Kamala Harris Appears to Confirm My Expectations of a Planned Harris Administration

Kamala Harris says Blake family is great despite father's anti-Semitic comments, Facebook posts

On Monday, September 14, Kamala Harris, speaking at a small business roundtable in Arizona, touted economic plans under a “Harris administration.”  Was this an inadvertent error or a Freudian slip?  She quickly caught her error, but I’m betting the latter for reasons discussed last week.

via Carlin Economics and Science

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September 15, 2020 at 05:04PM

Solar Cycle 25 has officially begun

Solar Cycle 25 is officially underway. NASA and NOAA made the announcement during a media teleconference earlier today. According to an international panel of experts, sunspot counts hit rock bottom in Dec. 2019, and have been slowly increasing since.

NASA and NOAA made the announcement during a media teleconference earlier today. According to an international panel of experts, the sunspot number hit rock bottom in Dec. 2019, bringing an end to old Solar Cycle 24. Since then, sunspot counts have been slowly increasing, heralding new Solar Cycle 25.

“How quickly solar activity rises is an indicator on how strong the next solar cycle will be,” says Doug Biesecker of NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center, co-chair of the Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel. “Although we’ve seen a steady increase in sunspot activity this year, it is slow.”

The panel believes that new Solar Cycle 25 will be a weak one, peaking in 2025 at levels similar to old Solar Cycle 24. If their prediction is correct, Solar Cycle 25 (like Solar Cycle 24 before it) will be one of the weakest since record-keeping began in 1755.

More on Spaceweather.com

From NOAA:

Analysis determines we are in Solar Cycle 25

September 15, 2020 – The solar minimum between Solar Cycle 24 and 25 – the period when the sun is least active – happened in December 2019, when the 13-month smoothed sunspot number fell to 1.8, according to the Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel, co-chaired by NOAA and NASA. We are now in Solar Cycle 25 with peak sunspot activity expected in 2025, the panel said.

Solar Cycle 24 was average in length, at 11 years, and had the 4th-smallest intensity since regular record keeping began with Solar Cycle 1 in 1755. It was also the weakest cycle in 100 years. Solar maximum occurred in April 2014 with sunspots peaking at 114 for the solar cycle, well below average, which is 179.

Solar Cycle 24’s progression was unusual. The Sun’s Northern Hemisphere led the sunspot cycle, peaking over two years ahead of the Southern Hemisphere sunspot peak. This resulted in solar maximum having fewer sunspots than if the two hemispheres were in phase.

Source: https://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/solar-cycle-progression

Solar Cycle 25
For the past eight months, activity on the sun has steadily increased, indicating we transitioned to Solar Cycle 25. Solar Cycle 25 is forecast to be a fairly weak cycle, the same strength as cycle 24. Solar maximum is expected in July 2025, with a peak of 115 sunspots.

“How quickly solar activity rises is an indicator on how strong the solar cycle will be,” said Doug Biesecker, Ph.D., panel co-chair and a solar physicist at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center. “Although we’ve seen a steady increase in sunspot activity this year, it is slow.”

The panel has high confidence that Solar Cycle 25 will break the trend of weakening solar activity seen over the past four cycles. “We predict the decline in solar cycle amplitude, seen from cycles 21 through 24, has come to an end,” said Lisa Upton, Ph.D., panel co-chair and solar physicist with Space Systems Research Corp. “There is no indication we are approaching a Maunder-type minimum in solar activity.”

“While we are not predicting a particularly active Solar Cycle 25, violent eruptions from the Sun can occur at any time,” Biesecker added.

Solar cycle prediction gives a rough idea of the frequency of space weather storms of all types, from radio blackouts to geomagnetic storms and solar radiation storms. It is used by many industries to gauge the potential impact of space weather in the coming years.

New satellites will provide enhanced observations of the Sun
In 2024, before the peak of sunspot activity in Solar Cycle 25, NOAA is slated to launch a new spacecraft dedicated to operational space weather forecasting. NOAA’s Space Weather Follow-On L-1 observatory will be equipped with instruments that sample the solar wind, provide imagery of coronal mass ejections, and monitor other extreme activity from the Sun in finer detail than before. NOAA’s next Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-U) is also scheduled to launch in 2024. GOES-U will carry three solar monitoring instruments, including the first compact coronagraph, which will help detect coronal mass ejections. Enhanced observations of the Sun from these satellites will help improve space weather forecasting.

The Solar Cycle Prediction Panel forecasts the number of sunspots expected for solar maximum, along with the timing of the peak and minimum solar activity levels for the cycle. It is comprised of scientists representing NOAA, NASA, the International Space Environment Services, and other U.S. and international scientists.


NOAA has an interactive plotter here: https://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/solar-cycle-progression

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September 15, 2020 at 04:34PM

No “Swamp” to See Here — EPA Quietly Hires ‘Climate RICO’ Ringleader

From the but, but, but David Legates! department

By CHRIS HORNER GAO

Can’t Spell The Swamp Without E-P-A

Following up on this gem posted earlier, the topic of properly using — or misusing — law enforcement powers is one of great interest to GAO, which also runs ClimateLitigationWatch.org. The importance of the issue has become increasingly obvious in the past, say, four years. It became more topical still with the announcement of former California Attorney General Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s running mate. 

Expect more news in coming days and weeks on then-AG Harris’s actual role with the climate litigation industry, about which she has expressed some confusion. For now, bearing in mind the new demand for an Inspector General report on why career EPA lawyers aren’t left to run amok, harken back to the infamous March 29, 2016 press conference with investor Al Gore at which 17 state attorneys general offices were represented (including Harris’s) to announce that, given persistent democratic resistance to the “climate” agenda, AGs would use law enforcement to impose it anyway.

Massachusetts AG Maura Healey suggested that the reason the climate movement had been frustrated by the democratic process is that dark forces managed to confuse people, causing them “to misunderstand and misapprehend” the facts as she sees them. Those forces were now going to pay.

Literally. One participant, U.S. Virgin Islands AG Claude Earl Walker, wrote to his colleagues in advance of the pre-presser strategy session and hush-hush pre-briefing that, after extracting an $800 million settlement from Hess Oil, “We are interested in identifying other potential litigation targets.”

Visions of a climate settlement fund in the hundreds of billions of dollars, modeled after the tobacco settlement and again for distribution among political constituencies, danced in the AGs’ heads

Walker had just emerged from obscurity with a disgraceful torrent of subpoenas of over 100 groups and individuals in an effort to silence political opposition. As the Washington Times reported, “Mr. Walker has been the most aggressive member of AGs United for Clean Power, an unprecedented coalition of 17 attorneys general aimed at pursuing fraud accusations against Exxon Mobil and other fossil fuel companies.”

These broad subpoenas covered years of, e.g., donor information of targeted non-profit organizations, most of which had first appeared on an environmentalist pressure group’s target list. See, e.g., Valerie Richardson, “Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker used Greenpeace list to target climate change skeptics: Listed names decry effort to silence climate change dissent.”

You see, he had to “make it clear …that we have to do something transformational” about climate change.  Mr. Walker also boasted of this in those same pre-meeting suggestions to the other AGs.

The press conference represented the high-water mark of a disastrous campaign to pursue political opposition to the climate agenda as racketeering, under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO. AGs fled the coalition as open records requests poured in to reveal how these institutions came to be used this way (the answers are very ugly). The first test case, in New York, began as the Climate Trial of the Century and fizzled out as an accounting dispute, ultimately blowing up on NY OAG, whose effort the defense “eviscerated”.

Walker himself was also in for a rough ride, though he was ultimately saved from sanctions for his behavior by the District of Columbia Courts.

Mr. Walker apparently finds DC quite hospitable, having relocated there where he has been quietly brought into the Trump Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As a Deputy Director, apparently for Criminal Enforcement of all things.

A Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against EPA by GAO on behalf of the transparency group Energy Policy Advocates produced numerous items of interest regarding this development (while not answering how this came about), including the resume Mr. Walker used to score the position. CLW was rather surprised to see his top marquee career achievement.

That important national investigation Mr. Walker launched involved a supposed anti-racketeering investigation that subpoenaed parties for sharing the common trait of having opposed the “climate” political agenda. One which collapsed the moment it was subject to open-records scrutiny.

MAJOR ACHIEVEMENT: Launched important national environmental investigation” — New Environmental Protection Agency Enforcement attorney Claude Earl Walker, on the ill-fated 2016 ‘Climate RICO’

One target of Mr. Walker’s subpoenas was the Competitive Enterprise Institute. CEI responded to Walker’s subpoenas by noting, “You are entitled to your opinions on public policy, but you have no right to wield your power as a prosecutor to advance a policy agenda by persecuting those who disagree with you.”

Another target of the subpoenas described them to a state court as “a pretextual use of law enforcement power to deter [it] from participating in ongoing public deliberations about climate change and to fish through decades of [its] documents with the hope of finding some ammunition to enhance Attorney General Walker’s position in the policy debate.”

When challenged, then-Attorney General Walker quickly withdrew this fusillade of subpoenas, though this apparent abuse of power became the subject of CEI’s move for sanctions. After which, someone decided he needs to be in a senior position of federal environmental law enforcement. If not, mind you, so much that such an otherwise very newsworthy hire warranted drawing attention to it.

One can understand the reticence, by whoever engineered this, to announce the hiring. It does make Swamp Denial a little more difficult.

Here’s to more government accountability and oversight.

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September 15, 2020 at 03:37PM

FIRE

by Judith Curry

Subtitle: our failure to live in harmony with nature.

I’m taking a breather today from nonstop hurricane stuff. Well, ‘breather’ may not be quite the right word.

As I’m writing this, I’m looking out into the smoke from the California fires that are blowing into Reno (not to mention much of the rest of the U.S.).  Schools in Reno are supposed to be open (they have a good COVID protocol), but have been closed more than half the time for the past month owing to bad air quality from the fires.

The mantra from global warming activists that manmade global warming is causing the fires, and therefore fossil fuels must be eliminated,  is rather tiresome, not to mention misses the most important factors.  More importantly, even if global warming is having some fractional impact on the wildfires, reducing fossil fuels would fractionally impact the fires but only a time scale of many decades hence.

California 

Here are some of the more intelligent articles that I’ve seen on the California fires.

From the LATimes: 150 million dead trees could fuel unprecedented firestorms in the Sierra Nevada. Excerpts:

The Creek fire is burning in the Sierra National Forest, an epicenter of the bark beetle attacks that killed nearly 150 million drought-stressed trees during the last decade.

“All of us on the paper were suggesting that if you are going to try to reduce that mass fire problem in the future, you really need to start putting prescribed fire into these stands to start whittling away at those bigger fuels,” 

While thinning — cutting down the dead timber and hauling it away — can play a role, especially around mountain communities, North said a majority of the beetle-killed stands are in wilderness or in areas that are too remote and too steep to be logged.

Moreover, the dead trees have lost most of their commercial value and are of little interest to the remaining sawmills in California.

Fire ecologists have long pointed to the mid-elevation pine and mixed-conifer belt of the Sierra Nevada as a place desperately in need of the frequent, low-intensity burns that shaped the forest before settlers and a century of government fire suppression policies snuffed them out.

The elimination of indigenous fire practices, logging of the biggest and most fire-resistant trees and fire suppression produced an overgrown forest vulnerable to bark beetle attacks during the severe California drought of 2012-16.

Some areas have 500 to 800 trees per acre, compared with 60 to 100 pre-settlement. The beetle toll was the greatest in the densest stands. There dead fuel will keep piling up for years to come.

Prescribed fire programs aren’t getting the staffing and money they need from the regional and national Forest Service offices.

“We have a culture, and our society, that make it difficult” to return fire to its proper place in the Sierra, he said. “I can’t tell you how many times we had burns and had to shut down a campground and people were upset because we were ruining their vacation,” he recalled. “We had to explain we are trying to make this a place to come back to in the future.”

From the Mercury News – California fires: State, feds agree to thin millions of acres of forests. Excerpts:

The two dozen major fires burning across Northern California were sparked by more than 12,000 lightning strikes, a freak weather occurrence that turned what had been a relatively mild fire season into a devastating catastrophe.

Yet what’s driving these enormous fires is not sparks, but millions of acres of fuel: bone-dry trees and brush that haven’t burned in many years.

Under the plan, California agencies and the U.S. Forest Service will use brush clearing, logging and prescribed fires to thin out 1 million acres a year by 2025 — an area larger than Yosemite National Park every 12 months, and roughly double the current rate of thinning, which already is double rates from a few years ago.

But the plan is not without complications.

Environmental regulations will need to be streamlined, particularly permits for landowners with small parcels to thin trees and brush on their properties. 

Some residents complain about controlled burns because they put smoke in the air and spike hospital visits from people with asthma.

Also, more uses will need to be found for millions of tons of dead brush and small trees that will be removed from forests, much of which has little lumber value. Some can be used to make chipboard and other forest products. There are hopes some can be made into biofuels. The material also can be burned at biomass plants to make electricity, but those are polluting and controversial in many communities. Otherwise, crews pile up dead brush in the forest during spring and winter months and burn it when wildfire risk is low.

And it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

Environmental groups say they generally support the more aggressive thinning plan. But they have concerns.

Article by Michael Schellenberger, California ha always had fires, ENvironmental Alarmism Makes Them Worse than Necessary.  Worth reading.

Oregon

An excellent article from OregonLive entitled Oregon’s historic wildfires: unusual but not unprecedented. Excerpts:

The “east wind event” that conspired with existing drought conditions to blow up two low-level fires and other human-caused ignitions last Monday is rare but hardly unique, academics and fire experts say. The winds were the main culprit in making the catastrophic infernos as fast moving as they were. The windstorm and resulting fire danger were forecast days in advance, but with little appreciable effect.

The prospect of widespread forest treatments in the complex ecosystems of the west side – establishing fire breaks and using thinning and prescribed burns to reduce the fuels that choke forest floors – is environmentally unthinkable to some, and impractical to others.

That leaves Oregon facing the paradox of relying on full fire suppression. But leaping on every fire and putting it out immediately is the practice that helped create the problem in the first place.

Alternatively, Oregon can turn to other, easier measures. It could adopt policies requiring more frequent pre-emptive blackouts by utilities so that downed power lines do not spark fires. Or the state could force updated building codes, regulations on defensible space near structures, and incorporate wildfire risk in land-use planning and zoning.

But those policies won’t stop big fires and are contentious, too. Bills to expand forest treatments across the state, as well as legislation to modernize and bolster the Oregon Department of Forestry’s ability to put down wildfires quickly, went nowhere.

The idea of human-set fire is also apt. Most of the fires burning in Western Oregon today were not caused by lightning, which doesn’t occur during the atmospheric conditions in place Monday. Officials have yet to identify the cause for most of the blazes, saying they are under investigation. But with population increases, particularly in what fire experts call the wildland-urban interface, 70 percent of fires in Oregon today are human caused, and earlier this summer, the percentage was 90 percent, according the Oregon Department of Forestry.

It is feasible that Oregonians can agree on some of the wildfire mitigation and adaptation strategies that the council recommended. Among many others, they include updating building codes, increasing enforceable requirements on defensible space, incorporating wildfire risk in land-use planning and zoning.But those recommendations aren’t universally popular either. Should the requirements apply to new construction vs. retrofits of existing homes? How to assure low-income communities benefit? Do you adopt penalties for neighbors who don’t comply with defensible space?”

This image is from the Oregon Department of forestry.  Click on the diagram to blow it up, you can see the influence of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).

Australia

This is a superb article in the NYTimes, entitled Australia’s Witnesses to Fire’s Fury and Desperate to Avoid a Sequel.  Liberal excerpts (since behind paywall):

“Ms. Taylor Mills is one of many who have turned for the first time to local Aboriginal fire experts for help with controlled burns that aim to make the land that didn’t get scorched last year less of a threat. Others, in areas that did burn, have been busy raking up branches and dead trees for preventive burns of their own.

Land clearing has become more common than barbecues. Calls to 000, the equivalent of 911, have been flooding in as people report both preventive burns by their neighbors and those who fail to clean their property of brush and leaves.

The government is actually giving landowners more responsibility. State fire officials recently adopted a series of recommendationsf rom an independent fire inquiry, including a measure requiring that people ensure their properties are safe by clearing land and conducting hazard-reduction burns.

Further changes, to allow for more preventive burning by firefighters and Aboriginal experts, could arrive at the national level later this year.

Interest is already surging. The Walbanja elders who worked with Ms. Taylor Mills — Andrew White, Owen Carriage and Les Simon — said they had received more than 60 requests for help with burns that rely on Aboriginal knowledge to minimize the impact on animals and native plants.

“When you’ve been living with the environment for thousands of years, you know how to read it,” said Mr. Carriage, 67, as he surveyed the burned grass on Ms. Taylor Mills’s property. “You’re a part of it. And fire is a part of it.” “

On the same theme, an article in The Conversation entitled The biggest estate on Earth: how the Aborigines made Australia. Excerpts:

“Aboriginal people worked hard to make plants and animals abundant, convenient and predictable.

By distributing plants and associating them in mosaics, then using these to lure and locate animals, Aborigines made Australia as it was in 1788, when Europeans arrived.

“No fire” because a conscious decision not to burn also regulates plants and animals. They judged equally what to burn and what not, when, how often, and how hot. They cleared undergrowth, and they put grass on good soil, clearings in dense and open forest, and tree or scrub clumps in grassland.

Put simply, farming peoples see differently. Like our draught horses, we wear the blinkers agriculture imposes. Australia is not like the northern Europe from which most early settlers came. Burn Australia’s perennials and they come back green; burn Europe’s annuals and they die.

Again, you can predictably lure and locate Australia’s animals because there were almost no predators, whereas Europe’s many predators scattered prey, so the notion of using fire to locate resources was foreign there.

But above all we don’t see because farmers don’t think like hunter-gatherers. For us “wilderness” lies just beyond our boundaries; for them wilderness does not exist. Until Europeans came, Australia had no wilderness, and no terra nullius.”

Living in harmony with nature

We need to do a better job at living in harmony with nature.  One of the most thought provoking thinkers and journalists on this topic is Dutch filmmaker Marijn Poels.  Marijn has a new documentary forthcoming entitled Return to Eden.  I’ve watched it, it is really good.  STUNNING cinematography.  This is mostly about agriculture and how different cultures relate to the land (and how top-down policies mess things up).  The interviews were fascinating, my favorite was growing food in the Sinai Desert.

Online release is Sept 17

While you’re at it, also watch his previous two climate-related films:

  • The Uncertainty has Settled
  • Paradogma

Post-normal science

If there was ever a case for post-normal science, this is it.  I know, a lot of you get upset because you erroneously confuse ‘post-normal’ with ‘post-modern’ or ‘post-truth.’

Well, ‘normal’ science (such as it is) tells us manmade global warming is causing the fires, with the inference that the solution is to stop burning fossil fuels.

The extended peer communities associated with post-normal science welcomes input from stakeholders and non-traditional experts such as the Aborigines.  American Indians should be a good source of wisdom on fires also.

The saga of Oregon politics surrounding fire reinforces that a broad range of stakeholders need to be involved in policy development and decision making.

There is also much to be learned from the farmers and innovators interviewed in Return to Eden.

CFAN’s fire forecasts

My company CFAN is in the process of rolling out our new Fire Weather Forecast Tool for the U.S.  Here is brief blurb, describing the new product [Fire weather tool overview].  Check it out.

via Climate Etc.

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September 15, 2020 at 02:41PM

FIRE

by Judith Curry

Subtitle: our failure to live in harmony with nature.

I’m taking a breather today from nonstop hurricane stuff. Well, ‚breather‘ may not be quite the right word.

As I’m writing this, I’m looking out into the smoke from the California fires that are blowing into Reno (not to mention much of the rest of the U.S.).  Schools in Reno are supposed to be open (they have a good COVID protocol), but have been closed more than half the time for the past month owing to bad air quality from the fires.

The mantra from global warming activists that manmade global warming is causing the fires, and therefore fossil fuels must be eliminated,  is rather tiresome, not to mention misses the most important factors.  More importantly, even if global warming is having some fractional impact on the wildfires, reducing fossil fuels would fractionally impact the fires but only a time scale of many decades hence.

California 

Here are some of the more intelligent articles that I’ve seen on the California fires.

From the LATimes: 150 million dead trees could fuel unprecedented firestorms in the Sierra Nevada. Excerpts:

The Creek fire is burning in the Sierra National Forest, an epicenter of the bark beetle attacks that killed nearly 150 million drought-stressed trees during the last decade.

“All of us on the paper were suggesting that if you are going to try to reduce that mass fire problem in the future, you really need to start putting prescribed fire into these stands to start whittling away at those bigger fuels,” 

While thinning — cutting down the dead timber and hauling it away — can play a role, especially around mountain communities, North said a majority of the beetle-killed stands are in wilderness or in areas that are too remote and too steep to be logged.

Moreover, the dead trees have lost most of their commercial value and are of little interest to the remaining sawmills in California.

Fire ecologists have long pointed to the mid-elevation pine and mixed-conifer belt of the Sierra Nevada as a place desperately in need of the frequent, low-intensity burns that shaped the forest before settlers and a century of government fire suppression policies snuffed them out.

The elimination of indigenous fire practices, logging of the biggest and most fire-resistant trees and fire suppression produced an overgrown forest vulnerable to bark beetle attacks during the severe California drought of 2012-16.

Some areas have 500 to 800 trees per acre, compared with 60 to 100 pre-settlement. The beetle toll was the greatest in the densest stands. There dead fuel will keep piling up for years to come.

Prescribed fire programs aren’t getting the staffing and money they need from the regional and national Forest Service offices.

“We have a culture, and our society, that make it difficult” to return fire to its proper place in the Sierra, he said. “I can’t tell you how many times we had burns and had to shut down a campground and people were upset because we were ruining their vacation,” he recalled. “We had to explain we are trying to make this a place to come back to in the future.”

From the Mercury News – California fires: State, feds agree to thin millions of acres of forests. Excerpts:

The two dozen major fires burning across Northern California were sparked by more than 12,000 lightning strikes, a freak weather occurrence that turned what had been a relatively mild fire season into a devastating catastrophe.

Yet what’s driving these enormous fires is not sparks, but millions of acres of fuel: bone-dry trees and brush that haven’t burned in many years.

Under the plan, California agencies and the U.S. Forest Service will use brush clearing, logging and prescribed fires to thin out 1 million acres a year by 2025 — an area larger than Yosemite National Park every 12 months, and roughly double the current rate of thinning, which already is double rates from a few years ago.

But the plan is not without complications.

Environmental regulations will need to be streamlined, particularly permits for landowners with small parcels to thin trees and brush on their properties. 

Some residents complain about controlled burns because they put smoke in the air and spike hospital visits from people with asthma.

Also, more uses will need to be found for millions of tons of dead brush and small trees that will be removed from forests, much of which has little lumber value. Some can be used to make chipboard and other forest products. There are hopes some can be made into biofuels. The material also can be burned at biomass plants to make electricity, but those are polluting and controversial in many communities. Otherwise, crews pile up dead brush in the forest during spring and winter months and burn it when wildfire risk is low.

And it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

Environmental groups say they generally support the more aggressive thinning plan. But they have concerns.

Article by Michael Schellenberger, California ha always had fires, ENvironmental Alarmism Makes Them Worse than Necessary.  Worth reading.

Oregon

An excellent article from OregonLive entitled Oregon’s historic wildfires: unusual but not unprecedented. Excerpts:

The “east wind event” that conspired with existing drought conditions to blow up two low-level fires and other human-caused ignitions last Monday is rare but hardly unique, academics and fire experts say. The winds were the main culprit in making the catastrophic infernos as fast moving as they were. The windstorm and resulting fire danger were forecast days in advance, but with little appreciable effect.

The prospect of widespread forest treatments in the complex ecosystems of the west side – establishing fire breaks and using thinning and prescribed burns to reduce the fuels that choke forest floors – is environmentally unthinkable to some, and impractical to others.

That leaves Oregon facing the paradox of relying on full fire suppression. But leaping on every fire and putting it out immediately is the practice that helped create the problem in the first place.

Alternatively, Oregon can turn to other, easier measures. It could adopt policies requiring more frequent pre-emptive blackouts by utilities so that downed power lines do not spark fires. Or the state could force updated building codes, regulations on defensible space near structures, and incorporate wildfire risk in land-use planning and zoning.

But those policies won’t stop big fires and are contentious, too. Bills to expand forest treatments across the state, as well as legislation to modernize and bolster the Oregon Department of Forestry’s ability to put down wildfires quickly, went nowhere.

The idea of human-set fire is also apt. Most of the fires burning in Western Oregon today were not caused by lightning, which doesn’t occur during the atmospheric conditions in place Monday. Officials have yet to identify the cause for most of the blazes, saying they are under investigation. But with population increases, particularly in what fire experts call the wildland-urban interface, 70 percent of fires in Oregon today are human caused, and earlier this summer, the percentage was 90 percent, according the Oregon Department of Forestry.

It is feasible that Oregonians can agree on some of the wildfire mitigation and adaptation strategies that the council recommended. Among many others, they include updating building codes, increasing enforceable requirements on defensible space, incorporating wildfire risk in land-use planning and zoning.But those recommendations aren’t universally popular either. Should the requirements apply to new construction vs. retrofits of existing homes? How to assure low-income communities benefit? Do you adopt penalties for neighbors who don’t comply with defensible space?“

This image is from the Oregon Department of forestry.  Click on the diagram to blow it up, you can see the influence of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).

Australia

This is a superb article in the NYTimes, entitled Australia’s Witnesses to Fire’s Fury and Desperate to Avoid a Sequel.  Liberal excerpts (since behind paywall):

„Ms. Taylor Mills is one of many who have turned for the first time to local Aboriginal fire experts for help with controlled burns that aim to make the land that didn’t get scorched last year less of a threat. Others, in areas that did burn, have been busy raking up branches and dead trees for preventive burns of their own.

Land clearing has become more common than barbecues. Calls to 000, the equivalent of 911, have been flooding in as people report both preventive burns by their neighbors and those who fail to clean their property of brush and leaves.

The government is actually giving landowners more responsibility. State fire officials recently adopted a series of recommendationsf rom an independent fire inquiry, including a measure requiring that people ensure their properties are safe by clearing land and conducting hazard-reduction burns.

Further changes, to allow for more preventive burning by firefighters and Aboriginal experts, could arrive at the national level later this year.

Interest is already surging. The Walbanja elders who worked with Ms. Taylor Mills — Andrew White, Owen Carriage and Les Simon — said they had received more than 60 requests for help with burns that rely on Aboriginal knowledge to minimize the impact on animals and native plants.

“When you’ve been living with the environment for thousands of years, you know how to read it,” said Mr. Carriage, 67, as he surveyed the burned grass on Ms. Taylor Mills’s property. “You’re a part of it. And fire is a part of it.” „

On the same theme, an article in The Conversation entitled The biggest estate on Earth: how the Aborigines made Australia. Excerpts:

„Aboriginal people worked hard to make plants and animals abundant, convenient and predictable.

By distributing plants and associating them in mosaics, then using these to lure and locate animals, Aborigines made Australia as it was in 1788, when Europeans arrived.

“No fire” because a conscious decision not to burn also regulates plants and animals. They judged equally what to burn and what not, when, how often, and how hot. They cleared undergrowth, and they put grass on good soil, clearings in dense and open forest, and tree or scrub clumps in grassland.

Put simply, farming peoples see differently. Like our draught horses, we wear the blinkers agriculture imposes. Australia is not like the northern Europe from which most early settlers came. Burn Australia’s perennials and they come back green; burn Europe’s annuals and they die.

Again, you can predictably lure and locate Australia’s animals because there were almost no predators, whereas Europe’s many predators scattered prey, so the notion of using fire to locate resources was foreign there.

But above all we don’t see because farmers don’t think like hunter-gatherers. For us “wilderness” lies just beyond our boundaries; for them wilderness does not exist. Until Europeans came, Australia had no wilderness, and no terra nullius.“

Living in harmony with nature

We need to do a better job at living in harmony with nature.  One of the most thought provoking thinkers and journalists on this topic is Dutch filmmaker Marijn Poels.  Marijn has a new documentary forthcoming entitled Return to Eden.  I’ve watched it, it is really good.  STUNNING cinematography.  This is mostly about agriculture and how different cultures relate to the land (and how top-down policies mess things up).  The interviews were fascinating, my favorite was growing food in the Sinai Desert.

Online release is Sept 17

While you’re at it, also watch his previous two climate-related films:

  • The Uncertainty has Settled
  • Paradogma

Post-normal science

If there was ever a case for post-normal science, this is it.  I know, a lot of you get upset because you erroneously confuse ‚post-normal‘ with ‚post-modern‘ or ‚post-truth.‘

Well, ’normal‘ science (such as it is) tells us manmade global warming is causing the fires, with the inference that the solution is to stop burning fossil fuels.

The extended peer communities associated with post-normal science welcomes input from stakeholders and non-traditional experts such as the Aborigines.  American Indians should be a good source of wisdom on fires also.

The saga of Oregon politics surrounding fire reinforces that a broad range of stakeholders need to be involved in policy development and decision making.

There is also much to be learned from the farmers and innovators interviewed in Return to Eden.

CFAN’s fire forecasts

My company CFAN is in the process of rolling out our new Fire Weather Forecast Tool for the U.S.  Here is brief blurb, describing the new product [Fire weather tool overview].  Check it out.


Posted on September 15, 2020 by curryja |

https://judithcurry.com/

Attenborough’s new attempt to scare people about polar bear extinction and walrus deaths

By Paul Homewood

Susan Crockford is on the warpath over Attenborough’s latest load of twaddle:

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In a new book and Netflix film, Sir David Attenborough again presents false information about future polar bear survival and walrus deaths.

Conclusion

From the brink of extinction in the 1960s, global polar bear numbers have grown roughly three to four times what they were then. None of the 19 subpopulations have gone extinct despite unexpectedly low summer sea ice levels for the last 14 years (Crockford 2019) and their official range across the Arctic is as broad as it was 200 years ago. The claim that reduced summer sea ice in general leads to poor health of females and poor cub survival does not hold up to scrutiny: while it appears to have been true for Western Hudson Bay using old data, it is strongly contracted by recent data from studies in the Barents and Chukchi Seas (Crockford 2019, 2020). Apparently, Sir David Attenbourough accepted without question the newest implausible prediction of future polar bear survival but couldn’t manage to tell the story without exaggeration. And despite being called out on the lie that Pacific walrus in Russia were falling to their deaths due to lack of sea ice, he is flogging this false narrative again because it fits his agenda. This latest film is simply more in a long line of others which Attenborough has used to frighten children and adults alike about polar bears and the Arctic. Since it is already clear that virtually everything Attenborough is peddling about polar bears and walrus is false, why would anyone believe his claims of irreparable environmental destruction – or more importantly, allow impressionable children to watch this new film?

Full story here.

via NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

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September 15, 2020 at 01:15PM