Steyer Escalates Campaign to Keep Climate Deniers Out of Office
On the heels of its Science Denier Week last week, NextGen Climate founder and funder Tom Steyer has put another $15 million into its coffers to help elect climate- and science-friendly candidates in the midterm elections. And that was merely his contribution in September. The billionaire is on track to fulfill his promise to put $50 million into this year's elections, with $41 million donated so far this year. Other sources put in an additional $1.9 million.
NextGen will continue its campaign of trying to shame climate-denier candidates and officeholders into changing their stance through ads and promotions like Science Denier Week and its Stone Age Report, released last week, targeting the most egregious deniers. It singled out U.S. Senate candidates Cory Gardner (CO), Terri Lynn Land (MI), Joni Ernst (IA) and Scott Brown (NH), and Governors Rick Scott (FL) and Paul LePage (ME), who are up for reelection in tight races.
"Voters deserve to know which candidates are still living in the past, and which of our leaders are ready to preserve our nation’s health and prosperity for generations to come," says the Stone Age Report, a philosophy that underpins NextGen's spending.
Governor LePage, for instance, vetoed legislation to prepare the state's communities and businesses for the impacts of climate change and he has said he thinks it's all good.
"Everybody looks at the negative part of global warming, but with the ice melting, the northern pass has opened up," he said at a press conference last year. "The new sea traffic is going across the north, and so rather than Maine being at the end of the pipeline, we're at the beginning of the new pipeline." He also vetoed a bill in April to encourage the expansion of solar power that was passed in the legislature by a large bipartisan majority.
Iowa's Joni Ernst, the Republican running for an open Senate seat in Iowa, has a track record of saying off-the-wall things, and that includes on climate change. She recently said, "Yes, we do see climates change but I have not seen proven proof that it is entirely man-made. I think we do have cyclic changes in weather, and I think that’s been throughout the course of history." And she encouraged people to recycle.
But the winner of the competition for the 2014 Stone Age award was ... ta da! ... Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who is in a heated battle with Democratic challenger Charlie Crist to hang on to his job. In his case, it's less stupid statements than stupid actions, although he's dutifully parroted the "I'm not a scientist ..." line to evade admitting climate change is real. But more importantly, he's demonstrated a willingness to put polluting corporate interests that contributed to his campaign ahead of the state's threatened coastline with millions of people and home and trillions of dollars of assets at risk from sea level rise and hurricanes.
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By Katherine Kornei
Clear-cutting a forest is relatively easy—just pick a tree and start chopping. But there are benefits to more sophisticated forest management. One technique—which involves repeatedly harvesting smaller trees every 30 or so years but leaving an upper story of larger trees for longer periods (60, 90, or 120 years)—ensures a steady supply of both firewood and construction timber.
A Pattern in the Rings<p>The <a href="https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/coppice-standards-0" target="_blank">coppice-with-standards</a> management practice produces a two-story forest, said <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bernhard_Muigg" target="_blank">Bernhard Muigg</a>, a dendrochronologist at the University of Freiburg in Germany. "You have an upper story of single trees that are allowed to grow for several understory generations."</p><p>That arrangement imprints a characteristic tree ring pattern in a forest's upper story trees (the "standards"): thick rings indicative of heavy growth, which show up at regular intervals as the surrounding smaller trees are cut down. "The trees are growing faster," said Muigg. "You can really see it with your naked eye."</p><p>Muigg and his collaborators characterized that <a href="https://ltrr.arizona.edu/about/treerings" target="_blank">dendrochronological pattern</a> in 161 oak trees growing in central Germany, one of the few remaining sites in Europe with actively managed coppice-with-standards forests. They found up to nine cycles of heavy growth in the trees, the oldest of which was planted in 1761. The researchers then turned to a historical data set — more than 2,000 oak <a href="https://eos.org/articles/podcast-discovering-europes-history-through-its-timbers" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">timbers from buildings and archaeological sites</a> in Germany and France dating from between 300 and 2015 — to look for a similar pattern.</p>
A Gap of 500 Years<p>The team found wood with the characteristic coppice-with-standards tree ring pattern dating to as early as the 6th century. That was a surprise, Muigg and his colleagues concluded, because the first mention of this forest management practice in historical documents occurred only roughly 500 years later, in the 13th century.</p><p>It's probable that forest management practices were not well documented prior to the High Middle Ages (1000–1250), the researchers suggested. "Forests are mainly mentioned in the context of royal hunting interests or donations," said Muigg. Dendrochronological studies are particularly important because they can reveal information not captured by a sparse historical record, he added.</p><p>These results were <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-78933-8" target="_blank">published in December in <em>Scientific Reports</em></a>.</p><p>"It's nice to see the longevity and the history of coppice-with-standards," said <a href="https://www.teagasc.ie/contact/staff-directory/s/ian-short/" target="_blank">Ian Short</a>, a forestry researcher at Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority in Ireland, not involved in the research. This technique is valuable because it promotes conservation and habitat biodiversity, Short said. "In the next 10 or 20 years, I think we'll see more coppice-with-standards coming back into production."</p><p>In the future, Muigg and his collaborators hope to analyze a larger sample of historic timbers to trace how the coppice-with-standards practice spread throughout Europe. It will be interesting to understand where this technique originated and how it propagated, said Muigg, and there are plenty of old pieces of wood waiting to be analyzed. "There [are] tons of dendrochronological data."</p><p><em><a href="mailto:email@example.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Katherine Kornei</a> is a freelance science journalist covering Earth and space science. Her bylines frequently appear in Eos, Science, and The New York Times. Katherine holds a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles.</em></p><p><em>This story originally appeared in <a href="https://eos.org/articles/tree-rings-reveal-how-ancient-forests-were-managed" target="_blank">Eos</a></em> <em>and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.</em></p>
Earth's ice is melting 57 percent faster than in the 1990s and the world has lost more than 28 trillion tons of ice since 1994, research published Monday in The Cryosphere shows.
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Noreen Nunez lives in a middle-class neighborhood that rises up a hillside in Trinidad's Tunapuna-Piarco region.