Reason #293 To Hate The Mountain Pine Beetle: They Now Get Lucky Twice As Often As I Do

Mountain pine beetle has Jim Inhofe as its wingmanThe mountain pine beetle, or bark beetle, is a nasty little bugger. Basically, it’ll bore a hole into a pine tree, cut off its circulation of water up and carbs down and eventually kill the tree. Depending on the health of the tree, it can take up to 2000 beetles, but usually less, to bring down a pine whose only defense is pitching them out with resin/sap.

The pine beetle has always been a pain in the ass but now, scientists have discovered that its destructive spread has grown exponentially because they’re getting two mating sessions per summer versus the normal one. How did they work it?

According to Jeffry Mitton from the University of Colorado, the pine beetles did nothing special to double their ability to get bootie… it’s our fault. We warmed up the planet nicely so pine beetles emerge in May instead of August and the pre-maturely parched pine trees are less able to fight them off. Then, after gorging on pine trees, they do what any bug would do and start schtupping. Thanks to the extended summer, pine beetles now get busy and lay their 60 eggs twice each summer leading to an exponential increase in tree chewing larvae and forest destruction. We’re kind of a pest-pimp. The mountain pine beetle is now destroying 10 times as much acreage as they have in any other recorded decade.

You can read more about the management techniques used for controlling the spread of the mountain pine beetles but it sure sucks knowing that we’re helping this bastard of a bug get more tail. I wonder, if in some Men In Black kind of way, one of these horny pests bored a hole into the head of, and is now controlling Jim Inhofe. That’s the only way I could understand why he would write his irresponsible book claiming climate change is a hoax. [NY Times]

[vimeo width=”360″ height=”203″][/vimeo]


Surging Seas: When Sea Level Rises, How Bad Will It Suck Where You Live?

Surging Seas from Climate Central: Tracking Sea Level ChangesClimate Central recently released Surging Seas so people can track the effects of storm surge + sea level rise in their area and hopefully it’ll strike a chord. We’ve been told for 25+ years that the polar ice caps are melting but today, you’ll still hear waterfront homeowners swear that they’re not seeing it. Unfortunately, when sea level does noticeably rise, it’ll probably be too late to reverse it. Might already be. [Climate Central]

Related article: Weighing the Risk of Sea-Level Rise


Jim Inhofe Writes A Book. “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future”

A over-tanned Senator Jim InhofeFortunately, I don’t read much and in the case of the new book from Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, I probably don’t need to start because his book title says it all. If there was a Climate Denier Hall of Fame, Mr. Inhofe would be elected first ballot and that is why I sure hope he’ll live long enough (b. 1934) to write a follow up apology book. But I’m not holding my breath. Because today, even as the nation of Tuvalu goes underwater and global average temperatures continue to rise, he still holds onto his views, points to a freak snowstorm and will never admit that our actions contribute to global warming.

I guess that is what gets me about the whole climate debate – so much time is wasted trying to change minds that can only go one way. I want Mr. Inhofe to be right but the reality is that our climate is changing and we’re the only ones that might be able to slow it down. My recommendation: ignore the Inhofes of the world, do what you can to consume less resources and most of all, spend less time convincing. Time will tell but some [narrow] minds will never change.

Related article: Tornado record? A month’s worth of tornadoes strike in 1 day


So, Is The Planet Getting Hotter Or Colder?

The NY Times Green Blog is one of my favorite sites for information about climate change, renewable energy and everything related. The release time of these two articles, “A Very Warm January” and “On Our Radar: The Danube Ices Over,” probably could’ve been better. Climate skeptics may use these articles as proof that there isn’t any man-made climate change going on; the weather difference equals out. But the reality is that these two articles highlight the extreme weather events that will be a part of our changing climate and that we should expect more of this in the future.
NY Times Green Blog for February 9th, 2012


Newt Gingrich: All Giddy About His Moon Colony Idea. Saving Planet Earth… Not As Much.

Newt Gingrich on the moon.Let the crazy begin! Newt Gingrich, stumping for votes near Cape Canaveral Florida yesterday, let his space-reliant audience know that he’d like to establish a colony on the moon sometime during his first and second term as US President. Early in his career, he even introduced the “Northwest Ordinance for space” which would allow the moon to qualify for statehood once it reached 13,000 residents. Here’s Newt’s answer as to why he’d like to develop the moon:

I think there are a lot of different things you’d want to learn: How to live in low gravity. How to create certain capabilities that lead beyond the moon. How to develop assets that the moon has. How to do manufacturing in low-gravity environments.

Personally, I wish we’d get things right on this planet before we look to colonize others. So Newt, could you start by renouncing your renouncement of the pro-environment commercial you made with Nancy Pelosi? You and Nancy seemed to be in such agreement on the effects of climate change that I thought you were going to kiss at the end of the video. And for your sequel to 2007’s “A Contract With Earth” that’s coming out after the election? Maybe you should re-add the chapter by Christian climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe that attributes man-made forces as a cause for global warming. The geeky scientist in you knows it’s going on but the politician refuses to let you come out of the closet.

And if you do all of these things, I promise I will consider your somewhat batshit-crazy idea to colonize the moon if you become our President. Otherwise, I’m supporting the idea put forth by Mr. Show with Bob and David 15+ years before you on what we need to do with the moon. [Washington Post][youtube width=”425″ height=”319″][/youtube]


You Know The Roof You Had Your Wife Paint White Last Summer? Well, She Needs To Paint It Black Again.

Cool Roofs NYCPainting your buildings’ roof white just seemed like such a no-brainer way to reduce global warming with its reflecting and not-heat absorbing properties. New York City bought into this amazingly simple idea and its city run NYC Cool Roofs painted over 2 million square feet of rooftops white while the non-profit White Roof Project painted its share of roofs. But then the hammer dropped and a study on the heat island effect concluded that white roofs may promote cooling for each individually painted building but globally, they are causing more warming. Here’s how the white roofs don’t work:

  1. Rooftops painted white.
  2. Sunlight is reflected and surface temperatures fall.
  3. As temps fall, less water is evaporated to form clouds.
  4. Fewer clouds means higher surface temperatures.

So the cooling and energy savings would be local but any gains from the white roof would be negated by the overall increase in temperatures due to the white roofs. I have a weird feeling there’s going to be another study soon that negates the negate and we’ll be back to painting our roofs white again. Or maybe grey? [Discover Magazine]

Read the full study (PDF): Effects of Urban Surfaces and White Roofs on Global and Regional Climate.