Tuesday, April 27, 2021

History of climate change I

The Atlantic
has an eye-opening article about (yawn) the price of construction lumber. Sure, the pandemic has encouraged people stuck at home to start renovations and home-addition projects. And housebuying by the millennial (or baby-boom echo) demographic is also increasing demand. And this all comes just as timber stocks of construction timber are declining in the Pacific Northwest, particularly British Columbia. Lumber that used to cost $384 now goes for $1104.

Production troubles in the B.C. forests rose with the pine beetle invasion that killed 60 per cent of the merchandisable pine across 18 million hectares of the province in the last two decades. Pine beetles achieved that feat because warmer climates in British Columbia mean they are not killed off by winter frosts anymore. Less pine timber: prices rise.  

BC loggers have been furiously harvesting those stands of dead timber before they becomes unusable. But the massive forest fires of the last couple of seasons have been concentrated in those same vast stands of dead and pitch-soaked forests. What drove the forest fires? Mostly, climate change. So the salvage harvest is coming to an end, and a long decline in slowgrowing B.C. timber stocks is setting in. More price rises.

“There are people who say, ‘Climate change isn’t affecting me,’” Janice Cooke, a forest-industry veteran and biology professor at the University of Alberta, told me. “But they’re going to go to the hardware store and say, ‘Holy cow, the price of lumber has gone up.’”

History of climate, no wonder it's a growth field. 

Follow @CmedMoore