May 26, 2012 Wall Street Journal Letter RE: No Need to Panic About Global Warming
Messrs. Allegre et al appear to be oblivious to what is going on in the wild. Nature is showing those of us who have a spent a lifetime in the field what burning daily 82 million tons daily of greenhouse gases are doing to our forests – killing them en masse. Rising temperatures across the West of at least 1.8 F have removed the ecological cold curtain, allowing a trillion bark beetles the opportunity to kill billions of mature trees across western North America. Instead of absorbing CO2 as they’ve evolved to do so, massive graveyards of trees are now decaying and bleeding greenhouse gases into an ever-rising atmospheric pool.
The high elevation whitebark and limber pines are of paramount importance in holding and releasing snowpacks; providing water for 50 million people, feeding our agriculture systems and stoking industries including the eighth mightiest on the globe: California. Those forests are perishing, quickly.
Tree ring growth from four thousand year old living trees, bristlecone pines, existing two miles above sea level in California and Nevada accurately depict the speed of warming over the past decade.
Ecologist study patterns on the landscape and we are now observing regional changes. Animals and plants cannot migrate fast enough to respond to the alacrity of climate change. The time to do something is now, not disregard what nature is clearly showing us.
The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment.
Humans are exceptional problem solvers. Our best friend in the 21st century is innovation and the bridge toward it — is efficiency.
Earth Dr Reese Halter is an award-winning Science Communicator: Voice for Ecology and distinguished conservation biologist. His latest books are The Insatiable Bark Beetle and The Incomparable Honeybee
Text © by Dr Reese Halter 2012. All rights reserved.
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