Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 11:36 am
Officials from countries around the word have met for the last two weeks in Lima, Peru to talk global climate change. At the heart of those talks is how to limit billions of tons of CO2 that are pumped into the atmosphere every year from coal burning power plants.
But how do we keep track of the CO2 we’re releasing? And just how do we weigh something that floats in the first place?
It turns out there is a venerable history to the science of weighing smoke.
Stanley Rabke’s family has lived and worked on their Hill Country ranch since 1889. Generations of Rabkes have struggled with the extremes of Texas weather, but one storm sticks out in Stanley’s memory: it came after the drought of the 1950s.
“It rained and rained and rained,” he says. “Back then we raised turkeys, we lost thousands of turkeys that washed away in the creek.”
The disaster underscores an irony of life in Texas. “You hope and pray that you’re going to get a good rain, [but] on the other side of it, you hope you don’t get a flood,” says Rabke.
A quick walk from where the turkeys met their fate, some new technology that will help manage that risk is being installed — soil monitoring sensors in the ground.
The report says electricity bills could rise as much as 20 percent because of the carbon reduction goals, adding that the goals could also endanger electric reliability. Part of that is due to the way the plan would change Texas' energy mix.
“What we found is that the likely impact of the clean power plan is going to be the retirement of a significant portion of the coal-fired capacity in ERCOT," says ERCOT Director of System Planning Warren Lasher.
The goal of the EPA’s clean energy plan is to reduce Texas carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030.
Quail hunting season opens this weekend. And there’s new hope that the bobwhite quail is making a rebound. The population has dropped off by about 75 percent over the last 40 years—partly because their grassy habitats have been depleted by development and cattle grazing. Conservationists are trying to get more landowners to restore native prairies on their property.