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Gnarly terrain greeted a group of climate change activists in Aspen over the weekend.
While Al Gore’s passion for the environment helped him ascend to the highest political offices – and earned him a Nobel prize and an Oscar — he told a symposium audience in Aspen Friday night that the Colorado forests he learned to love on a road trip 40 years ago have plunged into despair no thanks to rising temperatures, poor political will and tiny insects.
Picture a scenario sometime after 2010 where -- if Gov. Bill Ritter is reelected and the Dems keep control of the statehouse -- we’ll all be driving plug-in hybrids that run on a mix of ethanol and ground-up bark beetles, with tiny snowboarders emblazoned on our license plates. It’s a nightmare vision for most right-wingers, straight out of the Shangri-La they sneeringly refer to as the “People’s Republic of Boulder,” but it’s a little closer to reality today after Governor Renewable signed House Bill 1331, which provides state tax incentives for high-tech, fuel-efficient vehicles.
State House Majority Whip Christine Scanlan, D-Dillon, is whipping up a little beetle-mania this week in Washington, ratcheting up the rhetoric in the war for more money to battle the bug that won the West.
It's hard to imagine nearly 2 million acres of dead and dying lodgepole pine trees being anything more than a terrible eyesore and potential fuel for a catastrophic wildfire. But Vail Town Councilman Mark Gordon says those trees could provide nearly 100 percent of the ski resort town's hot water and electricity needs, and he envisions a biomass gasification power plant becoming a model for the rest of the state.
A new U.S. Geological Survey study paints an ominous picture for the nation’s western forests, finding that the mortality rate for trees has doubled over the last several decades because of rising temperatures and dwindling water supplies tied to global waming.
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