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April 2 News: Record-Smashing Warmth Leaves Ski Resorts Scrambling To Stay Open

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"April 2 News: Record-Smashing Warmth Leaves Ski Resorts Scrambling To Stay Open"

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Other stories below: California officials ask energy firms to disclose fracking sites; Biden slams Republicans for blocking renewable energy

Photo: James Thompson

Warm weather, dearth of snow leave ski resorts scrambling to keep terrain, chairlifts open

Flowers are blooming along the sidewalks. Snow on the mountains is melting fast.

Residents here aren’t sure whether to ski or golf.

But most of them are certain of one thing: Climate change is not a hoax.

The Aspen Skiing Co., the mayor, a pair of county commissioners and many residents in town are pressuring the Aspen Chamber Resort Association to quit paying dues and divorce itself from the U.S. Chamber, which has aggressively lobbied against climate legislation over the years. The 680-member local chamber wrote a letter to the national group in 2010 delineating its political differences, but the debate this ski season — the driest one here since 1976-1977 — has become far more heated.

“The U.S. Chamber is the largest right-wing, climate-denying corporate front group on the planet. And Aspen supports it. Why?” asked Auden Schendler, the ski company’s vice president of sustainability. “Now is the time to actually do something that matters on climate. Aspen can be the Keystone XL of the Chamber fight.”

… Changing temperatures don’t just affect ski resorts in the winter. The forests that engulf them in the summers have been ravaged by bark beetles that thrive in warmer environs. The insects are sucking the life out of forests, leaving them more vulnerable to wildfires and changing them from green to brown. Foresters are having to devote more resources to combat climate change.

The Brown administration is scrambling to convince an increasingly wary public that state regulators are getting a handle on hydraulic fracturing, a controversial oil extraction method that can pose a hazard to drinking water.State environmental officials last week requested that energy companies disclose where they conduct “fracking” operations and what chemicals they inject into the ground to tap oil deposits. They also were considering whether to launch an independent study to assess effects of the practice.

The administration plans to undertake a statewide “listening” tour for public comment on an extraction technique that until now has drawn the greatest attention in the Rocky Mountain West and Northeast, where the discovery of toxic chemicals in drinking water near fracking operations has sparked calls for moratoriums and more regulation.

Biden slams Republicans for blocking programs for renewable energy

More investment in “green” technology is shaping up to be a cornerstone of President Obama’s re-election effort, and the administration’s No. 2 man on Sunday accused Republicans of standing in the way of wind, solar and other renewable sources of energy.

“They’re emasculating all the efforts to deal with renewable energy,” Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday in a prerecorded interview on CBS‘ “Face the Nation.”

“They have no policy,” he said of Republicans, including the GOP presidential hopefuls who increasingly are making more U.S. oil and gas drilling a major campaign theme.

How ecosystems will be affected by global warming

Global warming increases the risk for species extinction, especially in bio diverse ecosystems, because extreme weather conditions like hurricanes, draughts and torrential downpours become more frequent.

Human impact means that flora and fauna become extinct at a rate 100-1000 times higher than normal. Climate change has been deemed as one of the main causes of species depletion.

Nuclear industry dreams dashed by current economic reality

The news that nuclear giants RWE and E.ON are dropping plans to build any new UK reactors has sent a toxic cloud not only over Wales, but over the nuclear industry itself.

Of course, everyone knows nowadays, post-Chernobyl, post-Fukushima, that nuclear power plants are not really safe. Even if there are a few noisy die-hards, arguing that the resulting radiation is harmless, and that “hardly anyone” dies as a direct consequence of atomic meltdown, that old canard just won’t wash any more.

Other nuclear myths, though, have lingered on. Atomic energy, unveiled by Her Majesty with grand aplomb at Calder Hall half a century ago, still has a hi-tech glamour, an aura of somehow being “the future”. The reality that atomic plants are basically steam engines staffed by thousands of casual workers who would otherwise be picking strawberries or digging up roads somehow never impinges. Perhaps one of the most shocking images post-Fukushima, was of unskilled workers hosing sea water on to the smouldering wreckage. Not here the calm, fatherly figures in their white lab-coats in front of consoles worthy of the Starship Enterprise.

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28 Responses to April 2 News: Record-Smashing Warmth Leaves Ski Resorts Scrambling To Stay Open

  1. prokaryotes says:

    The Historic Texas Drought, Visualized

    A devastating drought consumed nearly all of Texas in 2011, killing livestock, destroying agriculture and sparking fires that burned thousands of homes. It was the worst single-year drought in the state’s recorded history.

    As part of NPR’s state-based public policy reporting network, StateImpact, we created an interactive news application to show how state policy (and in this case, climate forces) have affected people’s lives.
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/04/02/149704135/the-historic-texas-drought-visualized

  2. prokaryotes says:

    An investigation by the Sun newspaper found South East Water had been opening more than a thousand hydrants in the “dead of night” to “flush” out the system.
    This, they claimed, let water run into the gutter at up to ten litres a second – the equivalent of more than five million litres, or enough to fill 62,000 baths.
    The work, which the company claims is essential to “maintain water quality” is still being carried out despite the UK suffering the driest spell in 86 years.
    Much of England has officially been declared in “drought”, as millions of people face a ban on watering gardens, washing cars and filling paddling pools with hoses, beginning this Thursday. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/drought/9180094/Water-company-wastes-5m-litres-in-drought-it-is-claimed.html

  3. G Ennis says:

    Well that is depressing news. If the Aspen Chamber Resort Association is still financially backing those who deny the evidence of climate change I have to wonder what will be their tipping point in terms of withdrawing support and when?

    Will they wait until many of their members are going out of business due to climate change? The actions of the Chamber would seem to mimic those of the native people of Easter Island who centuries ago destroyed their own ecosystem.

    • Paul Magnus says:

      Yes. Things are crazy….

      Climate Portals shared a link via Climate Chaos.
      22 hours ago
      It’s getting to me….
      Is Climate Change a Mental Health Emergency? – Forbes
      http://www.forbes.com
      Flooding in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Photo credit: USGS / Flickr Creative Commons Tornadoes and wildfires, floods and droughts have caused people mental anguish since time eternal. If

  4. prokaryotes says:

    Fiji struggled Monday with devastating floods that have brought the country and its tourist industry to a standstill as authorities warned that conditions could worsen with a cyclone bearing down.

    Cyclone Daphne is expected to compound the damage in the South Pacific nation, where a state of emergency is in force and flash floods have claimed at least three lives and forced 8,000 people to seek refuge in evacuation centres.

    Fiji has “had a bashing”, permanent secretary of information Sharon Smith Johns said, with water and power supplies cut in most areas, many roads closed and food supplies dwindling.
    http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/asia/287116/flood-ravaged-fiji-struggles-as-cyclone-bears-down

    • prokaryotes says:

      Officials in Fiji say locals are likely to be spared a further heavy downpour, with Cyclone Daphne, which formed on Monday afternoon, expected to pass the island.
      Tafazul Gani, a correspondent for a Fijian magazine, says many of the island’s residents are struggling to cope.
      “A lot of people are thinking ‘what do we do next? How do we cope?’ And having two floods in a matter of a couple of days, a lot of people they don’t have basically anything,” he said.
      Mr Gani is in one of the worst affected areas of Nadi. He says flood damage there is extensive.

      “Basically, if you look at the town, the town is totally decimated. It actually looks like a warzone,” he said.

      “There is not a single shop in the town which has not been affected. Some shops actually have nothing left, everything that was in the shop, the counter, the merchandise, everything got washed away.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-04-02/fijians-return-to-flood-ravaged-homes/3928146/?site=sydney

  5. prokaryotes says:

    Global ocean temperatures have been rising for at least a century

    http://www.bitsofscience.org/ocean-temperature-rising-5441/

  6. Mark E says:

    I wonder what the carbon footprint of the downhill skiing industry – and all its associated travel, gear, and wildlands development – has been over the last 30 years? Can you say “natural consequences” (and a lot more to come)?

    • Paul Magnus says:

      I suspect the bigest footprint is the travel of people getting there….

    • prokaryotes says:

      This is a tuff calculation, but the entire “holiday” circus could be organized carbon neutral.

      Another think to ask is, what would the people do if they not travel to the ski resort?
      Fly to the Maledives?

  7. _Flin_ says:

    Germany further reduces CO2 emissions. Even with the departure from nuclear energy and a booming economy with 3% growth, the German energy sector further reduced the emission of CO2 to 450 mio metric tons, down from 454 mio metric tons in 2010.

    http://www.umweltbundesamt.de/uba-info-presse/2012/pd12-016_emissionshandel_co2_emissionen_2011_sinken_trotz_starker_konjunktur.htm

  8. Bill Walker says:

    Proofreaders’ note: the link for the second item (“State officials ask energy firms…”) links back here, rather than to the source article.

  9. prokaryotes says:

    About the end of german solar company Q Cell

    http://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/unternehmen/0,1518,825284,00.html

    The winner is China..

  10. prokaryotes says:

    Tobacco companies will have to inform purchasers about all the harmful substances they place in their products, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ruled. They will also have to back up any “reduced harm” claims with compelling proof, the Agency added. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/243648.php

  11. prokaryotes says:

    A Tour of the New Geopolitics of Global Warming
    Climate change is already shaping conflicts around the world–and not for the better

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-new-geopolitics-of-global-warming

  12. prokaryotes says:

    A World without Oil

    Companies Prepare for a Fossil-Free Future
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/0,1518,825171,00.html

    • prokaryotes says:

      The world is addicted to a material that is being used up from day to day and from hour to hour, a material that is also much too valuable to be burned. The prosperity of the human race is based on limited resources. Most people know this, and yet they refuse to accept the necessary consequence: reducing their use of fossil fuels.

      The record high prices for gasoline are probably the most effective incentive for us to finally kick the oil habit and search for alternatives. And they are fueling the modernization of the economy in the process.

  13. prokaryotes says:

    As the climate warms, the risk of fires is becoming unusually, unseasonably high

    So far in 2012, 30 fires have burned 310 acres. Typically in an entire year about 190 acres burn in Vermont http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20120401/GREEN01/120331007/As-climate-warms-risk-fires-becoming-unusually-unseasonably-high

  14. Some European says:

    After its warmest year, Spain saw its driest winter on record. 55% of Portugal is now facing extreme drought. Fires are raging. Crops are drying.
    A slow-motion catastrophe is putting pressure on an already crippled region. Expect to see interesting social and political developments over the coming 12 to 18 months.

    http://www.theportugalnews.com/cgi-bin/article.pl?id=1158-23
    http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=486411&CategoryId=12395

  15. David B. Benson says:

    Terrible and fiction laden story regarding the two firms abandonding a proposed NPP project in the UK.

    For correct information on the risks of NPP, read Professor Cohen’s “Understanding Risk”
    http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter8.html
    where one finds that the LLE risk is about the same as eating peanut butter.

    All workers at NPPs are well trained.

  16. prokaryotes says:

    Just wow…

    Michael Mann story at Huff Post draws 2850 comments…

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/31/michael-mann-global-warming-obama_n_1392683.html?ref=climate-change

    Somehow the internet is so screwed with a few sites getting most of the traffic share.