Are you siting down, fellow Boulderite? You’re about to read some scary stuff.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton is sponsoring a bill to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to reduce carbon dioxide and other pollutants.
It appears, however, that Upton might have trouble rallying support.
“The bottom line is now clearer than ever: Democrats, Republicans and Independents across America want politicians to protect the health of America’s children rather than the profit-driven agenda of big polluters” said Pete Altman, Climate Campaign director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Chairman Upton and other members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will now be hard-pressed to ignore the fact that their constituents want Congress to let the EPA do its job of safeguarding the health of American families.”
What would this mean for Boulder?
In the last several years, the city and county of Boulder have been working to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. But it’s possible they’ve forgotten one significant source of carbon: the frozen dead guy who’s kept in a Tuff Shed in Nederland. Read more
When thousands of emails between many of the world’s most prominent climate scientists were stolen from East Anglia University in Britain and then posted on the Internet — launching the “climategate” controversy — several local scientists found themselves in the hot seat.
Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, has been particularly hard hit for this e-mail:
Well I have my own article on where the heck is global warming ? We are asking that here in Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on record. We had 4 inches of snow. The high the last 2 days was below 30F and the normal is 69F, and it smashed the previous records for these days by 10F. The low was about 18F and also a record low, well below the previous record low….
The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment, and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.
While the climategate controversy seems to be winding down — or at least quieting down — on the national stage, Trenberth’s comments are still being bandied about in the editorial section of the Daily Camera. Read more
Greenies are fighting a proposed expansion of coal mines in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, which would feed new coal-burning power plants like the one planned by Xcel Energy outside of Pueblo.
This out today from the Associated Press:
Environmentalists are urging people to oppose the proposed expansion of Wyoming coal mines. They say the mines are the primary source of large amounts of greenhouse gas.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management estimates that nearly 14 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions originates from coal mined from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.
Wyoming produces more coal than any other state by far. Most is burned in power plants and scientists say such plants contribute to climate change by releasing carbon dioxide.
Xcel Energy is planning to crank up a new coal-burning generator at its Comanche power plant outside of Pueblo. The new unit — which is four times the size of Boulder’s Valmont coal plant — will burn about 2 million tons of Powder River coal every year.
Boulder’s Leslie Glustrom, founder of Clean Energy Action, has been fighting the Comanche expansion tooth and nail. Check out the fact sheet she made up on the new coal-burning unit at CleanEnergyAction.org.
Charring chicken poop probably won’t save the planet on its own, but some people think charring fowl manure along with beetle-killed pine trees, corn husks and other organic matter might be an important weapon in the war on greenhouse gases. And a lot of the people who think that are hanging around Boulder this week.
Biochar — a fancy name for charcoal, more or less — is what’s left when organic matter is burned in a low-oxygen environment. And when you don’t have oxygen, you can’t make carbon dioxide. So after the burn, you’re left with biochar, which stays stable for a thousand years, locking up that pesky globe-warming carbon in a big black chunk. And as a bonus, the biochar makes an excellent fertilizer when added to agricultural fields. Read more
BOULDER, Colo. — In January 1923, when Western Light and Power company announced plans to spend $4 million to build a coal-burning power plant on the shores of what was then Weisenhorn Lake east of Boulder, locals were delighted.
The Daily Camera called the decision to construct the Valmont power plant “the greatest thing for Boulder that has happened in years,” as it would bring good jobs and ensure that the town would not be overlooked as Colorado continued to grow.
Today the brick walls of the 85-year-old building are covered with creeping ivy, tall trees quietly line the power station’s drive — and Boulder residents are decidedly less delighted about having a coal plant in their back yard. Read more