When powerful economic interests are threatened, scientists take an exceedingly cautious approach to their work. This is seen in research on toxics where big chemical companies bully and intimidate scientists. And we see it in climate science where an army of bullies and deniers await each science report. One outcome of hostile politics is that the climate models are consistently set too low in their predictions of warming and warming’s impact. Even with Trump in control of the Executive branch, multiple federal agencies just released a hair-raising assessment of the climate crisis.
Oregon will be impacted by a warmer and drier climate in three ways:
1. Coastal flooding and beach erosion will increase as the ocean continues to warm and intense rainfall events occur more Unless action isn’t taken soon, tens of thousands of beach homes will eventually be lost.
2. The line for dry forest ecology will move north of the Siskiyou region and increase the threat of forest Coos and Douglas counties will experience much greater fire risk. The potential for extreme summer drought conditions in the northern wet forests will increase and with that increase the potential for massive forest fires will go up.
3. Migration into Oregon may dramatically increase as people flee prolonged drought conditions in the US Southwest. Many people in California will flee chronic fire and smoke conditions and resettle north. Given urban home prices in Oregon, many will settle in our rural areas. And Oregon’s rural county health and social service systems are already stressed from Wall Street Forestry’s tax avoidance.
Increased coastal beach erosion and flooding due to climate change is here today. Ashland’s main industry, tourism, is suffering from summer smoke conditions. I’m sure you get the picture.
The scientists tell us we have twelve years to turn the corner on the climate crisis. Otherwise catastrophic changes will be baked into the Earth’s oceans and atmosphere.
I won’t live long enough to see the worst impacts of the climate crisis, but I think about my two grandchildren and the world they will inherit. I know Oregon’s forests can play a major role in sequestering atmospheric carbon. Are not we duty bound to leave a livable planet to future generations? Clean water, towering forests, the spring song of migrating birds and the sight of swimming salmon are all the benefits of forest-based climate solutions.
Please join me and hundreds of other activists in leaving a green future to our children and grandchildren. A better world is possible!