DimWit Politics

Climate Change Nonsense and California Burning

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Climate Change Nonsense and California Burning

Climate Change Nonsense and California Burning
November 19
18:09 2018

The deadly forest and brush fires ravaging California have the political left again raising the issue of global warming.  They use the tragedy to politicize the issue and lay political blame on President Trump. 

We can recall how they literally accused Trump of being culpable in the deadly hurricanes that slammed into Texas, Florida and the Carolinas.  It gets to the point that one can imagine that they would blame Trump’s agnosticism on the causes of global warming – and what can be done about it anyway — for ice cream cones melting too fast on a hot summer day in Los Angeles.

President Trump – in his inimitable fashion, which is not good – raised the issue of forestry management as a contributing cause.  He might have held back on the causes and focused on the suffering at the moment.  But Trump is Trump. 

Media blinded by Trump-hate

The President’s lambastic style should not trump the facts.  Forest management has been a concern and controversy for a long time.  Trump’s  is justified in bringing up the subject.  The #NeverTrump Resistance Movement in the media understandably focuses on his style without considering the issue he raises.  Their obsession with Trump actually distracts from the critical policy discussions that need to be had if the tragedy of these forest and brush fires are to be mitigated.

Humans as a blight on nature

There has been a tug-of-war between left-wing environmental groups – that seem to long for a pristine primaeval landscape unaffected by the presence of humans – and developers and public safety officials.  Radical environmentalists seem to believe that everything in nature is natural except we human beings.   For them, almost every real estate development and every structure of industry and commerce is an immoral intrusion into the habitats of the flora and fauna.

The issue is rather simple.  Protect the people or protect the forest.  While that debate rages across the nation, it is particularly significant in California, where all those “natural” fires are more regular, more destructive and more deadly.

Adjusting to Climate Change

Earth’s climate is constantly changing – at least for the past 4.5 billion years.  In the extreme, it has gone from  a hot fiery planet to a solar snowball – and to what we have today.  But, even in these more temperate times, the earth cycles between periods of greater cold – mini ice ages – and greater warmth. 

There is no disagreement that the earth has warmed a bit in recent years, but after that there is a lot of controversy.  Will it continue or are we at the crest of the hot period?  Is it significantly influenced by works of mankind?  And most important, can we humans reduce the planetary heat without returning to the Stone Age?  And if we can, how fast?

Those are the questions and issues that we find in every report on the California fires.  The fires are the result of global warming and Trump is responsible because he does not fully embrace the environmentalist agenda.  He wants to talk about forest management and fire protection options.

Addressing the real issue

Consider this question.  If, in the future, you want to prevent the type of California fires that have already taken more than 80 lives – with some 1300 people still missing – is your better option land and forest management or changing the global climate?  Give the answer a big DUH.”

All this political and media talk is nothing more than irrelevant political pablum – at least in the short term.  Trump addressed the only meaningful issue of public policy – how to use smart land management to prevent, or at least limit, the extent of fire damage.  We do that at the micro level in terms of our homes and high-rises, but we fail when it comes to communities in fire-prone regions.

Here in Florida, we have hurricanes – and we have all sorts o laws and policies to protect life and property from the ravages of wind and rain.  Virtually no real estate is developed in Florida without considering the effects of hurricanes – including building codes, water runoff, evacuation routes and rescue capabilities.  Very little of that is considered in terms of the fires that strike California in greater number than hurricanes strike Florida.

Paradise lost

The failure to address forest and foliage management was sadly seen when virtually the entire town of Paradise, California was burned to the ground by a currently unstoppable forest and brush fire.  There were no preventative policies and actions to protect that community.

Fire protection policies

So, what can be done in the short run?

One is to create clear zones around houses and communities – which is what we see firefighters doing when they plow down trees and brush to stop the advance of a fire.  This does not mean that all vegetation has to be eliminated in a preventative program — just the high concentration of combustible material. 

Prevention would also include the type of trees and brush planted in close proximity of homes and communities.  Trees, such as conifers, ignite like blowtorches when dried by drought.  Other trees are more resistant to both drought and fire.

Regular clearing of underbrush would help – what Trump referred to as “raking.”  While his adversaries in the press mocked his suggestion, fire prevention experts do not.  Carpets of dead foliage are accelerants.  In various news reports, we see fire fighters “raking.”

Controlled burning has been one of the best ways to prevent … uncontrolled burning.  It can be both preventative and combative.  Firefighters often set fires to advance toward an out-of-control fire to remove the tinder in the path.

Of course, virtually all of these things have been resisted by environmentalists in California – where such environmentalists have great political clout.

Environmentally friendly solution

Not all the policies have to be offensive to environmentalists.  Building codes can be enacted that would require greater fire resistance to all exterior surfaces, especially roofs.  In high risk areas, homes can be engineered with something we seen in virtually every office or apartment building – a fire sprinkler system.

How many times have we seen homeowners trying to protect their property from an advancing fire with a garden hose.  Why not systems that automatically flood roofs with a sheet of water — which would be especially effective in preventing fires ignited by flying sparks?

There is no end to the number of environmental and technical solutions that can be brought to bear on the problem.  Contrary to the underling beliefs of the more radical environmentalists, we humans are better at solving problems than causing them.

Changing the climate versus changing policies

If given the choice to seek a climate change solution to the terrible fires that are seasonal on the west coast or to enact and implement laws and policies to address the problem, the latter is not only the better option, it is the only option.

Trump was correct to focus on preventative measures that can be imposed fairly quickly rather than seeking solutions to global warming – which, even with the best of efforts, would have no impact on California fires for centuries.

So, there ‘tis.

About Author

Larry Horist

Larry Horist

Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and politics. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, as well as the White House. He has testified as an expert witness before legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress, and lectured at major colleges and universities. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at lph@thomasandjoyce.com.

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18 Comments

  1. Dr. John
    Dr. John November 20, 19:37

    This article makes way too much sense. The media tends to want to go with the Anti-Trump mantra, rather than discuss the legitimate issue of fire-prevention tactics.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Bix
    Bix November 20, 20:43

    It’s true that earth has gone thru many cycles of warming and cooling but over tens of thousands of years not one hundred fifty to two hundred years. You suggest that a choice needs to be made between forest management or curtailing climate change due to human activity, which you’ve already indicated is nonsense. The fact is they both need to be addressed. The land in California being devastated by fire is under the control of the federal government, so let Trump cut loose with some federal money for better forest management. A serious effort to reduce the human impact on our changing climate needs to start now or else our children and grandchildren will have many more serious problems added to the raging fires currently burning in California.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Keith
    Keith November 20, 21:15

    Our Pacific NW forests are next. Management practices allow combustibles to accumulate on the forest floor. Fire suppression prevents smaller fires. Foresters have warned for decades that someday we’ll have enough fuel to stoke unstoppable burns! Nature used to burn out this fuel with annual small fires. But in our infinite wisdom, we stopped that. Every year, we get closer. Thanks a lot enviro’s. Soon, no more trees to hug. Oh wait, they are a renewable resource….

    Reply to this comment
  4. Larry
    Larry November 20, 21:21

    Stupid goes all the way to the bone and that’s what we have in Liberals. There might be an intellect or two in the group but they also seem to be covered by “the bone.”

    Reply to this comment
  5. Thomas McClellan
    Thomas McClellan November 20, 21:51

    I have lived all of my adult life in the Socialist State of California, plus I work for a state agency. I am the first to say that CA does indeed mismanage its forests and wildlife. Before the 18th Century, forest fires were a common occurrence as a result of lightning strikes. Now, we try to protect the forests, but we are neglecting the number one rule, underbrush must be burned away every so often, but when the State neglects to do this, tragedies like we have had the last 8 years occur. President Trump is correct, the forests and other BLM lands have for decades been mismanaged. What you are witnessing is stupidity and the LEFT’s typical blame it on someone else. Wait until the predicted 8.0-9.0 earthquakes hit.

    Reply to this comment
  6. DAV
    DAV November 20, 22:23

    Instead of a military draft, why don’t all the states have a draft for community service just for situations like the California fires? Everybody in prisons would have 1A classification- they’re picked first. Of course, there would be the training issue.
    Just sayin’

    Reply to this comment
  7. just sayin
    just sayin November 21, 00:28

    Sounds like you are proposing more regulation of private citizens on private property. You want to tell people what to plant and where to plant it. how to maintain it as well. So much for smaller less intrusive government.

    I think your prescription is very similar in that regard to the prescription of the “left”.

    Reply to this comment
  8. DG
    DG November 21, 00:57

    While some degree of forest management does need to be part of the solution, Trump really needs to think before he speaks. His rambling on about how forest management is handled in Finland was immediately debunked by Finnish authorities and just added to Trump’s image as the laughingstock of the world, again. The global community is fast losing any respect that the US used to have because of Trump.

    Reply to this comment
    • Drew
      Drew November 21, 04:09

      Either you are a commie democrat rat for making a nonsensical comment like you did
      regarding the President of the United States statement about California’s wildfires, or you purposely only looked for & read the parts of Larry Horist’s article that seem to favor the leftist extremist environmentalists who several decades ago hoodwinked Californian Law-makers to replace an evidence-based immensely successful ” more than half-century old ” fire-management strategy that plainly worked, with a ” now repeatedly proven ‘ management strategy/policy that is the direct cause of the wildfires, both past & current.

      Please don’t speed read articles, do it slowly & guess what; you just might learn something that makes complete & utter common sense.

      Reply to this comment
      • Larry Horist
        Larry Horist November 22, 01:28

        Geez! Nothing I wrote was in favor of the “leftist extremist environmentalists.” The entire commentary was a rebuke of their policies.

        Reply to this comment
    • Doug C.
      Doug C. November 21, 19:15

      LOL.

      Imagine the concept that any U.S. president could render deeper or faster damage to the United States’ standing in the world than Barack Obama purposely brought down on us.

      Just another example of PTSD (Post Trumpatic Stress Disorder) by yet another twinkie leftnik, but I repeat myself.

      Reply to this comment
    • Jay
      Jay November 23, 01:27

      You’re the laughing stock sounds like to me

      Reply to this comment
    • micdamoe
      micdamoe November 26, 03:16

      Missing the tough talking clown who drew his lines in the sand with invisable ink? Gee, maybe b.o. could have contained it with one of his magic red lines!!

      Reply to this comment
  9. jj
    jj November 21, 00:58

    All this managment makes a lot of sense to me. It would sure cut down on the costs of these fires and maybe people would not loose their homes so much. I guess California doesn’t want a common sense approach.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Drew
    Drew November 21, 05:18

    I live in the State of Victoria, in Australia. Our State building regulations were updated some years ago after our ” 2009’s Summer Black Saturday bush/wildfires ” that claimed no less the 173 Victorian lives & razed more than one town in the same way as California’s Paradise was.

    The aforementioned Australian State building laws were deliberately changed so that every currently existing & ” new build property ” in known bushfire zones, must have the following fire suppression/fighting capabilities.

    1: A fireproof/highly heat-resistant roof sprinkler system connected to either normal mains water or large enough plumbed & pumped alternative tank water supply. That also includes a portable spot fire suppression capacity. Read a sturdy 4 X 4 pick-up with water tank on back with pump, applicable fire hose & personal fire protection apparel.

    2: It’s a legal requirement for property owners to regularly maintain an area ” sufficiently cleared of all dry tinder, & long grasses, etc ” around their property to significantly reduce the risk of their property going P O O F in a cloud of smoke, embers & ultimately ash.

    2a: Strictly observe & obey all Fire-Ban declarations issued by relevant Authorities.

    3: Have, know well & regularly practice
    ” A Fire Plan of early escape “, should any approaching bush/wildfire fighting capacity obviously prove to be unwinnable on the day.

    4: If escape routes are cut off, have an readily accessible fireproof bunker or safe area to ” escape to “.

    5: Most importantly ” listen & act on all official advice ” broadcasted well in advance, by all relevant Fire-Fighting, Police & Rescue Authorities on the days of wildfires.

    Yes; Australia has endured bushfires since that awful February Black Saturday nine years & nine months ago. But the above legislated strategies enacted afterwards, plus others have, ” touch wood ” prevented a similar or far worse tragedy. Other Australian States quickly followed suit.

    Larry, you are so right!
    ” Well managed, controlled burning ” has been one of the best ways to prevent ” uncontrolled burning “.

    In closing; Forests are also catchments that replenish precious water supplies; man-made, natural, in-ground & deep aquifers. Rivers, creeks & surface water storage facilities suffer immensely, literally taking years to recover due to ingress by ash residues left over once wildfires are extinguished, & . . . ” then the rains came down & the floods came up “.

    Reply to this comment
    • Larry Horist
      Larry Horist November 22, 01:31

      Exactly! California should learn from “down under.” The environmentalists claim they are saving nature … but how much nature is being saved by they fires?

      Reply to this comment
  11. davidlaing
    davidlaing November 21, 14:27

    There’s some good news. My recent, peer-reviewed research shows that CO2 isn’t the actual cause of global warming and strongly suggests that chlorine from CFCs is. The chlorine thins the ozone layer, allowing more solar UV-B to reach Earth’s surface and warm things up. In other words, global warming was stopped by the Montreal Protocol, which banned the further production of ozone-destroying chemicals, such as CFCs. As you may recall, the Protocol was ratified through the ’90s, and consequently, since 1998, we’ve had no more warming. Temperatures remain elevated, however, because chlorine destroys ozone catalytically, and it has a long residence time in the atmosphere. That is why we have all this “crazy weather,” melting of glaciers, etc., now, and will have for some time to come, but actual global warming is over, and won’t recur, unless we do something stupid, for which only we could be held responsible.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Doug C.
    Doug C. November 21, 19:39

    Is anthropogenic (man-made) global warming a serious proposition? Here’s how to tell:
    .
    Ask the AGW proponents you know to join you in opposing illegal immigration.

    With 4 percent of the global human population, the U.S. accounts for 1/4 of the the world’s energy production. That means that living in the U.S. burns up about eight times as living elsewhere on average.
    .
    Obviously we need to contain the U.S. population as much as possible.
    .
    There are 30-some million to 40-some million illegals in the U.S. now and leftnik agitators are working overtime to add dozens of millions more, which compounds the threat of global warming calamity (if you believe underlying AGW theory).
    .
    There’s no two ways about it. We need to put up the wall, drastically shrink ANY immigration and deport all illegals, and we must do so IMMEDIATELY, because the poor planet is IN CRISIS!
    .
    By the same token, Europe, with its relatively high energy useage, must deport its masses of relatively recent immigrants from low-energy-consumption lands.
    .
    Considering the depth of the climatic emergency before us, AGW advocates should immediately relocate to other continents that are not contributing so dramatically to our dire climate straits.
    .
    Explain all that to all the AGW alarmists you know, and see if they don’t immediately join you in expelling illegals and then self-deport to Venezuela or other places with declining carbon footprints.

    Reply to this comment

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