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Commentary: Carbon tax needed to curb CO2 emissions

A map from the United Nations Environmental Programme shows relative CO2 production worldwide.

Leading climate economist argues that carbon tax would reflect true cost of global warming impacts

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The oft-discussed cap and trade model for limiting carbon greenhouse gas emissions is inefficient and ineffective, according to Yale climate economist William Nordhaus, who last week advocated for supplementing or replacing cap-and-trade with a flat carbon tax that reflects the true environmental and societal costs of global warming.

Writing in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Nordhaus describes carbon dioxide emissions externalities, with social consequences not accounted for in the market place. They are market failures because people do not pay for the current and future costs of their emissions, he wrote. A carbon tax could be a useful means to cut budget deficits while meeting environmental objectives, he said. Continue reading

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Morning photo: Summit snow

Catching the light fantastic …

The peaks of the Gore Range catch fire with the first rays of sun.

SUMMIT COUNTY — Taking a cue from the magpies that perch in tip of an aspen outside my kitchen window (scroll to the last picture), I try to get out early some mornings to catch the first light. It’s refreshing, therapeutic and rewarding, and wakes me up even better than that first cup of coffee. Following are a few scenes from recent daybreak (and one sunset) moments around Summit County. Click on read more to see the rest … Continue reading

Morning photo: Some favorites

From the Imagekind gallery …

Solo by Bob Berwyn

A lone adelie penguin.

SUMMIT COUNTY — Some of the best shots from my Imagekind Gallery, where you can buy prints and framed prints and even get a preview of different color mattes. Visit the gallery to browse more photography and maybe get a Christmas present or two. Continue reading

Vail Pass winter rec fees start Nov. 26

Day use fees at Vail Pass are $6 per person.

Courtesy and consideration needed in the high-use area

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — If you’re headed to Vail Pass to play in the snow this weekend, be aware that the annual seasonal fee program takes effect beginning Nov. 26, with day-use passes selling for $6 per person, while season passes are available for $40. Children 15 and under are free.

Season passes can be purchased at the Vail Pass trailhead on Saturdays and Sundays, at the Dillon Ranger District office in Silverthorne and at the Holy Cross Ranger District office in Minturn. Fee stations with self pay envelops are located at all VPWRA trailheads. Continue reading

Opinion: ‘Trust, but verify’ holds true for Gulf oil spill

Oil spreading across the Gulf of Mexico in July, 2009. PHOTO COURTESY NOAA.

More unpleasant facts about the oil disaster coming to light in reports and documents obtained with Freedom of Information Act requests

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — I never thought I’d quote Ronald Reagan, but the latest news on the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster makes me think of his admonition to “trust, but verify.”

Late Wednesday, the federal government released a report on how it arrived at its conclusions about the rate of oil that was spewing from BP’s failed well, and as it turns out, the widespread skepticism about some of those estimates was more than justified.

The report was released at the start of the holiday weekend, at a time when the media traditionally focuses on cheery recipes and the latest shopping news from the local mall. It suggests that there was a lot of internal debate, not only about the numbers themselves, but about how the information was being communicated to the public, and about the role of government and non-government scientists involved in the oil spill calculations. Continue reading

Global warming: Lake ecoysytems at risk

Satellite data in a new study on global warming shows that some major lakes around the world are heating at a rate of up to 1.8 degrees per decade.

Study provides independent source for assessing global warming impacts

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — A comprehensive study of global satellite data shows surface temperatures of large lakes around the planet warmed significantly in the past 25 years in response to climate change.

Researchers Philipp Schneider and Simon Hook of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., used satellite data to measure the surface temperatures of 167 large lakes worldwide, finding an average warming of 0.81 degrees per decade, with some lakes warming as much as 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit per decade.

The warming trend spans the globe, but is most pronounced in the mid- to high-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. Warming was weaker in the tropics and in the mid-latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere. That’s consistent with what’s expected based on most existing climate models, said Hook. Continue reading

Nanotech solution for ice buildup?

Nanotech engineering may offer a way to non-chemical de-icing, a Harvard research team says.

Harvard researchers say structured surfaces could reduce the need for chemicals and salt on roads and airplane wings

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Harvard University engineers say they’ve designed nano-structured materials that can repel water droplets from sub-freezing surfaces before they have a chance to freeze.

According to a press release from Harvard, the findings could lead to a new way to help keep airplane wings, buildings, powerlines, and even entire highways free and clear of ice during the worst winter weather.

Integrating anti-ice nanotechnology into a material could be more efficient and sustainable than existing solutions like chemical sprays, salt and heating. Continue reading

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