July 18 News: Senator Reid Said Climate Change Is Why ‘The West Is Burning’


(Credit: John Locher/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

(Credit: John Locher/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Senator Harry Reid, asked about intense wildfires in the American West, said that climate change is happening — “you can’t deny it.” [Las Vegas Review Journal]

As firefighters head home from Southern Nevada, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid on Wednesday blamed “climate change” for the intense blaze that consumed nearly 28,000 acres and drove hundreds of residents from their homes around Mount Charleston this month.

Reid said the government should be spending “a lot more” on fire prevention, echoing elected officials who say the Forest Service should move more aggressively to remove brush and undergrowth that turn small fires into huge ones.

“The West is burning,” the Nevada Democrat told reporters in a meeting. “I could be wrong, but I don’t think we’ve ever had a fire in the Spring Mountains, Charleston range like we just had.

“Why are we having them? Because we have climate change. Things are different. The forests are drier, the winters are shorter, and we have these terrible fires all over the West.”

“This is terribly concerning,” Reid said. Dealing with fire “is something we can’t do on the cheap.”

“We have climate change. It’s here. You can’t deny it,” Reid went on. “Why do you think we are having all these fires?”

Capitol Hill will see three hearings on climate policy and science today, focusing on small businesses, the imminence of the problem, and the social cost of carbon. [The Hill]

We are burning more coal than expected: the stockpiles of coal that power plants keep in store dropped below the monthly five-year average in April, which is the first time it’s happened since December 2011. [Today In Energy]

ExxonMobil has asked the Air Force to take another look at a proposal to lease land on Vandenberg Air Force Base to “slant drill” for offshore oil just off the base’s California coastline. [LA Times]

Senator John Barasso made clear that if Senators Shaheen and Portman bring their bipartisan energy efficiency bill to the Senate floor, he will try to attach amendments about the Keystone pipeline and other regulations (read: carbon regulations) to the bill. [The Hill]

Some California officials are considering treating recipes for fracking liquids as trade secrets, hiding them from the public’s knowledge. [LA Times]

At a House hearing yesterday, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell defended the prospect of nationwide rules on fracking contamination on federal lands managed by the Interior Department, while Republicans said that the states were doing a fine job of it right now. [Fuel Fix]

She also talked about how severe drought in the Western U.S. could lead to a record season for wildfires. [Bloomberg]

Keystone XL shouldn’t be the only worry of tar sands opponents — Enbridge is hoping to start construction in the coming weeks on a 600-mile-long pipeline that would carry tar sands from Illinois to Oklahoma. [Washington Post]

About 6,000 people had to evacuate their homes yesterday as massive wildfires burned near Palm Springs, California. [LA Times]

A major ongoing heatwave in the U.K. this week has been responsible for as many as 760 deaths. [The Independent]

Outdoor air pollution in India claims the lives of about 109,000 adults and 7,500 children per year, according to the World Bank. [Times of India]

A new study has found that more than 80 percent of Malaysian Borneo’s forests have been heavily impacted by logging, illustrating the “crisis in tropical forest ecosystems worldwide.” [ScienceDaily]

The CIA is funding a $630,000 study that will examine how big of a player geoengineering could be in the fight against climate change. [Mother Jones]

As the EPA building was named after him, former President Bill Clinton said addressing climate change was the “only way to have a sustainable economy” in the 21st century. [The Hill]

When conservatives fight to repeal clean energy standards in red states, they discover it’s not just liberal environmentalists that support renewable energy — it’s often conservatives. [Wall Street Journal]

The White House is taking steps to double energy productivity (getting twice the energy per amount of fuel) by 2030 through energy efficiency promotion in home mortgages and tools for businesses. [The Hill]

A look at the most efficient solar panels on the market. [Solar Love]

12 Responses to July 18 News: Senator Reid Said Climate Change Is Why ‘The West Is Burning’

  1. Ominous Clouds Overhead says:

    That fire smoked up the part of Utah I’m in pretty badly. I was about ready to take my trailer and head out.

    I have a nice camp trailer and 4X4 rig and can load up my pets anytime I want, having divested myself of housing (I rent). I can get everyhting I own in my rig.

    Sadly, I think the nomadic types will be the ones who can deal with all this better in the long run, those w/o houses and hard assets and who can just leave.

  2. mp79 says:

    I think these fires have more to do with the Mountain Pine Beetle

  3. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    And the recent explosion in Mountain Pine Beetle population is, in large part, due to climate change.

  4. Ominous Clouds Overhead says:

    Treu. I had 25 acres in Colorado that was devastated right before my eyes by the beetles. I did a lot of research while there and the beetles are incontrovertably connected to climate change. This was 15 years ago and we knew that then.

  5. BobbyL says:

    Anyone sorry they missed the Enbridge “open house” in Misssouri on Tuesday to push their proposed 600-mile tar sands oil pipeline from Illinois to Oklahoma called the Flanagan South pipeline? Enbridge gave out “an array of free products, from tote bags and tape measures to cookies and key rings.” The company is seeking an expedited permit review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Wonder what President Obama has to say about that. See the Washington Post link in the blog for more on this.

  6. Editors says:

    Dennis Tomlinson,
    We recently published an article on the same subject. Pine beetle population and it’s relation with climate change, which is causing horrendous fires in Colorado:

  7. Merrelyn Emery says:

    SE Oz has been having a heat wave. Melbourne recorded its highest July maximum yesterday, over 23C. Here we’ve just had the hottest July night ever. But its yo-yo time, our Friday minimum is going to be our maximum on Sunday, ME

  8. prokaryotes says:

    From the UK heat wave news article linked above:

    American belief in climate change hots up

    Americans’ belief in the existence of climate change is more closely linked to the thermometer than previously thought, a survey reveals. Following a winter of record snowfall in 2010, the US public’s acceptance of climate change fell to a low of 52 per cent. By March this year it had staged something of a recovery, rising to 65 per cent. In the July heat, climate change acceptance is now at 70 per cent, according to the poll by the University of Texas.

  9. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    God is a mountain pine beetle? That explains a good deal.

  10. Colorado Bob says:

    ME –

    “Remarkably it’s happening in what is the typically the coldest week of the year,” said David Jones, head of climate analysis at the Bureau of Meteorology.

    The temperature, if taken in the last week of the month, would be closer to 24.5 or 25 degrees, he said.

    The Melbourne peak “is another unprecedented high temperature event,” Dr Jones said, adding to a national pattern of hot spells every six weeks or so since November last year…………..
    Nationally, Australia’s mean temperatures are running almost 2 degrees warmer than average, placing the month on course to be one of the hottest Julys on record, he said. ……Several factors are at play in the heatwave wave, Dr Jones said: “The Australian continent is surrounded by record high ocean temperatures, we know global temperatures are running at near-record highs, and when we see a lack of rain and northerly winds across Australia, we’re getting these spikes in temperatures.”

  11. kermit says:

    The summer is longer (last frost to first frost) and hotter. The Mountain Pine Beetle now has time for two generations per year and is reproducing faster. With longer hotter summers the trees need more water. With hotter air the water is less likely to condense as rain (when it does, there’s more of it). Trees are weakened, die from the beetles, and sit there as fuel. With less green vegetation and hotter temps wild fires are more likely, and more destructive.

  12. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Thanks mate, and NB, all those temps are in Celsius, ME