Inside Climate News:

When Utah lawmakers start their legislative session next week, they’ll have a roadmap waiting for them that could become one of the nation’s most aggressive climate action plans in a Republican-led state—and potentially a path forward for other conservative states looking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

That the proposal even exists signals a major shift in thinking in a state where legislators for years have publicly questioned—and sometimes ridiculed—climate science.  

Led by a University of Utah economics think tank, proponents of the seven-point strategy managed to dodge political potholes by emphasizing widely supported goals like cleaning up air pollution and stressing economic benefits, an approach some policy experts say could provide a model for bipartisan action on climate change in other conservative states.

“That’s the sort of framing that can help change the conversation in a way that does bridge partisan divides,” said Jay Turner, an environmental politics and policy researcher at Wellesley College and co-author of the book “The Republican Reversal: Conservatives and the Environment from Nixon to Trump.”

Conservatives in the State Capitol haven’t abandoned fossil fuels. They actively support lawsuits to open up West Coast shipping terminals and maintain a $53 million fund to help build export capacity for shipping Utah coal overseas. But widespread public concern about air pollution has also made them more receptive to emissions reductions.

Utah’s shift started with high school students raising their voices. In 2018, they succeeded in persuading lawmakers to pass a resolution acknowledging the risks of climate change that Republican Gov. Gary Herbert signed. Then, last year, the legislature voted to provide $200,000 for the University of Utah’s business school to report on the state’s air pollution and climate change problems and recommend solutions. 

“I really think that this is a great indicator of the progress we’ve made as a state,” said Piper Christian, one of the students who lobbied the legislature and is now a University of Utah sophomore majoring in politics and environmental studies. “I want to stress that this is one more step, definitely not the end of the road. Now we need to see these actions through.”

The draft proposal, “Utah Roadmap,” was released in early January and suggests reducing carbon dioxide emissions 25 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050. Another of the 7 points presses state leaders to step up participation in “national discussions about how to harness the power of market forces and new technologies to reduce carbon emissions in a way that protects health, sustains economic development, and offers other benefits to Utahns.”  

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If you’ve seen my latest video below on the Australian fire situation, you know that current Australian PM Scott Morrison is a first rank climate science denier.

It’s not a fluke. Former PM Tony Abbott, also of the Liberal Party (it’s backwards down there) recently reeled off a chain or climate denial canards to your Uncle Dittohead proud.

This is Rupert Murdoch’s bloody work.

Video above – this fire fighting thing could get expensive.

Associated Press:

Australia’s forests are burning at a rate unmatched in modern times and scientists say the landscape is being permanently altered as a warming climate brings profound changes to the island continent.

Heat waves and drought have fueled bigger and more frequent fires in parts of Australia, so far this season torching some 40,000 square miles (104,000 square kilometers), an area about as big as Ohio.

With blazes still raging in the country’s southeast, government officials are drawing up plans to reseed burned areas to speed up forest recovery that could otherwise take decades or even centuries.

But some scientists and forestry experts doubt that reseeding and other intervention efforts can match the scope of the destruction. The fires since September have killed 28 people and burned more than 2,600 houses.

Before the recent wildfires, ecologists divided up Australia’s native vegetation into two categories: fire-adapted landscapes that burn periodically, and those that don’t burn. In the recent fires, that distinction lost meaning — even rainforests and peat swamps caught fire, likely changing them forever. 

Flames have blazed through jungles dried out by drought, such as Eungella National Park, where shrouds of mist have been replaced by smoke. 

“Anybody would have said these forests don’t burn, that there’s not enough material and they are wet. Well they did,” said forest restoration expert Sebastian Pfautsch, a research fellow at Western Sydney University. 

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At least he’s acknowledging the problem.
But, mops and buckets might not do it.

Dude, that’s kind of what environmentalists have been saying for oh, (checks watch) 50 years.

Jim Cramer on the Ultimate sustainable stock.