A melange of tasty treats
The week’s almost over, and you know what that means: time to clear out the Firefox tabs.
According to a recent MIT survey, Americans now rank climate change as the country’s most pressing environmental problem–a dramatic shift from three years ago, when they ranked climate change sixth out of 10 environmental concerns.
Almost three-quarters of the respondents felt the government should do more to deal with global warming, and individuals were willing to spend their own money to help.
In other news, stay tuned for a global collapse of all species currently fished, possibly by mid-century.
The International Energy Agency is, for the first time in its 32-year history, going to encourage the world’s governments to speed the construction of nuclear power plants. That’s just dumb. Nuke plants are a massive diversion of money that would have much more impact on climate change spent elsewhere. If you want to encourage governments to do something, encourage them to eliminate all energy subsidies and tax breaks and put a high price on carbon emissions to reflect the cost of global warming. On that level playing field, let IGCC/sequestration, nuclear power, and distributed wind and solar duke it out. Let the market determine the best alternative, as long as each pays equally for GHGs.
If you haven’t read the mind-bendingly depressing New Yorker story on the impending worldwide water crisis, well … you’re probably healthier for it.
A nice little interview with Dr. Richard Joseph Jackson, a public-health expert who’s spreading the word that sprawl sickens and kills us. His latest book is Urban Sprawl and Public Health. Needless to say, New Urbanist types love him.
Speaking of sprawl, there’s a nice, thoughtful piece about how the U.S. is going to accomodate 100 million more people — hint: urban infill, public transit, mixed-use urban villages — on the front page of USA Today of all places.
Yahoo! recently launched a green car center. It’s pretty slick.
This is smart: federal spending on R&D on new energy sources is … falling. ‘Cause really, what’s the big rush?
Wal-Mart wants to use greener, more sustainable chemicals.
Raise your hand if this surprises you:
A senior Bush political appointee at the Interior Department has rejected staff scientists’ recommendations to protect imperiled animals and plants under the Endangered Species Act at least six times in the past three years, documents show.
Nobody? OK, raise your hand if this surprises you:
Inspectors general at two agencies have begun an investigation into whether the Bush administration has suppressed government scientists’ research on global warming, officials at NASA and the Commerce Department confirmed yesterday.
(Rick Piltz has lots more on the NASA business.)
Looks like the example being set at the national level is seeping down: some dimwit station manager in Maine doesn’t want any more stories on global warming.
Sen. James Inhofe hired Marc Morano as an in-house partisan-propaganda blogger — and by "in-house" I mean employed by the U.S. Senate and paid taxpayer money — and it’s finally raising some eyebrows. Eyebrows of envy, that is: looks like the Pentagon is following Inhofe’s lead.
A nice little CNET video on the costs of solar power.
Tom Kiser, an unlikely eco-savior in Fremont, Ohio, has developed a "liquid chimney" that can suck the CO2 out of power-plant exhaust (source of half the greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.). He says it’s getting to be cheap and efficient enough to be retrofitted onto existing power plants. If he’s right, it could change the game. This may be the greatest quote ever:
“All right, hot damn, you know what?” he says. “If there’s no God, man, we’re on our own. We’d better get busy. If there is a God, yeah, there’s a lot of things I’d like to hold him accountable for. But I don’t get to talk to him till the next deal. And I’m really afraid when I get there, he’s gonna say, “I’d like to ask you the same question: What in the hell were you doing down there?”
And finally: Damn him. Every time I think I’m out, he pulls me back in. I’d just started to temper my Obamaphilia when I read this post from Hilzoy. And then I read this interview. And now here I am, head over heels again. It hurts, people.