Entries Tagged as Climate Resources
The beauty of the challenge before us is that while it will take hard work, the solutions are right outside: the sun that beams down 300 days a year and the wind that blows across the plains every day. These sources of proven, reliable clean energy can power the future in a way that not only eases the threat of catastrophic climate change but also provides jobs and economic development right here at home.
A battle over the future of rooftop solar in Colorado is raging in the arcane legal corridors of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission and in the court of public opinion. Xcel Energy has proposed a rollback of one of the state’s most successful solar programs and solar advocates are mounting a vigorous fight.
My cousin’s dream home in Colorado's Black Forest burned down this week. The horrific images of a raging inferno 50 miles to the south suddenly fills me with personal sorrow for these relatives’ profound loss. Memories of her young daughters frolicking in the forest flash before me, and then the unimaginable thought of her having five minutes to gather the dogs and abandon decades of memories and possessions.
Then I started to get angry as well.
Imagine if we included in the price of fossil fuels the cost of the tragic loss of life in coal-mining disasters, the cost of spewing pollution into our shared atmosphere, the cost of losing water forever when it is injected underground in fracking operations, the cost of cleaning up toxic underground petroleum spills, and the prolonged efforts it will take to rid the Gulf Coast of the legacy of BP’s epic catastrophe.
With such costs attached to fossil fuels, suddenly wind and solar power, which generally use no water and emit no pollution, seem abundant, free and not at all expensive by comparison.
Few living things are as emblematic of the Rocky Mountain West as quaking Aspen trees. Rustling in fresh green waves, their fluttering leaves gently herald the freshness of a mountain morning. Ablaze in gold and crimson in the fall, their bold expanses proclaim the end of summer. Tall and sturdy, their knobby black and white posts provide quiet guidance to backcountry skiers in a white world.
But Aspen trees are in trouble. Nearly one in every five Colorado aspen trees has died off in recent years. The phenomenon even has a name: Sudden Aspen Decline or SAD. It’s sad indeed and new research is linking the deaths to climate change.
It’s easy to think that climate change is “out there’’ in time or “over there’’ in space. Our tendencies are to focus on more immediate concerns like doing a job or paying the bills.
But the effects are creeping into our lives and onto our doorsteps. Driving along the Interstate 70 corridor between metro Denver and the ski areas, you can’t miss the vast hillsides of grey dead Lodgepole Pines. The mountain pine beetles that have ravaged many forests have also been linked to climate change. Every time I drive through, I fear the spark that could create a conflagration.
And now the aspens are dying.