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Salem Statesman Journal 08/17/2012
Carbon dioxide emissions drop to 20-year low
By Kevin Begos
Page : A01
Experts credit cheap natural gas prices for the big decline
In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen to its lowest level in 20 years. Government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal. Many of the world’s climate scientists didn’t see the drop coming, in large part because it happened as a result of market forces rather than direct government action against carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere.
CLOSER TO HOME
Dezhinette Chartrand holds her son, Destin. In a nod to a declining patient load, Salem Hospital will save money by combining its pediatrics unit with its mother-baby unit. THOMAS PATTERSON / STATESMAN JOURNAL By Saerom Yoo
HOSPITAL’S MOVE TO COMBINE UNITS WILL ALLOW SICK CHILDREN TO RECEIVE TREATMENT
Kimberly Martin, 15, of Salem took a job advertising Shoes Right Here on Lancaster Drive NE. She coped with the heat with three water bottles and sunscreen.
Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, said the shift away from coal is reason for “cautious optimism” about potential ways to deal with climate change. He said it demonstrates that “ultimately people follow their wallets” on global warming. “There’s a very clear lesson here. What it shows is that if you make a cleaner energy source cheaper, you will displace dirtier sources,” said Roger Pielke Jr., a climate expert at the University of Colorado. In a technical report, the U.S. Energy Information Agency, a part of the Energy Department, said this month that energy-related U.S. carbon dioxide emissions for the first four months of this year fell to about 1992 levels. While conservation efforts, the lagging economy and greater use of renewable energy are factors in the decline, the drop-off is due mainly to low-priced natural gas, the agency said.
Despite heat, the job gets done
Outdoor workers take breaks, drink water to cope with high temperatures
By Emily Gillespie
ick children still will have hospital beds in Salem, now that Salem Hospital has decided to preserve its in-patient pediatrics unit, officials announced Thursday. Salem Health officials in May said they were considering closing the unit, a move that critics said would force families to travel to Portland for less severe illnesses and hurt the hospital’s expertise in treating children. One Salem pediatrician characterized the potential closure as a betrayal. SALEM HEALTH FINANCES
Total revenue has been 11 percent to 12 percent below budget this fiscal year, which began in October. Cumulative shortfall is $66 million.
See EMISSIONS, Page 2A
Nurse manager Andrea Bell walks from the neonatal unit to the pediatrics unit at Salem Hospital. THOMAS PATTERSON /
ENERGY CONSUMPTION STILL GROWING
Globally: Coal and energy use are still growing rapidly in other countries, particularly China, and carbon dioxide levels globally are rising, not falling. U.S. power sources: Wind supplied less than 3 percent of the nation’s electricity in 2011 according to U.S. Energy Information Agency data, and solar power was far less. Estimates for this year suggest that coal will account for about 37 percent of the nation’s electricity, natural gas 30 percent, and nuclear about 19 percent.
Instead of closing the unit altogether, inpatient pediatrics will move next to the mother-baby unit in the Family Birth Center, chief finance and strategy officer Aaron Crane said in a letter to employees. Andrea Bell, nurse manager for the pediatrics and the neonatal intensive care units, said moving the pediatrics unit next to the mother-baby unit is expected to save $600,000 annually, mostly from staff-sharing. It still was unclear whether any jobs would be eliminated, she said. Pediatrics originally was an isolated unit, not allowing for flexibility in staffing even with low patient volume. Having the mother-baby unit staffers nearby means pediatrics could go down to one
See HOSPITAL, Page 2A
Expenses are $51 million under budget — through the organization’s fiscal improvement plan, reduced employees’ medical benefit costs and $2 million in additional Medicare reimbursement. The operating margin, which is leftover funds that are invested in capital projects and technological upgrades, is $15 million below what was budgeted, an improvement from the $25 million shortfall estimated in January.
Source: Email to Salem Health employees from chief finance and strategy officer Aaron Crane
Although the National Weather Service reports that it didn’t reach triple digit temperatures as expected, Thursday was still a hot one. All around town and the surrounding Salem area, peoTODAY’S FORECAST ple flocked to water and The forecast for sought out air today is mostly conditioning. sunny with a high But those of 99. Tonight’s whose jobs low should be 57 are outside degrees. For a weren’t as detailed report lucky. see Page 6B. The temperature hit 96 degrees about 3 p.m., five degrees short of the record 101 set in 1977. Juan Piedra, who owns Piedra P Concrete in Beaverton, said he and his crew took breaks under a tree every hour to preserve their energy in the sun. The crew was working on a curb and gutter on State Street near the state Capitol from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., refilling their large water container more frequently than usual. Even though Salem was in the midst of a heat wave and an excessive heat wave warning
See HEAT, Page 2A
Copyright © 2012 Salem Statesman Journal 08/17/2012
August 17, 2012 4:38 pm / Powered by TECNAVIA
Business.............. 6A Editorials ............ 6C
Sunny and hot.