[az-leader] forest health editorial--8/11/03

  • From: "Roland W James" <roland.james@xxxxxxx>
  • To: <opinions@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2003 12:10:10 -0700

In the forest health debate there must be a middle ground between cutting no 
big trees 
and cutting the relatively few remaining big trees without limit.  Regulation 
is needed 
and should allow a profit to timber companies, but not a gouging profit.  
No one opposes thinning small trees, which make up the vast majority of forests.
However,  the George II administration has been 
so dishonest about the exploding deficits that there was not even 20% of the
budgeted amount for thinning around Summerhaven.   
Can't we also agree about prioritizing community protection?  If a 1 mile 
isn't enough, then 2 or 3 miles.   

There is a wall of denial in the  U.S. about  mentioning global climate change, 
the primary long-term forest health issue.
On the other hand, the European press, political leaders and public are more 
 willing  to make connections:
CO2AL & Oil --->>(leading to)  Global Climate Change--->>Drought in the 
--->>unhealthy forests, including dying trees and enhanced fires," 
OR  the connection between energy use/production and global climate change.   

Except for Talton and Pimentel,   The Republic has been MIA on this issue, 

Roland James       Phoenix and Santa Rosa, Ca       currently at 520.882-4136  

P.S.  Even straight talkin' Sen. John McCain wants it both ways--
expresses concern about global climate change
and then votes against improving fuel efficiency.   
Again,  in an annual exercise in futility, the Congress recently 
defeated proposals to increase fuel efficiency to 40 mpg by 2015 and to
increase fuel efficiency for SUVs, vans and pickups to 27.5 mpg.
 As the U.S. 
1)increases oil consumption and builds more coal plants;
2)considers drilling in environmentally pristine areas; 
3) sees climate change effects in Alaska,  British Columbia, Glacier Park, 
Arizona, coral islands and even dried-up rivers in drought-stricken Europe;
4) spends lives and billion$ in occupying oil-rich Iraq as global oil 
production approaches peak--
the Congress won't pass these measures this year.
If not now,  WHEN?

Perhaps environmental groups should shift their emphasis to
the states and support proposals such as implementing
 a "carrot and stick" sliding scale sales tax and annual vehicle license tax
 for new non-commercial vehicles based  on fuel efficiency.

About half the states, including Arizona,  have the initiative process if the 
legislature fails
to move.  At least, this would enable discussion, which is minimal now.

Blair did tell a good joke to Congress about a suffragist who advised
a politician to run on a platform of "votes for women, chastity
for men, and prohibition for all."
Is challenging the American love affair with SUVs and gas guzzlers
-- with higher efficiency standards or through higher gas taxes or higher
vehicle taxes on gas guzzlers--
-- as unrealistic?

Roland James

----- Original Message -----
From: Roland W James
To: letters@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Wednesday, July 23, 2003 6:21 PM
Subject: Az Gov Napolitano--Getting out the Vote---May/June 03  E Magazine

As you reported in the  May/June issue,  Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano was
endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club and other
environmental groups last fall.   Unfortunately,  Gov.  Napolitano  has
praised a utility* (Salt River Project) as a leader in energy and water
conservation (not true in comparison to other utilities) while  it builds
more coal plants .    Her water resources appointee says that Arizona has
plenty of water,  as drought-stressed trees and wildlife in Arizona's
forests die, as well as sheep and cattle of Native Americans and ranchers,
in the 5th year of an increasingly severe drought.    Her energy director
has said that we should use more coal because there isn't such as thing as
global climate change and because coal is plentiful.

Other  environmental leaders often don't have much reality or vision on
global environmental
problems, either.    For example, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., hasn't mentioned
global climate change in two major environmental speeches I've heard in the
last three years (he sticks to local and national environmental issues), and
he opposes windmills off Cape Cod.

In "American Heat: Ethical Problems with the U.S. Response to Global
 Donald Brown writes that  the U.S.  has forfeited its past leadership by
opposing action on  a number of international environmental
issues--including global warming.    Brown  confronts us especially with the
reality of  what we are doing  to our poor neighbors around the world and to
future generations.

Roland James    

1. If we  really  wants to save the earth and humanity, we've got to use
economics ("it's the economy, stupid" for environmental issues, too) and the
underutilized but powerful price/tax system.   Touting Hybrid (Huffington)
vs. Hummer (Schwarzenegger) vs. Edsal (Davis) in Ca recall, "ticketing" SUVs
(the July/Aug Sierra magazine),  or equating driving SUVs with support for
terrorism might be "fun," but probably  have negative effect; Ford's fleet's
overall efficiency is down in 2003 from 2002 as more people buy big SUVs,
for example.

Norway, with a comparable standard of living and whose glut of oil from  the
North Sea peaked in 2002 (Richard Heinberg, "The Party's Over--Oil, War and
the Fate of Industrial Societies"--
 --U.S.oil production peaked in 1970--independent and retired petroleum
geologists  say global oil production will peak 2008 give or take a few
years), uses 40% the per capita energy of the U.S. because of $5+/gallon tax
on gasoline and other policies.

Perhaps a significant gas tax or carbon tax can only be implemented at the
federal level, but neither is likely with the current Petrol Men in charge.

However, states  could implement a "carrot and stick" sliding scale sales
tax and annual vehicle license
tax for new non-commercial vehicles based  on fuel efficiency--let's say, 2%
sales tax and $20 per year for the most efficient vehicles, 14% sales tax
and $1000 per year for the least  efficient vehicles, and a sliding scale
between the extremes.   This could  be designed to be revenue positive or
revenue neutral, including taking into account lower gas tax revenues as
overall efficiency increases.   The  standards could also encourage
alternative fuels and be adjusted as buying habits change
and as efficiency  of newer vehicles improves.

*2..   Arizona utilities Salt River Project and Tucson Electric are building
more coal plants even though
CO2  has increased from 280 ppm to 370 ppm in the industrial era
(the last "1/40 th of a second" if 4 billion years of earth's existence is
compacted into the "6 days of Genesis" metaphor)
and could double or  ? ...
[David Brower said that there are  "people who think what we've been doing
that last 1/40th of a second can go on  indefinitely.  They are considered
but they are stark raving mad."]
3. . At the Nobel Prize Centennial in 2001, 100 Nobel Laureates issued a
brief but dire
warning of the "profound dangers" facing the world, predicting that our
security depends on environmental and social reform.   They especially
warned of the devastating impacts of global climate change on 
those living close to the equator.
(Africa and Central America have had severe droughts in the last decade.
Perhaps severe drought is now reaching into the American Southwest.)
THE STATEMENT: "The most profound danger to world peace in the coming years
will stem not from the irrational acts of states or individuals but from the
legitimate demands of the world's dispossessed. Of these poor and
disenfranchised, the majority live a marginal existence in equatorial
climates. Global warming, not of their making but originating with the
wealthy few, will affect their ecologies most. Their situation will be
desperate and manifestly unjust..and cannot await the beneficence of the
. It is time to turn our backs on the unilateral search for security, in
which we seek to shelter behind walls. Instead, we must persist in the quest
for united action to counter both global warming and a weaponized world.
These twin goals will constitute vital components of stability as we move
toward the wider degree of social justice that alone gives hope of peace.
......we must learn to think in a new way. As never
before, the future of each depends on the good of all."

4. *(no mention in Gov. Napolitano's message below of global climate change
leading to drought as factor in these fires--
or of the 1000s of trees dying from bark beetles attacking drought-stressed
trees.  Arizona leaders are not out of snyc with Washington on this.  
 A recent New York Times
investigation reported that the George II White House deleted
sections from the Environmental Protection Agency report on the risks of
global climate change, including "the permanent disappearance of
Rocky Mountain meadows.")

-----Original Message-----
From: Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano [mailto:janetnews@xxxxxxx]
Sent: Friday, July 18, 2003 8:24 PM
To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;


Dear Friends,

The fire outbreaks around our state have kept us very busy for the past few
weeks.  On Tuesday, I declared a state of emergency in Navajo, Gila and
Apache counties, in response to the Kinishba fire that continues to burn on
White Mountain Apache land. That day I visited the evacuees of White River,
flew over the fire and received a briefing from fire managers. Though the
fire is not yet under control, we are working hand-in-hand with the
firefighters and residents of the White Mountain communities to ensure their
safety throughout this process.

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