Is carbon dioxide really the target? | Don Brunell

Environmental activists claim they want to reduce production of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. If so, they’re going about it in a very strange way.

Environmental activists claim they want to reduce production of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. If so, they’re going about it in a very strange way.

Take forest management, for example. Anti-forestry activists oppose salvaging dead and diseased trees, saying the forests should be left in their natural state. But that debris is volatile tinder for raging wildfires that pump an average of 67 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year, according to a 2013 report by the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC).

Salvage logging actually enhances forest health while producing building materials and jobs in the process.

For example, when the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens destroyed nearly 68,000 acres of the Weyerhaeuser Tree Farm, the company set about restoring the area. They salvaged useable downed trees, removing 600 truckloads of logs each day. By November of 1982, 850 million board feet of salvaged timber was milled into enough lumber to build 85,000 three-bedroom homes.

Today, Weyerhaeuser’s tree farm is a lush canopy of vigorously growing fir trees while the nearby publicly managed forests, left to reseed naturally, are recovering more slowly. As younger, growing trees absorb more CO2, the Weyerhaeuser forest is the better environmental model.

Another example: biofuels.

Despite their avowed support for recycling and alternative fuels, environmental groups have consistently blocked construction of biofuel boilers that recycle agricultural and wood waste into energy.

According to NCADAC, bioenergy from all sources could theoretically replace up to 30 percent of U.S. petroleum consumption. Yet, environmental activists block biofuel boilers at every turn.

The next example: hydropower.

Hydropower produces 75 percent of the electricity in Washington state — affordable, clean, renewable energy that powers millions of businesses, hospitals, factories and homes. Zero greenhouse gas emissions. Yet environmental groups are engaged in a long-term campaign to eliminate hydropower, citing the impact of dams on salmon. Some even want to tear out the dams and return the rivers to their natural state.

Taxpayers and electricity customers have invested billions of dollars to enhance fish survival. Those efforts are working.

The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife is predicting another record breaking salmon run on the Columbia and Snake rivers this year, the largest return of fall Chinook in nearly 40 years.

Despite this success, some environmental extremists continue to relentlessly pursue their goal of tearing out the dams. But without those dams, deadly flooding will once again ravage the region, and with irrigation halted, nearly two million acres of farmland in Eastern Washington will revert to desert.

Their vision is a future filled with brownouts, billions in flood losses and skyrocketing food prices. So far, the environmentalists have not explained how they will deal with those consequences.

In addition, some environmental groups are targeting water flows on the Columbia River, a major highway for barge traffic carrying hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of grain and other products to market. If the activists get their way, the Columbia will be impassable to barge traffic much of the year, bringing commerce to a halt.

One has to wonder if that is their ultimate goal.

Rather than reducing CO2, the one thing all these campaigns have in common is shutting down economic and human activity, regardless of its environmental impact. How else to explain opposing actions that create healthier forests and reduce polluting forest fires? How else to explain blocking energy production from biofuels? Or an agenda for the Columbia River that will virtually halt river commerce, gut renewable energy production, allow deadly floods to return or turn productive farmland back into desert?

It seems like their real target is us.

 

More in Business

Avoiding trouble while Tweeting | Don Brunell

Your social media can hurt you or help you when looking for a job.

Lampson beating odds for family-owned businesses | Don Brunell

According to The Family Firm Institute, only about 30 percent of family-owned businesses survive into the second generation and fewer than 12 percent are still viable into the third generation.

Columbia River treaty talks too vital to ignore | Don Brunell

The United States and China are currently renegotiating the Columbia River Treaty.

Bellevue company patent infringement win gives small investors hope | Don Brunell

Until recently, our courts have been little help to patent owners.

Podiatrist opens Enumclaw practice

Go see Dr. Bock at 853 Watson Street North, Suite 100.

American giving has surpassed $400 billion | Don Brunell

“Americans’ record-breaking charitable giving in 2017 demonstrates that even in divisive times our commitment to philanthropy is solid.”

Cementing radioactive wastes could save billions | Don Brunell

According to a recent article in the Tri-Cities Herald, the first phase of the demonstration project, grouting three gallons of waste held in Hanford’s underground tanks was successfully completed last December.

Mining contaminated waters to increase copper supplies | Don Brunell

With worldwide demand for copper soaring and there is new pressure to open new mines, expand existing ones, and add ore processing capacity — all of which have serious associated environmental challenges.

GE’s tumble from grace | Don Brunell

General Electric, once the world’s most valuable company, has been topped by Walgreens.

Vintage items, gifts and more at new Enumclaw shop

Featuring an eclectic mix of merchandise, partners Tori Ammons and Melissa Oglesbee… Continue reading

Jetsons cartoon robots now reality | Don Brunell

In April, the U.S. Labor Dept. reported a record high 844,000 unfilled positions in the hospitality industry — which is one out of eight jobs available today.

New shop a sweet spot in downtown Enumclaw

Cole St. now has a new fudge and bakery shop.