Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

News Roundup 6/4/09

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Things that have caught my eye recently:

Rep. John Salazar (D-CO-03) has declined to support this year’s attempt to regulate hydraulic fracturing.  I know he’s feeling the pressure of the oil and gas industry.  My recommendation: do the right thing, Rep. Salazar.  Back the regulation, which isn’t onerous and will become overdue as corporations move forward with it.

Galveston’s recovery from Hurricane Ike last year continues, albeit slowly.  Much like other parts of the Gulf Coast that were ravaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, Galveston’s road to recovery will be long.  This raises an important question: as ocean temperatures continue to rise the remainder of this century, the incidence of intense hurricanes (> Category 3) is expected to rise.  Sea levels will continue to rise, putting additional areas at risk.  The combination of these two means that storm surges will be able to penetrate further inland.  As additional cities along the Gulf and East coast are hit, will we stop trying to rebuild or will we continue to sink billions of dollars into cities that will be under increasing threat from additional catastrophe?

Electric co-ops, which primarily serve rural areas, have committed their customers to spend millions of dollars to pay for coal plants, both new and expanded.  By doing so, there is a chance that they have increased the risk to future price hikes, especially as a carbon trading market matures and our energy policies direct attention to clean sources of energy.  Are the co-ops really acting in the best interests of their consumers, or the best interests of the diry coal industry?

Gov. Ritter signed legislation this week that will provide economic incentives for companies dealing with the pine-beetle epidemic, funds for mitigating wildfire danger and planning resources for local emergency responders.

Rep. Fred Upton and Rep. Todd Akin can spew plenty of b.s. talking points.  Neither are willing to deal with the climate and energy crises in an honest way.  The energy and climate legislation Congress is considering is far from hazardous waste.  Similarly, winter changing to spring is a far cry from the climate conditions that serious scientists are predicting.  Once again, changing such a ridiculous opinion will wait until it is too late and Missouri has to deal with climate refugees from the U.S. coast.

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