Global cooling? That would be good news for the forests

August 12, 2009

Climate change denialists (sorry, Mr. Watts – denialism is what it is) frequently argue that since the peak heat year of 1998, the planet has been cooling, and may be in a long-term trend to a much cooler planet.

Has anyone told the beetles?

Has anyone told the pine bark beetles (Dendroctonus ponderosae) that are devastating North American forests?

Colorado conifers affected by pine bark beetles (brown trees are dead) - image from Chad Crawford,  Homebrewed Christianity

Colorado conifers affected by pine bark beetles (brown trees are dead) - image from Chad Crawford, Homebrewed Christianity

I was interested to find this photo and this post at Homebrewed Christianity, by Chad Crawford.

But my trips to the mountains are always simultaneously joyful and mournful. The story I want to tell is about seeing the effects up close of the North American pine beetle outbreak. It’s devastating the Rocky Mountain forests in the U.S. and Canada and growing exponentially each year. The epidemic is occurring because our winters have not been cold enough to stop the beetles from multiplying. Bark beetles are good for the ecosystem, but not in this amount. The fall colors in our evergreen forests are telling us that global warming is no longer something our kids will face; it’s happening now. And it will accelerate if our forests disappear.

Mr. Watts, it’s not me you have to convince.  There are several millions of beetles in Colorado who must be persuaded the climate is not warming — and they’ll be a tough sell, since a colder climate means death to their future generations.

A greater challenge for you, Mr. Watts:  Not one of those beetles reads your blog.  How will you reach them?

Crawford went to Colorado and saw Fr. Thomas Berry.  Maybe we should buy a ticket to Colorado for Watts.


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