Resort towns carbon offsets criticized |

Resort towns carbon offsets criticized

Allen BestVail, CO Colorado

WHISTLER, B.C. – Both Whistler and British Columbia have been prominent in the discussion about reducing planet-warming greenhouse gases.But whereas the provincial government is taking risks, the municipalitys vows are no more than posturing, said an academic on a recent panel discussion.The municipality has vowed to become carbon neutral through the purchase of offsets. In other words, to offset for the pollution caused by its cars and by the electricity used to run ski lifts (most commonly produced by burning coal), the city is buying offsets. These offsets are created by such things as planting trees, which help remove carbon from the air.Ive become very negative about carbon neutrality, and its because of offsets, said Mark Jaccard, the academic. It allows us to think were taking action when, in fact, were increasing emissions.Governments truly wanting to reduce greenhouse gases must move beyond soft things like information and subsidy programs and create building codes that maximize energy efficiency.One major step is the adoption of a tax on carbon. British Columbia adopted the tax, and it is a risky political strategy, said Jaccard. He said other jurisdictions in North America are likely to study British Columbia to see how well the tax succeeds, before they similarly adopt such a tax.

BANFF, Alberta – Remote cameras along a wildlife underpass has revealed a wolverine a rarely seen carnivore that has largely disappeared from the West. There have been several sightings in the Banff and Canmore area in the last dozen years, but the sightings have been rare enough that this photograph of the animal making its way under the Trans-Canada Highway rated a prominent story in the Rocky Mountain Outlook. The wildlife underpass is similar to what is being proposed for Vail Pass.

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – Jackson Hole had 25 percent fewer real estate sales in the first quarter of this year as compared to last. Still, the median price of those sales that occurred was up 86 percent.David Viehman of Jackson Hole Real Estate and Appraisal, says the prices of some high-end properties have been reduced to more accurately reflect market conditions.But despite the sluggish sales, reports the Jackson Hole News&Guide, plenty of people want to peddle land and homes. Jackson Hole now has 805 real estate agents nearly double the number of properties listed for sale.Ray Elser, broker for Real Estate of Jackson Hole, estimates that 30 to 40 percent of agents are hobbyists. Retirees, divorcees and bored housewives are a big chunk of it. I dont think there is enough business that goes on to support 800 Realtors.

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