The predicted effects of continuing to pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at current rates range from dramatic sea level rise to extreme weather to famine and drought. Power plants are among the largest carbon dioxide emitters, and on June 2, the Obama administration is scheduled to release new rules regulating those emissions. Utilities and trade groups are already warning those rules will have some dire consequences of their own.
The Obama administration wants states to cut back on carbon emissions, but doing that has always been a thorny problem. While carbon is a byproduct of almost everything we do, capturing and storing it is expensive. For years, the goal has been to figure out how to make that process cheaper, but more recent efforts take a different approach, with the focus shifting from storing carbon to using it.
On a recent spring morning, Karen Wawrousek led a tour of her lab at the Western Research Institute, on the outskirts of Laramie.
New federal regulations that aim to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants will have a large economic upside, largely through health savings, says Gina McCarthy, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
"We are talking by 2030 having $90 billion in benefits," McCarthy told NPR's Robert Siegel in an interview airing on All Things Considered.
In the next half century, scientists are predicting more extreme weather for Wyoming with bigger winter storms and hotter, dryer summers. That’s according to the latest National Climate Assessment out this month. Wyoming’s farmers and ranchers are skeptical about climate change, but some of them have been forced to adjust their methods of production.