Colorado city to become one of the first in US to run completely on renewable energy The Hill | Justin Wise Glenwood Springs, Colo., is set to become the latest U.S. city to run entirely on renewable energy. “We are very excited to announce that Glenwood Springs will soon be operated on one hundred percent renewable electricity,” Glenwood Springs Mayor Jonathan Godes said in a statement, according to the Post Independent. “Many cities and towns across the country have set aggressive targets, and we are doing our part now – our future is now,” he added. The move to 100 percent renewable energy comes after the city inked a deal with its wholesale power supplier, the Post Independent noted. The Glenwood Springs City Council in April approved a resolution to buy all of Glenwood Springs Electric’s electricity from wind power supplied by Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN). The board of MEAN reportedly approved the deal earlier this month. […] Glenwood Springs will join six other cities that are already running on 100 percent renewable energy. The cities include Aspen, Colo.; Burlington, Vt.; Georgetown, Texas; Greensburg, Kansas; Rock Port, Mo.; and Kodiak Island, Alaska, according to the Sierra Club.
Central U.S. faces ‘high risk’ of river flooding even as rains ease Reuters | Rich McKay Rain-swollen rivers threatened more flooding on Thursday in Arkansas, Louisiana, Illinois and Oklahoma, and Tulsa’s mayor warned the decades-old levee system would be at risk even as waters receded through the weekend. More than a week of violent weather, including downpours and deadly tornadoes, has lashed the central United States, killing at least six people, bringing record-breaking floods, turning highways into lakes and submerging all but the roofs of some homes. […] Flooding in Arkansas has already closed 12 state highways, and 400 households have agreed to voluntary evacuations, said Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. Rivers were expected to crest by early June to the highest levels on record all the way down to Little Rock, Arkansas, forecasters said. More than 300 tornadoes have touched down in the Midwest in the past two weeks. Twisters pulverized buildings in western Ohio on Monday, killing one person and injuring scores. In Louisiana, the Mississippi River was also at record flood levels due to record-breaking rainfalls this spring, forecasters said.
Floods and storms are altering American attitudes to climate change The Economist America has just notched up its wettest 12 months ever, and floods are worsening across the Midwest. In the past century annual precipitation has risen by 10% across the region, a faster increase than for America as a whole. The Great Lakes region heated up by an average of 0.9 degrees Celsius (1.6 Fahrenheit) in the 115 years to 2016, concluded scientists from the region in a report in March. That was also faster than the national trend. Because warmer air holds more moisture (and can suddenly release it), precipitation will keep rising. A 30% increase in the region is possible this century if global carbon emissions go unchecked, according to the federal agencies who produced the National Climate Assessment (nca) late last year. This warned that more winter and spring downpours will mean more sodden soil, leaching of nutrients and delays to farmers’ planting season. […] Older polling, by Pew, had suggested that coast-dwellers were more alarmed by climate change than those living 300 miles or more inland. But inlanders’ views seem to be shifting, too. A survey published this year by the Energy Policy Institute, part of the University of Chicago, found that 70% of Americans believe climate change is real. Nearly half are also more persuaded by warnings from climate scientists than they were five years earlier. Many said that witnessing extreme weather events-like the tornadoes, storms and floods battering the Midwest -did most to form their views. Michael Greenstone, who runs the institute, says the Midwest is already affected by “hotter summers, and it is more challenging for agriculture”. The region’s farmers are already at the sharp end of change.
Risk: Threat of costly storm surge rises along coasts E&E News | Daniel Cusick Development along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts is inflating both the number and value of U.S. homes exposed to storm surge from hurricanes and tropical storms, a new analysis has found. […] “Hurricane damage is multifaceted,” CoreLogic said. Many variables determine how real estate is affected by storm surge. These include shoreline characteristics, ocean depth near the shore, demographic factors and characteristics of individual storms. For example, while exposure to storm surge is very high in Miami due to the large number and higher value of homes, the area has historically had lower-than-average damage from surges because ocean depths are deeper, mitigating the intensity of surges. In contrast, central Louisiana has lower-than-average risk because it is less populated, even though much of the state’s coastal zone is at or below sea level. Tom Jeffery, a senior hazard scientist at CoreLogic and the report’s primary author, said another factor driving up storm surge risk is the continued population growth and development of the nation’s shorelines. He said the last time exposure to surges dropped was after the economic crisis of 2008-2009, when property values fell precipitously in states like Florida.