CO2 emissions could stop today and the beetles would keep eating their way through Western forests.
Minnesota Public Radio reports:
Trees, with their ability to store carbon, are an important buffer against climate change. So what’s happening to the forests of the American West is alarming, in the view of meteorologist Paul Huttner.
Huttner shared his concerns with Kerri Miller, who went hiking last weekend in Colorado and was disturbed by what she saw.
“I couldn’t believe how devastated the pines are in the park,” Miller said. “When we talked to the rangers about it, they told us it was the pine bark beetles … And they connect it to climate change.”
“There is no doubt about it,” Huttner replied. “Last summer I went out to the Black Hills and Yellowstone and the Tetons. I hadn’t been out there in about 18 years. I was floored.”
Huttner said he saw “entire mountainsides of dead tree stands out there. As much as 30 to 50 percent of the Black Hills is infested with the pine bark beetle. It is in fact very clearly linked to climate change.
If you think manmade global warming is facilitating pine bark beetle destruction of forests — wake up — there’s nothing you can do about climate change or CO2 emissions. Even the Obama administration projects that CO2 emissions will increase by 46% by 2040.
But all is not necessarily lost for those that care.
Rather than banging your heads against the stop-CO2-emissions wall, you should work to direct federal research away from useless global warming and clean energy research and into pine bark beetle solutions. That’s a much smaller and more achievable goal.