COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Good news: The Waldo Canyon fire, which forced 32,000 residents (including our family) to flee, claimed two lives and destroyed 347 homes, is now 100 percent contained. Bad news: Radical environmentalists won’t stop blowing hot air about this year’s infernal season across the West.
Al Gore slithered out of the political morgue to bemoan nationwide heat records and pimp his new “Climate Reality Project,” which blames global warming for the wildfire outbreak. NBC meteorologist Doug Kammerer asserted: “If we did not have global warming, we wouldn’t see this.” Agriculture Department Undersecretary Harris Sherman, who oversees the U.S. Forest Service, claimed to the Washington Post: “The climate is changing, and these fires are a very strong indicator of that.”
And the Associated Press (or rather, the Activist Press) lit the fear-mongering torch with an eco-propaganda piece titled “U.S. summer is what ‘global warming will look like.’”
The problem is that the actual conclusions of scientists included in AP’s screed don’t back up the apocalyptic headline. As the reporter acknowledges under that panicky banner:
“Scientifically linking individual weather events to climate change takes intensive study, complicated mathematics, computer models and lots of time. Sometimes it isn’t caused by global warming. Weather is always variable; freak things happen.”
So, this U.S. summer may or may not really look like “what global warming looks like.” Kinda. Sorta. Possibly. Possibly not.
Furthermore, the AP reporter concedes, the “global” nature of the warming and its supposed catastrophic events have “been local. Europe, Asia and Africa aren’t having similar disasters now, although they’ve had their own extreme events in recent years.”
A more hedging headline would have been journalistically responsible, but Chicken Little-ism better serves the global warming blame-ologists’ agenda.
More inconvenient truths: As the Washington Times noted last week, the National Climatic Data Center shows that “Colorado has actually seen its average temperature drop slightly from 1998 to 2011, when data is collected only from rural stations and not those that have been urbanized since 1900.”
Radical green efforts to block logging and timber sales in national forests since the 1990s are the real culprits. Wildlife mitigation experts point to incompetent forest management and militant opposition to thinning the timber fuel supply.
Another symptom of green obstructionism: widespread bark beetle infestations.
The Forest Service itself reported last year: “During the last part of the 20th century, widespread treatments in lodgepole pine stands that would have created age class diversity, enhanced the vigor of remaining trees and improved stand resiliency to drought or insect attack — such as timber harvest and thinning — lacked public acceptance. Proposals for such practices were routinely appealed and litigated, constraining the ability of the Forest Service to manage what had become large expanses of even-aged stands susceptible to a bark beetle outbreak.”
Capitulation to lawsuit-happy green thugs, in others, undermined “public acceptance” of common sense, biodiversity-preserving and lifesaving timber harvest and thinning practices.
Local, state and federal officials offered effusive praise for my fellow Colorado Springs residents who engaged in preventive mitigation efforts in their neighborhoods. The government flacks said it made a life-and-death difference. Yet, litigious environmental groups have sabotaged such mitigation efforts at the national level — in effect, creating an explosive tinderbox out of the West.
Stoking global warming alarms may make for titillating headlines and posh Gore confabs. But it’s a human blame avoidance strategy rooted in ideological extremism and flaming idiocy.