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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

New EPA rule would require Idaho power plants to cut carbon emissions by a third over 15 years

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Obama Administration announced Monday that Idaho will have to cut its carbon pollutants by a third over the next 15 years. The new standard is part of national initiative aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants as high as 40 percent in some states from their 2005 level. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Idaho's power sector emitted 1 million metric tons of carbon in 2012 and produced 4 million megawatt hours of energy. This means that the state's emission rate was about 340 pounds per megawatt hours. The EPA proposed that Idaho reduce its rate to 228 pounds per megawatt hours. Idaho has no coal plants but consumes coal-produced energy from nearby states. According to the EPA, most of Idaho's energy comes from renewable sources.

Otter pans Obama’s moves against coal-plant emissions, says wildfires cause more pollution

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — At a Utah meeting this week, Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter blasted President Barack Obama for seeking to limit coal-fired power plant emissions while not allowing sufficient timber cutting to tame big Western wildfires, another greenhouse gas source. Otter told reporters Idaho wildfires send more carbon dioxide skyward than is released to produce coal-generated electricity used by the state's 1.5 million residents.The governor's numbers may be technically correct. But according to authors of a 2007 study of U.S. wildfire emissions, Otter's link between forest blazes and coal is misleading. That's because it focuses on a sparsely populated state with vast range and timberland that burns annually and it equates carbon captured in trees with carbon locked underground since dinosaur days. Now burned for energy, that's what's boosting atmospheric concentrations. Otter's comments came at a Western Governors Association meeting in Park City.

Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.

Memorial Day with Sarah Palin

“I love that smell of the emissions,” - Sarah Palin at yesterday’s Rolling Thunder rally. I wish I could keep myself from posting about this sideshow, I mean slideshow, but her bike adventure is a loud, obnoxious cry for attention. But it's also a trial for 2012.

At the Daily Dish, Shushannah Walshe reports on the meaning of Palin's bus tour:

According to a source with knowledge of Palin’s operation and thinking, keep a careful eye on how long the tour lasts, because it is intended as a way to test the presidential waters. If the road trip ends abruptly, it’s a sign she didn’t get the enthusiastic responses she believes she needs to launch a campaign. If the tour heads to regions outside of the Northeast like Iowa and South Carolina that, the source says, is a “big indicator” that Palin will pull the trigger.


Teaching climate change in schools - the next great battle in education.  First, South Dakota put forth a measure to teach public school students that climate change wasn’t real. Now, residents in Mesa County, Colorado have presented a petition to their school board asking that science teachers remove climate change lessons from their curriculum -  this according to change.org.  Here’s some good news, by way of an op-ed in the Denver PostClimate change happens to be an important scientific issue, and it would be foolish to ban its discussion simply because some teachers are too unsophisticated — or too ideological — to distinguish between propaganda and an appropriate lesson plan. In fact, climate change is a model topic for teaching students the complexities and uncertainties that characterize evolving scientific theories, while introducing them to a range of opinion among scholars — from MIT’s Richard S. Lindzen to NASA’s James Hansen — as well as the “consensus” view represented by the scandal-plagued Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Why we need rights of nature.  U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski was the leading sponsor of a resolution that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.  The Alaska Republican said the EPA regulation of carbon dioxide would have a negative economic impact on her constituents by threatening projects such as the construction of a natural gas pipeline.  Read more of this nonsense HERE.  It failed, and here’s the reaction.

Scientists having to sue to defend their findings.  “If I sit back and do nothing to clear my name, these libels will stay on the Internet forever,” Weaver stated. “They’ll poison the factual record, misleading people who are looking for reliable scientific information about global warming,”   - prominent Canadian climatologist Andrew Weaver who is suing the media for libel.  Read more of his story HERE.


Cap and trade bill clears a key committee, but is much stripped down…for now, it’s mainly cap, not much trade…

In tomorrow’s paper:

A controversial “cap and trade” plan that would put Washington at the forefront of efforts to combat global warming has been dramatically watered down under pressure from businesses and rural Republicans.

Nonetheless, proponents say they remain optimistic. The bill, requested by Gov. Chris Gregoire, cleared a key House committee Tuesday.

“It’s still viable. It establishes a real cap” on greenhouse gases, said state Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish. “That’s a critical first step.”

Among the sharpest critics of the bill: Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda. Saying that the plan will destroy rural industries, he’s blasted it as “cap and extort” and says that trading pollution credits would spawn cronyism. He’s publicly suggested that disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich would be a good fit to run it.

“He’s well-suited to run a system like that,” Kretz said in an interview Wednesday. “And he’s looking for work.”

Greener Ireland

For DTE, this is news we’ll toast to.

The Irish government wants to claim 10 percent of its vehicles electric by 2020. Energy and Transport ministers have set a goal of roughly 250,000 cars over the next 12 in the hopes of drawing foreign investement, and their plan allows businesses to write off 100% of the purchase cost of the vehicles.

To put Ireland’s emissions in perspective, according to the “United States of Climate Change” map, they’re roughly equivalent to the state of Oregon.