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New West Roundup for April 24, 2017

Today in New West news: making Native America a destination, Trump to order review of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase, expert discusses coal’s decline at University of Wyoming, and the Front Range’s hot, hot tech scene.

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New West Daily Roundup for Apr. 8, 2016

Today in New West news: Wyoming companies listed in Panama Papers, an update on the proposed California port for Utah fuel, and EPA proposes Superfund listing over Gold King Mine spill.

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New West Daily Roundup for Jan. 12, 2016

coal

Today in New West news: Arch Coal files for bankruptcy, Bozeman climber Conrad Anker waits with bated breath for Oscar news, and Denver’s proposal to shelter homeless in the city.

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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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A Free-Marketeer Asks: What Is The Solution To Our Energy Future?

"I find it interesting that green activists and their political allies uniformly favor dramatic and draconian action to avert climate change," writes Pete Geddes. "Serious policy analysts are different; they generally favor less dramatic action applied over the long term." Mr. Geddes, executive vice president of the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment (FREE), a Libertarian think tank headquartered in Bozeman, Montana, returns once again to the theme of climate change and possible alternatives to carbon-based energy. Implying that the body of scientific evidence affirming human-caused global warming appears to be partisan and unconvincing, he writes: "Despite assurances to the contrary from Al Gore, there are large uncertainties regarding the physical processes driving climate change." In the essay which follows that is sure to elicit a response from readers—including a reply, hopefully, from scientists out there—Geddes makes a number of pointed assertions. We, at New West, are adding our discussion questions in parenthesis and we hope you will join in. "Over the next fifty years," Geddes writes, "the world’s developing nations will seek to emulate the West’s material success. Their leaders know that improving the quality of life for their citizens requires more, not less, energy consumption." (Our response is: What about China? There, 550 brand new old-technology coal-fired power plants are scheduled to come on line at the rate of almost one per week over the next decade, exacerbating what is already the worst air quality affecting hundreds of millions of people. Those plants also serve as a major source of greenhouse gases affecting climate worldwide. Indeed, Chinese leaders are right now employing Geddes' argument about quality of life being improved by racing industrialization, based upon the burning of oil and coal, but the net effect of this case study is also huge public health problems, water shortages, and an unprecedented environmental disaster growing in magnitude. How is the free-market going to remedy this and who will pay for it)? While once again advocating for a market-based carbon trading program, Geddes points to another possibility: "A different approach involves the interesting question of geoengineering, i.e., our ability to manipulate the global climate through, say, space-based mirrors or carbon from jet exhaust. This is a serious area of research and raises important questions and possibilities. Among them, what temperature do we want and who decides? Do we let the Maldive Islanders decide, since future sea level rise could submerge their homes? The Russians might prefer some moderate warming, to increase agriculture in Siberia and provide ice-free ports. I’ll explore this topic further in a future column." New West looks forward to Geddes' next column on that subject. Meantime, we pose another question for discussion: (Mr. Geddes appears to put a lot of faith and promise in the very same scientific community that many of his skeptical peers have either dismissed or claimed as not being credible. Many skeptics have also asserted that humankind is not capable of being a significant force in altering climate. If that is the case, then perhaps he could explain the apparent paradox in his argument in which he points to the "uncertainty" of humans influencing climate, on the one hand, and yet being poised, through scientific technology, to provide a manipulated fix)?

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Rushdie Speaks to CU Students

Another icon of free speech spoke at CU a couple of days ago, in the wake of the ongoing controversy over Wade Churchill. This time the speaker was not welcomed with a Native American drum circle or with shouts of acclaim; he was greeted respectfully, as befits one of the four or five greatest living novelists in the English language and a perennial candidate for the Nobel Prize.

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