they foisted all those problems on people far away; people that they don’t need to worry about. Or something. (Hat tip to Not a Lot of People Know That.)

So Is This a Green Car?

I mean, it is a hybrid. Sort of. The 2021 Ferrari SF90 Stradale Goes from Silent to Violent.

I love it when engineers throw a monkey wrench into the works.

So a Ferrari with a front wheel drive electric drive-train. Sounds like a green car to me….

Now, before you panic at the thought of an electric Ferrari, we’ll inform you that the SF90 Stradale also has a brand-appropriate twin-turbocharged V-8 right behind the passenger compartment. Working together, the gas and electric systems deliver a mouthwatering 986 horsepower.

If taxpayer subsidies were still available (are they still being handed out in California?) this car just might qualify. It does have an “electric-only” range, but it is only 15 miles. Because we need to be handing out taxpayer funds to people buying half-a-million-dollar cars if we can get them to go green, or something. $511,250 is the base price. (Hat tip to Tam via Twitter.)

What’s Next?

Worldwide pandemic. Riots. Freedom on the decline. Totalitarianism on the rise.

And now we have World scrambles to fight massive plague of locusts that could leave millions hungry.

As the pests begin to migrate again in the second half of June, experts warn that, without continuous aid to mitigate the spread, the devastation could leave millions of people in at least 23 countries hungry by the end of the year.

I expect either Sweet Meteor of Death, an alien invasion, eruption of the Yellowstone Supervolcano, or activation of the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

Is Sticking with Coal Better than Switching to Natural Gas?

Quick Dick McDick has a few things to say about people destroying the economy of Canada while also keeping Asian countries from reducing their dependence on coal in favor of natural gas. Coastal GasLink Pipeline Protest.

Of course Logic is not high on the list of stuff that the Left values.

Never Underestimate the Power of Human Stupidity

Why am I not surprised by this? Recycling plants are catching on fire, and lithium-ion batteries are to blame.

NEVER throw a lithium ion battery into your recycle bin. NEVER.

A nightmare for the recycling industry became incarnate when a Texas recycling plant burst into flames in December 2016. The fire caught quickly, melting plastic bottles, consuming cardboard boxes, and incinerating discarded paper. The massive building’s sprinkler system had been damaged in a recent freeze and failed to tamp down the flames. All the firefighters could do was keep the fire contained inside, watching it burn for 12 hours.

Lithium ion batteries cannot be recycled with your curbside junk. That doesn’t mean people won’t try.

“Nationally we’re losing about a facility a month, burned to the ground by battery fires,” says Bill Keegan, president of Dem-Con Companies in Minnesota. Dem-Con lost a waste transfer facility in September 2018 to a likely battery fire.

They are not just in your cellphone. That singing birthday card? Probably. An old vaping pen? Definitely.

If we burn down one recycling center a month, how long do you think recycling will last?

This is on top of the other boneheaded stuff people try to recycle. Like propane tanks and fireworks. A garden hose – which cannot be recycled – can do 10s of thousands of dollars in damage to recycling machinery. Every spring, people throw the old garden hoses in the recycle bin.

The quote that forms the title comes from Robert A. Heinlein. It comes from the novel Time Enough for Love. (Lazarus Long is one of my favorite characters in all of fiction.)

The Environmental Lobby and “The Boy Who Cried ‘Wolf'”

So when do you stop paying attention to people who predicting the world would end 10 years ago? Republican legislators stiff-arm anti-Trump environmental lobby in Tallahassee.

And the Left are turning (have turned?) the courts into a weapon.

Florida’s Everglades Coalition is in Tallahassee to lobby legislators on what they want to do about problems in the Everglades. Republicans are ignoring them. Maybe because of some fringe elements involved.

The Everglades Coalition also includes the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), the national group that has received money from billionaire George Soros’ Tides Foundation and has sued President Donald Trump 179 times since he took office, will also be in attendance. [SNIP]

“The abuse of the court system for political ends is nothing new for the radical left,” said [Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R)] “Although this level of court abuse may be a new low for the Never Trump fringe.”

The article linked above doesn’t say much about the goals of The Everglades Coalition, but the Left has been fighting with South Florida Water Management District (SWFMD or Swift Mud) since forever, about the amount of water sent to the everglades from the canal system that includes Lake Okeechobee. The real threat to the Everglades, and most of Florida wildlife right now, are invasive species. In The Everglades, it is Anacondas. (The large snakes.) They are killing off large numbers of native species and seem to be thriving. And of course SFWMD Emptied Lake Okeechobee one year because “a large number of hurricanes were anticipated due to global warming” (it was before that moniker was dropped in favor of “climate change”) and those storms never materialized. So there was no water for The Everglades or the canals, even a couple of towns around the lake that rely on tourism were literally left high and dry, and had their economies decimated. But hey, they were all in on global warming so it must have been the right thing to do.

Anyway, despite a booming economy providing a lot of funds for The Everglades in general, this group is not happy. Has the Left ever said, “Hey, that was a job well done?” Or do they never win? (Aside from the anti-war protestors going into hibernation for 8 years when Obama was in office. I’m not sure that’s a fair example.)

Not Climate Change, and Not “Just” Arson

Of course he was laughing. Muslim charged for starting Australian wildfire laughs after court hearing.

Jihad Watch Director Robert Spencer noted Islamic jihadis have identified setting fires as a tool of jihad.

In 2018, the ISIS-linked Al-Ansar Media claimed wildfires in California were retribution for America’s participation in the civil war in Syria.

Don’t expect to see this story on the 24 hour news channels. Doesn’t fit the narrative. Find my previous post on this topic at this link.

Don’t Clutter the Issue With Facts!

Because they are believing something. The Cult of Climate ‘Science’.

Glacier National Part put up signs about 10 years ago, that basically said the glaciers would be gone by 2020. Those signs are being changed.

Notice the slight hedge — “computer models indicate” — in the wording of the now-replaced sign.

Obfuscation? I’m sure they don’t know what that is.

These “models” must be objective, because machines can’t be biased, right? And yet these models were actually developed by human beings like Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann, who has made a habit of suing his critics in an effort to silence them.

“Computer models indicate” is one of those phrases like “according to scientists” which can be made to function as a form of argument from authority (argumentum ab auctoritate), a fallacy that anyone who has taken an introductory course in logic should recognize.

But no one on the Left will notice.

Arson Not Climate Change

Environmental tragedy or crime? Australian fires in the news. 183 Arrested In Australia On Arson Charges Over ‘Last Few Months’ Sydney News Reports.

85% of the fires were caused by people, either accidentally or via arson.

The fact that the bushfires were deliberately started and have nothing to do with man-made climate change hasn’t prevented that being the dominant narrative.

And it isn’t one or two people.

A total of 183 people have been arrested by police in Queensland, NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania for lighting bushfires over the last few months.

Oh, and people are also banned from burning brush in cooler months to mitigate summer’s problems. It’s for the environment. (That hasn’t worked out too well for California.)

Environmentalists, Who’ve No Idea What a Combine Harvester Is…

Make pronouncements about farming. And a farmer, responds… Via Small, Dead Animals : What’s The Matter? Is That Vegan Margarine Starting To Taste Like Oil and Gas?

Can anyone tell Quick Dick what product is required to make all of this equipment work? I’ll give you a hint. … it is not the tears a Swedish environmentalist.

Rare Earth Elements – Securing our supply

And it is past time to secure our supply. US Rare Earth Element Processors to Help Break China Stranglehold.

China has a virtual monopoly on Rare Earth Element (REE) mining and processing. These are things that are needed in everything, including military aircraft, and Tesla batteries (and in your cellphone), catalytic converters, etc. The list is quite long.

Rare earth elements are notoriously difficult to process and refine. While the United States and its allies also have considerable REE deposits, China’s lax environmental standards combined with low labor costs and a raft of government subsidies have allowed it to slash REE production costs, undercutting some processors in the West to the point of bankruptcy. Illegal and undocumented production is also commonplace in China, and is responsible for 20 to 40 percent of Chinese production, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). China’s virtual monopoly on the REE industry has meant that even the ore mined at California’s Mountain Pass mine is currently being shipped to China for processing.

But hey, electric cars are “environmentally responsible.” As long as you don’t look to closely at the environment in China, that is. (Hat tip to Instapundit.)

For a reference that is not Epoch Times, see Pilot rare earths processing plant, first one outside China, opens in Colorado – MINING.COM.

USA Rare Earth and partner Texas Mineral Resources have opened a pilot plant processing facility in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, which will purify rare earths, lithium and other critical minerals with the aim of helping Washington secure domestic supply of the key ingredients for military weapons, electric vehicles and phones.

The Department of Defense sees the lack of a domestic supply as a risk to our military.

Problems with Lithium Batteries?

It can’t be. The media keeps telling my how great they are. EDITORIAL: Battery car burdens appear worse with each new report.

This is both the story of political corruption, and the devastating impact of lithium mining.

First, the perception of corruption. (I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.)

In 2018, [Colorado Governor John] Hickenlooper forced battery cars on Colorado with an executive order to adopt California’s emissions mandate. He signed it two months after boarding a luxury jet owned by the brother of battery car magnate Elon Musk to attend a Musk family celebration. The trip initiated one of several ethics investigations of the former governor.

Then there is problems with lithium mining.

A separate review published Nov. 6 in the science journal Nature raises extraordinary concerns about child labor, battery disposal dangers, and mining practices that make fracking seem relatively harmless.

“The processing of large amounts of raw materials can result in considerable environmental impacts,” the report says. “Production from brine, for example, entails drilling a hole in the salt flat, and pumping of the mineral-rich solution to the surface. … this mining activity depletes water tables. In Chile’s Salar de Atacama … 65% of the region’s water is consumed by mining.”

Cobalt mining has problems of child labor. Nickel mining contaminates fresh water and marine ecosystems in various places around the world, including Canada and Russia.

Nova’s Inside The Megafire

Considering the source, it is fairly well-balanced. Inside the Megafire.

It is a long video at 53 minutes, so make sure you have some time.

From the front line of the Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in California history, NOVA tells the stories of residents who had to flee for their lives during the 2018 fire season. Scientists racing to understand what’s behind the rise of record-breaking megafires across the American West take to the forest, and even a fire lab, in search of answers. They investigate how forestry practices, climate change, and the physics of fire itself play a role in the dramatic increase in wildfires in recent decades. (Premiered May 8, 2019)

There’s a nice mix of fire science, and a recognition that more than a century of mismanaging the forest play a role in the megafires. As well as all the building done in the forest. Which I get, but why build incredibly combustible homes in places where fires are a reality? Why not have more fire-resistant building codes? Because reasons. (And remember, FEMA pays for at least some of the cleanup of these fires. That means your tax dollars at work.)

I haven’t watched PBS in decades, but the folks who are responsible for this episode of Nova used some of the aerial footage shot by Juan Browne of Blanoliro. Which is how I ran across it.