There was a gathering of climate experts this week in Helena, MT. The effects of global warming in Montana were described with more and greater wildfires being just one of the most obvious.

There has been a furious debate in recent years whether the increase in forest fires is due to bad forest practices, not enough logging, too much logging, the wrong kind of logging, etc. No doubt these questions are relevant, but trees in the Rocky Mountains are having to endure longer summers almost everywhere. Regardless of the size of the winter snowpack, the period of summer drying is longer and the warmer winters allow endemic tree killing insects to build to greater levels.

Seminar: Effects of warming are huge. AP. Billings Gazette article.

Related to this is an article on forest thinning in the Taylor Fork of the Gallatin River. This is immediately adjacent to the NW corner of Yellowstone NP. Article.

Added on Sept. 25. Public Doesn’t Understand Global Warming — By Dr. David Suzuki, David Suzuki Foundation. This is part of the problem in addition to deliberate efforts to confuse the public. I know that among my students it takes about a half hour lecture to explain the difference between the ozone hole and the the greenhouse effect. The average person doesn’t get a note-taking required explanation.

About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

2 Responses to Helena climate conference says warming changes in Pacific Northwest are already huge

  1. Alan Gregory says:

    The lack of visible concern on the part of Americans toward this very real threat to the planet’s well-being is astounding. From the Outer Banks of North Carolina to Laguna Madre in Texas and Miami-Dade and Mobile and San Diego and . . . It’s business as usual.

  2. The lack of concern doesn’t surprise me. It’s the kind of problem our social institutions don’t seem to be able to deal with.

    Of course, there are specific individuals too, like George Bush, who stand out, as well as others like the airline billionaire who gave $3-billion the other day to fight global warming.

    It is the classic and most dangerous example of the tragedy of the commons.


September 2006


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey