Mountain News: Grizzly sow, Bear 148, killed by trophy hunter in B.C. 

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BANFF, Alta. — The sow grizzly known as Bear 148 that had been transplanted from a gateway community at Banff National Park has been killed by a trophy hunter in British Columbia.

The six-year-old grizzly had been relocated from Canmore after several brushes with people. It had not hurt anybody, but had bluff-charged several people as it fed on buffalo berries.

The bear was turned loose in the Kakwa Wildlife Provincial Park, about 500 kilometres to the north of Banff. Even then, there were worries whether the bear would survive. Many bears try to return to their former turf. But British Columbia, until November this year, still allows trophy hunting of grizzlies.

Reg Bunyan of the Bow Valley naturalists said the death of the bear wasn't a total surprise. "We're talking about a habituated bear, which to a large extent didn't have a natural fear of people and with no exposure to hunting," Bunyan told the Rocky Mountain Outlook.

The Outlook in recent months has revisited this story often as Canmore officials talked about what was needed to give bears safe space, so that they don't come into contact with recreating humans.

"It's easy for Bow Valley residents and visitors to say that they are willing to live in close proximity to bears, but if so, words have to match our actions. That means living with a certain element of risk and giving bears the space they need," Bunyan told the Outlook.

"Habitat loss through development and recreational pressures will continue to weigh heavily on the viability of our local population."

The value of car-sharing service

BANFF, Alberta — Banff has started talking about how a car-sharing service could benefit that community's transportation needs.

Car-share programs allow people to rent cars briefly. They can be offered by businesses and public bodies, such as local governments. Car-share members in Canada grew from 100,000 in 2012 to 340,000 last year. The Rocky Mountain Outlook said the success is due to the lower cost as compared to conventional car ownership. And, because the cars are a supplement to public transportation, they are viewed as environmentally beneficial.

The study proposed for Banff would examine car-sharing and ride-sharing in North America, especially in Canada. The town would hire a consultant. However, no money has been allocated.

Former Obama aide cites three reasons for climate optimism

BOULDER, Colo. — U.S. President Donald Trump has initiated steps to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. But a former advisor to President Barack Obama was anything but gloomy last week as he gave three reasons for optimism.

Brian Deese said one reason was that economic growth has been decoupled from growth in carbon emissions. This was discovered as the United States emerged from the recession. Obama was in Hawaii when Deese informed him of the paradigm shift that had been observed.

"I don't believe you," Obama said, according to the story Deese told in a forum on the University of Colorado campus that was sponsored by the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research.

Chastened, Deese double-checked his sources. He had been right. Always before, when the economy grew, so did greenhouse gas emissions. Now, the two have been decoupled. This decoupling blunts the old argument that you couldn't have economic growth while tackling climate change. The new evidence is that you can have growth and reverse emissions.

The second reason for optimism, despite the U.S. exit from Paris, is that other countries have stepped up. Before, there was a battle between the United States and other developed countries and China and other countries still developing economically. Those developing countries said they shouldn't have to bear the same burden in emissions reductions.

But now, those same countries — Chna, India and others — want to keep going with emissions reductions even as the United States falters. They want to become the clean-energy superpowers.

"China, India and others are trying to become the global leaders in climate change. They see this as enhancing their economic and political interests," he said. "They want to win the race."

That same day, the Wall Street Journal reported in a front-page story that China plans to force automakers to accelerate production of electric vehicles by 2019. The move, said the newspaper, is the "latest signal that officials across the globe are determined to phase out traditional internal combustion engines that use gasoline and diesel fuels in favor of environmentally friendly vehicles powered by batteries, despite consumer reservations."

The story went on to note that India has a goal to sell only electric vehicles by 2030 while the U.K. and France are aiming to end sales of gasoline and diesel vehicles by 2040.

In the telling of the change Deese said this shift came about at least partly as the result of an unintended action — and, ironically, one by the United States. Because of China's fouled air, the U.S. embassy in Beijing and other diplomatic offices in China had installed air quality monitors, to guide U.S. personnel in decisions regarding their own health.

Enter the smart phone, which became ubiquitous in China around 2011 to 2012. The Chinese became aware of a simple app that could be downloaded to gain access to the air quality information. In a short time, he said, tens and then hundreds of millions of Chinese began agitating about addressing globalized air pollution, including emissions that are warming the climate.

A third reason for optimism, said Deese, is that Trump's blustery rhetoric has galvanized support for addressing climate change. Some 1,700 businesses, including Vail Resorts, have committed to changes and 244 cities, representing 143 million people, have also said they want to briskly move toward renewable energy generation.

To this, Deese would like to add the conservation community, by which he seemed to mean hunters and fishermen. "In the United States, we need to reach people where they are, and communicate to them how they are being affected by climate change," he said.

He also thinks scientists need to step up to advocate. "Use your voice," said Deese, now a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. "The rest of the world is there."

Natural gas an option

JACKSON, Wyo. — Drivers in Jackson Hole have a new fuel option: natural gas.

The valley is located just north of one of the continent's major natural gas drilling areas, the Jonah Field. Still, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead was skeptical when Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper proposed making better use of natural gas for automotive fuels. He's now persuaded, and Wyoming has eight such fuelling stations.

Natural gas has two big advantages over petroleum. First, it's cheaper, as it's stayed at about a $2 per gallon equivalent for many years. Second, it produces less carbon dioxide, just 223 grams per kilometre, compared to 242 grams for newer diesel-burning engines and 278 grams for gasoline. These statistics come from the Yellowstone-Teton Clean Cities Coalition.

The Jackson Hole News&Guide reported commitments by a number of fleet operators in the valley to acquire bio-fuel vehicles.

Will new alley bowl 'em over ?

TELLURDE, Colo. – It's about time that Telluride got its own bowling alley. So said Steve Hillbert, who is involved in real estate sale and development

"In the 34 years that I've been in Telluride, I've heard a constant refrain that we need a bowling alley," he told the Telluride Daily Planet. He noted several bowling alleys have opened in Colorado mountain towns in recent years, including Snowmass Village and in Vail. One potential name: Revelation Bowl, which also happens to be the name of a popular ski area at Telluride.

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