Las Vegas Sun

January 27, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Climate change is killing our forests

This spring, and most recently last week, Las Vegas has been blanketed by the smoke from wildfires from central Arizona and northern Nevada. This smoke is a potentially serious medical issue for seniors, children, and for anyone with respiratory problems or compromised health.

Those who are healthy enough to go on with our lives too often just shrug and say there’s nothing we can do about these toxic forest fires. But in fact, fires like these are getting bigger and more dangerous all the time, and a prime contributor to these conflagrations is climate change. Global warming is changing our Western forests, making them sicker and more susceptible to huge wildfires.

Global warming is not “natural.” The nearly universal consensus among scientists is that it is occurring because we are pumping huge amounts of carbon into our air from the burning of fossil fuels, such as that from coal plants. We don’t have to do that. We need to make sure the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority and the will to limit the industrial carbon pollution this country produces. Doing so will make us, and our forests in the West, safer and healthier.

The writer is a Democratic state assemblywoman.

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  1. Hello Bradley,
    Instead of dissembling here why not call Ms. Pierce and actually ask her your questions? The answers might surprise you and, rather than pontificating pointlessly here, educate you.

    As to the primary cause of climate disruption:

  2. Oh and I will stick with the position of EVERY SINGLE NATIONAL SCIENCE ORGANIZATION ON EARTH regarding Anthropocentric Climate Disruption.

  3. Japan ring a bell regarding Nuclear power anyone?

  4. Baised on the premise of this story, the only to reverse climate change is cut the population in half and not letting it double in the next 10 years. Any thing else is folly.

  5. While climate change, both naturally-occuring and manmade, certainly has an effect on forest health there are numerous other factors. The policy of public and private land managers in the past 120 years to extinguish all fires removed to role of fire from the forest landscape. The great fires of the early 1900's killed off many dominant old growth species and replaced them with the next species, lodgepole pine, which typically has a lifespan of 80-120 years. Those pine are now reaching their climax in many western states and are naturally dying off, sometimes helped along by infestations of beetles. Certainly the fact that the west has been in a severe drought for a number of years has not helped, nor has the number of unprepared idiots moving into the forest interface to commune with birdies and white-tail rats, ooopps, I mean Bambi.

    The fire in Nevada wasn't really a forest fire, more of a fast-burning scrub brush and grass fire started, once again, by uneducated, unprepared, unbelievably stupid people who can't read a weather map.

  6. Clyde,
    You must also take into account the amount of impact a person has. People living in the United States use far more fossil fuels and resources per capita than someone living in India. Before you suggest something stupid like the usual argument that environmentalists should just kill themselves, which would show anyone making such an argument as idiotic, I would think that moving to cleaner tech would revitalize many core industries and leave us all with healthier lives to lead. I prefer clean air don't you?

  7. mschaffer: you make my point that the population needs to be cut in half not doubled. The best that all of the "environmentalists" plans can hope for is a delay of two years before a mass population die-off.

    you haven't been to India lately if you think the people of India are not polluting at a greater rate than the average American. The same goes for Korea and China.

  8. So Clyde,
    How have you calculated the amount of pollution being produced per capita by India, Korea (South or North?), and China? I am well aware of air pollution in large cities in these countries but that is useless in terms of actually MEASURING the amount per capita. Understand?

  9. Clyde,
    Please read and understand my point here:

    Do you prefer clean air?

  10. The Human Virus

    The human species through out its existence has moved from one place to another. Why? When settled in an area for any length time they would use all the resources, pollute that space and move on.

    Now that we have technology that can drill, explode, and destroy the environment faster, we are running out of livable space. The phrase "take care of the planet" is misguided. The planet will be fine and heal; it is man who will vanish.

    Stephen Hawking:

    "We are entering an increasingly dangerous period in our history," Hawking says. "There have been a number of times in the past when survival has been a question of touch and go," like the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1963, and the frequency of such occasions "is likely to increase in the future." "Because we are rapidly depleting the finite natural resources that Earth provides, and because our genetic code "carries selfish and aggressive instincts," our "only chance for long term survival" may be to "spread out into space."

    If we develop the technology for space travel, we will do the same to that environment, until we learn not too. Man will become extinct due to his stupidity and greed.

  11. mschaffer: Again you make my point. A group of Suspect Studies doesn't change anything. Halving the population is the only way to let the planet revert to normal.

    you can't kill them but you don't have to save them as was stated in the batman movie.

  12. Clyde,
    Nice of you to Use Caps to assert that you think my referenced studies are "Suspect Studies". Now prove they are. Nice quote from a comic book movie.
    Now do you prefer clean air?

  13. Comment removed by moderator. - -

  14. "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding It" - Upton Sinclair

    Don't you find those Orwellian Exxon/Mobile commercials on education creepy ?

  15. Fellow Sane Commenters,

    Persons such as Ms. Pierce, were described to me years ago: Liberals believe the world started the day they were born and will end the day they die.

    When they see a wildfire, a hurricane, or a swimming polar bear, they believe the cause must be mankind. It truly is irrelevant what they think until they travel en masse to Carson City or Washington DC.


  16. Drought seems to be a consquence of increasing temperatures too, we're more of an embarressment than Greece when it comes to decreasing levels of carbon in the atmosphere. Sometimes it seems were so manipulated by multnational corporate interest that we'er blinded to the fact that Canada is a foreign country. We'll go on and build a pipe line.The immortal and immoral corporation whose only function is profits for the elites will survive; But will our country or Canada's for that matter survive?

  17. Unfortunately, this comes down to the anti-science wishful thinkers propped up by the fossil-fuel cartels vs. the overwhelming majority (as in 98 percent) of climatologists, physicists, mathematicians and allied scientists. The wishful thinkers want to deny the very well understood relationship between sunlight and atmospheric carbon. This has all the validity of anti-semites denying the reality of E=MC2 because it was "Jewish science" before WWII. In the end, you know, the scientists were right and those mushroom clouds were real.

  18. launce you ought to look up Godwin's theory.

  19. While the comment moderator removed my last post I would like Clyde to clarify who should be removed from the planet to save his half. Surely he has groups in mind and I suspect that it would not include his people just "those" people over there.

  20. @Michael: I'm familiar with reductio ad hitlerum, but unfortunately the smears against Einstein et. al. were not confined to that particular group of extremists. There were quite a few academic bullies in England and on our side of the pound. Fortunately, the powers that be among the Allies were able to put science before ideology. I am old enough to remember when science was something to be proud of and funded, instead of being a punching bag for Fox News viewers.

  21. To those on the far right, those of you that don't trust or believe in science.

    I ask, how do you explain away the last ten years of raised temperatures recorded by NASA?

    Do you realise the population of the planet has doubled in the last fifty years?

    Do you realise you base your anti climate change arguments on what some talking head idiot told you on television? Even the Koch bros. received a mild shock when they hired a researcher to negate the climate change argument and found his research showed other than what they expected.

  22. Rake, Branco, et al...

    Here is a snippet from a letter sent to the head of NASA from former employees...

    "We believe the claims by NASA and GISS, that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated, especially when considering thousands of years of empirical data."

    We, who question the science behind global climate change claims, are not right-wing extremists or wacky science deniers. We are people who evaluate the totality of the issue.


  23. Mshaffer: its not for me to pick and choose. All i am saying is that the population needs to be cut in half or eventually nature will take its course and overpopulation will cause starvation and the die off from that the earth will recover on its own. The law of nature leaves no other choice.

  24. Purgatory,
    That letter has been completely debunked:
    I know this is more reading than you are used to but stick with it. In return, answer this simple question: Do you prefer clean air?

    Now find a national science academy anywhere on Earth that denies the reality of Anthropocentric Climate Disruption.

  25. Clyde,
    Not a bad answer. Do you think we should be doing anything positive to address global resource issues and try to make existence more humane for those of us who are here already? Are you in favor of family planning efforts? How about green technology? Do you prefer clean air?

  26. Mshaffer: yes and stop feeding the parasite, yes, yes.

  27. Forest fires are a natural phenomenon. The fact that we continue to try to contain them all the time is what leads to massive forest fires. Im sure climate change plays a role, however it's not the role which you assert. Peggy, as someone who represents the citizens of Nevada, i would expect a little bit more from you. I generally try to educate myself a little bit before speaking on a topic, i would suggest you do the same.

  28. That "letter" cited by Purgatory has been completely debunked.
    "As is usually the case in these climate contrarian letters, this one has no scientific content, and is written by individuals with not an ounce of climate science expertise, but who nevertheless have the audacity to tell climate scientists what they should think about climate science."
    It's the Tobacco Industry attacking cancer and health research.

  29. Clyde,
    Are you calling human beings "parasites"?

  30. The link between climate change and forest fires is well established.
    Again, the attacks on the overwhelming body of evidence just on the link between forest fires and climate change are similar to (and not surprisingly, from the same sources as) the arguments attempting to decouple cancer, respiratory and cardiac health threats from smoking.

  31. Rake and Schaffer...reasonably questioning mankind's ability to effect the climate does not make one a radical nor does it mean one is too stupid to not understand the health dangers of smoking...a bit of a non sequitur, don't you think?...there are many reputable scientific organizations who question it as well...if I were to name them, Schaffer would throw darts at them, so I won't...enjoy your day...Purgatory

  32. "There are many reputable scientific organizations" who deny climate change... Name one peer-reviewed study. Again, the overwhelming majority of scientists believe in, you know, science.
    This is from the academies of science from Brazil, China, Canada, Germany, India, France, Japan, Russia, Italy, the United States and Great Britain:

  33. Purgatory - "We believe the claims by NASA and GISS, that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated, especially when considering thousands of years of empirical data."

    One - what was the source?

    Two - temperatures are still the highest they've been since such recordings started.

    Three - there are now 7 billion people on the planet, not the 3 billion just 50 years ago.

  34. Mshaffer: some are, yes

  35. Clyde,
    Name them and prove with good studies that what you believe to be true allows you to call humans parasites. Would you put trust fund babies in that category? Or are they the wrong color to be considered "parasites" by you?

  36. Mshaffer: the defination is.
    Biology. An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism while contributing nothing to the survival of its host.
    One who habitually takes advantage of the generosity of others without making any useful return.
    One who lives off and flatters the rich; a sycophant.
    A professional dinner guest, especially in ancient Greece.

    Read more:

  37. Sorry to all of the other people , i am getting of point with Shaffer. I will end it here.

  38. Having had biology courses at University I am well aware of the definition of parasite but that isn't what I asked.
    Unless Clyde can name specific humans he thinks are parasites (he can't) and prove so with reliable data he is just avoiding answering because at some level he knows he is wrong. So I will move on as Clyde has completely failed to admit error.

  39. Hello JeffFromVegas,
    You wrote this:
    "The ability to correctly predict what the current climate changes will make on the earths future is speculation."
    That you believe future climate is speculation shows a woeful lack of education on this topic. Click on the "start here" option on the top left corner of this website:
    Only then, after several months of effort, will you understand how little you knew.

  40. You go joe ! Long live Social Security, Medicare and the EPA !

  41. Smog, ozone levels and haze in Sequoia National Park are comparable to major cities such as Los Angeles. It has the worst air quality of any National Park.

    From the Washington Post, "Smog is so bad that signs in visitors centers caution guests when it's not safe to hike. The government employment website warns job applicants that the workplace is unhealthy. And park workers are schooled every year on the lung and heart damage the pollution can cause."

    From the Orange County Register, "Ozone also is to blame for weakening many stands of the park's Jeffrey and Ponderosa pines, leaving telltale yellowing of their long needles. Instead of absorbing carbon dioxide, they soak up ozone through the stoma in their needles, which inhibits photosynthesis. Ozone also stresses young redwood seedlings, which already face challenges to survival."

    Yet we have one GOP after another that will say climate change cannot be detected and/or is not happening. These people will post over and over and over, the same irrationality and refusal to see reality. They are not conservatives, they are denialists.

  42. Hello Jeff,
    The use of the word "speculation" is incorrect. However, I am glad to see you are generally in touch with the scientific reality of Anthropocentric Climate Disruption.

    Please explain how any individual's actions matter to the scientific reality of ACD?

  43. Adaptation is how one survives; Are we to just surrender to corporate interest and not adapt ?

  44. SunJon -- and the origin of this air pollution in Sequoia National Park is: (wait for it) polluted air from the central valley. This man-made pollution weakens the trees, makes some tree species more susceptible to bark beetle infestation, and makes them more vulnerable to fire. This is not just happening in isolated spots any more. It is happening all over the planet, and corresponding losses are occurring in the oceans that supply most of our oxygen. At least the dinosaurs were smart enough not to cause their own extinction.

  45. The planet is so overpopulated and we keep trying to generate more humans to the detriment of other life forms. We keep feeding those unable to survive without help--and then we encourage them to generate more people. Go figure.

  46. Bradley,
    Please explain what "...True clean coal production..." is exactly and how it is to be implemented.

  47. Roslenda,

    For perspective about over population, please know that every human alive on the Earth today could move to the state of Texas and have a generous 1000 square feet of room. In other words, the planet is big and dangers of overpopulation are almost nil.


  48. Ensign was embarrassing enough but imagine being from Oklahoma where you have Imhofe who denies the Green House effect.

  49. Chap,
    Ms. Pierce can speak for herself and I am not at all sure you actually spoke with her. Your vague hand waving about "clean coal" is noted.

  50. Chap,
    Our compromise is with the natural world and the physical laws that shape and govern that natural world. It the compromise works we continue to exist if it doesn't we are part of the fossil record.

  51. Scientists from Nevada's Desert Research Institute have found a once-pristine part of the world that has been seriously polluted by airborne carbon - and the result is climate change and associated health problems for the environment and people. This has important implications for everyone downwind of coal plants - and we are all downwind of coal plants.

  52. Chap,
    Thank you for recognizing that my intention is toward knowledge and improving the world for all.