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climate change

Study: Drought-breaking rains more rare, erratic in Colorado and the West

The consequences of the intense dry periods that pummeled the Rocky Mountains and the Colorado Plateau were severe — more intense and dangerous wildfires, parched croplands and not enough vegetation to support livestock and wildlife. And it's getting worse.

Environment
Sunrise brings mist and fog to Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison, Colorado on January 22, 2021. According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the statewide snowpack is currently at 73 percent of normal and the Gunnison Basin is at 50-70% of normal. Such low amounts of snow may create drought conditions. Blue Mesa is Colorado’s 2nd largest reservoir was formed by Blue Mesa Dam, is a 390-foot-tall earthen fill dam across the Gunnison River near Gunnison, Colorado, completed in 1966 by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation as part of the Colorado River Storage Project. The Colorado River Storage Project was created to manage the Colorado River, provide water storage, flood control and create hydroelectric power. Blue Mesa Reservoir is approximately 30 miles long with 96 miles of shoreline and spreads over 14 square miles in area. The reservoir can hold 940,700 acre feet of water. The Gunnison River is the Colorado River's 5th largest tributary. (Dean Krakel, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Aurora and Colorado Springs want more water. The proposed solution — a new reservoir — would have far-reaching impacts.

Two of Colorado's largest cities are working together because they have the same problem: Planners don’t think they have enough water where they are to support the cities’ expected growth.

Environment

Estimates of future Upper Colorado River Basin water use confound planning, report shows

Maybe it's time to give up on developing new Upper Basin projects, the Center for Colorado River Studies says, after all demand has been flat for three decades.

Climate

Opinion: As Biden orchestrates a response to climate change, Colorado can serve as a model

The conservation service corps system prepares us for a crisis such as climate.

Opinion Columns

Wind power cut Xcel Energy’s carbon emissions last year. But is the utility moving fast enough to meet goals?

Colorado’s largest electricity provider expects to have 4,400 MW of wind power by the end of the year. Details are expected in Xcel’s resource plan Wednesday.

Business

A disillusioned ExxonMobil engineer quit to take action on climate change. He found his net-zero place in Arvada.

After 16 years of working for the oil giant, Dar-Lon Chang said Exxon would not address climate change. So he quit the sector for good, and began a new low-carbon life.

Climate

Here’s how Colorado’s free e-bike program fits into its plan to slow climate change

News

Colorado’s Water Plan has made progress toward ensuring supply, but the work’s far from done

Five years in, accelerating climate change and rapid population growth, not to mention a shortage of funding, have made the Colorado Water Plan's vision for the future more complex.

Environment

Opinion: At the U.S. Capitol, lifting our gaze to what stands before us

We must have civil discourse around the problems that affect all of us, so that we can continue to move our country, our democracy and our world forward.

Opinion Columns

Climate change ravaged Colorado and the West with heat and drought in 2020. This year may be worse.

Coloradans also can look out their windows and see the “snow drought” forecasters are talking about when they say snow cover in the West is the worst it has been at any time in the last two decades.

Environment
Blue Mesa is Colorado’s 2nd largest reservoir was formed by Blue Mesa Dam, is a 390-foot-tall earthen fill dam across the Gunnison River near Gunnison, Colorado, completed in 1966 by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation as part of the Colorado River Storage Project. The Colorado River Storage Project was created to manage the Colorado River, provide water storage, flood control and create hydroelectric power. Blue Mesa Reservoir is approximately 30 miles long with 96 miles of shoreline and spreads over 14 square miles in area. The reservoir can hold 940,700 acre feet of water. The Gunnison River is the Colorado River's 5th largest tributary. Ice fishermen standing on the ice of Blue Mesa Reservoir beneath the Dillon Pinnacles give a sense of scale to Blue Mesa reservoir near Gunnison, Colorado on January 22, 2021. Normally the landscape around Blue Mesa is buried under deep snow. According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the statewide snowpack is currently at 73 percent of normal and the Gunnison Basin is at 50-70% of normal. Such low amounts of snow may create drought conditions. (Dean Krakel, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Western wildfires, drought, coronavirus boost public fears about the state of public lands, new polls shows

The survey of people in Colorado and 7 western states reveals spiking concerns about climate change, strong support for action, and how communities of color take public lands issues personally

Environment

Colorado’s North Fork Valley finds “baby-step” solutions to tackle its big problem with methane-leaking mines

Entrepreneur Chris Caskey is harvesting sediment from Paonia Reservoir for tile and pavers with plans to tap leaking coal mines for methane to power kilns

Environment

Opinion: Boulder’s climate lawsuit would be costly for consumers

Innovation, not litigation, is the right and proven path forward.

Opinion Columns

14 Front Range cities coordinate to warn of water shortages in alarmingly dry year

Cities are watching snowpack and reservoir storage closely. The district serving Highlands Ranch says its reservoirs are 25% less full than is normal for this time of year.

Climate

Opinion: Why Lauren Boebert’s bill on the Paris Climate Accord is bad for her district

She should stop denying the reality of climate change as a badge of political identity.

Opinion Columns

Joe Biden to pause oil and gas sales on public lands, call for conservation plan championed by Michael Bennet

The ambitious plan is aimed at slowing human-caused global warming that is magnifying extreme weather events such as deadly wildfires in the West.

Environment

Record low Lake Powell and bad 2021 drought forecast sets stage for water cuts

The Bureau of Reclamation’s dire projections for Colorado River Basin reservoirs for the first time triggers drought contingency planning across seven basin states.

Climate

Dollars, not politics, are driving Colorado’s accelerated embrace of solar energy

Installing solar utility generation is now cheaper than wind or natural gas-fired plants, and far cheaper than new coal generation.

Energy

Colorado regulators target tiny oil field device that’s a big contributor to greenhouse gas, ozone pollution

Even major oil companies admit that tens of thousands of pneumatic controllers should be upgraded to prevent natural gas from seeping out

Energy

An environmental group claims 70% of Colorado’s greenhouse gas emissions come from oil and gas. But that’s in dispute.

350 Colorado’s worst-case scenario modeling suggests oil and gas should be gone from the state by 2030 to slow climate change.

Energy
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