Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Joni's Speech at LaMalfa's Office

Joni speaking to a group attempting to give Congressman Doug LaMalfa a Climate Change Denier Award. There are 136 Republican Congressmen who refuse to consider science and accept that CO2 is warming up the Earth. Joni was one of two speakers at the event. Here is her speech:

Forests and climate change
I live in a forest. Much of US Congressional District 1 is forested. Forests provide enormous benefits such as habitat and watershed health. Forests also provide effective carbon ‘sinks’, absorbing excess CO2 as they grow, and forests were doing that well for the first several decades of fossil fuel burning…

But climate change is already hugely impacting forests, and the lives of all – human and non - who live in or near them, by increasing the number and severity of wildfires.

“Climate change, and the consistently hotter and drier weather that comes with it, is largely the cause of recent SHARP INCREASE in the number and intensity of wildfires,” NASA officials said last Friday [8/9/13 Cronkite News Service]

According to the California EPA, the most serious California wildfire seasons in the PAST 50 YEARS were in 2003, 2005 and 2008 - ALL IN THIS DECADE! In the past 12 years, average acreage burned in wildfires has been DOUBLE the average of 40-50 years ago. Looking ahead, models show that for each 1.8 degree C rise in average temperature, the total area burned by wildfires would increase 380% [National Research Council report, 2011]

Wildfires, insect infestations, pulses of erosion and flooding, and drought-induced tree mortality are all expected to increase during the 21st century. [USDA 12/12] Add severe wind occurrences - micro-bursts that knock down mature trees like a Giant’s game of pick-up sticks – and the Timber Industry will profit nicely from all the timber sales that could occur with no environmental regulation if HR 1526 becomes law.

Benignly entitled “Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act” HR 1526, co-sponsored by LaMalfa, pretends to be looking out for the best interests of rural communities, but this legislation would encourage unregulated logging of national forests in order to reduce fire danger and insect invasions – which are on the increase DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE. Yeah – save those forests by logging them - again…and again…

LaMalfa accepted significant campaign monies from the timber industry, as well as the fossil fuel industry, via the Koch brothers. Call me cynical, but I don’t believe Doug LaMalfa is a simple ‘Climate Change Denier’ – he’s a Climate Change PROFITEER – making money for himself and his corporate masters while the rest of us just burn or breathe smoke.

Who else here remembers the eye-stinging smoke that blanketed the entire region much of last summer and fall? And in 2008?
I live in Concow – in 2008, we lost over 200 homes out of 234 in one small section of the community. Even though our home was spared, 50% of homes in our immediate neighborhood were destroyed. The entire community was rocked by the wildfires. Families that had nowhere else to go slept in cars for months.
I had to send my grandkids away in ‘08 and again last year, because the smoke was so bad. Our elementary school was closed a few days last fall for ‘bad air days’ due to smoke…as if staying home, without a/c, would protect anyone…Just one example of how Climate Change is already affecting the poorest communities the most, in this COUNTY, not just across the globe.

Wildfire smoke is also compounding the climate problem. Wildfires emit mostly larger particles, called ‘tar balls,’ which absorb sunlight and cause substantial atmospheric warming.
So instead of being great ‘carbon sinks,’ our now heat-stressed, insect-prone, drought-ridden forests are burning, making climate change worse, and faster. [Science magazine 8/18/06]
As Barbara Boxer said on TV a couple days ago, after touring wildfires devastating the region: “Open your eyes, breathe the air, see what’s going on. And get out of the fringe lane.”




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