Climate: Conservation group tries new path to limiting CO2 emissions

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Increasingly corrosive ocean waters pose a serious threat to shell-building species and other marine life.

‘Future generations will look back and wonder why we didn’t do everything we could to save the world’s oceans …’

Staff Report

FRISCO — Citing the growing threat to the world’s oceans, environmental advocates want the federal government to regulate carbon dioxide under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

The regulations have been used to limit emissions of other harmful chemicals, including chlorofluorocarbons, PCBs and asbestos.

“Time’s running out to avoid a mass extinction of wildlife in our oceans,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “It may not look like a toxic chemical, but when there’s too much CO2 in the ocean, it turns seawater corrosive and dissolves the protective shells that marine animals need to survive,” Sakashita said. Continue reading

Pope’s message tackles ethical and moral implications of climate and environmental policy choices

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Pope Francis released his environmental encyclical just as climate scientists said that May was yet another record warm month for planet Earth, and that 2015 is likely to be the warmest year ever for the globe.

‘Those who profited least from the exploitation of fossil fuels and contributed least to greenhouse-gas emissions are hit hardest by global warming impacts’

Staff Report

FRISCO — It’s easiest to look at global warming through a purely scientific lens. Simple physics provide a completely logical explanation for the steady upward trend in global temperatures.

It’s much harder to to address the issue when you add politics and ethics to the equation, which is what Pope Francis sought to do with his recent “Laudato Si” encyclical on inequality and the environment.

Crafting the language may have been like walking on a tightrope above a political and religious minefield, but in the end, it will pay off by giving scientists more of a buffer for talking about climate and the environment in moral terms. Continue reading

Water wrangling in Colorado

Tracking the Colorado water plan update via Twitter …

And who speaks for the critters?

Not much diversity in the CWCB meeting room at this remote semi-rural golf course clubhouse near Sterling. Continue reading

Coal mining in a roadless area? Forest Service says, ‘Why not?’

Wetlands in the Sunset Roadless area. Photo courtesy Earthjustice.

Wetlands in the Sunset Roadless area. Photo courtesy Earthjustice.

State, feds to spend a ton of money for a new study and to fight subsequent lawsuits just to pump more Co2 and methane into the air

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — State and federal officials appear determined to let bulldozers punch into the rolling aspen forests of the Sunset Roadless Area southeast of Paonia.

The Colorado Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service this week announced they’ll try to reinstate a contested Colorado exemption to a 2001 national roadless rule that virtually ended all logging, roadbuilding, and coal, gas, oil, and other mineral leasing about 50 million acres across the country, including 4 million acres in Colorado.

Under unique Colorado provisions in a state version of the rule, a patch of the Sunset Roadless area was designated as a mining zone, authorizing temporary construction of roads to support future coal mining in the area, mainly by enabling construction of methane vents. Conservation advocates have been challenging those exemptions ever since. Continue reading

Environment: EPA reports steady gains in auto fuel efficiency

Red ... white & blue.

U.S. automakers make progress on cutting emissions, the EPA says. bberwyn photo.

Overall average fleet efficiency at 24.1 miles per gallon

Staff Report

FRISCO — Automakers are stepping up the pace on reducing emissions, according to the EPA, which this week released a report showing that the industry overall outperformed the national greenhouse gas emissions standards by a wide margin for the second year in a row.

Compliance for model year 2013 was 1.4 miles per gallon better than required by the 2013 standard. The report presents detailed information about how individual firms are complying with GHG emissions standards for cars and light trucks.  Continue reading

Climate: Rapid Iceland uplift linked with ice cap meltdown

Some research suggests vanishing ice could trigger volcanoes

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Could the meltdown of Iceland’s glaciers result in more volcanic activity? bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Like a baking cake, Iceland is rising up as global warming melts the island’s ice caps and glaciers.

Using detailed data from a network of 62 GPS monitoring sites, scientists showed, for example, that parts of south-central Iceland are moving upward as much as 1.4 inches (35 mm) per year — a speed that surprised the researchers, who linked the changes with global warming.

“What we’re observing is a climatically induced change in the Earth’s surface,” said University of Arizona geosciences professor Richard Bennett. “Iceland is the first place we can say accelerated uplift means accelerated ice mass loss,” Bennett said. Continue reading

BLM hits solar energy milestone

Going solar ...

Going solar …

Public lands energy projects could generate 14,ooo megawatts when completed

Staff Report

FRISCO — Republicans in Congress may be scheming to try and block the EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas emission rules, but there’s no stopping the renewable energy train.

Last month, the Department of Interior released environmental studies for three proposed utility-scale solar energy projects in the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone in Clark County, Nevada that could generate 480 megawatts of electricity on 3,083 acres within the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone. Continue reading

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