The Rod & Gun Club

Hunters & Anglers Defendng Our Future - A Conservation Hawks Blog


Climate Change

2014 CH Photo Contest

Conservation Hawks is running our CH Photo Contest from February 27 to March 21, 2014. Click HERE for the rules & regulations and HERE to go right to the contest. We'd love to see your photos!

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2013 4th Warmest Year Ever

2013 was the 4th warmest year ever recorded, according to the scientists at NOAA. In related news, 1988, which at one time was the warmest year ever, has, in the space of 25 years, been pushed out of the Top 20.

Our planet continues to grow warmer, while the threat to our hunting & angling, and to our children and grandchildren, grows ever larger. If we want to hold on to our outdoor heritage and our sporting traditions, then we have to address climate change while there's still time.

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The Climate Chamberlains

On September 30th, 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain addressed England with the following words:

"My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time... Go home and get a nice quiet sleep."

In spite of Germany's obvious aggression and Hitler's ongoing preparations for World War II, Prime Minister Chamberlain saw exactly what he wanted to see - peace with Germany, peace with honor.

As we move forward into a new year, America's hunters & anglers need to recognize that the Neville Chamberlains of our world - our climate deniers - are pointing us toward a cliff. Our entire future depends on addressing climate change while there's still time to do so.

It's obvious to anyone who's paying attention that global warming is becoming a huge problem. It's also possible, according to a number of prominent scientists, that it will be much, much worse than anything we can imagine. The only prudent course of action - the only one - is to stand up for our hunting & fishing, and for our children and grandchildren, by addressing climate change immediately.

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Are We Screwed?

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A hunter read a new climate study on our CH Facebook page last week and left the following comment: “Conclusion: too late, you're screwed.” So what are the facts? Do we still have a shot at coming out the other side in one piece?

According to the latest science, it looks like America will indeed warm substantially over the next 30 to 50 years. That warming, along with the resultant changes to weather & precipitation patterns, will have negative impacts on our hunting & fishing. That’s pretty much a given at this point.

At the same time, though, we are not yet locked in to the kind of catastrophic warming that means game over for hunters and anglers.

Here’s what you need to understand. The next 3 to 5 years are crucial. If the United States takes a leadership role and convinces (or forces) the rest of the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we can avoid the worst climate impacts. On the other hand, if we choose business-as-usual, and if we’re still having this same conversation in 8 or 10 years, then yes, we are in serious trouble.

Scientists have shared a fair amount of bad news recently. As one headline warned, “Hottest September On Record, Fastest Pacific Warming In 10,000 Years, Warmest Arctic In 120,000 Years.” CO2 levels are now at a record high. Researchers say that landscapes all over the world could experience huge temperature shifts by 2047.

So will all this information inspire us to fight for our hunting and fishing, and for our kids and our grandkids? Or will we resign ourselves to a dismal future?

That’s easy. We’re going to fight. We’ll fight for the places we hunt & fish, and for our sporting heritage, and for future generations of Americans. We don’t shrink from a challenge; we don’t throw in the towel just because the odds aren’t in our favor.

No, we’re not screwed. Not as long as we’re willing to stand up for ourselves, and for our kids and grandkids.

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October 28th

As sportsmen, we tend to have a pretty good feel for normal weather patterns. If it's rainy when it should be snowy, or if it's 20 degrees warmer or colder than average, that anomaly tends to grab our attention. Sometimes, though, we hear about something so unusual that all we can do is shake our heads. Here's a great example. There was an active wildfire - the Mississippi wildfire - burning on October 28th. So what's so strange about that?

It was about 70 miles from Fairbanks, Alaska.

Five years ago, we wouldn't have believed it was possible. There's no way there would be an active wildfire in the Alaskan interior at the end of October. Now it's a reality. That's the kind of thing we're seeing more and more often as our world warms.
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Moose Madness

The other day on Facebook, we published a short post on moose mortality, climate change, and the impacts on moose hunting opportunities. In response, a commenter asked: “Is it climate? Or is it predator? I can't understand how we can do anything about it being warmer. I feel this isn't our dept. as humans. EXPLAIN:”

So let’s take a shot. There are a couple of things we know:

1) Our scientists say that the world is getting warmer.
2) They also say that humans are largely responsible, mostly from the 30+ billion tons of CO2 we add to the atmosphere each year by burning fossil fuels.
3) Moose are experiencing increased mortality across much of their southern range, even in places like New Hampshire where they don’t have natural predators.
4) Moose further north seem to be doing just fine.
5) Warmer temperatures are helping to expose moose in the lower 48 to an increased number of parasites and pathogens.

While the science isn’t 100% conclusive yet, it’s extremely likely that warmer temperatures are contributing to higher moose mortality in places like New Hampshire, Minnesota and Montana.

So what can we do about it being warmer? Well, we can’t roll back the clock, pull billions and billions of tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere, and cool the earth back to the average temperatures from the 20th century. What we can do, though, is work hard to ensure that future temperatures don’t climb to levels that will disrupt landscapes, along with fish & game, all over America.

The bad news is that we’re currently on track to dump enough greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere to destroy most, if not all, of our hunting & fishing. The good news is that we have the technology and the know-how to produce clean, sustainable energy and lower our greenhouse gas output dramatically. So now it’s up to us. Will we stick with fossil fuels and sacrifice our hunting & fishing - not to mention our kids and grandkids - or will we roll up our sleeves and get to work on low and no-carbon energy sources?

It truly is our choice.

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Scientific Certainty

Here at Conservation Hawks, we base our message on the best available science. And since we focus on climate change, it's reasonable to ask how certain our scientists are about our changing climate. So how certain are they? Scientists are as certain that our greenhouse gasses are warming the planet as they are that cigarettes cause cancer. Which, while not unexpected, is bad news for hunters and anglers.

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EPA Proposes Carbon Limits

Earlier today, the EPA proposed carbon limits for new power plants. While we'd rather have the U.S. Congress tackle climate change head on, we have no choice but to support the EPA's efforts to lower our carbon emissions. If Congress isn't going to do its job, then it falls to the Obama Administration to protect our outdoor traditions and sporting heritage - not to mention our kids & grandkids. Kudos to the EPA for stepping up to the plate.

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New NWF Fisheries Report

The National Wildlife Federation released a new report this morning detailing the impacts of climate change on freshwater fisheries. You can access the summary here or read the entire report here. The NWF deserves kudos for their work on climate change and fisheries. As sportsmen, we need to stand up and demand that Congress protects our streams, rivers and lakes from the looming threat of climate change.

Here are a couple of key sections from the summary.

Changing climate poses new risks for our treasured freshwater fish resources. Warming waters mean lost habitat for cold-water species, the likely encroachment of species typically found in warmer areas, and exacerbation of existing stressors such as habitat loss, pollution, invasive species, and disease. More extreme weather events—especially longer and more intense droughts, heat waves, wildfires, and floods mean increased likelihood of fish mortality. Shorter winters with less snow and ice cover mean shifts in stream flow and water availability through the spring and summer months, as well as lost opportunities for ice fishing.

We need to act swiftly to protect our fishing heritage. We must cut the carbon pollution that currently is on track to cause significant warming by mid-century. At the same time, we must take steps to safeguard fish and their habitats from the climate changes that we can no longer avoid.

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Climate Nexus Video

Conservation Hawks chair Todd Tanner was featured in a recent Climate Nexus climate change video. Listen to Todd talk about our hunting, our angling and our responsibility to future generations.

EPA Conference Video from Climate Nexus on Vimeo.


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U.S. Flash Flooding

ABC News reports that more than half the United States is at risk of flash flooding. (The other half remains bone-dry, with drought conditions and wildfires.) If we're going to give our kids a shot at normal weather patterns and a decent future, we need to address climate change as soon as possible. We can't fiddle while Rome burns (or floods).


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August Town Hall Meetings

It’s time for sportsmen to step up. We’re looking for people who are willing to attend local Town Hall meetings this August and ask their senator or congressman exactly what they’re doing to protect our hunting & angling from climate change.

Just as importantly, we want video recordings of both the sportsman’s question and the politician’s answer. If you send us a short video, we’ll do our best to share it far & wide.

Let’s put a little pressure on politicians on both sides of the aisle to address climate change. Hunters and anglers have to show that we understand the threat, and that we take climate change seriously. Are you willing to stand up for your hunting & fishing? Because here’s your chance.

Click here to learn more.

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Immersion

Conservation Hawks just released its first-ever angling & climate change video PSA. It's called "Immersion." Take a look and let us know what you think.



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Will Conservatives Listen?

A fellow who doesn’t believe in climate change dropped us a note yesterday and asked why conservatives groups would ever listen to our message. Here’s part of our response, edited just a bit for clarity and brevity:

We don't believe climate should be a partisan issue, so we don't treat it like one.  We actually try to take the politics out of climate change.  Now that can be a bit of a problem for folks who see everything through a partisan lens, but for most people - including most conservatives - it's a breath of fresh air.  

As you're probably aware, most sportsmen are conservative.  Well, we're sportsmen - everyone associated with CH is a hunter, an angler, or both - and we embrace conservative values.  We love to hunt & fish, we really want to pass along our outdoor heritage to our kids & grandkids, we respect our sporting traditions, we're patriotic Americans - in short, we pass the smell test.  We're not a bunch of radicals trying to misrepresent ourselves.  We're the real deal.

Second, we actually take the time to look at the science.  Not just what's in the headlines, but what the scientists are saying.  And we've found that climate change is an absolutely huge threat to our hunting & fishing.  For example, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, which is the most respected scientific organization in the world, calls climate change a "settled fact" and states that climate change is occurring, that people are causing it, and that it's putting our future at risk.  NOAA agrees.  NASA agrees.  So does every single major scientific body in the world.  And 97% of climate scientists agree, a fact confirmed by at least four different studies.  

Even prominent skeptics like Berkeley's Richard Muller have publicly stated that they were mistaken, and that human emissions are warming the planet.  There are plenty of small details that we don't know about climate change, but we do know that it's occurring, that people are causing it by dumping billions of tons of CO2 into the air every year, and that it's a serious threat to our future.

Not only are an overwhelming number of our top scientists telling us that climate is a serious problem, but average folks are starting to see climate change right out the front door.  Here in Montana, we’ve seen the following:

Our winter snows come later.
Our winter temperatures aren't as cold as they used to be.  
Our snowpack melts earlier, which means runoff comes earlier.  
Our rivers run lower and warmer than they used to, with lower dissolved oxygen levels.
The growing season starts earlier and runs later.
So does the wildfire season.  We're seeing fires last into mid-October, which has never happened before.  
Summer temperatures are hotter, and our summers are dryer.
Our forests are dying from beetle kill - without the cold winters, beetle populations are exploding - and drought.

In short, we're seeing changes all around us, and none of the changes are making our lives easier or better.  And all these changes are directly related to climate change.  

So that's why conservatives will listen to us.  We speak their language, we share their values, we're not partisan, we're completely science-based, and we are confirming the things that they're seeing with their own eyes. We hope that answers your question.

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Obama's Big Climate Speech

Yesterday, President Obama stood in front of an audience at Georgetown University, and in front of the American people, and pledged to tackle climate change. He directed the EPA to limit CO2 emissions from existing power plants. He took on the deniers who exhibit “a fundamental lack of faith in American business and American ingenuity.” He made the case that we don’t have to choose between the health of our children or the health of our economy. He called for doubling wind and solar power by 2020, and asked Congress to cut tax credits for Big Oil. He pushed for more energy conservation and increased energy efficiency. Perhaps most importantly, he pledged that America will lead international efforts to combat climate change.

At the end of the day, President Obama’s speech was a good start. But that’s all it was - a start. As sportsmen, we need to steer Congress and American businesses toward a low-carbon future. We also need to accept the president’s invitation and work with him to address climate change. “What we need in this fight,” he said, “are citizens who will stand up and speak up and compel us to do what this moment demands.” That’s our charge now - our most important task. And if we rise to the moment, if we stand strong and resolute before a threat greater than any we’ve faced before, we’ll leave future generations a world where pheasants still flush and elk still bugle and trout still rise - a world worthy of our children and our grandchildren.

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The President's New Climate Plan

Given a choice, most hunters and anglers would rather live in an America where our friends and neighbors honor our outdoor traditions and sporting heritage, where science and common sense inform our policy decisions, and where partisan politics take a back seat to patriotism and love of country. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

So when Congress abdicates its responsibility and refuses to address the single biggest threat we face - radical climate change - we’re left to choose between no action on climate and a less-than-perfect hodgepodge of government mandates and federal regulations.

While sportsmen are always leery of government overreach, and while we’d typically rather see free-market solutions that rely on America’s entrepreneurial spirt, we find ourselves left with no choice. We have to address climate change, and we have to do it now, while there’s still time to limit the impacts and protect our hunting & fishing - not to mention our kids and grandkids. With that in mind, I’m asking America’s hunters and anglers - all 37 million strong - to do the right thing, set partisan politics aside, and support President Obama’s new climate plan.

Is the president’s solution perfect? No, it’s not. But it’s the best deal we’re going to get, and it may just be the shot in the arm that wakes up Congress and gets folks from both sides of the political aisle to sit down at the negotiating table. And even if that doesn’t happen, even if half the U.S. House of Representatives and a goodly number of our Senators continue to spout anti-science rhetoric, at least the president’s plan will begin to lower our emissions and give our children and grandchildren a shot at a decent future and a healthy natural world.

As a lifelong hunter and angler, and as a patriotic American, and as someone who cares deeply about sharing the outdoors with my 8 year old son, I support President Obama’s new climate plan. I hope you will, too.

Todd Tanner
Chairman of the Board
Conservation Hawks

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A Conservative Carbon Tax

The case for a 'conservative' carbon tax: Bob Inglis and Eli Lehrer ask, "Isn't it better to tax emissions rather than income?" Here's a little taste:

If conservatives don't begin to engage on the important issue of climate change, we'll cede the debate. The result will be a larger, more intrusive government that hurts business and job creation.

(Click here for the entire piece.)

In a more perfect world, Congress would address climate change with a simple, fair and effective mechanism for dramatically lowering our carbon emissions. While we believe that comprehensive climate & energy legislation is the best path forward, we support executive action in the interim. If Congress isn't able, or willing, to do its job, then the White House has to step up. There's too much at stake for the president to sit on the sidelines while Congress dithers.

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Wildfires

"A seemingly never-ending wildfire season has become the new norm in the West. The changing climate has unleashed record-breaking heat and drought in the Rockies"

The National Wildlife Federation's Judith Kohler has written an excellent post about the impacts of climate-influenced wildfires on sportsmen, fish and wildlife. Take a look.

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Telling The Truth

Kudos to climate scientists Michael Oppenheimer and Kevin Trenberth for laying out the facts in the Washington Post:

"Man-made heat-trapping gases are warming our planet and leading to increases in extreme weather events. Droughts are becoming longer and deeper in many areas. The risk of wildfires is increasing. The year 2012, the hottest on record for the United States, illustrated this risk with severe, widespread drought accompanied by extensive wildfires."

"Increases in heat waves and record high temperatures; record lows in Arctic sea ice; more severe rainstorms, droughts and wildfires; and coastal communities threatened by rising seas all offer a preview of the new normal in a warmer world."

The science is clear, the threat from our changing climate is growing, and the alarm bells are indeed ringing. It's time for hunters and anglers to stand up for a healthy natural world, and for our kids & grandkids.

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Crops & Climate

Here's a new video on crops and climate change. Given agriculture's overall importance - both as our primary source of food, and to support deer, waterfowl and upland birds - we really need to stay on top of the science.



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Weather Whiplash

Does weather whiplash have you down? Are the crazy shifts between hot & cold, and wet & dry, leaving you confused? Here's what scientists think might be happening with all our recent weather extremes.



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The Silver Bullet?

Outside Magazine just featured Conservation Hawks in a piece titled, "Do Hunters Hold The Silver Bullet For Climate Change Consensus?"

Take a look - we think you'll like the story.

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Heading For The Extremes

A new study suggests that wet areas will get wetter, dry areas will get dryer and moderate rainfall will become less common. We never thought we'd see the day when climate change would mimic U.S. politics, but with political partisanship increasing and moderation decreasing, it looks as if politics and climate change are following the exact same trajectory.

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New ABC Climate Video

ABC has released a short but extremely well done climate video. Take a look and see what you think.


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CH Climate PSA: End Of The Season

Our first ever climate video/ PSA! Take a look and let us know what you think.




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Outdoor News Radio

Conservation Hawks Chair Todd Tanner was on the Outdoor News radio program recently with host Rob Drieslein, discussing climate change and its impacts on hunters and anglers. Here's the link. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Seriously? It's Not Getting Warmer?

If you’ve ever talked to friends, family members or co-workers about climate change - or if you listen to A.M. talk radio or watch Fox News - you may have heard the claim that “There hasn’t been any global warming since 1998.”

Let’s shine a little light on that assertion. According to NASA, 12 of the 13 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000. We may not be rocket scientists ourselves, but when NASA tell us that 12 of our 13 hottest years have happened since the planet supposedly “stopped warming,” it’s not too hard to figure out who’s right and who’s wrong.

So what does this mean for sportsmen? Well, depending on where you hunt or fish, a warming planet can mean:

*Stronger storms.
*More extreme wildfires.
*Deeper droughts.
*Warmer water temperatures.
*Changing waterfowl migration patterns.
*Reduced access to deer and elk.
*Snowpack that arrives later and leaves earlier.
*Lower stream oxygen levels.
*Reduced nesting success for upland birds & waterfowl.
*More pine beetles.
*More dying forests.
*More mosquitoes and ticks.
*Increased disease and pathogens.
*More heat stress on hunting dogs.
*More coastal erosion & loss of wetlands.
*More severe flooding.
*More invasive species.
*A loss of core wildlife habitat.
*Shifting home ranges for both fish & wildlife.
*Earlier spring runoff.
*Lower nutritional values for vegetation.
*Impacts of ocean acidification on saltwater and anadromous fish species.
*Coral reef die-off.
*Reduced fish & game populations.

There’s a reason we’re focused on climate change and its impacts on hunters and anglers, and it’s not because we enjoy reading scientific reports or talking about CO2 levels. At the end of the day, everyone who loves to hunt and fish has a choice to make. Do we work to overcome the biggest threat that sportsmen have ever faced, or do we turn our backs on the problem, and on our kids & grandkids?

As far as we're concerned, that's a pretty easy choice to make.



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New Climate Bill In Senate

Senators Boxer and Sanders introduced a new climate bill in the Senate yesterday. What do you think of a bill that taxes carbon at the source and then rebates 60% of the money directly to the American public? (Sounds like the other 40% would go toward green energy development.) Are they on the right track? And if a bill like this went through, would you spend your check on hunting & fishing gear, or something else?

Here's the link.

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Climate Impacts Could Change Politics

Dustin Bleizeffer had an excellent piece in WyoFile yesterday, talking about the role that hunters and anglers can play in changing the politics of climate change.

"What can cause a man to shift his political thinking, however, is watching a fishing hole he’s enjoyed his whole life wither to ruin because of consistently lower flows and higher temperatures. And when elk remain in the highlands because the snow is late again, and they don’t come down until hunting season is over."

Highly recommended.

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Doubling Down On Stupid

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So on one hand we're trying to cut our greenhouse gas emissions and on the other we're wasting - flaring - so much natural gas in North Dakota that you can see it burning from space? Hal Herring lances this festering boil of insanity over at Field & Stream.

Oh, and here's a question that deserves an answer. On those occasions when gas is flared on public land, are the energy companies paying royalties for burning our valuable resources? That gas belongs to the American public. We'd hope that anyone who siphons off public energy reserves without paying royalties, and who, in the process, makes climate change even worse, ends up sitting in the county jail.

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Commanded To Our Care

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The other day, we shared President Obama’s climate message:

“We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity.  We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.  Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.”

What we neglected, though, was the President’s focus on the outdoors, and on our moral imperative to act as stewards and caretakers:

“The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult.  But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it.  We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise.  That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks.  That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God.”

The winds have shifted. The President of the United States stood in front of the nation and promised that America will respond to the threat of climate change. Then he made protecting our woods and waters - “our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks” - a centerpiece of his moral argument.

As hunters and anglers, we see the changes to our longterm weather patterns and we understand the importance of defending our centuries-old sporting legacy from the radical threat looming on the horizon. Now, for the first time in years, it seems as if we have a true ally in the White House.

It is time to raise our voices, to demand that our Senators and Representatives fight for us; that they defend the places we hunt and fish; that they help us pass on a healthy world to our children, and to our children’s children. The President is right. America has to lead on climate change. It's the only way we will preserve this great country, commanded to our care by God.

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The President's Inaugural Address

Earlier today, President Obama pledged “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.  Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.”

So why should we, as sportsmen, and in many cases as conservative sportsmen, care what the president says about climate change?

It’s simple. Climate change is the one overarching threat to our hunting and angling. It is poised to slam the places we fish, and the places we hunt. If left unchecked, it will place a huge, and possibly unbearable, burden on our children and grandchildren. So when the President of the United States stands before the nation during his inaugural address and makes climate change one of his major priorities, our response can be summed up in one short and heart-felt word.

Amen.




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Trout & Climate Change

Outdoor writer and Conservation Hawks chair Todd Tanner recently published a climate change piece in American Angler magazine. The story, which was only available in the print edition, is now up on the web. Special thanks to Phil Monahan, who did an exceptional job editing the piece.

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Report Documents Climate Impacts On Wildlife

Bob Marshall, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, has an outstanding new climate story at Field & Stream. Bob looks at the new Federal Climate Report and points out that "hunters and anglers were among the first segments of our society to ring alarm bells, citing field observations to back up their concerns and their belief in the science spelling out this environmental disaster."

Highly recommended.

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Going, Going, Gone …

If you only watch one short web video this week, watch (and share) this extraordinary new release from Peter Sinclair. He recaps the year just past and gets right to the heart of the climate issue. Highly recommended.



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It's A Small World

According to scientists, the last time we had 6 degree C warming (approximately 55 million years ago), most animals adapted by "dwarfism" - shrinking in size. Give the fact that current projections are for 5-7 degree C warming over the next 90 or 100 years, will we soon have hobbit-sized hunters chasing pony-sized elk?

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2012 In The Rearview Mirror

Meteorologist Paul Douglas looks at the year just past.



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Climate Change Gets Real

Astrophysicist Adam Frank offers his thoughts on why 2012 will go down in history as the year Americans began to accept climate change.



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A Hunter's Perspective

Garrit Voggesser just penned an excellent piece on pheasant hunting and climate change. Here's a taste:

"While some people continue to question the reality of climate change, as a hunter I’ve experienced it first-hand. It’s time for us to wake up because I want to get up at dawn and see roosters flying into the cornfields to feed. I want my son and daughter to experience what I did as a kid – the opportunity and privilege to walk the fields and have their hearts rush as a pheasant flushes, the dogs bark, and the shotgun roars."

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A Military Perspective

A former high-ranking U.S. military officer has some surprising things to say about renewable energy, climate change, the Keystone pipeline and politics. Watch the video.
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Monday Open Thread 12/17

Our apologies for the lack of recent posting. The tragedy in Newtown, CT has thrown us, along with the entire nation, off our game. We should return to a more normal posting schedule later this week.

In the meantime, it's our weekly open thread. If you have any thoughts you'd like to share, here's your chance.

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Conservation Solutions - 17

CH Tips - Tis' The Season To Save Energy

According to RecycleWorks, household waste increases by 25% between Thanksgiving and New Years.  That’s an additional 1 million tons of landfill waste a week.  On top of that, energy-use dramatically increases as well; resulting in higher greenhouse gas emissions. In this special edition of tips, you'll learn how to give back to our sporting heritage and make this a meaningful Season of Giving.

Tip 1 - Avoiding the Greenhouse Gas Grinch:  Purchasing LED Holiday Lights is a terrific way to conserve this Christmas.  LED holiday lights last 25 times longer and use 90% less energy than incandescent holiday lights.  Solar-powered holiday lights are also available, but needless to say, they’re for outdoor use only.  If you’re not yet ready to shed your old strands, using timers will cut back on unnecessary energy waste during the late-night or daylight hours.

Tip 2 -  Cooking with lower CO2 emissions:  When cooking or baking, try to minimize peeking inside the oven.  By opening the oven door, the oven temperature drops 25 degrees which will then force your oven to use more energy to return to the desired temperature.  Plus, with a home packed full of guests and that turkey or ham cooking away, you can turn down the thermostat and take advantage of that extra holiday warmth.

Tip 3 - Waste-less Winter Wonderland:  According to Green Living Ideas, 50% of the paper consumed in the United States each year is used to wrap and decorate consumer products.  8,000 tons of wrapping paper are expected to be used this Christmas, which is the equivalent of using 50,000 trees. By reusing wrapping paper or purchasing re-useable gift wrap and gift bags, you can reduce the amount of trash generated this holiday season - saving yourself (and the environment) from a few lumps of coal.

Tip 4 - Don't regret, recharge: The EPA states that 40% of battery sales take place during the holidays.  To help prevent extra toxic waste from entering our landfills and groundwater, try upgrading to rechargeable batteries.  These batteries are fully recyclable and have a lighter carbon footprint than disposables.  For your high-power capacity needs, look no further than the highly-acclaimed Sanyo eneloop XX batteries.  

By making conservation a top-priority this holiday season, we can celebrate and feel good, knowing that our actions will help protect our sporting heritage and our natural resources. 

For more surprising info on holiday waste, visit:  RecycleWorks's Holiday Waste page.

P.S.  Need some last minute climate-friendly gift ideas?  Smart power strips, solar-powered chargers, energy-star rated products, Federal Duck Stamps and donations to conservation organizations are perfect examples of gifts that keep on giving. For the carbon-conscious shopper on a low-budget, consider buying second-hand or used gifts.  And as always, buy local whenever possible.

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Monday Open Thread 12/10

It's our weekly open thread. What's on your mind today?

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Scientists Stand Tall

An exceptional new story in Slate looks at scientists who are risking their professional reputations, their tenure, even the possibility of arrest, to draw attention to climate change and the danger it poses to us all.

Why would they take such serious risks with their careers? According to Jason Box, an arctic researcher who’s studied the Greenland ice sheet for the last 20 years, and who's been arrested for protesting at the White House, it’s pretty simple: “I have a 14-month-old daughter.”

Highly recommended.

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Human Fingerprints

If you’ve ever discussed climate change with friends, family or colleagues, you’ve probably been asked how we know that people are causing climate change. After all, the earth’s climate has changed a number of times in the past, and it’s always been a natural occurrence. Well, there are a number of different answers - there’s lots of different evidence - but a new study provides clear proof.

The study shows that the lowest part of our atmosphere is warming while the highest part is actually cooling. This is “exactly what you’d expect if greenhouse gases were trapping heat near the surface rather than letting it percolate upward.”

So when someone asks you how we know that people are responsible for global warming, tell them that satellite measurements show heat is being trapped near the surface, while our upper atmosphere - the stratosphere - is cooling. If the planet was warming naturally because of increased energy output from the sun, or because of a slight shift in our orbit, the stratosphere would be warming too, not cooling off.

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Hurricanes, Climate & Melting Ice

ABC News on Climate Change, Hurricanes and Melting Arctic Ice. Take a look.


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Monday Open Thread 12/3

What's on your mind today?

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A Dangerous Myth

In an otherwise excellent column on climate change - he actually suggests “President Obama should devote his next State of the Union address to climate change” - the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson repeats one of our most dangerous and damaging climate myths. “Developed nations will, of course, find ways to deal with living in a warmer world.”

We need to be clear. The storms, droughts and wildfires we will experience if we allow climate change to proceed unchecked will eventually overwhelm our resiliency. No amount of money, or economic power, can protect America from an ever-warming world. The only thing that will defend our outdoor heritage, our country, and our children, is if we do the hard work to lower emissions dramatically. We need to tackle that challenge now, while there’s still time.

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There Is Hope ...

This may just be the wildest video we've seen all year. Check it out.



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What Happens In The Arctic Doesn't Stay In The Arctic

It looks like the arctic methane feedback loop is already kicking in. According to researchers, “There is compelling evidence, not just that permafrost will thaw but that it is already rapidly thawing.” What does that mean for Conservation Hawks? The bottom line is that our work is even more important now than when we started, while our window of opportunity is far shorter. It’s time to kick things up a notch. Call your Senators. Call your Rep. Demand they take action on climate change immediately.

“'I think it's easy for people to feel that the Arctic is just a faraway place that will never have any direct effect on their life. The last time a majority of permafrost carbon was thawed and lost to the atmosphere, temperatures increased by 6 degrees Celsius. That's a different world.”

''Too often climate change is depicted as a story of drowning polar bears and Third World countries. Human-caused climate change has the potential to change our way of life. Mix in the potent feedbacks from the permafrost system and it becomes clear that we need to act now.'' - Ben Abbott, researcher at the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks

For more information, visit the story at The Brisbane Times.

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Tuesday Open Thread 11/27

We're a day late and a dollar short, but we'd still love to hear your comments …

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Royalty & Suicide

It’s hard to strike the right balance on climate change. On one hand, global warming is a huge threat to our hunting & fishing, and to our kids and grandkids. On the other, it’s important not to come across as strident or shrill. We don’t always find the right balance here at Conservation Hawks, but we sure try hard. With that in mind, we’d like to direct your attention to Britain’s Prince Charles, who just made some rather strong statements about climate change:

“Humanity and the Earth will soon begin to suffer some very grim consequences.”

“It’s therefore an act of suicide on a grand scale to ride so roughshod over those checks and balances and flout nature’s necessary limits as blatantly as we do.”

“The longer we go on ignoring what is already happening and denying what will happen in the future, the more profoundly we condemn our grandchildren and their children to an unbearably toxic and unstable existence. We simply have to turn the tide.”


Our question for you. Regardless of whether or not you think his comments are accurate, is Prince Charles helping the climate discussion, or hurting it?

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World Bank - A 4C World

As much as we hate to share the information below, we need to look clearly at what we're facing. We are currently on track for a 4 degree C (or higher) global temperature rise this century. So what does that mean? First, our hunting will be decimated. Second, our fishing will be decimated. Third, our kids & grandkids will be screwed. Fourth ... well, the World Bank just released a detailed report on the many negative impacts of a 4 degree rise. According to the executive summary, the 4°C scenarios "are devastating."

Now none of this means we're toast. We can still limit our fossil fuel emissions and keep future temperature increases to much lower levels. But we have to act, and act now. Business as usual won't get it done.

From the report's Executive Summary:

This report provides a snapshot of recent scientific literature and new analyses of likely impacts and risks that would be associated with a 4° Celsius warming within this century. It is a rigorous attempt to outline a range of risks, focusing on developing countries and especially the poor. A 4°C world would be one of unprecedented heat waves, severe drought, and major floods in many regions, with serious impacts on ecosystems and associated services. But with action, a 4°C world can be avoided and we can likely hold warming below 2°C.

´┐╝Without further commitments and action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the world is likely to warm by more than 3°C above the preindustrial climate. Even with the current mitigation commitments and pledges fully implemented, there is roughly a 20 percent likelihood of exceeding 4°C by 2100. If they are not met, a warming of 4°C could occur as early as the 2060s. Such a warming level and associated sea-level rise of 0.5 to 1 meter, or more, by 2100 would not be the end point: a further warming to levels over 6°C, with several meters of sea-level rise, would likely occur over the following centuries.

Thus, while the global community has committed itself to holding warming below 2°C to prevent “dangerous” climate change, and Small Island Developing states (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have identified global warming of 1.5°C as warming above which there would be serious threats to their own development and, in some cases, survival, the sum total of current policies—in place and pledged—will very likely lead to warming far in excess of these levels. Indeed, present emission trends put the world plausibly on a path toward 4°C warming within the century.

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Monday Open Thread 11/19

A penny for your thoughts …

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Obama On Climate Change

President Obama took a question, and then a follow up question, about climate change yesterday during his news conference. Here's the full transcript. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.

Q: Thank you, Mr. President. In his endorsement of you a few weeks ago, Mayor Bloomberg said he was motivated by the belief that you would do more to confront the threat of climate change than your opponent. Tomorrow you’re going up to New York City, where you’re going to, I assume, see people who are still suffering the effects of Hurricane Sandy, which many people say is further evidence of how a warming globe is changing our weather. What specifically do you plan to do in a second term to tackle the issue of climate change? And do you think the political will exists in Washington to pass legislation that could include some kind of a tax on carbon?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, as you know, Mark (sp), we can’t attribute any particular weather event to climate change. What we do know is the temperature around the globe is increasing faster than was predicted even 10 years ago. We do know that the Arctic ice cap is melting faster than was predicted even five years ago. We do know that there have been extraordinarily — there have been an extraordinarily large number of severe weather events here in North America, but also around the globe.

And I am a firm believer that climate change is real, that it is impacted by human behavior and carbon emissions. And as a consequence, I think we’ve got an obligation to future generations to do something about it.
Now, in my first term, we doubled fuel efficiency standards on cars and trucks. That will have an impact. That will a lot of carbon out of the atmosphere. We doubled the production of clean energy, which promises to reduce the utilization of fossil fuels for power generation. And we continue to invest in potential breakthrough technologies that could further remove carbon from our atmosphere.

But we haven’t done as much as we need to. So what I’m going to be doing over the next several weeks, next several months, is having a conversation, a wide-ranging conversation with scientists, engineers and elected officials to find out what can — what more can we do to make short-term progress in reducing carbons, and then working through an education process that I think is necessary, a discussion, the conversation across the country about, you know, what realistically can we do long term to make sure that this is not something we’re passing on to future generations that’s going to be very expensive and very painful to deal with.

I don’t know what — what either Democrats or Republicans are prepared to do at this point, because, you know, this is one of those issues that’s not just a partisan issue. I also think there’s — there are regional differences. There’s no doubt that for us to take on climate change in a serious way would involve making some tough political choices, and you know, understandably, I think the American people right now have been so focused and will continue to be focused on our economy and jobs and growth that, you know, if the message is somehow we’re going to ignore jobs and growth simply to address climate change, I don’t think anybody’s going to go for that.

I won’t go for that.

If, on the other hand, we can shape an agenda that says we can create jobs, advance growth and make a serious dent in climate change and be an international leader, I think that’s something that the American people would support.

So you know, you can expect that you’ll hear more from me in the coming months and years about how we can shape an agenda that garners bipartisan support and helps move this — moves this agenda forward.


Q: It sounds like you’re saying, though — (off mic) — probably still short of a consensus on some kind of — (off mic).

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I — that I’m pretty certain of. And look, we’re — we’re still trying to debate whether we can just make sure that middle-class families don’t get a tax hike. Let’s see if we can resolve that. That should be easy. This one’s hard. But it’s important because, you know, one of the things that we don’t always factor in are the costs involved in these natural disasters. We’d — we just put them off as — as something that’s unconnected to our behavior right now, and I think what, based on the evidence, we’re seeing is — is that what we do now is going to have an impact and a cost down the road if — if — if we don’t do something about it.


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The Heart Of The Issue

The IEA says we need to leave 2/3 of all proven fossil fuel reserves in the ground to avoid catastrophic warming. So now we have a line in the sand. If we're going to defend our outdoor heritage and pass along a healthy natural world to our kids & grandkids, we have to convince the world's most profitable and powerful companies to leave their major source of wealth buried deep in the ground. That's the crux of it. Either we keep all that coal and oil where it is, or we lose our way of life. It's one or the other - we can't stay with the energy status quo for the next few decades and still hold on to our hunting & fishing.

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Monday Open Thread 11/12

It's Monday! What's on your mind today?

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Tax & Save?

Holy cow, Batman! The Washington Post is calling for a Carbon Tax!

We have not endorsed a specific proposal to reduce our carbon emissions and we probably won't in the near future. At the same time, it's big news that the Post would suggest a carbon tax as a way of cutting our fossil fuel use and raising federal revenues. We're heartened that one of the most important newspapers in the country sees the potential for addressing climate change and paying down our debt at the same time.

Here's the beginning of the Post's Op/Ed:

EARLY WEDNESDAY, delivering his victory speech in Chicago, President Obama elevated an issue that had hardly come up during the campaign. “We want our children to live in an America,” he said, “that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”

Later that day, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters that climate change is an important issue and that he wants to “address it reasonably” — particularly following big storms in the Northeast that have highlighted rising sea levels and other dangers associated with global warming.

House Speaker John R. Boehner (R-Ohio), meanwhile, spoke about cooperating with Democrats on urgently needed budget reform.

Now if there were just some policy that would reduce carbon emissions and raise federal ­revenue . . . .

A tax on carbon, of course, is that policy, and lawmakers and the president should be discussing it. The idea is to put a simple price on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases — some dollar amount per ton of CO² — that steadily increases at a pre-set rate.

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A Sample Letter

We wanted to share a sample letter for the contest we announced yesterday. You can use this as a template or write up something in your own words - whatever you prefer.


Dear Representative ______________,

If climate change only impacted butterflies and tree frogs, I probably wouldn’t care much about the subject. But when a warming planet creates extreme storms, droughts, heat waves and wildfires, I pay attention. When our economy suffers, I pay attention. When food prices go up, I pay attention. When my hunting & fishing are threatened, I pay attention. When my family is at risk, I pay attention.

As my Congressman, I expect that you will do everything you possibly can to tackle climate change and safeguard my family, my time afield, and the American economy. Rest assured, I will be following your efforts closely.

Regards,

John Q. Public

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Take Home An Orvis Sling Pack

It’s our job to help educate you about climate change. Then, once you understand how a warming world will impact our hunting & fishing (and our American way of life), we want you to share your knowledge and your viewpoint with politicians and the media. So here’s a little encouragement to do just that.

When you write a letter asking the powers-that-be to address climate change, post it on our CH Facebook page and you’ll be eligible to win an Orvis digital camo Safe Passage Sling Pack. You can write a letter (or send an e-mail) to President Obama, to the editor of your local paper, to your Senators or Congressman, to a hunting or fishing magazine ... anything along those lines will work just fine. Simply post your text for everyone to read and the letter or e-mail that gets the most “Likes” by December 1 will win the Orvis pack.

You can even tell your friends, family and co-workers to “Like” your letter. Just make sure they also “Like” our Conservation Hawks Facebook page and their votes will count toward your total. If you have any questions, let us know. And yes, you can enter as many times as you like.

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Monday Open Thread 11/5

Any thoughts you'd like to share as we prepare to choose our next president?

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Quote of the Day: November 4

"The world is warming. Warming intensifies storms. Warming raises sea levels. You tell me what we can expect."

Carl Safina, in his CNN Op/ED titled "Sandy Said What Presidential Candidates Were Afraid To Say."

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Reality Triumphs

A few days ago Hurricane Sandy tore up the East Coast, smashing communities and stealing lives. Before Sandy, a massive drought enveloped two thirds of the United States and made life incredibly hard for farmers & ranchers, and for wildlife. And let’s not forget the huge wildfires that burned up homes and habitat, or the unprecedented record high temperatures that we’ve experienced month after month after month. American politicians have done their best to ignore climate change in 2012. It hasn’t worked. At the end of the day, reality always wins.

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Eugene Robinson On Hurricane Sandy

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Eugene Robinson in yesterday's Washington Post:

We’ve had two once-in-a-century storms within a decade. Hurricane Sandy seems likely to become the second-costliest storm in U.S. history, behind Hurricane Katrina. Lower Manhattan is struggling to recover from an unprecedented flood, and the New Jersey coast is smashed beyond recognition.

Will we finally get the message?

How, at this point, can anyone deny the scientific consensus about climate change? The traditional dodge — that no single weather event can definitively be attributed to global warming — doesn’t work anymore. If something looks, walks and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. Especially if the waterfowl in question is floating through your living room.

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NBC Draws The Connection

NBC News takes a clear look at climate change and its impact on extreme weather.



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Pointing Fingers And Shouting "Climate Change!"

When the biggest storm to ever hit the East Coast puts an exclamation point on the most extreme weather year in U.S. history - a year that has featured record high temperatures, massive storms, extraordinary drought and devastating wildfires - it’s human nature to point fingers and say “I told you so.”

Here at Conservation Hawks, we’re not going down that road. Today isn’t the day for anger and acrimony. Instead, we hope that hunters and anglers all over the country will join us in offering up prayers for all those who suffered through the hurricane, and for those who will continue to feel its impact in the future. Millions of Americans are still without power, the storm has done a huge amount of damage, and people who live in the East will be sorting through the wreckage and trying to salvage as much as possible for days and weeks to come. Before we turn our attention back to our changing climate, and to the threat it poses - and to the people who are doing everything they can to keep us from addressing the problem - let’s support our fellow Americans in their hour of need.

The American Red Cross is working to help the millions of people impacted by the storm. You can donate to the Red Cross HERE.

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Monday Open Thread 10/29 - Hurricane Sandy Edition

Hurricane Sandy is pummeling the East Coast right now. Our thoughts & prayers are with everyone in the path of the storm. If you have something you'd like to add, or if you're in the storm and you want to share your thoughts, photos or videos, please use the comment section.

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Corn Belt Heads North

The Pittsburg Post-Gazette reports that the Corn Belt has tightened a couple of notches because of climate change. Let's hope that deer and pheasant populations don't take a hit from our changing agricultural mix.

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Climate Of Doubt: Frontline

Frontline's Climate of Doubt is a "must see." You can watch the entire program at this link or a 20 minute segment right here.

Watch Climate of Doubt on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

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The Dark Side

One of the great things about Conservation Hawks is that we get a lot of really good advice from folks who’d like to see us succeed. Most of it is helpful; almost all of it is well-intentioned and heartfelt. If there’s one suggestion we hear on a regular basis, it’s that we should steer a little further away from the “dark side” of climate change and give folks something positive to focus on and work toward. In fact, one sportsman called this morning and suggested we take the time to list 5 positive things that Conservation Hawks is working to achieve.

There’s no doubt that the threats we face are grim, and that our efforts to keep sportsmen informed, educated and focused on climate change can sometimes push people away. It’s no fun at all to dwell on the gathering storm clouds on the horizon. In fact, worrying about climate can create a huge mental and emotional weight; one that’s increasingly hard to bear.

At the same time, though, we are always working toward something positive. We’re working to hold on to our fishing and hunting. We want to share it all - those early mornings on the duck marsh, those quiet evenings on the river, the excitement of the flush, the majesty of a bull elk, the jewel-like beauty of a brook trout or a sunfish, a solitary whitetail etched against a darkening horizon - with the people we care about. We want to pass on the outdoors that we know and love to our kids and grandkids. So when we ask you to pay attention to climate change, and to do your part on a personal level, it’s so we can hold on to our hunting & fishing and leave future generations a natural world rich in beauty and wonder. That’s something we can all feel good about.

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A Failure To Debate

As you’ve probably heard, last night’s debate skipped climate change. While that’s a problem on a number of different levels, the most immediate issue is that Americans will vote in two weeks without ever having heard their presidential candidates debate their plans to handle the climate crisis. That makes it easy for Obama and Romney to obscure their positions, and hard for voters to make the best possible choice when they cast their ballots. In other words, it’s a major loss for the American public, and for sportsmen.

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Monday Open Thread 10/22

It's another Monday Open Thread here at the Rod & Gun Club blog. What's on your mind today?

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A Ted Williams Home Run

Ted Williams - the legendary conservation writer, not the legendary baseball player - knocks it out of the park with his new column in Fly Rod & Reel. You'll want to take a look - Williams cuts right to the heart of the climate issue for anglers. Here's a little taste:

It grieves me to report that my fellow Republicans frequently dismiss alarm about global warming as liberal dogma. In fact, denial is close to being a plank in the GOP platform. In June 2011, Mitt Romney informed America that he believed “the world is getting warmer” and that “humans contribute to that.” But, after being scolded by party Pooh-Bahs, he announced in October that “we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet.”

It also grieves me to report that denier ranks are well populated by my fellow sportsmen. As a group, sportsmen tend to be conservative; and they are generally ill served by their media, which, more often than not, tells them what they want to hear rather than what they need to know.

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A New Yale Climate Poll

According to a new Yale poll, 70% of Americans believe that global warming is real, while only 12% say it isn’t. In addition, 57% of Americans see climate change as a growing threat to people in the United States. And despite these numbers, both Obama and Romney continue to ignore the threat. That’s not only unbelievable, it’s indefensible.

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Last Night's Debate

After watching last night’s presidential debate, where the candidates answered questions on every major subject except climate change - and where both men extolled the virtues of oil, gas & coal - it is obvious that our political system is broken. As hunters and anglers, we really haven’t asked for much. We simply want to protect our hunting & fishing while we pass on a healthy natural world to our kids and grandkids. But apparently that’s too much to ask right now.

Since climate change is threatening our way of life, you’d think that both President Obama and former Governor Romney would feel the need to address it. Yet instead of explaining how their energy plans will help solve the problem, both men ignored the single largest threat to our future. As Chris Hayes has pointed out, discussing energy without talking about climate is like discussing tobacco without talking about cancer. It simply doesn’t make sense.

So now we have a choice. We can turn our backs on a broken political system and leave future generations of Americans to their fate, or we can fight like hell to restore a little sanity to American politics. Here at Conservation Hawks, we've decided to opt for sanity. We hope you’ll join us.

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Yet Another High Temperature Record

It was a September to remember. Why? Because September 2012 tied the record for the warmest September ever.

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Monday Open Thread 10/15

It's Monday morning. What's on your mind today?

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Winter: Not What It Used To Be

Winters are changing in New England. This editorial in the Boston Globe explains why.

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NAS Videos

Looking for great climate videos that explain what’s happening to our weather patterns, and why? Videos you can share with friends, relatives and especially climate skeptics? Look no further. The NAS - or more specifically, The Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate of the National Research Council and the National Academy of Sciences - has released an exceptional 7 part video series that’s perfect for those of us without a degree in chemistry or physics. The videos are short - generally 2 to 5 minutes - and very informative. Take a look. We think you’ll be impressed.



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Burn Notice

If it wasn’t for climate change, 2012‘s wildfire season - the worst on record - would be just another unusual historical footnote. But the fact that we still have major wildfires burning a third of the way through October is like a warning light flashing on a car’s dashboard. It’s telling us that something is wrong, and that we need to pay attention. It’s October 9th, and Minnesota, Colorado, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon still have wildfires burning. We can sit on our hands in the hope that we won’t ever have another year like 2012, or we can raise some hell and let our politicians know that that we have to tackle climate change.

You know where we stand. Let’s raise a little hell.

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Monday Open Thread 10/8

What's on your mind on this beautiful October morning?

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Amen

There are an awful lot of Americans who still associate global warming with godless, nature-worshipping, communist hippie radicals. Fortunately, people of faith are stepping up and showing us that all Americans - conservative and liberal, Democrats and Republicans - can work together to address climate change while there's still time.

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Gross Negligence

America’s sportsmen were the big losers in last night’s presidential debate. When neither candidate mentioned climate change, it made the gravest threat to hunters and anglers - indeed, to all Americans - seem like a second tier issue. We need Romney and Obama to address climate change, not hunker down on the sidelines and ignore the issue.

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Tonight's Debate

With the first presidential debate scheduled for tonight, we'd like to suggest that Jim Lehrer ask President Obama and former Governor Romney the following questions:

Is climate change a clear and present danger to our way of life, and to America’s 37 million hunters & anglers?

If so, what are you going to do about it? If not, why are you comfortable ignoring the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, which has stated: “A strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems.”


If you were the moderator, what questions would you have for the candidates?

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Seeing The Forest

It’s not always easy to see the connection between “climate change” and the problems plaguing the U.S. in 2012. The extreme heat we’ve seen this year is obviously tied to a warming planet. That’s a no brainer. But our scientists have also linked climate change to drought, forest fires, diminished mountain snowpacks, warmer waters, lower water oxygen levels, disease outbreaks, sea level rise, severe storms, ocean acidification and dying forests. So when we share a story on drought, we’re drawing attention to a major impact of climate change. When we focus on the outbreak of extreme wildfires, we’re connecting climate change to those fires. When we highlight millions of acres of beetle-killed forests or unprecedented fish kills, we’re doing so because climate change is in large part responsible.

Our climate is changing. The world is getting warmer. When we share stories on extreme heat or drought or storms, it’s so you can understand how climate change is impacting our hunting & fishing, and so you can see the absolute necessity of putting pressure on our politicians. If we don’t begin reducing our fossil fuel emissions, we’re going to lose most of our fish & wildlife habitat and we will pass on a diminished planet to our kids and grandkids. We simply can’t let that happen.

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Monday Open Thread 10/1

October is here, and that means many of us will be hunting in the near future. If you're a hunter, where are you going to chase birds or big game this year? And if you'd rather be fishing, do you have plans for the last 3 months of 2012?

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Let Them Eat Cake

The ongoing drought is so bad, and feed prices are so high, that farmers and ranchers are feeding their cattle "cookies, gummy worms, sprinkles, marshmallows, fruit loops" and other assorted sweets. Where does that leave our wildlife? Are they hoping we're going to walk by with a couple of candy bars and a handful of peanuts to help them get through the winter? We know that a changing climate makes extreme droughts far more likely. So when are hunters and anglers going to hold America's politicians accountable for their serial negligence?

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35 Major Fires

We're only a couple days away from October 1 and 35 major wildfires are still burning across the West, disrupting lives and sending out huge amounts of smoke. If your Senators and Representatives are campaigning nearby, attend their events and ask them how they're going to protect your hunting and fishing from climate change. We need to raise these issues before the election.

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New Report

There's a new report out that looks at hunter/ angler concerns about climate change. The Star Tribune has the story.

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Dollars & Nonsense

The U.S. Government "all but ignores" the economic costs of climate change in its economic models.

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Up In The Arctic

Here's an excellent new Yale/ Peter Sinclair video on arctic sea ice.



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Monday Open Thread 9/24

A penny for your thoughts …

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"T" Is For ...

File this one under "The Unanticipated Consequences of Climate Change." The same 2012 drought that has been slamming fish & wildlife populations across the country is forcing a Texas city “to consider a direct reuse of wastewater as drinking water.” Considering what goes into our drains and toilets, let’s hope that the filtration systems in Texas are state-of-the-art.

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Going For The Record

According to the Christian Science Monitor, 2012 is likely to set a record as our hottest year ever. Here in western Montana, we're still choking on thick, acrid smoke three weeks after most fire seasons are over. Fish and wildlife - and hunters & anglers - have been hammered all over the country by drought, extreme heat, wildfire and intense storms. This, unfortunately, is what climate change looks like.

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Monday Open Thread 9/17

We're down in Colorado this morning, getting ready to chase some fish, but it's still a regular open thread. What's on your mind today?

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It's Been A Rough Year For Deer

Drought conditions are having a serious impact on deer in some areas of the country. CNN has the story. Here's an excerpt:

In a three-mile stretch of the Kaskaskia River -- a tributary of the Mississippi River about 80 miles southeast of Springfield, Illinois -- a group of people found 26 dead deer, according to local resident Karen Forcum, who reported these findings to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network.

Many of the deer were tested by animal control officers and found to have a hemorrhagic fever -- likely brought on by disease-carrying gnats that thrive in drought conditions, Forcum said. They ended up dying at water sources, she added, in their attempts to cool their fevers, albeit to no avail. Similar deer deaths have been reported in Nebraska near the Lower Platte River, around a lake in Delaware, and elsewhere.

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Really? A Corn Fungus?

A nasty, drought-loving fungus is flourishing on this year's corn crop. We'll keep our eye on this story and let you know if it looks like the fungus will impact deer and upland birds.

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A Climate Change Music Video?

A brand new climate change music video, featuring Bill Nye and Isaac Asimov, along with Richard Alley and David Attenborough, just came out. Take a look and let us know what you think. Is this an effective way to communicate about climate change?



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Monday Open Thread 9/10

What's on your mind today?

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Questioning Authority

As we all know, 2012 has been a bizarre year. We’ve seen unprecedented heat waves, extreme drought, massive wildfires and deadly storms - derechos - that most of us have never experienced before. Unfortunately, more and more scientists are telling us that these disruptive events are tied to a changing climate. Here in the Rockies, millions of acres of forest are dead or dying, the smoke from the summer’s wildfires still lingers, and once again, the experts point to a changing climate.

We have two questions about climate change, one for President Obama and one for Governor Romney.

President Obama, you recently told the nation “My plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet - because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to our children’s future.” Yet at the same time, you’ve spent very little political capital pushing serious climate & energy legislation. If you are reelected, how will you convince a divided and partisan congress that they have to tackle climate change? And if you’re not successful, will you turn your back on the issue once more and leave America vulnerable to a serious threat?

Governor Romney, if the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the most respected scientific organization in the world, is correct, then climate change is already happening, humans are in large part responsible, and the places we hunt and fish are at serious risk. Do you believe that man-made climate change is a clear danger to the United States? If so, what will you do to protect our fisheries and our wildlife habitat, and our kids & grandkids, from future storms, wildfires, drought and sea level rise? And if not, why are you comfortable dismissing a threat that many of our top scientists (and military experts) have repeatedly warned us about?

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Chasing Ice

If you have a second, take a look at the trailer for Chasing Ice. It's visually stunning, and it shows how climate change is changing the world around us.



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Falling Short

We’d like to take a second and respond to President Obama and former Governor Romney’s recent statements on climate change for ScienceDebate.org. We’ll start with President Obama.

We applaud President Obama for asserting that “Climate change is one of the biggest issues of this generation” and for raising fuel efficiency standards and proposing carbon pollution limits for power plants. At the same time, we’re puzzled that the Administration has gone radio silent on “one of the biggest issues of this generation.” If climate change is truly a huge problem - and we believe it is - why is Obama ignoring it on the campaign trail? Why isn’t he drawing attention to the threat and using it to define his presidency? We would feel far better about President Obama’s leadership if his actions matched his (infrequent) rhetoric on climate change.

We also applaud Governor Romney for stating “the world is getting warmer, that human activity contributes to that warming, and that policymakers should therefore consider the risk of negative consequences.” He is right. However, the Governor does us all a disservice when he says “there remains a lack of scientific consensus on the issue.” That’s simply not true.

At the end of the day, both President Obama and Governor Romney are focused on continued oil, gas and coal production when they should be doing everything possible to wean us off fossil fuels and promote clean, renewable energy. While President Obama seems more aware of climate science, and more willing to reduce emissions and move toward renewable forms of energy, neither man has shown an inclination to lay out the real nature of the threat for the American public. Both should follow in the footsteps of Iowa State Senator Robb Hogg, who recently said “If you and your family enjoy hunting and fishing, you should be concerned about rising sea levels and the planet’s health.”

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Obama & Romney On Climate Change

ScienceDebate.org, working with Scientific American magazine, recently asked both President Obama and former Governor Romney for their views on climate change. Both presidential candidates responded, and though the ScienceDebate.org website is currently unable to handle the heavy traffic, the organization just e-mailed us both the question and the answers. Here they are, unedited:

2. Climate Change. The Earth’s climate is changing and there is concern about the potentially adverse effects of these changes on life on the planet. What is your position on cap-and-trade, carbon taxes, and other policies proposed to address global climate change—and what steps can we take to improve our ability to tackle challenges like climate change that cross national boundaries?

Barack Obama:
Climate change is the one of the biggest issues of this generation, and we have to meet this challenge by driving smart policies that lead to greater growth in clean energy generation and result in a range of economic and social benefits. Since taking office I have established historic standards limiting greenhouse gas emissions from our vehicles for the first time in history. My administration has made unprecedented investments in clean energy, proposed the first-ever carbon pollution limits for new fossil-fuel-fired power plants and reduced carbon emissions within the Federal Government. Since I took office, the U.S. is importing an average of 3 million fewer barrels of oil every day, and our dependence on foreign oil is at a 20-year low. We are also showing international leadership on climate change, reaching historic agreements to set emission limits in unison with all major developed and developing nations. There is still more to be done to address this global problem. I will continue efforts to reduce our dependence on oil and lower our greenhouse gas emissions while creating an economy built to last.


Mitt Romney:
I am not a scientist myself, but my best assessment of the data is that the world is getting warmer, that human activity contributes to that warming, and that policymakers should therefore consider the risk of negative consequences. However, there remains a lack of scientific consensus on the issue — on the extent of the warming, the extent of the human contribution, and the severity of the risk — and I believe we must support continued debate and investigation within the scientific community.

Ultimately, the science is an input to the public policy decision; it does not dictate a particular policy response. President Obama has taken the view that if global warming is occurring, the American response must be to slash carbon dioxide emissions by imposing enormous costs on the U.S. economy. First he tried a massive cap-and-trade bill that would have devastated U.S. industry. When that approach was rejected by Congress, he declared his intention to pursue the same course on his own and proceeded through his EPA to impose rules that will bankrupt the coal industry.

Nowhere along the way has the President indicated what actual results his approach would achieve — and with good reason. The reality is that the problem is called Global Warming, not America Warming. China long ago passed America as the leading emitter of greenhouse gases. Developed world emissions have leveled off while developing world emissions continue to grow rapidly, and developing nations have no interest in accepting economic constraints to change that dynamic. In this context, the primary effect of unilateral action by the U.S. to impose costs on its own emissions will be to shift industrial activity overseas to nations whose industrial processes are more emissions-intensive and less environmentally friendly. That result may make environmentalists feel better, but it will not better the environment.

So I oppose steps like a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system that would handicap the American economy and drive manufacturing jobs away, all without actually addressing the underlying problem. Economic growth and technological innovation, not economy-suppressing regulation, is the key to environmental protection in the long run. So I believe we should pursue what I call a “No Regrets” policy — steps that will lead to lower emissions, but that will benefit America regardless of whether the risks of global warming materialize and regardless of whether other nations take effective action.

For instance, I support robust government funding for research on efficient, low-emissions technologies that will maintain American leadership in emerging industries. And I believe the federal government must significantly streamline the regulatory framework for the deployment of new energy technologies, including a new wave of investment in nuclear power. These steps will strengthen American industry, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and produce the economically-attractive technologies that developing nations must have access to if they are to achieve the reductions in their own emissions that will be necessary to address what is a global issue.

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Iowa Truth Teller

We don’t know if Iowa State Senator Robb Hogg is a Republican or a Democrat, and quite frankly, we don’t care. His new post at Climate Progress is outstanding. Here’s a taste:

Unusual weather and habitat loss are combining to disrupt ecological areas across the state and our country. At its web site, Ducks Unlimited states that it has examined “the best available science” and concluded that “climate change poses a significant threat to North America’s waterfowl that could undermine achievements gained through more than 70 years of conservation work.” If you and your family enjoy hunting and fishing, you should be concerned about rising sea levels and the planet’s health.

Finally, I am not afraid to say that I care about the health of the planet simply because I care about it. I want my children and someday my grandchildren and future generations to have the opportunity to live in a world where there are forests in the Rocky Mountains, glaciers in Glacier Park, polar bears, cheetahs, and Monarch butterflies.

The health of the planet matters to me and my family. It should matter to all of us and all of our families.


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From Across The Pond

The Irish Times ran a well-research piece this morning that gets to the heart of why we haven't addressed climate change. Here's a little taste:

IT’S REASSURING to imagine we are, by and large, rational beings who base our judgments and decisions on the best evidence we can muster.

The scientific evidence suggests otherwise.

Nowhere can the limits of human rationality be more forcefully encountered than in how we have collectively failed to respond to the existential threat posed by climate change.

Recessions threaten our jobs and income, while fears about terrorism or crime may undermine our sense of well-being. Climate change is uniquely different in that at its heart, it threatens to unravel our most fundamental assumption: that we, as individuals, indeed, as a species, have a future at all.

If this comes as a surprise, you are by no means alone. “We have Palaeolithic emotions, medieval institutions and God-like technologies,” is how noted Harvard biologist EO Wilson framed our dilemma. Many scientists suspect the general public is too wedded to magical thinking and heuristic reasoning to truly grasp the implications of what climate science has been spelling out with ever-greater urgency for the last two decades. This is at best a limited explanation.

Evidence from behavioural and brain sciences points to the fact that “the human moral judgment system is not well equipped to identify climate change – a complex, large-scale and unintentionally caused phenomenon – as an important moral imperative”, according to a recent article in the science journal, Nature Climate Change.


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Monday Open Thread 9/3

We hope you're enjoying your Labor Day! If there's anything on your mind, from climate change to hunting to fishing to conservation, here's your chance to start a conversation.

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40 Million Tons Of Trouble

A new study shows that melting Siberian permafrost is releasing 10 times as much CO2 as previously estimated - 40 million metric tons per year into the atmosphere. If we’re going to slow, and then stop, climate change, we need to act. Now.

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Running Away From Sanity

The Washington Post just ran an excellent story on the Republican Party’s radical shift away from climate science. Take a look at the piece - it’s an eye opener. If you have a Republican congressman or senators, call them and ask them to protect our hunting & fishing by supporting strong, comprehensive climate & energy legislation.

Many, indeed most, American sportsmen fall on the conservative side of the political spectrum. If we want to defend our hunting and angling from the single largest threat we’ve ever faced, and if we want to pass along a healthy natural world to our kids and grandkids, then we have to convince our conservative politicians to stand with us, and for us. That’s not going to happen if we sit silently on the sidelines.

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GOP Platform: What Climate Change?

We just looked over the brand new 2012 Republican National Platform and we were extremely disappointed that the GOP seems to dismiss climate change as a “severe threat” to the United States. In the past, the Republican Party focused on protecting America from major threats to our country. Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be the case with climate change; at least not in 2012. We hope that America’s sportsmen will stand up and ask both major political parties to take climate change seriously. We need to address this huge problem now, while there is still time.

The following paragraph is the only place where the words “climate change” appear in the 2012 Republican National Platform.

A Failed National Security Strategy

The current Administration’s most recent National Security Strategy reflects the extreme elements in its liberal domestic coalition. It is a budget-constrained blueprint that, if fully implemented, will diminish the capabilities of our Armed Forces. The strategy significantly increases the risk of future conflict by declaring to our adversaries that we will no longer maintain the forces necessary to fight and win more than one conflict at a time. It relies on the good intentions and capabilities of international organizations to justify constraining American military readiness. Finally, the strategy subordinates our national security interests to environmental, energy, and international health issues, and elevates “climate change” to the level of a “severe threat” equivalent to foreign aggression. The word “climate,” in fact, appears in the current President’s strategy more often than Al Qaeda, nuclear proliferation, radical Islam, or weapons of mass destruction. The phrase “global war on terror” does not appear at all, and has been purposely avoided and changed by his Administration to “overseas contingency operations.”

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The AMS Steps Up

The American Meteorological Society has updated their statement on climate change and they deserve kudos for the strength and clarity of their new position. Here’s an example:

There is unequivocal evidence that Earth’s lower atmosphere, ocean, and land surface are warming; sea level is rising; and snow cover, mountain glaciers, and Arctic sea ice are shrinking. The dominant cause of the warming since the 1950s is human activities. This scientific finding is based on a large and persuasive body of research. The observed warming will be irreversible for many years into the future, and even larger temperature increases will occur as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere. Avoiding this future warming will require a large and rapid reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions. The ongoing warming will increase risks and stresses to human societies, economies, ecosystems, and wildlife through the 21st century and beyond, making it imperative that society respond to a changing climate.

We hope that individual meteorologists across the country will follow the AMS’s lead and begin to publicly address climate change on a regular basis.

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Monday Open Thread 8/27

How are you holding up to this summer's heat and drought?

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Poison

If you spend much time hunting or fishing, chances are you've run across your fair share of poison ivy. Unfortunately, we have some bad news. Scientists have learned that increased levels of atmospheric CO2 are helping poison ivy grow faster and become more toxic. Be careful out there!

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Paul Ryan And Hot Air

Republican V.P. candidate Paul Ryan was recently asked to share his thoughts on climate change. He responded: "All the solutions that people like Barack Obama are trying to impose on the American people, cost us jobs, make us less competitive and I think there's a big debate about the scientific veracity of some of the solutions or so-called solutions."

It would be nice if Congressman Ryan was more substantive and less partisan the next time around.

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2012 Arctic Ice Decline

We don’t spend much time discussing arctic sea ice here at the CH blog, but perhaps we should. More and more evidence is linking the decline of arctic ice to extreme weather further south - and that means it’s impacting the United States. Joe Romm has a new post on the subject up at Climate Progress. If you’re interested, it’s definitely worth a look.

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Nye On CNN

Bill Nye nails it on CNN.



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Monday Open Thread 8/20

What's on your mind today?

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Tom Toles

Tom Toles is the Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist for the Washington Post. On Friday, he had a few choice words for all of us:

And there was Mitt Romney earlier this week campaigning in coal country and ridiculing Obama’s support of wind power. Holy soot. If that were a movie, you’d sit there thinking the writers had played too obviously to villanous stereotype. But no, the US Reality Show outdoes fiction. Only in America can a politician pretend that you don’t even have to consider discussing or acknowleging climate change, even with half the country burning up, much of it literally. And your media plays right along. And so do you.

Did the TV reporter covering Mitt mention that climate change MIGHT have some bearing on the debate between coal and renewables? Of course not, because the media has been cowed into the cozy-safe zone of acting as if the science is all up in the air with the carbon. Do reporters know that in fact the science is essentially settled? Yes. Do their editors? Also yes. But hey, the easy way out is, well, EASIER! Who wants to poke a stick into the right-wing noise machine? And who’s going to call them on it? Oh, there’s that one cartoonist/blogger who seems to care about it. Yawn. Take a chill pill, Tommy!

It amazes that people think that climate change is the responsibility of “environmentalists.” And that you can report stories that bear directly on it without so much as a MENTION. Which planet do these reporters live on? Which planet do YOU live on? And so over to you, voters. If you don’t want to live in a stupid, frying country, start acting like it. The forests are burning. The houses are burning. The corn is shriveling. The brains are shriveling. Or take your chill pill and see how cool that makes things
.

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Why Is It So Hard?

Yale's Dan Kahan has an interesting view on why it's so difficult to get folks to agree about climate change. Take a look at his new opinion piece in Nature and see if you agree with him.

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Drought Makes Life Difficult For Wildlife

Fish and game are getting slammed by the drought in states like Kansas and Missouri. In fact, the headline in the Wichita Eagle was "Heat, drought deadly to Kansas Wildlife." Let's hope we start getting some cooler temps and precipitation over the next few weeks.

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Official Indifference

Science tells us that climate change is a serious issue. The time we spend outdoors confirms the scientific diagnosis. Yet the President, who’s sworn to preserve and protect this great nation, ignores climate change time and again. Joe Romm has it right. The country is on fire, but Obama isn’t.

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Climate & Politics 8/14

Climate Progress has a new post up that says voters want political candidates to talk about climate change. That's good news, and we hope that all our Conservation Hawks supporters will encourage their local, state and national politicians to engage in a constructive dialogue on the best ways to address global warming.

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Monday Open Thread 8/13

It's another Monday here at the Rod & Gun Club blog, which means it's time for our Monday open thread. How are you holding up to the heat this summer?

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Fish Kills & Wildfire

NBC recently documented fish kills, wildfire and drought on the NBC Nightly News.

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Bear Aware

USA Today has a new story out urging folks who live in bear country to keep an eye out for hungry bruins. That's excellent advice, given that the heat and drought have had major negative impacts on traditional bear food supplies.

As the story states: With their normal summer diet of greens and berries shriveled by summer heat or drought in many spots nationwide, hungry bears are rummaging through garbage, ripping through screens and crawling into cars in search of sustenance.

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Hansen On PBS

NASA climate scientist Dr. James Hansen was on PBS last night, explaining his new statistical study linking climate change to the recent extreme weather events we've been experiencing.

Watch NASA Study Links Extreme Summer Heat to Climate Change on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.


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Tuesday Open Thread 8/7

We're a day late and a dollar short, but here's your Monday Open Thread. What's on your mind today?

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Bad News

Right now, we’re eating breakfast at a little internet cafe in Fernie, BC, getting ready for another day of great fishing. Unfortunately, while we were out chasing rising trout yesterday, Dr. James Hansen of NASA released one of the most sobering op/eds ever published in the Washington Post. It’s not the kind of thing we wanted to read this morning - not even close - but it’s important that we share it with you now that it's out. Here's a little taste.

When I testified before the Senate in the hot summer of 1988 , I warned of the kind of future that climate change would bring to us and our planet. I painted a grim picture of the consequences of steadily increasing temperatures, driven by mankind’s use of fossil fuels.

But I have a confession to make: I was too optimistic.

Click here to read the entire piece.

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Dryer & Dryer

Half of all U.S. counties are now considered disaster areas because of drought, while half the politicians in DC still think that climate change is a hoax or a communist plot. Something needs to change, and soon.

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Bureau of Atomic Scientists Op/Ed

An excellent new Bulletin of Atomic Scientists op/ed, titled “Conspiracy of silence: The irresponsible politics of climate change,” asks the public to stand up and challenge the climate status quo. It also takes President Obama and Mitt Romney to task for failing to provide the leadership we need to address global warming.

While ignoring climate change might be a good political strategy, both the Obama and Romney approaches are intellectually disingenuous and morally irresponsible. Romney's position is ridiculous, as it ignores the enormous scientific literature on anthropogenic climate change. But is Obama's position any better? Any delay increases the probability of reaching a tipping point beyond which mitigation measures will be too little and too late to avoid catastrophic consequences. Yet the Obama administration has ignored this threat, offering instead a thin and uncompelling case for developing clean energy.

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Baltimore Sun Op/Ed

There was a great opinion piece on climate change and conservatism in yesterday’s Baltimore Sun. The money quote: “As GOP economists have often pointed out, government should tax those things it wants less of and reduce taxes on those things it considers desirable.”

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Monday Open Thread 7/30

A penny for your thoughts …

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Muller - A Skeptic No Longer

The horse is already out on the barn - we’ve known for quite some time that humans are causing climate change - but physicist and self proclaimed climate “skeptic” Richard Muller just announced in the NY Times that people are indeed warming the planet. According to Muller, “Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.” Muller is obviously late to the party, but in our opinion late is far better than never. Let’s hope other so-called “skeptics” follow Muller’s lead and we can begin to put the climate debate behind us.

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Reuters Video

Reuters has a new video out detailing the extreme weather conditions that are manifesting all over the world in 2012.



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Motivations

Dave Roberts has a new piece up on why folks don’t, or do, respond appropriately to climate change. If you’re interested, you should read the entire post; it’s thoughtful and well worth your time. We’d like to address one aspect in particular, though. Dave writes: “The lesson seems to be that economic (and other extrinsic) motivators might help some in the short term, but they are not a sufficient foundation for a long-term effort. I don’t know if I entirely buy this. What is the intrinsic motivation supposed to be? ‘Love of Mother Earth’?”

In our case - and we’re talking about hunters & anglers here - the motivation is that we have something truly special that we want to pass along to our kids & grandkids. Hunting and fishing require us to immerse ourselves in a healthy natural environment. That won’t be possible if climate change slams our landscapes and waterways to the point where they fragment and then eventually fail. We do our very best to protect the places we love, and the fish & wildlife we cherish, because we want to share our time outdoors with our children and grandchildren. That’s about as intrinsic - and powerful - a motivator as you’re likely to run across.

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Stephen Colbert Gets Hot & Bothered

From last night's Colbert Report.


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Neither Obama Nor Romney ...

The Chicago Sun-Times asks the question of the day

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Monday Open Thread 7/23

It's Monday, and that means it's our weekly open thread here at the Rod & Gun Club blog. What's on your mind today?

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Long Range Forecast - More Of The Same

The long range forecast for much of the U.S. is for more hot and dry. Let's hope it's wrong, and that temperatures cool and we get some much needed rain.

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Salmon & Climate Change

PBS just ran an excellent news segment focusing on salmon and climate change in the Pacific Northwest. Take a look - there are a number of interesting perspectives on the issue.

Watch Swinomish Tribe Works to Adapt to Shrinking Salmon Supply on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.


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A Fine Line

We walk a fine line when it comes to motivation. Some days the unrelenting bad news about climate change offers an incentive for us to work harder and defend our hunting & fishing (and our families) from what looks like an increasingly difficult future. Other days the bad news can get a little overwhelming, to the point where we need to step back, clear our heads and take a moment to appreciate the good things in life.

If you’re looking for extra motivation today, there’s a story in yesterday’s Washington Post about the likelihood of a drought-stricken future here in the U.S. There’s also a new piece out on the increasing damage from hail storms. But if you’re on the other side of the motivation divide this morning and all the bad news has you down, take a minute and focus on the positive things in your life. We’re working hard to stop climate change because we care so much about our hunting & fishing, and about our friends and families. Every once in a while we need to kick back and think about what’s really important.

With that in mind, here’s a photo that may make you smile.

IMG_1429_2
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Monday Open Thread 7/16

What's on your mind today? Hopefully the temperature and the weather are decent where you live, and you've had a chance to spend a little quality time outdoors recently. In any case, it's our Monday Open Thread, so it's your turn to lead the discussion.

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Arctic Sea Ice Decline

We don’t talk much about arctic sea ice or glacier melt in Greenland, mostly because few of us visit Greenland or fish the Arctic Ocean. Still, it’s important to note that the drought, forest fires and extreme temperatures we’ve been seeing here in the Lower 48 aren’t the only indications that climate change is impacting the planet. Andrew Freedman of Climate Central is reporting that arctic sea ice has experienced a record amount of June sea ice melt. He also noted that “Recent research has demonstrated that rapid Arctic climate change is altering the flow of weather systems across the Northern Hemisphere, raising the possibility of far-reaching consequences well south of the Arctic Circle.”

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A Miracle?

Something extraordinary happened last night. After the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the American Meteorological Society (AMS) released peer-reviewed studies linking climate change to our recent extreme weather, and as the Conservation Hawks board was meeting to discuss our climate messaging, four major networks - ABC, NBC, CBS and PBS - ran news segments discussing climate change and extreme weather. That’s nothing short of miraculous. Finding one network willing to focus on climate change has been difficult. To have four do so on the same night is literally amazing.

As CBS reported, “On Tuesday, for the first time, government scientists are saying recent extreme weather events are likely connected to man-made climate change.”

So what does that mean for us? Momentum. Politicians and bureaucrats who don’t ordinarily concern themselves with issues that impact hunters & anglers will be rousing themselves from their collective stupor and listening to the word “climate” as if for the very first time. We need to drive our point home. We need to tell our senators and representatives - and our presidential candidates - to get off their backsides and start taking our future seriously. Make a phone call. Send an e-mail. Write a letter-to-the-editor. Raise a little hell! Those news stories that ran last night have created a window of opportunity and we need to plant our seeds while the soil is still fertile.

If you love to hunt or fish, if you love the outdoors, if you love your family, then stand up and be counted. We don’t have opportunities like this very often. Raise your voice while there’s still time.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

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It's Getting Hot In Here

If you’ve been vacationing on a remote island for the last month or so, here’s what you’ve missed.



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Monday Open Thread 7/9

What’s on your mind today?

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Fish Fry, July 2012


120706_fish-dead.photoblog600

MSNBC is reporting that fish are dying all over from high water temps and low dissolved oxygen levels. We can’t do anything about the current, global-warming-fueled heat wave, but we can stand up for ourselves, and for fish & wildlife habitat, and demand that Congress pass strong climate & energy legislation. If we don’t limit our CO2 emissions, weather-related fish kills will become an everyday occurrence in the future.

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Climate Security

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano talks about the recent impacts of climate change.



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PBS Interviews Kevin Trenberth

“You look out the window and you see climate change in action.” Senior scientist Kevin Trenberth with the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Watch What's Causing Unusually Hot Temperatures in U.S.? on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.


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Monday Open Thread 7/2

We’re in the middle of one of the hottest summer heat waves in history. Here’s your chance to tell us what’s going on in your part of the country.

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You're Not In Kansas Anymore, Dorothy

It was 115 degrees in Kansas. According to the NY Times, “This town on the parched plains, best known for its bountiful pheasant hunting and museum of oil history, recently earned a new, if unwelcome, distinction — the center of America’s summer inferno.”

“The grinding drought that transformed much of the West into a tinderbox has all but choked off the growing season here. Farmers say rainfall totals are five to seven inches below normal — a withering deficit — and many have not plowed under their old crops to plant new rows of wheat, corn and milo.”

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NBC's Doug Kammerer Explains Global Warming

“If we did not have global warming, we wouldn’t see this.”



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A Failure To Communicate

If you’ve been reading newspapers, watching the news on television or scanning the web, you’ve probably seen all sorts of weather-related stories. Severe flooding in Florida and Minnesota. Drought parching areas in the MidWest. Extreme wildfires in the Rockies. Record breaking temperatures all over the country. What you won’t see is context. Very few news outlets report how the fires, floods, droughts and high temperatures that are making waves across America are the exact same events our climate scientists have been predicting. We are witnessing the impacts of climate change on a daily basis. Vital fish & wildlife habitat is being effected. In many cases, so are other aspects of our lives.

Joe Romm at Climate Progress has an excellent new post up on the media’s failure to connect the dots on climate change. Take a look - he hits the nail square on the head.

As people who see the connection between climate change and our crazy weather, we need to take the time to explain to our friends, family & colleagues - and to our elected officials - what’s happening and why it’s so important to address global warming as soon as possible.

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Worse Than You Think

The bad news is that sea level rise is likely to be worse - and perhaps far worse - than we think. The good news is that we won’t be around to see the worst of it. Unfortunately, our grandkids and great-grandkids will. Dave Roberts has the sea level rise update at Grist.

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Mitigation Vs. Adaptation

If you’ve read much about climate change, you’ve probably come across the terms “adaptation” and “mitigation.” And if you’re like most folks, you’re not sure what the words mean - at least in this particular context. Dave Roberts of Grist recently spelled out the differences between the two. His entire piece is worth reading, but if you don’t have the time, here’s the crux of it.

One final point: Mitigation and adaptation spending are not equivalent. Mitigation spending will go to new energy systems, new public transit systems, new agricultural systems. It will yield innovation, higher productivity, new jobs, and improved quality of life. It’s like paying for your kid to go to college or building a factory for your business — the high upfront costs yield substantial long-term returns, paying themselves back many times over. Mitigation spending is investment.

Adaptation spending isn’t like that. It goes to maintaining the value of existing investments. It’s as though the maintenance costs on your factory doubled. You’re not getting any additional value out of the factory, you’re just putting more money in. Adaptation spending is pure cost, a net loss that displaces other productive investments. (This is true for most but not all adaptation spending … but I’ll address that in a separate post.)


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Monday Open Thread 6/25

A penny for your thoughts ...

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Climate Change Is Simple

One of the best short climate talks we’ve ever seen, courtesy of Dave Roberts of Grist. It’s not hunting or fishing specific, but it is packed with information. We highly recommended this video - it gets right to the point.



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Mitt Romney, Climate Denier

Last month we linked to a NY Times Op/Ed in which NASA scientist James Hansen criticized President Obama for ignoring climate change. The Times published a similar op/ed on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney yesterday. We supported Dr. Hansen’s pointed criticism of President Obama. We also endorse the newspaper’s harsh critique of former Governor Romney. Here are a few direct quotes from yesterday’s Times:

Mr. Romney has plainly decided that satisfying his party’s antiregulatory base is essential to his political future. But the policies he espouses would be devastating for the country and the planet.

Today he is a proclaimed skeptic on global warming, a champion of oil and other fossil fuels, a critic of federal efforts to develop cleaner energy sources and a sworn enemy of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The man who once worried about climate-driven sea-level rise in poor countries like Bangladesh now says things like “My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet,” as if mainstream science were wrong and humans had nothing to do with it.


Climate change is the largest, most important threat we face. It’s unacceptable that President Obama has ignored the issue for the last 3 plus years. It’s equally unacceptable that former Governor Romney has flip-flopped on climate change and become a cheerleader for fossil fuels We need leaders who will fight for our future, not politicians who jump at the chance to sell us out. It’s time for sportsmen to stand up and demand that whoever occupies the White House next year takes immediate action to address global warming. If we don’t defend our hunting & fishing, and our kids & grandkids, we’re going to lose everything we care about.
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Monday Open Thread 6/18

It’s time for another open thread. What’s on your mind today?

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Send Us Stories

We need your help. It’s easy enough to find climate change news and information to share, but we’d like more hunting & fishing-specific info. If you run across local, regional or national news stories that focus on climate change and have an impact on sportsmen, please share them on our CH Facebook page. Thanks!

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New CH Video Project

We need your help. We want to produce 2 short web videos raising hunter & angler awareness about climate change. The good folks at The Cinnabar Foundation have agreed to help us with funding, but they can only get us half way home.

Click here and take a look at what we’re trying to put together. If you the ability to contribute, we’d definitely appreciate any help that you can offer.

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Monday Open Thread 6/11

It’s Monday. Here’s your chance to share your thoughts and tell us what’s on your mind.

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"An Asteroid Striking The Earth"

We have a choice. Either we fight to hold on to the world we know and love, or we allow greenhouse gasses and reckless development to consign our hunting & fishing to the dustbins of history.

According to the LA Times:

A group of international scientists is sounding a global alarm, warning that population growth, climate change and environmental destruction are pushing Earth toward calamitous — and irreversible — biological changes.

and

"The net effects of what we're causing could actually be equivalent to an asteroid striking the Earth in a worst-case scenario," the paper's lead author, Anthony Barnosky, a professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley, said in an interview. "I don't want to sound like Armageddon. I think the point to be made is that if we just ignore all the warning signs of how we're changing the Earth, the scenario of losses of biodiversity — 75% or more — is not an outlandish scenario at all.

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Another Month, Another New Temperature Record

We’ve set yet another 12 month temperature record here in the United States. According to the Washington Post:

The period from June 2011 to May 2012 was the warmest 12-months since records began (in 1895) in the continental United States. This unprecedented stretch of warmth bests the previous 12-month record, established just one month ago.

NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center also reports today that:

* the year-to-date period (January-May) has been the warmest on record, 5 degrees above average

* the spring period (March-May) was warmest on record in the U.S., crushing the previous warmest spring (1910) by 2 full degrees and an impressive 5.2 degrees above the 1901-2000 average.

* the month of May was 2nd warmest on record, 3.3 degrees above average.

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Colbert On Sea Level Rise

A new Colbert Report focuses on North Carolina politicians and their attempt to legislate just how much the sea can rise this century. Absolutely brilliant.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Sink or Swim
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive
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Monday Open Thread 6/4

It’s the first Monday of June. What’s on your mind today?

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Climate Change in Washington State

Here’s a new video that’s up on the Season’s End website. It details many of the climate change impacts that hunters and anglers can expect in Washington. Take a look and let us know what you think.


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North Carolina vs. Forbes

Forbes hits the nail square on the head. Kudos to author John McQuaid for telling it like it is.

A little taste:

This is folly. They’re basically making a bet that the future will be just like the past. The sad facts of the matter, confirmed by more data every day, are that the future will not be like the past. Indeed, if you go to places such as Alaska or Greenland, you’ll see that the present is not like the past. If you look at the extreme weather swings everywhere in the past few years, you’ll also get an inkling. And doing nothing now leads to catastrophe later. It did in New Orleans, where pre-Katrina the Corps of Engineered ignored copious evidence that its hurricane levee system was based on decades-old information and other faulty assumptions, while building in catastrophic design flaws for good measure.

There’s a broader problem here. Whether it deals with potential floods, pollution, or public health, government policy must have a sound scientific basis. Conservatives and business organizations have attacked government scientific assessments for decades, often with their own counter-assessments. But until recently, everybody agreed that empiricism – a testable scientific judgment about what is happening in reality – should be a basic grounding for action (or inaction, as the case may be). They just disagreed on the science. Now, it’s becoming OK, even expected, to reject mainstream science as flat-out illegitimate and use somebody’s whim as the basis for decisions. Which means when reality eventually hits, it will hit much, much harder.

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North Carolina Considers Changing The Rules

Politicians in North Carolina are apparently considering a bill that would limit official calculations on sea level rise to historic trends. In other words, if this policy idea takes hold, North Carolina would not be able to rely on the latest and most accurate science to determine what to expect down the road. They would not, for example, be able to take into account melting glaciers or ice sheets when they plan for future sea level rise. Are we missing something, or is this a really, really bad idea?

From the Scientific American blog:

That is, the meter or so of sea level rise predicted for the NC Coastal Resources Commission by a state-appointed board of scientists is extremely inconvenient for counties along the coast. So the NC-20 types have decided that we can escape sea level rise – in North Carolina, anyhow – by making it against the law. Or making MEASURING it against the law, anyhow.
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Monday Open Thread, Day Late Version

We’re hosting our typical Monday Open Thread a day late this week since we didn’t want to compete with Memorial Day. If there’s anything you want to mention about conservation, climate, hunting or fishing, here’s your chance.

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More Trees, Please

We’d better plant more trees. A new study shows that our trees are pulling less CO2 out of the atmosphere than scientists previously assumed. It turns out that trees slow down in the late summer and fall in spite of higher temperatures, so they sequester less CO2 and leave more in the air.
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Richard Alley

Climatologist Richard Alley has some thoughts on climate change and our future in this recent upbeat video.



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The Pentagon

What does the Pentagon have to say about climate change? Take a look at this short video and find out.



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Dust-Bowlification

Physicist Joe Romm has made the case that severe and unprecedented drought will be the single largest impact of climate change, at least in the near term. You can read his thoughts here, including the piece he published on drought in the journal Nature last fall.

Here’s a little taste:

A 2007 analysis of 19 climate projections estimated that levels of aridity comparable to those in the Dust Bowl could stretch from Kansas to California by mid-century. To make matters worse, the regions at risk of reduced water supply, such as Nevada, have seen a massive population boom in the past decade. Overuse of water in these areas has long been rife, depleting groundwater stores.

Of course, the United States is not alone in facing such problems. Since 1950, the global percentage of dry areas has increased by about 1.74% of global land area per decade. Recent studies have projected ‘extreme drought’ conditions by mid-century over some of the most populated areas on Earth—southern Europe, south-east Asia, Brazil, the US Southwest, and large parts of Australia and Africa. These dust-bowl conditions are projected to worsen for many decades and be “largely irreversible for 1,000 years after emissions stopped.”


As hunters and anglers, it's hard to disagree with Romm's perspective. Lasting drought - or what Romm calls dust-bowlification - would have a huge and unprecedented impact on our fish and wildlife populations.

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Monday Open Thread 5/21

Share a link, post a photo, tell us what’s on your mind ...

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CBS Evening News

The CBS Evening News just ran an excellent climate segment. Take a look.



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A Moose Mess

Life is really rough if you’re a Minnesota moose. A new story in Scientific American details how moose numbers are plummeting in Minnesota because of climate change. Here’s a little taste:

While there were once tolerable numbers of the kinds of pests that drive wild mammals crazy -- ticks, black flies and humans -- these pests are proliferating.

Take ticks, for instance. While moose are well adapted to host some native winter ticks, their tolerance for the blood-sucking arachnids is being challenged as the tick population has surged under warming conditions.

Biologists are now documenting individual adult moose with tick burdens of 50,000 to 70,000, a ten- to twentyfold increase over what used to be a normal load. In addition to transmitting diseases, the ticks are irritating the moose, causing them to rub off large patches of hair and even skin, and leaving them greatly weakened from blood loss.

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Rain, Rain, Go Away ...

Bad news if you’re an upland bird hunter who wants pheasants, grouse and quail to nest successfully, or if you live in a flood plain. Climate Progress is reporting on a new Rocky Mountain Climate Organization study that shows extreme rainstorms have doubled in the midwest over the last 50 years.

Bob Dylan had it right. The times they are a-changin’ ...

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Rising Seas

Here’s a fascinating video on the real life impacts of sea level rise on a coastal community here in the United States. Many of us, especially those of us who live inland, don’t worry much about rising sea levels. But when you look at the financial cost, as well as the human cost, it’s obvious that towns and cities on the coast will bear an extra burden from climate change.

Watch Rising tide on PBS. See more from Need To Know.


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Pine Forest Blues

From the Washington Post - global warming threatens pine forests.

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Monday Open Thread - 5/14

Here’s your chance - let us know what’s on your mind.

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New 350.org Video

Here’s a new 350.org video documenting their recent May 5th world-wide climate action.



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European Fisheries

It’s probably not a surprise to anyone who follows Conservation Hawks, but according to a new report, climate change is having a clear impact on European fisheries.

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Hansen's NY Times Op/Ed

NASA’s Dr. James Hansen has a powerful and compelling op/ed in today’s NY Times. He talks about the threats we face and takes President Obama to task for not providing the kind of leadership we need to address climate change. Given its importance, we’ll post the entire text for you to read. Feel free to share you thoughts in the comment section.

OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
Game Over for the Climate
By JAMES HANSEN
Published: May 9, 2012


GLOBAL warming isn’t a prediction. It is happening. That is why I was so troubled to read a recent interview with President Obama in Rolling Stone in which he said that Canada would exploit the oil in its vast tar sands reserves “regardless of what we do.”

If Canada proceeds, and we do nothing, it will be game over for the climate.

Canada’s tar sands, deposits of sand saturated with bitumen, contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history. If we were to fully exploit this new oil source, and continue to burn our conventional oil, gas and coal supplies, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eventually would reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era, more than 2.5 million years ago, when sea level was at least 50 feet higher than it is now. That level of heat-trapping gases would assure that the disintegration of the ice sheets would accelerate out of control. Sea levels would rise and destroy coastal cities. Global temperatures would become intolerable. Twenty to 50 percent of the planet’s species would be driven to extinction. Civilization would be at risk.

That is the long-term outlook. But near-term, things will be bad enough. Over the next several decades, the Western United States and the semi-arid region from North Dakota to Texas will develop semi-permanent drought, with rain, when it does come, occurring in extreme events with heavy flooding. Economic losses would be incalculable. More and more of the Midwest would be a dust bowl. California’s Central Valley could no longer be irrigated. Food prices would rise to unprecedented levels.

If this sounds apocalyptic, it is. This is why we need to reduce emissions dramatically. President Obama has the power not only to deny tar sands oil additional access to Gulf Coast refining, which Canada desires in part for export markets, but also to encourage economic incentives to leave tar sands and other dirty fuels in the ground.

The global warming signal is now louder than the noise of random weather, as I predicted would happen by now in the journal Science in 1981. Extremely hot summers have increased noticeably. We can say with high confidence that the recent heat waves in Texas and Russia, and the one in Europe in 2003, which killed tens of thousands, were not natural events — they were caused by human-induced climate change.

We have known since the 1800s that carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere. The right amount keeps the climate conducive to human life. But add too much, as we are doing now, and temperatures will inevitably rise too high. This is not the result of natural variability, as some argue. The earth is currently in the part of its long-term orbit cycle where temperatures would normally be cooling. But they are rising — and it’s because we are forcing them higher with fossil fuel emissions.

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen from 280 parts per million to 393 p.p.m. over the last 150 years. The tar sands contain enough carbon — 240 gigatons — to add 120 p.p.m. Tar shale, a close cousin of tar sands found mainly in the United States, contains at least an additional 300 gigatons of carbon. If we turn to these dirtiest of fuels, instead of finding ways to phase out our addiction to fossil fuels, there is no hope of keeping carbon concentrations below 500 p.p.m. — a level that would, as earth’s history shows, leave our children a climate system that is out of their control.

We need to start reducing emissions significantly, not create new ways to increase them. We should impose a gradually rising carbon fee, collected from fossil fuel companies, then distribute 100 percent of the collections to all Americans on a per-capita basis every month. The government would not get a penny. This market-based approach would stimulate innovation, jobs and economic growth, avoid enlarging government or having it pick winners or losers. Most Americans, except the heaviest energy users, would get more back than they paid in increased prices. Not only that, the reduction in oil use resulting from the carbon price would be nearly six times as great as the oil supply from the proposed pipeline from Canada, rendering the pipeline superfluous, according to economic models driven by a slowly rising carbon price.

But instead of placing a rising fee on carbon emissions to make fossil fuels pay their true costs, leveling the energy playing field, the world’s governments are forcing the public to subsidize fossil fuels with hundreds of billions of dollars per year. This encourages a frantic stampede to extract every fossil fuel through mountaintop removal, longwall mining, hydraulic fracturing, tar sands and tar shale extraction, and deep ocean and Arctic drilling.

President Obama speaks of a “planet in peril,” but he does not provide the leadership needed to change the world’s course. Our leaders must speak candidly to the public — which yearns for open, honest discussion — explaining that our continued technological leadership and economic well-being demand a reasoned change of our energy course. History has shown that the American public can rise to the challenge, but leadership is essential.

The science of the situation is clear — it’s time for the politics to follow. This is a plan that can unify conservatives and liberals, environmentalists and business. Every major national science academy in the world has reported that global warming is real, caused mostly by humans, and requires urgent action. The cost of acting goes far higher the longer we wait — we can’t wait any longer to avoid the worst and be judged immoral by coming generations.


James Hansen directs the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and is the author of “Storms of My Grandchildren.”

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Warmest 12 Months Ever

In what is undoubtably bad news for our fish & wildlife populations, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center is reporting that the U.S. just experienced the warmest 12 month period ever recorded. May 2011 to April 2012 just eclipsed the previous record, which was set from November 1999 to October 2000.

Dr. Jeff Masters has more on the new record at WunderBlog, including the ten warmest 12 month periods ever recorded in the U.S. (None of which go back as far as 1998.)

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Climate Change Impacts Runoff, Fisheries

The Idaho Statesman ran an interesting story this morning on the impacts of climate change on spring runoff. According to reporter Rocky Barker, “The effects of global warming are making it more difficult for reservoir managers to control floods and manage flows for irrigation, recreation and fisheries.”

Runoff “used to peak in late May or June, but now peaks in early May.”, while warmer water temps are impacting fisheries.

It’s nice to see this kind of solid reporting in the mainstream media. Now if we can just get Congress to start paying attention ...

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Arctic Sea Ice

CO2 levels go up. Arctic sea ice goes down. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute find a direct cause and effect relationship.

Another day, another scientific study confirms that climate change is already impacting the world around us.

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Quote Of The Day

From Bill McKibben:

“This is a full-on fight between information and disinformation, between the urge to witness and the urge to cover-up. The fossil-fuel industry has funded endless efforts to confuse people, to leave an impression that nothing much is going on.  But -- as with the tobacco industry before them -- the evidence has simply gotten too strong. 

Once you saw enough people die of lung cancer, you made the connection. The situation is the same today.  Now, it’s not just the scientists and the insurance industry; it’s your neighbors. Even pleasant weather starts to seem weird.  Fifteen thousand U.S. temperature records were broken, mainly in the East and Midwest, in the month of March alone, as a completely unprecedented heat wave moved across the continent.  Most people I met enjoyed the rare experience of wearing shorts in winter, but they were still shaking their heads. Something was clearly wrong and they knew it.”

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What Should We Do?

Dr. James Hansen of NASA, one of the world’s top climate scientists, has a new letter up on his website. Turns out that a Canadian group in British Columbia is preparing to block coal trains on a BNSF rail line running to the coast, and they’re asking Warren Buffett to stop his coal trains for the day. This act of civil disobedience is scheduled for May 5th, which has been designated an International Day of Action by 350.org.

So here’s our question for you. Assuming that Dr. Hansen and the vast majority of the scientific community are right about climate change, what steps should sportsmen take to protect our hunting & fishing, and our families, from climate change? Should we be looking at a more active role with our future on the line, or should we stick to writing letters and calling our elected representatives? What do you think?

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New Yale Climate Poll

On April 26th, the Yale Project On Climate Change Communication released a new poll showing that 58% of Americans think Congress should be doing more to address global warming. At the same time, 70% of Americans think that corporations and industry should be doing more to address global warming, and 75% of Americans support regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant.

So given this level of support, why aren’t our politicians in DC doing anything to protect our hunting & fishing from climate change? Mostly because we’re not holding their feet to the fire. Which means it’s time to raise some hell. Call your Congressman. Call your Senators. Tell them that they’d better get to work on climate change if they want to hold on to their jobs come November.

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Attack Of The Pine Beetles

A while back, Mike Diehl made the point that ecosystems don’t usually have a linear response to climate change. Different organisms react to changing temperature and precipitation patterns in unique ways, and as a consequence ecosystems will become more and more vulnerable to asymmetrical impacts.

A case in point. New research in Colorado has shown that mountain pine beetles are taking flight a month earlier than in the past, and now some pine beetles are producing two generations of offspring a year. How does the asymmetrical aspect of things come into play? According to the researchers, this second generation of pine beetles means there could be up to 60 times as many beetles attacking trees in any given year.

Think about that for a second. A couple degrees of warming can mean that 60 times as many pine beetles are killing our trees. What’s going to happen when we warm 6 or 8 or 10 degrees?

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Monday Open Thread - 4/30

Here’s your chance to tell us what’s on your mind today. Share you big fish stories, or fill us in on your next hunting trip, or pass along your thoughts on climate change.

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Favorite Videos

We're hoping to create our first-ever Conservation Hawks video series in the near future. We'll be focusing on climate change and sportsmen - a pretty unusual combination - and we'll be looking for ideas we can use. If you have a favorite climate video, or for that matter, a favorite hunting or angling video with a conservation theme, please share it here so we can take a look.

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Head For Higher Ground

You’ve probably heard that most current climate models predict dry regions across the U.S. will get dryer, while wet areas will get wetter. Mother Jones is reporting that “rapidly changing ocean salinities as a result of a warming atmosphere have intensified the global water cycle (evaporation and precipitation) by an incredible 4 percent between 1950 and 2000. That's twice the rate predicted by models.” 

Based on this new information, which was just published in Science, the global water cycle will intensify far more rapidly than we’ve imagined, leading to even heavier precipitation in historically wet areas and longer and more severe droughts in dry areas.

Which, in the grand scheme of things, is not exactly what sportsmen were hoping for. Severe flooding and severe droughts don’t typically help fish & wildlife populations.

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Tell The EPA To Regulate CO2

The EPA is currently accepting comments on their proposal to regulate CO2 emissions from new power plants. Here's a link that will allow you to send your message of support. If you haven't done so already, please take a few seconds and support the EPA's efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants.

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The President & Climate Change

Yesterday Rolling Stone published a long interview with President Obama where he actually said:

“Part of the challenge over these past three years has been that people's number-one priority is finding a job and paying the mortgage and dealing with high gas prices. In that environment, it's been easy for the other side to pour millions of dollars into a campaign to debunk climate-change science. I suspect that over the next six months, this is going to be a debate that will become part of the campaign, and I will be very clear in voicing my belief that we're going to have to take further steps to deal with climate change in a serious way.”

The Washington Post followed up on the Rolling Stone interview with an excellent editorial in today’s paper, titled “Mr. Obama needs to show he’s serious about climate change.” I couldn’t agree more.

So is the President actually going to focus on climate change in the run-up to the election? Only time will tell, but I tend to share Joe Romm’s “I’ll believe it when I see it.” point of view. Which is a shame. Given the seriousness of the issue and the impacts we’re already beginning to see - increased flooding, heat waves, droughts & catastrophic forest fires - both Democrats and Republicans should concentrate on doing everything possible to lower our emissions and create a strong renewable energy economy. Instead, one party lacks the courage of its convictions and the other seems to think that climate change is either a liberal hoax or a communist plot.

It’s time for America’s sportsmen to stand up. It’s time to demand that our politicians start taking climate change seriously. Our entire future is on the line. And if our Congressmen and Senators won’t listen, we need to vote them out of office and elect folks who will actually do the job.

Posted by Rod & Gun Club contributor Todd Tanner
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IEA Says We're In Trouble

The International Energy Agency is typically a mellow, “let’s not make too many waves” organization. So when they start saying stuff like this, it’s time to pay attention.

“The world's energy system is being pushed to breaking point. Our addiction to fossil fuels grows stronger each year. Many clean energy technologies are available but they are not being deployed quickly enough to avert potentially disastrous consequences.”

If we hit a 6 degree C temperature increase this century, as the IEA predicts, our elk will disappear. So will our trout and our pheasants and our whitetails. And so will we.

It’s time to stand up and fight for our hunting & fishing, and our kids and grandkids.

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Jennifer Granholm On Climate Change

We ran across this short video clip of former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm talking about climate change on Earth Day. Gov. Granholm is spot-on. We need to address climate change and we need to do it now. Take a look and see what you think.

At the same time, Conservation Hawks is a non-partisan organization and we’re happy to feature folks from the other side of the political aisle. If you can point us toward a Republican politician with a strong message on climate change, we’ll make sure he or she gets equal billing here on the Rod & Gun Club blog.



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Climate Change & Al Gore

data

Paul Douglas, the Republican meteorologist who recently penned an excellent essay on climate change and climate denial, is at it again. He has a new piece out in Business Week with the surprising, if obviously accurate, title, Climate Change Unrelated to Gore.

A little taste:

The millennium’s first decade was the warmest on record and included nine of the 10 hottest years. Greenhouse gas levels are at their highest in 800,000 years. Less heat is escaping the top of the atmosphere in the wavelengths of greenhouse gases. For the first time, scientists have recorded both hemispheres are warming – and the global temperature spike can’t be linked to an astronomical trigger, such as solar variability. Great Lakes peak ice has seen a 71 percent drop since 1973. Winters are shorter. Lakes melt earlier. Plants are moving north.

Worldwide, 95% of land-based glaciers are losing mass. September Arctic sea ice has lost 10 percent of its area every decade. Sea levels are rising. Oceans are 30 percent more acidic. Flooding and extreme storms are spiking in frequency and intensity. Last winter was the 4th warmest on record, despite the cooling influence of a La Nina phase in the Pacific.

Extremes are becoming more extreme. And none of it has anything to do with Al Gore.


Read the entire essay
here.

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Corn & Climate Change

Like sportsmen, farmers and ranchers tend to be on the conservative side of the political spectrum. And like sportsmen, farmers and ranchers usually have a pretty good feel for what’s happening in the natural world outside their back door. So it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that a former president of the American Corn Growers Association said last week that farmers are facing serious threats from climate change.

An American Corn Growers Association press release quotes Keith Bolin, who was president of the group from 2004 2012, as saying: “There’s simply no substitute for good soil and a stable climate for growing crops. That puts farmers at the front lines of global warming — it’s a grave threat to rural livelihoods and quality of life. That’s why I support EPA policies to cut global warming pollution from automobiles and power plants.”

Mr. Bolin, who farms in Illinois, feels strongly enough about climate change to speak out publicly on the issue. As hunters and anglers, we need to applaud his honesty and follow his example.

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Mad March, Part 2

Here’s the most recent climate video from Peter Sinclair. If you enjoyed Part 1, which we posted yesterday, make sure you watch Part 2. It’s very informative and extremely well done.



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Mad March, Part 1

Peter Sinclair has released a couple of exceptional new videos on climate change and the unusual weather patterns we’ve been experiencing here in North America. Here’s the first. If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you check it out.



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Forecast The Facts

There’s a new group called Forecast The Facts that’s focused on ... drumroll, please ... TV weathermen. They want the American Meteorological Society to issue a strong statement on the reality of climate change. With that in mind, they’re circulating a petition designed to force the AMS off the fence and into the climate realist/ conservation hawks camp.

When you have a second, swing over to the Forecast The Facts website and sign their petition. The least we can ask from our meteorologists is that they steer clear of climate denial and stick to actual science.

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Ocean Acidification Is Now Killing Oysters

The NY Times ran a story this morning on a new study published in the scientific journal Limnology and Oceanography. The study reports that oysters along the Washington and Oregon coasts are suffering from the impacts of ocean acidification, and that oyster hatcheries have been experiencing “calamitous die-offs” of up to 80%.

According to NOAA scientist and co-author of the study, Dr. Richard Feely, “the clear take-home message from this research is that for the oceans, the Pacific Oyster larvae are the ‘canaries in the coal mines’ for ocean acidification. When the CO2 levels in the ocean are too high, they die; when we lower the CO2 levels, they live.”

I interviewed Dr. Feely back in 2009 for Sporting Classics and he said at the time that the extent of ocean acidification was already “astonishing and disturbing” and that “the decisions we make over the next generation will affect our ocean ecosystems for millions of years.”

We haven’t talked much about ocean acidification yet, but we will. As our oceans absorb the CO2 we release into the atmosphere when we burn fossil fuels, that CO2 mixes with sea water and forms carbonic acid. Long story short, we are changing the chemistry of our ocean water and making it more acidic. We’re already seeing the impact on oysters. It’s also likely that ocean acidification will have a major impact on shellfish, on pteropods and other calcifying organisms at the base of the food chain, and on salt water and anadromous game fish.

It’s really pretty simple. If we want to hold on to our steelhead & salmon, our bonefish & tarpon and our stripers & blues, then we’d better stop dumping CO2 into the atmosphere and changing the chemistry of our oceans.

Posted by Rod & Gun Club contributor Todd Tanner

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65% Of Americans Want Action

Gallup has a new poll out. 65% of Americans support imposing mandatory controls on CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases. Considering how poor the messaging has been on climate change, and how effective the doves and deniers have been at obscuring the scientific consensus, and how politicians from both parties have literally run away from the issue, it’s heartening that two thirds of Americans are on board with Conservation Hawks.

Now we have to push hard to take advantage of this general awakening. We have to educate more people - especially sportsmen - and we have to push for the strongest possible climate & energy legislation.

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Climate On Steroids

The Weather Channel has a new video out looking at the connection between climate change and our recent weather extremes. Here’s the link.

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New U.S. Temperature Records

The numbers are in and 2012 is starting off with new high temperature records in the contiguous U.S. According to MSNBC.com:

* Last month was the warmest March on record (records go back to 1895) at 51.1 degrees; this is 8.6 degrees above the 20th century average, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

* January-March was the warmest first quarter on record; the average temperature of 42 degrees was 6 degrees above average.

* April 2011-March 2012 was the warmest stretch of those 12 months on record; at 55.4 degrees, that period was 2.6 degrees above average.

* In March, 15,292 records were broken for warmth; 7,775 were new daytime highs in cities across the country and 7,517 were new nighttime highs.


Pretty wild stuff ...

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Monday Open Thread - 4/9

What’s on your mind this morning?

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Raven On Climate Change

Renowned botanist Peter Raven offers his take on climate change in an interview with ABC News. The climate discussion starts about 2 minutes into the video.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

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CNN - Climate News Network?

Meteorologist Alexandra Steele of CNN attributed our extreme spring weather to “climate change” yesterday. As Mike Diehl pointed out in a recent comment, “It's nice to see ever more people in the meteorology community coming around to the same conclusions as the climate researchers.”



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Is It Climate Change?

Every time a tornado rips through a Midwest town, or an unprecedented drought hits Texas, or massive floods destroy roads and bridges in Vermont, someone asks if the disaster was caused by climate change. According to Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the author of a recent research paper on climate extremes, that’s not the right question.

Trenberth believes “all weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be.” There’s about 4% more water vapor in the air than there was back in 1970, and that moist air not only contributes to “more intense precipitation events” but acts as a “powerful greenhouse gas.”

Long story short, Trenberth states, “The climate has changed; global warming is unequivocal (IPCC 2007) and human activities have undoubtedly changed the composition of the atmosphere and produced warming. Moreover there is no other plausible explanation for the warming.”

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A Republican Meteorologist On Climate Change

A few days ago Paul Douglas published a piece titled “A Message from a Republican Meteorologist on Climate Change.” The subtitle was “Acknowledging Climate Science Doesn’t Make You A Liberal.”

We don’t typically focus on the left vs. right aspect of climate change here at Conservation Hawks. Climate shouldn’t be a partisan issue, and we don’t want to reinforce the status quo by buying into the conventional wisdom on politics. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: both major political parties should compete to offer the best policy solutions to the most important issue of our time.

But we also have to face facts. Many sportsmen are conservatives, and a fair number of conservatives are skeptical of manmade climate change. So with that in mind, we’re going to bring the Douglas piece front and center. We recommend you read the entire essay, but in the meantime here are a handful of the money quotes. Please let us know what you think in the comment section.

“I’m going to tell you something that my Republican friends are loath to admit out loud: climate change is real. I am a moderate Republican, fiscally conservative; a fan of small government, accountability, self-empowerment, and sound science. I am not a climate scientist. I’m a meteorologist, and the weather maps I’m staring at are making me uncomfortable. No, you’re not imagining it: we’ve clicked into a new and almost foreign weather pattern. To complicate matters, I’m in a small, frustrated and endangered minority:  a Republican deeply concerned about the environmental sacrifices some are asking us to make to keep our economy powered-up, long-term. It’s ironic. The root of the word conservative is “conserve.”  A staunch Republican, Teddy Roosevelt, set aside vast swaths of America for our National Parks System, the envy of the world. Another Republican, Richard Nixon, launched the EPA. Now some in my party believe the EPA and all those silly ‘global warming alarmists’ are going to get in the way of drilling and mining our way to prosperity. Well, we have good reason to be alarmed.”

“Trust your gut - and real experts. We should listen to peer-reviewed climate scientists, who are very competitive by nature.”

“I truly hope these scientists turn out to be wrong, but I see no sound, scientific evidence to support that position today.  What I keep coming back to is this: all those dire (alarmist!)
warnings from climate scientists 30 years ago? They’re coming true, one after another – and faster than supercomputer models predicted.”

“Human emissions have grown significantly over the past 200 years, and now exceed 27 billion tons of carbon dioxide, annually. To pretend this isn’t having any effect on the 12-mile thin atmosphere overhead is to throw all logic and common sense out the window.”

“I’m a Christian, and I can’t understand how people who profess to love and follow God roll their eyes when the subject of climate change comes up. Actions have consequences. Were we really put here to plunder the Earth, no questions asked? Isn’t that the definition of greed? In the Bible, Luke 16:2 says, ‘
Man has been appointed as a steward for the management of God’s property, and ultimately he will give account for his stewardship.’ Future generations will hold us responsible for today’s decisions.”

“If you don’t want to believe thousands of climate scientists – at least believe your own eyes: winters are warmer & shorter, summers more humid, more extreme weather events, with a 1-in-500 year flood every 2-3 years.”
“This is a moral issue.”

“We don’t have much time.”

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Monday Open Thread - 4/2

Here’s your chance to tell us what you’re thinking on the first Monday morning of April.
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NBC News

NBC News has a new segment out on climate change and all the crazy weather we’ve been experiencing. Take a look and then let us know what you think of NBC’s reporting.

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Ice? What ice?

Hot on the heels of the National Wildlife Federation’s new climate report, there’s word of a new study in the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate that details a 71% decline in Great Lakes ice cover since 1974.

Dr. Jeff Masters at WunderBlog reports that between 1974 and 2010, Lake Erie lost 50% of its ice, Lake Huron lost 62%, Lake Michigan lost 77%, Lake Superior lost 79% and Lake Ontario lost 88%.

As you might imagine, that’s bad news for both ice fishermen and the down-wind homeowners who are shoveling more lake-effect snow because of the increased winter evaporation.
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On Thin Ice

Ice fishermen can’t get out because the conditions aren’t safe. Moose are dying from tick infestations at unprecedented rates in Maine and New Hampshire. Duck hunters are left waiting at the alter when their quarry doesn’t fly south. Cutthroat trout numbers are declining because of lower stream flows and warmer water. What’s the common denominator? As the National Wildlife Federation explains in a new report titled “On Thin Ice: Warming Winters Put America’s Hunting and Fishing Heritage at Risk,” it’s climate change.

Here’s a taste of the report, featuring our own Bill Geer:

Four kinds of trout live in the clear, cool waters of Lolo Creek, which flows out of the Bitterroot Mountains near Missoula, Montana. Bill Geer and his wife live less than half a mile from the creek, and he takes every opportunity he can to fish there.

Geer, a wildlife biologist, has been fishing the creek regularly since he first came to Missoula as a college student in 1970. In the past decade, though, he’s noticed a disturbing trend: With warmer temperatures and shorter, less snowy winters, he’s catching fewer fish. “A good snowpack means there’s enough water for the trout. But now there’s not enough snow,” he said. “My little fishing stream isn’t such a Shangri–La anymore—–it’s breaking my heart.”

Geer points out that this is happening elsewhere in the West. On the Yellowstone River in southern Montana, on the White River in Colorado, and elsewhere, stream flows are declining as winter snowpacks are decreasing. “When flow trends go downhill, that doesn’t signal a good future for trout. It’s getting too warm for them.”

As sad as this makes him, he’s more worried about the impacts on his six grandchildren, several of whom also hunt and fish. “It concerns me that they’re going to be losing some of the great outdoor opportunities that I had.”

It’s not just fishing opportunities that Geer sees going downhill. He goes elk hunting every fall with a friend, and they’ve noticed that their success is declining. Traditionally, elk migrate out of their high-altitude habitat in the fall, when cold weather and snow drive the animals to lower elevations. “Now with winter coming later, and being warmer, the elk are staying higher longer. They aren’t coming down until the end of the hunting season, or after the season has ended. For a hunter, you’re not happy about that.”

Geer, who directs climate change initiatives for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, said there’s no question that carbon pollution is behind these trends. For people who doubt whether climate change is real, he suggests paying less attention to public polls on the issue and more attention to wildlife. “If you want to know what’s happening, look at what’s happening to the critters. Look at Colorado’s elk or Yellowstone’s cutthroat. They’re telling us a story.”
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Trouble In Texas

We’ve heard a lot about the heat & drought in Texas, and the video below documents some of the serious water issues that are making life hard for folks in the Lone Star State. But here’s something else to think about. What happens to whitetail deer when their forage dries up and the watering holes disappear? Do the extremely dry conditions and the incredible heat improve quail populations? Where do all those Texas largemouth bass go when their reservoirs are drawn down to mud?

Wildlife populations have always been susceptible to drought. But now
human-caused climate change is making the situation worse. Take a look at the video. It shows what we have to look forward to if we don’t start reducing our greenhouse gases in the near future.




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1982-2012

If you pay attention to the climate doves & deniers, you hear a lot about the inconsistencies and inaccuracies of climate science. We even see it here at the Rod & Gun Club blog, where some people argue that our IPCC climate models and projections are consistently wrong.

Peter Sinclair just released a fascinating new climate video titled “Global Warming: What we knew in 82.” Take a few minutes and check it out. I think you’ll be amazed at the consistency of the science from 1982 to 2012, and at how well earlier projections have stood the test of time.

The implications for sportsmen are clear. We need to address climate change, and we need to do it now.



Posted by Rod & Gun Club contributor Todd Tanner

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Does Spring Heat Mean Global Warming?

Because of a technical glitch, we can’t put this short video from the Weather Channel up on the blog. But if you have a second, click on the link and take a look. It’s called Does Spring Heat Mean Global Warming?

The video includes Weather Channel meteorologist Stu Ostro, a former climate skeptic who now believes climate change is impacting our weather. As Ostro put it, “My point of view has changed, and that’s based on data and science, not politics.”

Climate Progress has a long post on the amazing warm weather, including the Weather Channel video and a new quote from meteorologist Dr. Jeff Masters.

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Climate Change In The West

Here’s a new TRCP video that looks at a few of the impacts of climate change on western fish & wildlife habitat.



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More Record Heat

We’re seeing more record heat, and more crazy weather, as spring arrives here in the United States. ABC News ran another segment on our unseasonably warm temperatures yesterday.

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The Science Was Wrong

For quite a while now, climate doves have been pointing their fingers at Britain’s Met Office, which has consistently ranked 1998 as the warmest year on record. As you might imagine, it’s difficult to make the case that the planet is continuing to warm when the warmest year ever recorded was 14 years ago.

NASA and NOAA didn’t agree, but the Brits have indeed remained steadfast that ’98 was the warmest year ever.

Until now, that is. It turns out that the planet is continuing to warm after all, and that temperatures have risen more than we thought.

Tip of the hat to Joe Romm at Climate Progress.

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Bill Geer

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Back on March 7th, we ran a post from Bill Geer, who is the Climate Change Initiative Manager for the TRCP, and who’s been a driving force behind Conservation Hawks since we first started the organization.

Bill just published a new climate change Op/Ed in the Seattle Times. We’re going to reproduce it in its entirety down below. If you read the original post, you may notice a few similarities to the Times piece, but you’ll also see a bunch of new material. Kudos to Bill, who is one of the hardest working and most talented conservationists in the country.



Address Climate Change With Science, Not Opinion Polls

Should elected officials and policymakers let public-opinion polls decide our nation's future response to climate change? Indisputably, no.

The roller-coaster path of public acceptance on climate change charted by political polls is frustrating to the pragmatists among us. With nearly 98 percent of the world's climate scientists saying climate change already is affecting the natural world, effective action requires the knowledge we gain from focused investigations and sound science — not political polls.

We should solicit the views of those not subject to political debates — fish and wildlife.

Biologists do that through field investigations on the distribution and abundance of species in habitats that meet their life-cycle requirements. If one habitat no longer will support a species, the species must move to another habitat that does. It cannot debate habitability in the public square and it votes by adapting, migrating or dying.

Growing climatological and biological information tells a story of environmental change in Washington state that is beyond rational debate. Washington's average air temperature increased 1.65 degrees Fahrenheit from 1951 through 2006, compared with a 1.25 degree increase for the United States. Average winter snowpack in the state declined 2.7 percent over the same period, and spring rain increased 16.2 percent.

August precipitation has declined 35.5 percent. The South Cascade Glacier in North Cascades National Park has been shrinking so rapidly over the past three decades that scientists predict it could melt completely within a century, jeopardizing chinook salmon reproduction in the Cascade River.

The best scientific predictions show that the sea level will rise 2 to 4 feet along the coast of Washington by 2100. Recent studies in Skagit Bay, Willapa Bay, Gray's Harbor and the mouth of the Columbia River predict nearly a 60 percent loss of low tidal habitat and eelgrass beds by 2100, probably leading to a steep decline in coastal black brant abundance.

Climate change is forcing Washington's elk populations to adapt to changes in their forage and shift their annual migration patterns. Variations in water quality and quantity could transform some trout rivers to smallmouth bass waters. Freshwater wetland loss throughout Washington could severely reduce waterfowl productivity. The loss of the insulation of prairie snow cover in Eastern Washington can kill sharp-tailed grouse chicks in early spring when air temperatures still are freezing.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, under the state's Climate Leadership Act, is planning adaptive measures to better conserve and manage fish and wildlife across broad landscapes in the changing climate. With recommendations from the Wildlife Habitat Connectivity Working Group, the agency is emphasizing conservation of crucial areas, such as winter range for elk, and corridors that will enable fish and wildlife species to move to other suitable habitat.

Thomas Kimball, past director of the Colorado Division of Wildlife, said in 1981:

"Man is an integral part of the animal kingdom. As our environment becomes less livable for the subjects of the kingdom, it also becomes less suitable for the king. The status and trends of species diversity and the condition of fish and wildlife populations are the litmus tests of a healthy human environment."

Man and wildlife — we're all in this together. We need to accept that.

William Geer is the Climate Change Initiative Manager for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. He produced a video, "Beyond Seasons' End — Washington," documenting the impacts of climate change on Washington's fish and wildlife. He is based in Lolo, Mont.

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Shotgun Update

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No one who follows climate science will be surprised to learn that last’s month’s shotgun challenge has come and gone without my Beretta changing hands. Long story short, the science on climate change remains solid.

If there’s one thing that caught me by surprise, it’s how truly ineffective people were in making the case that human-caused climate change is a hoax. The standard approach was to copy an opinion piece from a marginal source like WUWT, e-mail it to me, and expect me to fork over my gun. No one presented substantive, peer-reviewed science that contradicts our current understanding of climate change, and no one offered an alternate hypothesis that explains the physical realities around us and also stands up to close scientific scrutiny.

I’ll keep the challenge open, but it sure looks like I’ll be holding on to my shotgun for the foreseeable future.

Posted by Rod & Gun Club contributor
Todd Tanner
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Where Should We Start?

Whitetail Deer

One of our short term goals here at Conservation Hawks is to document how climate change is likely to impact hunters and anglers. For example, let’s say you hunt elk in Colorado or you fish for largemouth bass in Georgia and Florida. How will climate change effect your hunting or fishing 10 years from now, or 20, or 50?

We’re going to rely on the best possible science to create all our scenarios, but we’d like to hear from you about where we should start. Quail hunting in the south? Trout fishing in the Rockies? Whitetail hunting in New England? Bonefish in the Florida Keys? Turkey hunting in Pennsylvania and West Virginia? Salmon fishing in Alaska? Please stop by the comment section and tell us what kind of hunting or fishing you’re most interested in. It’s okay if you can’t make up your mind between fishing for smallmouth bass in Minnesota and hunting pheasants in Kansas - feel free to leave us 2 or 3 different suggestions.

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Hot Weather

Here’s an excellent Washington Post piece on the unseasonably warm weather that most of the country has been experiencing, courtesy of Mike Diehl.

A little taste:

At Climate Central, Andrew Freedman put this current stretch of extraordinary warm weather into a broader context:
In a long-term trend that has been linked to global climate change, daily record-high temperatures have recently been outpacing daily record-lows by an average of 2-to-1, and this imbalance is expected to grow as the climate continues to warm. According to a 2009 study, if the climate were not warming, this ratio would be expected to be even.

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Hawks & Doves

Are you a hawk or a dove?

Hawks are vigilant, passionate and protective. They tackle problems head-on and they advocate for strong, direct action. That’s true across the board, whether you’re talking about military hawks, fiscal hawks, foreign policy hawks, deficit hawks or conservation hawks.

Doves usually fly in the other direction. They’d rather discuss a problem than do something concrete. They want to study the situation and then study it some more. They’re worried about the possible consequences of their actions, and they almost always favor a passive approach.

Hawks feel they have a real stake in the fight. They want to protect our country, our way of life, our American heritage and our kids and our grandkids. They’re conservatives in the true sense of the word. Our most famous conservationists were all hawks - Aldo Leopold, George Grinnell, Theodore Roosevelt ...

History hasn’t treated doves so kindly. One of the 20th century’s most famous doves - Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime minister who attempted to appease Nazi Germany with diplomacy - was succeeded by an equally famous hawk, Sir Winston Churchill, who led the fight against Hitler’s war machine and told England, "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."

And now we find ourselves drawing lines in the sand yet again. On one side are the doves who tell us there is no climate problem. Or if there is a problem, we’re not responsible for it. Or if we are responsible, there may not be anything we can do about it. In any case, the situation needs more study and more discussion before we can even think about addressing it.

On the other side are the hawks. We recognize that the climate threat is real, that the science is solid, and that it’s our sacred duty to defend our sporting heritage and pass on our hunting & fishing to future generations. Furthermore, we understand the true nature of this fight. Climate change is a moral issue and those of us fighting for our future and our kids & grandkids hold the high ground.

So here’s the question of the day in black & white. Where do you stand? Are you a conservation hawk or a climate dove?

Posted by Rod & Gun Club contributor Todd Tanner

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An Unsually Warm Winter

It’s hard to believe, but I actually went from January 1st to January 17th here in the northern Rockies without ever pulling on my winter boots. And for the first time ever I haven’t seen the temperature drop down to 0 degrees F. during a Montana winter. Now ABC News is reporting that we’ve had one of our warmest winters on record, and that climate change is responsible. Kudos to ABC for telling us the truth about our changing climate.

Posted by Rod & Gun Club contributor Todd Tanner

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Carbon Nation

I had a long talk the other day with Peter Byck. Peter directed and produced the documentary Carbon Nation, which bills itself as a climate change solutions movie that doesn’t even care if you believe in climate change. Peter just sent me a copy of the film, and while there’s no hunting or fishing to be found, it’s definitely worth watching. I can’t share the movie with you right now, but here’s the trailer. (By the way, I love the one-armed guy from Texas. He’s a hoot.)



Posted by Rod & Gun Club contributor
Todd Tanner

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Cards On The Table

Okay, let’s put our cards on the table. Name three people you trust on climate change, and tell us why you trust them. And just for the hell of it, tell us your favorite place to hunt or fish. (You don’t have to give up any secrets, but be as specific as you can.)

I’ll jump in last.

Posted by Rod & Gun Club contributor Todd Tanner
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Hansen On Climate Change

Here’s NASA’s Dr. James Hansen, one of our foremost climatologists, describing the history of climate science and his own personal background as a climate expert. He also explains why it’s vital that we take immediate action to control our greenhouse gas emissions.


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The Wild Economy

bill_geer_no_credit_needed
The roller-coaster path of public belief in global warming charted by political polls is frustrating to those wanting to combat the harmful effects of climate change predicted by nearly 98% of the world’s climate scientists. Translating public concern for climate change into effective action requires the knowledge we get from focused investigations and sound science – not political polls.

A 2012 Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that public belief in global warming has risen to its highest level - 64% of Likely Voters - in two-and-half-years. This follows the steep decline in public belief that followed the Climategate in November 2009, which itself followed a period in 2008 when public belief in climate change was rising.

The belief-disbelief disparity occurs also along partisan lines. A survey updated in 2011 by the Oregon Global Warming Commission showed 84% of conservatives are skeptical about climate change, whereas 97% of liberals believe global warming is probably happening. The survey further reports the 97% of liberals believe we should do something about it while 69% of conservatives think we should not.

So, are we collectively going to decide if global warming is real, by doing year-to-year polls of voters who have shown a bias based on their political affiliation or are changing their minds one year to the next? That’s a hell of a way to deal with arguably the greatest environmental dilemma facing the globe.

Instead of polling voters, why not “ask” those not subject to political debates – fish and wildlife. While we cannot directly ask them their views, state fish and wildlife biologists do conduct field investigations on the distribution and abundance of fish and wildlife species that are forced to live in habitats that meet their life cycle requirements. In that way, species are giving their response by where they choose to live. If one habitat no longer will support a species, it must move to another that does. It cannot debate habitability in the public square, and it votes by adapting, migrating or dying.

The late Thomas Kimball, past director of the Colorado Division of Wildlife and later executive vice president of the National Wildlife Federation, said in 1981: “Man…is an integral part of the animal kingdom. As our environment becomes less livable for the subjects of the kingdom, it also becomes less suitable for the king. The status and trends of species diversity and the condition of fish and wildlife populations are the litmus tests of a healthy human environment.”

It is often said that opposition to action on climate change stems from the perceived harm to our current fragile economy. The American people are rightfully concerned about imposing government constraints that might limit their ability to earn a living in a place they want live, doing the things they want to do, at a level above poverty. We demand the economic freedom to make choices about our own lives.

Fish and wildlife have their own economy, one measured by both the energy gained from living in suitable habitat with adequate food and the energy expended in day-to-day survival rather than by eight-hour days and dollars in the bank. A species cannot survive long when energy expense exceeds energy intake. Poverty would be defined by net energy loss and would likely lead to species extirpation.

Man and wildlife – we’re all in this together. We need to believe that.

Posted by Rod & Gun contributor Bill Geer.

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Wilderness Warming

If you’re a hunter or angler with a passion for wild country, you may find this thoughtful piece from Park Science magazine worth your time. Authors Nathan Stephenson and Constance Millar explore the issues of climate and wilderness, and offer their thoughts on what may happen as climate change impacts our wild places and humans try to manage the situation.

Here’s a little taste:

SOME 20,000 YEARS AGO, THE AREA THAT WE NOW know as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness in Everglades National Park (Florida) was not graced by the sprawling “river of grass,” dense mangrove forests, and the rich waters of the Florida Bay. With a sizable amount of Earth’s water locked up in continental ice caps, the present bay was high and dry, the nearest ocean shore was miles away, and the land supported pine woodlands and scrub. On the other side of the continent, the parched salt flats of today’s Death Valley Wilderness (California) were drowned under a 600-foot-deep (183 m) lake. The Yosemite Wilderness’s (California) stately forests, lush meadows, and high mountain lakes were buried under hundreds of feet of ice.

What a difference a few degrees can make!”

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LA Times Op/Ed

The L.A. Times ran an exceptional climate Op/Ed on Tuesday. The entire piece is worth reading. Here’s a little taste:

“As of January, the Earth's atmosphere contained 393 parts per million of carbon dioxide. And rising.”

“To understand why that's a very sad number, it helps to know that from the dawn of human civilization until the 19th century, the concentration was about 275 parts per million, and that many scientists believe 350 parts per million is a sort of tipping point: Irreversible impacts and feedback loops start to kick in, and the cost of repairing the resulting damage from such things as sea-level rise and droughts not only skyrockets, the cost of adapting to the changes does too. But we've already sailed past that point. And we're heading inexorably toward another one that's far worse: 450 parts per million, the truly scary level at which 3.5 degrees of warming above pre-industrial global average temperatures is locked in. The predicted result: centuries of weather extremes, drought-fueled global famine, mass migration, the vanishing of low-lying islands and territories as sea ice melts away, wide-scale species extinction and other horrors too numerous and depressing to list.”

“To global warming denialists, the above paragraph constitutes the "alarmist" perspective on climate change. Never mind that it is backed by a wealth of research, the world's most state-of-the-art climate models (whose accuracy in predicting the recent effects of climate change has been repeatedly demonstrated), the national science academies of the world's developed nations (including the U.S. National Academies), the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, among other prominent academic and scientific organizations. To the denial set, these groups and individual scientists are part of a global liberal cabal that is scheming to impose its radical environmentalist agenda on the entire planet via government programs to cut carbon emissions; as proof, denialists point to their own research and studies -- typically funded by fossil fuel interests, performed by non-climatologists and published in non-peer-reviewed journals -- that pick away at the scientific consensus. You wouldn't think such an anti-intellectual and grossly irresponsible movement would have much success in the court of public opinion. You would be horrifyingly wrong....”

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Russian Roulette, Revisited

I’d like to revisit yesterday’s “Russian Roulette” post and respond to one of the comments. The post elicited criticism that “the cost of the alternative is not proposed.” So let’s look at the real costs on both sides

If our scientists are right and we don’t address climate change while there’s still time to do so, the longterm costs are obvious. We will lose some, or all, of our hunting and fishing. Depending on location, we may experience coastal erosion and flooding, severe storms, longer and more severe droughts, catastrophic wildfires, etc. These impacts will make it more difficult to grow food, provide clean drinking water and engage in profitable business activities. We will make our oceans more and more acidic. We will see more government intrusion at every level, and we will have fewer personal liberties. We we will become engaged in foreign conflicts as fossil fuels supplies deplete and populations shift across political borders to move away from climate disasters. Oh, and our kids & grandkids will curse us for sticking our heads in the sand.

If we do address climate change and our scientists are wrong - meaning there is no climate change and we act on it regardless - we will save most, or all, of our hunting and fishing. We will wean ourselves away from our dependence on fossil fuels. We will stop sending $1 Billion per day abroad to fund oil-rich despots and terrorists. We will greatly reduce air pollution and mercury poisoning. We will stop acidifying our oceans. We will create a new renewable energy economy that will drive America forward for the foreseeable future. We will reduce our military burden and disentangle ourselves from the politics of Middle Eastern oil. We will make it easier on ourselves to grow food and procure water. We will limit government intrusion in our lives. And with a little luck, our kids & grandkids may even say a few nice things about us.

So we have two alternatives. One saves our hunting & fishing and gives our kids & grandkids a fighting chance - while driving our economy forward - yet greatly reduces profits for the fossil fuel industry. The other ensures continued profits for the fossil fuel industry at the cost of everything we care about, including our kids & grandkids and our hunting & fishing. Those are our choices.

Here’s the bottom line. There are no viable reasons to ignore climate change. None. As “Guest” rightly pointed on in the comment section, “as a practical matter, you'd be a fool to deny climate change ...” Truer words have never been spoken.

Posted by Rod & Gun Club contributor Todd Tanner

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Russian Roulette

At its heart, climate change is a moral and ethical issue; especially for hunters & anglers. Most of the current debate centers on the science, but the science is only one part of it.

Not too long ago, M.I.T. put out a study showing that temperatures could rise by more than 10 degrees F. this century if we don’t get a handle on our greenhouse gas emissions. That kind of temperature increase would destroy fish and wildlife habitat all over the planet and leave humanity in (and on) a world of hurt. Our kids and our grandkids, not to mention our hunting & angling, would be completely screwed.

I think we can all agree that trashing everything we care about and leaving our children a sick planet is a really bad idea. Still, the debate rages on. Is global warming real? Are the climate projections correct? Are the scientists right?

Now set those questions aside for a second and focus on a more important one instead. What kind of risks are we willing to take with our future?

Last I heard, our top scientists were saying with 90% or greater certainty that the earth’s climate is warming and that humans are causing much of the temperature increase. But let’s throw out that 90% figure. For argument’s sake, let’s stipulate that the odds are lower and drop them all the way down to 50%. Is it moral for us to reduce our future to the toss of a coin? Heads we win, tails we’re toast? Is that a wager we’re willing to make?

You know what? The heck with 50%. Let’s cut it all the way down to 20%. Let’s say there’s only a 20% chance that those incredibly smart scientists at M.I.T. have their projections right. Would you let your kids play in the road if there was a 20% chance they’d get run over by a truck? Would you let them swim across the river if you knew there was a 20% chance they’d drown?

Here it is in black & white. None of us can say for sure what’s going to happen in the future. We can offer educated guesses, but the reality is that we simply don’t know. But no rational human being should be willing to bet everything we care about - every last thing; our hunting and fishing, our kids and grandkids - that our scientists are wrong. That’s the act of a madman or a sociopath.

There’s not a person alive who can guarantee with absolute certainty that our scientists are mistaken. And since that’s the case, the folks on the other side of this issue are literally asking us to play Russian Roulette with our future. I don’t give a damn how many bullets are in the revolver; there’s no way I’m putting that barrel against my son’s head and pulling the trigger.

Climate change is a moral issue. It’s the moral issue of our time. We don’t need to focus on scientific certainty. We simply have to ask ourselves if we’re willing to wager everything we care about - our hunting & fishing; our kids & grandkids - that our experts are wrong. I’ll tell you one thing right now. I’m not going to make that bet.

Posted by Rod & Gun Club contributor Todd Tanner

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Take Action

We’re hoping to expand the “Take Action” section of our website to include concrete steps to reduce our CO2 emissions. Individuals actions aren’t enough - we need systemic change, both here in the U.S. and all over the world - but we also have to do our part as sportsmen.

There are a number of steps we’re going to recommend - for example, we should all be planting more trees, which pull carbon out of the air and lock it up for decades or centuries - but we’d like to hear your thoughts, too. You can leave your suggestions in the comment section or e-mail them to us via our Contact Us page. We’ll feature some of the best advice in a future post, and we’ll also make it a permanent addition to our website.

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A Reasonable Question

One of the climate doves over at the F&S blog left a question for me, and I’d like to address it here. He wanted to know what it would take for me to reverse my opinion on man-made climate change. That’s a great question, and I have a simple answer.

1) If new scientific evidence arises that casts doubt on the scientific consensus, and if either a majority or a large minority of climate scientists say we need to reexamine our views, then I will be happy to follow suit. We are focused on the science here at Conservation Hawks. If our climate scientists come out and say they’ve been wrong, then we will follow their example.

or

2) If the empirical evidence that I see on a daily basis changes dramatically, and if no theory consistent with current climate change science explains these changes, then I will reexamine my views.

And now for the second part of this post. I’d like to ask our climate doves if they’d answer a similar question. What, specifically, would have to happen for you to reverse your opinion on climate change and begin to support Conservation Hawks?

Any takers?

Posted by Rod & Gun Club contributor
Todd Tanner

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Suggested Reading

Bill Geer, who’s on our Conservation Hawks Board and who’s a respected wildlife biologist (as well as the Climate Change Initiative Manager for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership), wanted to pass along this comprehensive study of How We Know Global Warming Is Real. If you’re trying to catch up on the science and learn what’s accurate and what isn’t, this is an excellent place to start.

(You’ll need to scroll down just a bit to start reading.)

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8 Questions

We’ve been attracting a fair number of folks to our Rod & Gun Club blog. If any of our visiting climate skeptics would like to take a crack at the following questions, be our guest.

1) Why are millions of acres of forest dying in the western U.S. and Canada?

2) Why are our mountain snows coming later and melting earlier?

3) Why did the U.S. National Academy of Sciences recently call anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change a “settled fact?”

4) If climate change wasn’t responsible, why was 2000 - 2009 the warmest decade ever recorded?

5) Along those same lines, if climate change wasn’t responsible, why was 2010 the warmest year ever recorded?

6) Why do 97% to 98% of climate scientists agree that our climate is warming and that humans are responsible for much of the temperature increase?

7) Why has the fossil fuel industry spent so much money trying to convince us that the science on climate change is not yet settled?

8) What would you tell your kids & grandkids if you dismissed the threat from climate change and we lost our hunting and fishing because we failed to act in time?
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A Simple Table

I ran across an interesting graphic yesterday. On one side of the climate divide are the scientific organizations and societies that believe the earth is warming, people are in large part responsible, and we’re in for some real problems. (It should go without saying that those problems will have a huge impact on hunters & anglers.) And on the other side of the divide are the scientific organizations who don’t agree with this view.

Click here and take a look for yourself. And while you’re at it, read the rest of the “Climate change science: a simple table” post. It’s a dandy. A tip of the hat to A. Siegel at Get Energy Smart! NOW!

Posted by Rod & Gun Club contributor Todd Tanner
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What About The Science?

A commenter from a previous post had a difficult time with my willingness to accept climate science. He (or she) was worried that “nothing I write will convince you of anything if you have ‘accepted’ the science of ‘climate change’.” The commenter apparently seemed to think we should ignore climate science.

Lets back up and take this whole issue from the beginning. Most hunters and anglers have a healthy respect for experts. If we want to learn about the best rifle for Montana whitetails, or the best catfish bait for a river in Minnesota, or the best fly rod for West Virginia brook trout, we’ll ask someone who has a reputation for excellence in those areas.

The same thing applies if we get sick or hurt. If I break my ankle, I’ll go see a doctor; preferably one who’s worked on broken ankles before. It doesn’t make much sense to haul my broken ankle to the guy who works on my truck engine or the gal who cuts my hair.

Now anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m a serious hunter and a serious angler, but I’m not a scientist. Consequently, when I want to learn about climate change, I go right to the experts - the climate scientists. And when I want to learn how climate change is likely to impact fish & wildlife populations, along with fish & wildlife habitat, I ask fisheries or wildlife biologists. Pretty simple, right? Ask the experts.

Now there’s always the chance that different experts will have different opinions, and if that happens, it can definitely muddy the waters. But that’s not an issue with climate change. 97% to 98% of climate researchers agree that climate change is real and that people are major contributors to the problem. That’s beyond a consensus. That’s what the National Academy of Sciences calls a “settled fact.”

So when someone is concerned that Conservation Hawks accepts the science of climate change, I’m always a little confused. What’s the alternative? Do we ignore NASA and NOAA and the National Academy of Sciences? Do we ignore the 97% of climatologists who are telling us that we have a major problem? Do we take a huge chance with our hunting & fishing, and with our kids & grandkids, because “only” 97% of the experts agree that climate change is a serious issue?

I can’t speak for anyone else, but that kind of willful disregard for science strikes me as the worst thing we can do. It also makes me wonder why some people are so willing to put our sporting heritage at risk. What are their motivations, and what do they stand to gain if we lose our hunting & fishing?

Posted by Rod & Gun Club contributor Todd Tanner
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Climate Questions

Over the last few days we’ve received any number of questions about our views on climate change. Rather than engage in a whole slew of parallel conversations - which would take way more time than we have available - it makes more sense to compile a list of the most common questions, and then post our answers on the Conservation Hawks website.

In the meantime, please share your questions and comments here on the Rod & Gun Club blog. It’s the easiest way to engage your fellow Conservation Hawks, and it’s the best way to make sure we address your questions in a timely manner.
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Skin In The Game, Part III - Put Up Your Guns

This post is for folks who don’t accept the science of climate change.

Skin in the game. You know what that means, right? We need a stake in the outcome. We have to pay to play. So here’s what I’ll do - gladly, with joy - for the person who convinces me that our Conservation Hawks team is mistaken about climate change, and that we should be looking elsewhere for the biggest threats on the horizon.

I own a handsome 12 gauge shotgun my wife gave me for my birthday a while back. It’s a Beretta 687 Silver Pigeon and in spite of my questionable shooting skills it’s killed a fair number of birds over the years. So here’s my challenge to you. I will auction off my Beretta and donate the proceeds to the charity of your choice if you can convince me that I’m mistaken about climate change.

Or, if you’re not big on charities, I’ll give you the shotgun. No strings, free & clear; It’s yours. All you have to do is convince me - with logic, or passion, or whatever means you have at your disposal - that I’m wrong about climate change, or that my fellow Conservation Hawks and I are wasting our time on the issue.

Just so we’re clear - I will listen to your arguments. You have my word. Hell, I’d love to learn that my concerns about climate change are completely unwarranted. But you’re going to have to be more persuasive than our climate scientists, and that won’t be easy.

One other thing. Fair is fair, and we all need to have a little skin in the game. So if you’re positive that climate change is a hoax, come to our Rod & Gun Club blog, jump on any Monday Open Thread and make your case. Only before you do, please visit our website, hit the “Donate” button, and pony up your end of the bargain. A few bucks in the kitty will show that you’re serious about your views and deserving of a thoughtful response.

Here’s the truth. We have to get past the question about whether climate change is “real.” If we’re going to come out the other end of this tunnel, hunters & anglers need to start working together on some very difficult problems. But first we have to have an open, honest, informed discussion and put this issue to rest. Let’s start that discussion now.

Posted by Rod & Gun Club contributor Todd Tanner

Click here to read Skin In The Game, Part 1 - A Big Tent
Click here to read Skin In The Game, Part 2 - Wasting Time

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Skin In The Game, Part II - Wasting Time

I hate wasting my time. I truly do. It annoys the hell out of me. And there’s nothing, and I mean nothing, worse than toiling at something long after you’ve figured out it makes no sense to go on. So please help me out. I’m convinced that climate change is the gathering storm on the horizon, the 800 pound gorilla in the room, the horn awaiting Gabriel’s lips. That’s what so many climate scientists are saying. That’s what all the evidence out my front door tells me. That’s what my heart whispers. But what if I’m wrong? Can you imagine anything more frustrating then spending years of your life fighting against something that doesn’t even exist? You know what they’d say. There he goes, drinking the kool-aid, tilting at windmills, chasing will-o'-the-wisps. Good ol’ Don ever-clueless Quixote.

So if you’re a climate dove or a climate denier, come to our Rod & Gun Club blog and convince me that I’m wrong about climate change. Explain why I’m mistaken. Take the weight from my shoulders and help me to go back to the things I love, rather than feeling like I have to push this huge boulder up a never-ending hill. I’ll thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Posted by Rod & Gun Club contributor Todd Tanner

Click here to read Skin In The Game, Part 1 - A Big Tent
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Skin In The Game, Part 1 - A Big Tent

One of the dangers with organizations like CH is that we can end up stuck in our own little circle, preaching to the choir and not making much of a difference to the world at large. That’s not our goal here at Conservation Hawks. We want to reach people - lots of them - as quickly as possible. Not because we’re hoping for fame or glory, or to satisfy our egos, or because Conservation Hawks will turn into a cash cow if we can just sign up enough hunters & anglers. (By the way, we don’t charge folks to register as a CH supporter. You can do it for free on our website.)

No, we’re old fashioned. We just want to pass along a healthy natural world to our kids and grandkids so they can experience the same quality fishing & hunting we enjoy today. And in order to do that, we need a big tent. We need to reach every kind of sportsman: the fly fishers and upland bird hunters, the cane pole folks who fish for crappie & bream, the bass anglers with their fancy boats and gear, the elk hunters who dream of distant, snow-dusted mountains, the whitetail and turkey fanatics, the spey rod steelheaders, the muskie guys and walleye gals and the quiet men who run hounds far from the beaten path. We need them all; we need to reach them all. Whether they believe that climate change is the biggest, gravest threat out there, or whether they’re not quite sure what to think, or whether they’re convinced that global warming is a load of crap (or a communist plot); regardless, we need them.

So I want to invite every one of you, whether you agree with us or not, to join the conversation here on our Rod & Gun Club blog.

Posted by Rod & Gun Club contributor Todd Tanner
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What's Your Opinion?

You know our opinion. What’s yours? Is climate change real, or is it some sort of a hoax? Are people truly changing the climate? Is it a serious threat to sportsmen? What are its potential impacts on our fish & wildlife, and on hunters & anglers?

And would you be willing to bet your favorite shotgun that you know what you’re talking about?

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