Forest policy looms over Oregon's climate change debate

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For as long as climate change legislation has been debated in Oregon, the forestry sector has been the ghost in the room.

If policymakers bothered to discuss it at all, they assumed the sector was carbon neutral, with the greenhouse gas emissions from logging offset by replanting and forest growth each year. But no one really knew; the data didn't exist for Oregon. And in a state where big timber exercises outsize political clout relative to its economic importance, the politics of including it in any potential regulation or strategy to increase carbon stocks was simply a nonstarter.

Until now.

As lawmakers gear up to make another attempt to pass a climate change bill in 2019, new data suggests that the forest sector is not only a factor in Oregon's carbon picture, it is THE factor and one of national and even international importance as lawmakers look to reduce the concentration of heat trapping gases in the atmosphere.

Keep reading at online at The Oregonian

BC Rainforest Scientist Letter

Over 220 international scientists called on the British Columbia government to halt the rapacious logging of temperate rainforests in the province. BC coastal and inland rainforests are globally rare and strategic to Canada's commitments to the Paris climate change accord. Read the full letter here.

bc forest logging

Old Growth BC rainforests are among the most carbon dense forests on Earth, playing a strategic role in Canada's commitments to the historic Paris climate change accord. (Photo credit: Conservation North)

Click for the June 28, 2018 press release.

Additional Information

You can also learn more about this and other temperate rainforests in "Temperate and Boreal Rainforests of the World" by Dr. Dominick DellaSala.

 

Why Oregon forests may continue to burn

Last year's fire season was bad. This year's could be too. So why does agreement on a plan to reduce the likelihood of forest fires remain elusive?

“We keep hearing that if only we could do active management we could reduce the risk of severe fires,” said Dominick DellaSala, chief scientist at the Geos Institute, a climate change solutions advocacy group based in Ashland. “I heard that continuously when I testified before Congress last September. But when we looked at 1,500 fires, we found it’s the areas with the most active management that had the highest amount of high-severity fires. They wouldn’t believe that data."

Read the full article by Pete Danko at the Portland Business Journal

Scientists’ warning to humanity has Earth Day meaning

By Dominick A. DellaSala, posted April 22, 2018 at Medford Mail Tribune

In 1992, I was one of 1,700 scientists, including Nobel laureates, who issued the “Scientists’ Warning to Humanity” because of damage humans were inflicting on the Earth. This March, I joined 20,000 scientists in sounding a second alarm as humanity is on an even faster collision with Earth’s life-giving systems.

This is not Chicken Little or “fake news.” Scientists read the planet’s life signs like the warning lights on a car’s dashboard. We use satellites, global weather stations and polar ice measurements to document how humans are altering the global climate and destroying the planet’s ecosystems in unprecedented ways. In the years since the first warning, Earth’s dashboard lights are signaling a pending system-wide failure that threatens life on Earth on a scale soon to rival the epic demise of the dinosaurs.

Consider these alarming trends:

Half of all species on Earth could be extinguished by mid- to late century, mainly from habitat destruction and global warming as more and more people consume finite natural resources and our ecological footprint reaches dangerous levels. For the Rogue Valley, summer temperatures will heat up by 7 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Coastal towns will experience unprecedented sea-level rise from melting glaciers. Health ailments such as Lyme disease, asthma and heat exhaustion, exacerbated by climate change, will increasingly hurt children, the elderly and the economically disadvantaged. Category 5 hurricanes will become the new norm for east coast residents and Alaska Native villages will be displaced by floods and permafrost melting. It’s hard to put a smiley face on Earth Day celebrations after forecasting such alarming trends. But I am an eternal optimist and a parent, so I have to believe there is still time to act for a better future.

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