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