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New West Roundup for April 17, 2017

bears ears

Today in New West news: House Dems share documents about Bears Ears designation, Gallatin County fields mail ballot questions, Bozeman’s Zoot plans Billings expansion, and a Wyoming carbon tax?

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New West Daily Roundup for Nov. 29, 2016

windmill, wind power, energy, clean power plan

Today in New West news: wind advocates challenge BPA over Montana’s Clearwater Wind farm, Vestas Wind Systems grows U.S. market share, reforesting whitebark pine, and Utah tax code cost schools $1.2 billion over two decades.

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What Al Gore Hasn’t Told You About Global Warming

Is there any hope of really addressing climate change or is the environmental movement merely sounding a deafening alarm as Rome continues to burn? In the following review of George Monbiot's new book, Heat: How To Stop The Planet From Burning, posted first at AlterNet, David Morris lays out the author's blunt assessment of the challenges facing civilization. The title of the piece is What Al Gore Hasn't Told You About Global Warming. The most difficult hurdle is modifying current human lifestyles necessary to gain any ground in slowing the amount of carbon dioxide pouring into the atmosphere. It's the big white elephant in the room. Will humans voluntarily limit their creature comforts or will it require a government program similar to the one imposed by FDR on Americans during World War II? Will Gore speak to this point when he delivers a keynote address at Boise State University later this month or will he dodge the issue?

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Christmas Lights Bring Joyous Gridlock in Billings

Cruising the streets in search of wowing Christmas light displays is an annual tradition in these United States. While some families are ambitious and go all out, it's not often you find a show that knocks one's socks off, or at least leaves the circuit breaker twitching. This year, pilgrims in Billings, Montana will not only encounter bumper to bumper traffic at 1415 Miles Avenue but an illumina-techno extravaganza thanks to an ambitious collegian who has enlisted his computer to do the work. Out front of 24-year-old Craig Hicks' home, this engineering grad student from Montana State University has fired up a 50,000-bulb blaze featuring 21 stars, 10 wreaths, six lighted deer, at least 15 Christmas trees, a 20-foot 6,400-light arbor totem that Hicks has dubbed the "Mega-Tree", and all of it is accompanied by a soundtrack played on a local radio station. "I'd love to go to work in the entertainment industry, working on lights for Las Vegas or for one of the Disney theme parks," young Mr. Hicks says. "I want to go into pure entertainment. People will always crave entertainment." Writer Tracy Ellig of the MSU News Service notes that not everyone has been impressed. One neighbor described his shining colossus as "junking up the neighborhood." What does Hicks' yard look like?

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What Are The Tipping Points For US-China Climate And Coal Policy?

If, as writer Malcolm Gladwell suggests in his book The Tipping Point, that it's often the intervention of certain people at critical moments in history that make a difference in changing public consciousnesses, small deeds can add up to a cascade of unexpected consequences. With the United Nations recently concluding its global summit on climate change in Nairobi, most governments on Earth--bolstered in their conclusions by the mountain of scientific evidence documenting human-caused changes in the atmosphere, oceans, and land from the Arctic North to the Amazon Basin--are moving toward action: Action that is more sophisticated, cooperative, and pragmatic than that layed out in the Kyoto Protocol more than a decade ago. Will the United States, China, and Australia join the rest of the world, engaging in a meaningful policy strategy not because Al Gore says so, but because it can no longer be ignored with even major industry conceding that changes must be made? Word on the street these days in Washington is that the Bush Administration is about to dramatically reverse course from its obstinate position on climate change and soon will unveil a strategy to address U.S. carbon dioxide emissions into Earth's atmosphere. Suddenly, the talk of clean coal technology in Wyoming and Montana has, thanks in part to a group of local diplomats, become recognized on the international stage.

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Can Wyoming Diplomats Build A Bridge Of Clean Coal To China?

Climate change: It is regarded as one of the greatest challenges civilization has ever faced. As the scientific community, governments around the world, and industry come together in talks about how to address carbon dioxide emissions from human-related industrial activity pouring into Earth's atmosphere, a predominant focus is on coal. Experts say that any plan to curb CO2 emissions will be pointless unless three of the most populous and influential nations on the planet--the U.S., China, and India--take steps to transform the way that coal is converted into electricity. In populous China and India, the paradox being wrestled with is this: How to raise the standard of living for billions of people, utilizing fuels of the Industrial Age, but simultaneously trying not to destroy any hope of addressing carbon dioxide outputs that are accelerating global warming? Not long ago, a little known outfit called the Jackson Hole Center for Global Affairs began a series of talks between government officials in China and the U.S, energy experts, executives with industry and conservationists to find a way in which the best clean coal technology can rapidly be implemented. Today, Wyoming and the Shanxi Province of China represent the two largest coal-producing areas in their respective nations. In the American West, ground zero is the rich, coal-producing areas of the Powder River Basin straddling the borders of Wyoming and Montana. This is the first in an ongoing series of articles about clean coal technology, the role that Wyoming and Montana are playing in international discussions about climate change, and opportunities for industry in the U.S. and China to become leaders in changing the paradigm of how electricity is produced, using a natural resource that is both abundant and troublesome. This fall, New West contributing editor Todd Wilkinson traveled to China along with a delegation of officials from Wyoming and Montana to participate in the groundbreaking U.S.-China Clean Coal Forum.

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