Working to keep the West special

News About RMCO, page 6

Frisco Targets Greenhouse Gases. Summit Daily News, July 23, 2006. “ It may seem like just a drop in the bucket when it comes to a huge issue like global warming, but Frisco's recent decision to sign on to the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement is still a worthwhile move, said Stephen Saunders, head of the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization.”

States tighten rules, challenge feds to follow. High Country News, March 6, 2006. (Subscription required)"Gov. Bill Owens of Colorado, R, has offered no specific climate-protection strategy, but the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Climate Organization, founded by former deputy assistant Secretary of the Interior Stephen Saunders, is forcing the issue with the Colorado Climate Project, an effort to develop a comprehensive plan for greenhouse gas emissions reduction in the state. The project’s results, Saunders hopes, will be delivered to the state’s new governor, who will be elected in November.

"'Climate change has already moved out of the realm of theoretical prediction, and into the realm of things that are on the ground, and in the air,' says Saunders, who oversaw the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service during the Clinton era. 'By taking action at the state level, we’re creating a tipping point for government action, and the federal government is going to tip. I don’t know exactly when, but it’s not that far away.'"

Parched New Mexico gets a taste of climate change. USA Today, February 27, 2006. "Stephen Saunders, president of Colorado's Rocky Mountain Climate Organization, says disruption of the West's snow and water will make it 'harder to support our current population, let alone the growing population that everybody predicts in the West because this is such an attractive place.'"

On September 21, 2005, the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization released "Less Snow, Less Water: Climate Disruption in the West," which received press coverage throughout the West. Highlights of that coverage follow.

Runoff: West's weak link. Arizona Republic, September 29, 2005. "Warmer temperatures in the West's highest elevations could reduce winter runoff into the Colorado River by as much as 30 percent over the next 50 years, leaving more people to fight over less water....

"'This climate disruption is already under way,' said Stephen Saunders, president of the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization, a Louisville, Colo., group that produced the study. The evidence is clear that climate change 'will lead to more heat, less snow, less water when we need it, and possibly more drought,' he said.

"Climate change will attack the weak link in the West's water supply: Runoff from mountain snow provides as much as 70 percent of the region's water, including as much as two-thirds of the water used in Arizona's largest cities.

"Warmer weather can result in less snow, which directly reduces the water supply, or it can melt the snow too early. When that happens, reservoirs can't store it all, and some of the runoff will be lost."

Top water official warns of climate change. The Vail Daily, September 22, 2005. "Denver Water has long been regarded as one of Colorado's most powerful agencies. It provides water not only to Denver residents, but several suburbs - altogether 25 percent of Coloradans.

"Now, Chips Barry, the agency's manager, is going public with his concerns about climate change. He said he is less concerned about the total amount of rain and snow than the unpredictability of when it falls.

"'Most of us operate on the premise that the future will be pretty much as it has been in the past,' he said. 'Global warming has created greater doubt as to that proposition.'

"Barry spoke Wednesday at a press conference organized by the Rocky Mountain Climate Change Organization."

Some of the other articles covering "Less Snow, Less Water" are: Austin Chronicle (article near bottom of the page), Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Casper Star Tribune, Columbia Daily Tribune (Missouri), Deseret News, KSL TV, Las Vegas Sun, Lawrence Journal-World (Kansas), The New Mexican (Santa Fe), and Summit Daily News.