San Antonio Queblog
CPS Energy fighting carbon caps as climate prognosis worsens
The word from Copenhagen 2009 isn't encouraging.
As the world's governments scramble to replace an expiring Kyoto Agreement, a gathering of international scientists released the message that the world is warming faster than the International Panel on Climate Change predicted just two years ago.
Lisa Bryant quotes Konrad Steffen of the University of Colorado for Voice of America:
"The key finding of this meeting is that we have up to one-meter sea-level rise by 2100, based on our new insight of glaciers. And that will affect up to 600 million people that are living close to the coastline and it will include major cities like New York," he said. "We already know that New Orleans is in the same way, but also areas like Bangladesh or smaller areas of islands that will be flooded within that one-meter sea level rise."
Quoting economist Lord Stern, the BBC expanded on this concept pending forced migrations:
"You'd see hundreds of millions people, probably billions of people who would have to move and we know that would cause conflict, so we would see a very extended period of conflict around the world, decades or centuries as hundreds of millions of people move, " said Lord Stern.
"So I think it's very important that we understand the magnitude of the risk we are running."
In general, scientists - never great at playing media games - are sick of being drowned out by "political noise."
Here in San Antonio, we are proceeding along diverging paths in this increasingly brambled pressent.
On one hand, we have a city government getting down with Mission Verde. On the other hand, our city-owned, coal- and nuclear-based utility is actively lobbying to prevent a federal carbon cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions - the primary long-lived gas blamed for climate change.
As a member of the Climate Policy Group, CPS Energy has taken the position that "a cap and trade system is not appropriate for controlling CO2 emissions due to the lack of affordable, reliable and commercially available control technologies."
A cap-and-trade bill to begin reducing national greenhouse emissions is expected to be pushed to Congress for debate in coming weeks.
What may represent one of the last coal-fueled power plants to be built in this country, CPS' Spruce Two got under construction in 2005, long after the dangers of carbon emissions were well understood. Meanwhile, significant efforts to reduce energy consumption were not undertaken by the utility until this year, despite calls to do so five years ago and consultant studies showing investments in energy efficiency could make a new power plant unnecessary.
Jere Locke, founder of Texas Climate Emergency, spoke with me about Copenhagen, rapid climate change, and the need for San Antonians lean heavily on U.S. Congressman Charlie Gonzalez.
Listen to interview on San Antonio Current Queblog site
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