Here's the shorter version of this morning's Intelligencer editorial, "Scare Tactics Have a History in Alaska:" because some "radical environmentalists" may have been wrong once in the 1970s, we should never trust any scientist again.
The president's current Alaskan tour features the environment and so the Intelligencer argues that the president's advisors should have read some history books. It seems that back in the 1970s "radical environmentalists" (for the Intelligencer, "environmentalists" are always "radical") argued that the Alaskan Pipeline would lower the caribou population. Instead, the caribou population went up (and then it went down again). From the editorial:
But by 2003, nearly 30 years after the pipeline had been completed, the Western Arctic caribou herd numbered about 490,000 animals - more than twice its pre-pipeline level. During the past decade, the caribou population has dropped substantially - but there is no reason to believe the pipeline is to blame.
The editorial may be right in its assertion that the pipeline didn't cause the caribou's decline. Do some reading and I think you'll quickly suspect the drop in the caribou population was caused by climate change. In June, for example, Newsweek examined how climate change was affecting the state and its native tribes in an article called "Baked Alaska:"
Last year was the warmest on record for the entire planet, with the difference in Bristol Bay, some 9 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, particularly extreme. The annual Iditarod sled dog race in March had to be moved farther north, from a largely snowless Anchorage to Fairbanks. In Alaska’s far north, at least a dozen villages, including Kivalina, Shaktoolik and Shishmaref, plan to relocate because warmer, higher seas have exacerbated coastal erosion, and seal and whale hunting have been curtailed by thinning sea ice.
Local residents reinforce the point:
Ten years ago, Martin says, “elders said, ‘No, no, no, it’s not happening.’ But now they see the lack of snow, the tree growth, the lesions on caribou.... Climate change is happening in our face.”
Perhaps we could send the Intelligencer's editorial writer to Alaska to explain to these Alaskan natives that this is just "fear-mongering" by "radical environmentalists."