8.2" snow so far in March.
- .5 F. March temperatures are running a half a degree below average, to date.
Flood Risk continues to rise, many Minnesota rivers will probably remain above flood stage through early May. Some observations and comments from Dan Luna, meteorologist in charge of the Twin Cities NWS Office below.
Chilled Sunlight. Under a bright blue sky daytime highs were more than 10 degrees cooler than average, ranging from 27 at Redwood Falls to 31 in St. Cloud to 33 in the Twin Cities, where there's 4" of snow on the ground.
Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TODAY: Some sun through high clouds. Winds: E 10-15. High: 34
1. Smart Subsidies: The free market doesn't reign in energy, nor should it. It can't price carbon correctly because it leaves out the costs we all bear collectively, like environmental destruction and damage to our health. Since the free market can't price carbon correctly by itself, government policies need to help the market by rewarding technologies that lessen the cost to society and our environment and punishing those that increase it: R&D subsidies to responsible new technology; clean energy and efficiency rebates to consumers; heavy taxes on profits of fossil fuel companies; and an end to subsidies and loan guarantees to dicey modalities like nuclear, ethanol and gas.
2. Smart Standards: We need to develop common sense standards for new technology so we don't go halfway down the road to hell paved by our good intentions. The precautionary principle has been adopted by the EU to ensure new chemicals don't get introduced into industrial processes before they are proven safe. It wouldn't have taken all that much time for scientists and eco-economists to figure out that corn ethanol violates the precautionary principle. All the billions of dollars wasted on that dead end could have given us a jumpstart on safer forms of biofuels, from algae to switchgrass -- and ones yet discovered.
The Union of Concerned Scientists has developed these "Bioenergy Principles" to guide R&D and investment in alternative fuels. A national renewable energy standard would also be smart, enabling innovative technologies to be developed with a national market in mind and improved predictability for investors.
3. Smart Efficiency: Some criticize efficiency efforts, pointing out that while vehicle efficiency has increased, overall vehicle emissions have stayed the same, because people are driving more. Increasing use as efficiency goes up is called the Jevons effect; it's real, but doesn't apply everywhere and can be minimized. For example, making buildings more energy efficient will decrease total emissions because people won't jack up the heat or AC beyond the level of comfort. Engineering solutions like smart lighting that goes off when no one is in a room makes efficiency easy, as does architecture that increases available daylight."