Following state Rep. Christine Scanlan’s (D-Summit County) discussions with federal officials regarding the need for lodgepole pine beetle action, Gov. Ritter has asked the federal government to fund three 10-year forest-restoration projects in Colorado. To date, short-term contracts have been the norm. Ritter and the Forest Health Advisory Council are arguing that vendors are somewhat unwilling to commit to long-term projects without more certainty that the funds will be there. Just like renewable enery projects. Forest health and watersheds demand a long-term approach. Hopefully the request to Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer will be approved.
More pine beetle news: NCAR scientists are working to figure out how the death of millions of acres of trees will affect local weather and climates. Models are showing the beetle outbreak is already large enough to raise temperature by 2-4F over the short term. Researchers have put ground measuring stations in regions expected to be affected by beetle kill in the next year or two. Volatile organic compounds are among the variables they want to measure. Of long-term concern: the 300 megatons of CO2 that is expected to be released to the atmosphere by trees in British Columbia alone by 2020.
The Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) and the Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) will announce up to $10 million in community new energy grants as part of the second annual “Colorado New Energy Economy” conference on Tuesday, Oct. 14, at the Colorado Convention Center. The “New Energy Communities Initiative” will reward local governments working collaboratively to position their communities at the forefront of the state’s New Energy Economy. This year’s Colorado New Energy Economy conference will focus on local issues and will give communities a chance to share local sustainable initiatives that are taking place across Colorado.
Monday brought news that the University of Colorado and the Colorado School of Mines were to be recipients of $16.5 million in six-year National Science Foundation research grants through NSF’s Materials Research Science and Engineering Center program. The School of Mines will receive $9.3 million to establish a new Center, which will focus on investigating emerging renewable energy materials and technologies. It will be the first NSF-funded Center dedicated solely to renewable energy. CU-Boulder will receive $7.2 million to continue and expand work at its existing Liquid Crystals Research Center. This will be the third round of NSF funding for the Center. Founded in 1995, the Center has spun off six different companies, and its research is contributing to a number of different fields, including better liquid crystals for solar panels and the origins of DNA.
Gov. Bill Ritter wrote to President Bush yesterday asking that Bush work with states like Colorado and not against them as the Bush administration moves toward oil shale development. I hope Gov. Ritter isn’t holding his breath. Bush only works with states when they agree with his policies. It’s not that much longer until Jan. 20th…
Emissions of CO2 worldwide are larger than the worst-case scenario used by the IPCC last year. While deniers and delayers continue to assail even business-as-usual scenarios, the real world case is quickly worsening. Unfortunately, this underestimation has also been seen in most every other cause and effect of climate change, from warmer temperatures at higher latitudes to melt rates around the world to the severity of droughts and other extreme weather events. One important note: emissions didn’t decrease as a result of an economic downturn. China, the U.S. and India are currently the three largest emitters. Not all the news was bad: Denmark’s emissions dropped 8 percent. The United Kingdom and Germany reduced carbon dioxide pollution by 3 percent, while France and Australia cut it by 2 percent. I haven’t heard about their economies coming to a screeching halt, as CONservatives have erroneously claimed would happen.