Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #354

Brought to You by www.SEPP.org, The Science and Environmental Policy Project

By Ken Haapala, President

Quote of the Week: “I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth, if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.” – Leo Tolstoy [William Readdy]

Number of the Week: Up to 100 times more

Why I Don’t “believe” In …: Judith Curry brought up a thoughtful essay by Robert Tracinski illustrating how politicians and the like try to persuade others to accept their views by manipulating meaningful terms to the point of rendering the terms meaningless. Currently it is fashionable to invoke the term “science” to justify one’s political policies and beliefs.

Continue reading

Advertisements

PG&E Filing Bankruptcy

From Zero Hedge – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Confirming earlier reports that distressed California utility PG&E had rejected a proposal by some of the world’s most prominent investors that would keep it out of bankruptcy, moments ago Bloomberg reported that the board of the embattled utility which is facing $30 billion in wildfire liabilities, voted late Monday to file for bankruptcy protection as soon as midnight.

In pursuing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, PG&E is declining a proposal by an investing group led by Paul Singer’s Elliott Management that would’ve been backed by $4 billion in bonds and given the company enough cash to stay avoid bankruptcy while working through its liabilities. A second group of investors including Ken Griffin’s Citadel and Leon Black’s Apollo who had pitched a rival plan, were also rebuffed.

Continue reading

What’s Natural? A Look at Wildfires

By Jim Steele – Re-Blogged From WUWT

What’s Natural?

A Look at Wildfires

In early December I surveyed the horrific Camp Fire disaster in Paradise. Having been director for 25 years of a university field station located in the heart of the Tahoe National Forest, I’ve been a “student” of fire ecology for 30 years and wanted a closer look at why row after row of homes completely incinerated while surrounding trees were merely scorched, with leaves and needles browned but not burnt?

clip_image002

Large fires have recently ravaged about 1.8 million California acres a year, prompting media and politicians to proclaim a “new normal” that’s “evidence of global warming”. But UC Berkeley fire ecologists have calculated that before 1800, fires burned 4 million California acres each year (despite cooler temperatures). So what natural fire dynamics promote such extensive burning?

Continue reading

Tree-Ring Analysis Explains Physiology Behind Drought Intolerance

By Oregon State University – Re-Blogged From WUWT

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Tree rings tell the story of what’s happening physiologically as fire suppression makes forests more dense and less tolerant of drought, pests and wildfires, new research shows.

Scientists at Oregon State University and Utah State University studied 2,800 hectares of mixed-conifer forest in central Oregon, with many of the ponderosa pines in the study area dating back hundreds of years prior to 1910, when putting out wildfires became federal policy.

Other trees in the area, where fire history has been studied extensively, were younger, comparatively fire- and drought-intolerant grand firs.

Continue reading

Trump Overhauled The Way We Prevent Wildfires And The Media Totally Missed It

By Michael Bastasch The Daily Caller – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Trump Takes Steps To Prevent Catastrophic Forest Fires, Including More Logging

  • President Trump issued an executive order allowing agencies to do more to prevent massive wildfires.
  • The order came one day after Trump signed GOP-backed wildfire legislation.
  • Wildfires have burned more than 8.5 million acres this year.

President Donald Trump moved forward with policies aimed at preventing catastrophic wildfires while the media breathlessly covered the government funding battle.

Continue reading

Wildfire Attribution Study Full of Smoke

By Bob Vislocky – Re-Blogged From WUWT

In light of the devastating wildfires that ravished California last month, I thought it would be interesting to critically review a frequently referenced article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2016 titled “Impact of Anthropogenic Climate Change on Wildfire Across Western US Forests” by John T. Abatzoglou and A. Park Williams.

http://www.pnas.org/content/113/42/11770

In the paper, which was the first and most significant quantitative effort to link climate change to wildfires, the authors conclude that roughly 50% of the wild fire acreage in the Western United States from 1979 to 2015 can be attributed to Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) as displayed in the figures below:

Continue reading

California Fire Crews Drink Water Pulled From Thin Air

Re-Blogged From WUWT

An Israeli company is helping America’s disaster victims and first responders

Watergen sends Israeli water-making machine to assist massive wildfires.

Abigail Klein Leichman

An emergency response vehicle (ERV) carrying an innovative Israeli machine that pulls pure drinking water directly out of ambient air is on its way to California, to provide hydration to police and firefighters dealing with the aftermath of two massive wildfires that have taken at least 87 lives and destroyed over 10,000 homes and businesses.

Continue reading