GCN Political Analysis
The Green Gun Reloaded
Socialist Thugs Have Hijacked The Environmental Movement For The Express Purpose Of Driving Our Economy Into Ruin. They Make Demands You Cannot Refuse.
By Perry Hicks- Special to GulfCoastNews.com 8/19/09
It wasn’t that many years ago I would know summer had arrived by the aroma of back yard barbeques; the taste of cold watermelon right from the ice house; the whirr of electric fans; and the clatter of children’s flip flops.
Nowadays, summer is ushered in by environmentalists decrying SUVs, air conditioning, and flush toilets. They warned that an awful specter of environmental collapse is looming and we will all perish if something draconian isn’t done soon- like in four months if you want to believe the United Nations.
And from the 1980s until fairly recently, the press did take environmentalist hand wringing very seriously. Former vice president Al Gore got considerable attention back in 2006 when he proclaimed there was but a scant ten years to save the planet. However, a similar claim that we have only four years this past January largely drew yawns.
Perhaps it was the failed storm predictions for 2006, 2007, and 2008 that destroyed much of the environmentalist’s credibility. Or maybe it is was the climate data showing average global mean temperatures have remained inconveniently flat even as atmospheric CO2 has increased- flat despite the revelation that a majority of surface temperature monitoring stations have been located too close to artificial heat sources.
Regardless of the lack of causal evidence to support their global warming claims, a surprising number of politicians still want carbon cap & trade legislation to slip through under the radar- unnoticed by a public grown wary of dire predictions that never come to pass.
This change in attitude is a sea change from the time when any environmental claim, no matter how wild, was taken by the public hook, line, and sinker.
For example, a faux campaign was created some years ago to warn the public about a chemical known as DHMO, otherwise referred to in the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry nomenclature (IUPAC,) as Oxidane. Consider the following attributes of Oxidane:
Few learning the above points would be hard-pressed not to believe Oxidane is a danger to all who came into contact with it. What is misleading the public in the above facts isn’t so much what is said, but what is not said. The slight of hand is in the omission.
The chemical formula for Oxidane or DHMO (dihydrogen monoxide) is H2O, otherwise known under IUPAC nomenclature as water.
As it has just been demonstrated, a string of undisputable facts can lead the uninformed toward indisputably wrong conclusions.
Fortunately, the conclusions radical socialists try to sell us about global warming are coming under increasing scrutiny. More and more people are asking questions about the cost and efficacy of proposed environmental remedies. Even the mainstream press is no longer giving global warming proponents a blanket free pass. Accusing doubters of harboring avarice or just abject stupidity no longer sticks.
How could it have turned about so suddenly?
The answer is not a simple one. In brief, this change, appears to have come from a nexus of environmental hyperbole, ever more strident environmental demands that are just as ever more costly, and a lack of a fundamental element of fairness. Struggling to survive in a deep economic downturn hasn’t been good for the environmental movement, either.
The most radical environmental assertions are laid on a foundation of questionable science that is increasingly being criticized as “junk.” Accordingly, the emerging environmental outcomes from existing policy have been so unconvincing, a growing number of skeptics have been created and that list is nearing critical mass.
Unless delayed for economic and political reasons, congress will be considering the passage of a radical new environmental bill this fall. To prepare readers for this debate, this article kicks off a series that will explore some of the most controversial environmental issues.
“The West Is Burning”
One of the problems with the environmental movement has been that their protestations have just been much too shrill and far too transparently political for the public to always take them seriously. Furthermore, some of the claims made have been downright contradictory.
Take, for example, forest fires. A few years ago, the question through much of the press was why the west seems to be burning down each summer? The answer they have so far been reluctant to admit is strident anti-logging policies. Anti-logging policies have every appearance of making vulnerable the very forests they claimed to protect.
The Sierra Club has removed from its website a “Forest Fire Fact Sheet” that claimed the following:
· The National Forest Service policies have allowed forests to become choked with brush and debris (otherwise known as “fuel”) that elevates fire severity.
· Forest fires must be restored to the natural role of forest ecosystems through prescribed burns (as if initiating man-made burning was natural.)
· Prescribed burns are favored because they “leave no timber commodity” meaning there is no economic incentive to harvest wood.
· Banning forest road construction would protect forests from commercial logging.
· Of 192 million acres of National Forests, only 60 million acres are unprotected road-less areas. The Wild Forest Protection Plan aims to maintain a permanent ban on forest road construction.
The Sierra Club may have removed this page because it made an unwitting association between the prohibition of salvage (read dead) wood harvesting and the increase in forest fires.
A Property & Environment Research Center (PERC) July 12, 2002 opinion piece complains that Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, Center for Biological Diversity, The Southwest Forest Alliance, and other environmental groups only offer lip service to thinning small trees and underbrush through prescribed burns. In particular, PERC claims that the Sierra Club and Forest Guardians contributed to Arizona’s fuel build up reaching “dangerous levels” by opposing a logging and restorative thinning plan of the Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership. The Partnership is an Arizona consortium of federal, state, and local organizations.
The Partnership proposed thinning Arizona forests by cutting trees up to 16 inches in diameter but leaving 60 to 80 trees per acre after the thinning. This density is still far higher than the 14 to 40 trees per acre of the pre-Columbian era.
Thinning forests by cutting is a technique that had been tried in Colorado’s Manitou Experimental Forest with good result; when the 137,000 acre Hayman fire reached this forest, the fire cut through the grasses and ground cover but spared the large Ponderosa pines.
The Greater Flagstaff ecological restoration work was held up by administrative appeals and litigation from May 5, 1999 to January 3, 2001. Over 500,000 acres of Arizona forests ultimately burned in 2002 destroying over 500 homes.
While the Sierra Club publicly supports thinning exclusively through prescribed burns, other forest management advocates also support cutting trees and harvesting dead, or burned wood.
Cutting and harvesting is verboten according to the environmentalist's Zero Cut Policy. In other words, environmentalists do not want public forests harvested for any reason, even if foresters harvest remnants of a previous fire or otherwise salvageable dead wood. Furthermore, to discourage any salvage wood harvesting, environmentalists demand that roads not be built, even if that would aid in getting fire fighters and fire fighting equipment into the deep forests.
Environmentalist arguments that forest fires are good because they are “natural” have a hollow ring. The resultant air pollution, loss of valuable forest land, wildlife, and wildlife habitat ironically does not pose an environmental problem for them; neither does the loss of human life or the hundreds of homes severely damaged or burned to the ground.
Arguably, Zero Cut forestry has brought not just homes but entire communities into danger from forest fires simply because environmentalists feel that limited harvesting would bring profit to timber companies. Thus, Zero Cut appears clearly to be contradictory to forest health. It is also insensitive to human needs. Thus, the environmental movement has disenchanted a growing number of western voters who, at one time, had also been enthusiastic environmental advocates.
During the two year period of 2001-2002, 14,369,347 acres were destroyed compared to 14,575,435 acres over the years 2007-2008; a marginal increase of 206, 088 acres.
To put these statistics in context; if either of these sum total of fires had marched exclusively across Ohio’s 8.5 million acres of forest and park land, that state would be without any forests at all. If the same fires had burned exclusively across Mississippi’s 19.9 million acres, nearly 77 percent of the state’s forests would have vanished.
In the next installment we will see how environmental economic and political agendas, in their encroachment upon personal freedom and national security, have drawn environmental battles along political party lines.
About the Author.....
Perry Hicks is the senior writer and Washington correspondent for GCN. He is a former Mississippi Coast resident and was a correspondent for the old Gulfport Star Journal. He has appeared on Fox News Channel. Perry has also hosted his own radio talk show on the auto industry with a mix of politics. Perry is a frequent contributor to GCN writing on stories of national importance with local interests. His articles can be found in the GCN Archive.
Contact the Author: firstname.lastname@example.org