Maryland has joined seven other Northeast states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.Maryland is more reliant on coal-fired power plants than are the other states in the regional pact, and the enactment of such tough pollution control legislation there is considered a major environmental victory.The dominoes are falling.
Associated Press reminds us that things are still looking bad for U.S. car manufacturers: The U.S. auto industry's slump hit GM hard in March, when the struggling automaker's sales fell almost 15 percent as rival Toyota reported its highest-ever monthly sales. But, not all is lost: Still, Ford's F-Series truck held its own, posting a 5.5 percent increase for the month, its best March sales since 2000, with 84,168 sold. Ford said it was the third consecutive month sales rose for the nation's best-selling vehicle.
What to make of this news from the Eugene, OR Register-Guard? In a report that's sure to be controversial, CNW Marketing Research ... concludes ... that, even though hybrid cars use less fuel, they require more energy - and are therefore worse for the environment - than conventional cars because their design and manufacture are more complex and the costs of disposal or recycling are higher for their batteries, electric motors and other specialized components. [Emphasis added.] Hybrids use more energy throughout their lifecycle than regular cars? Can this possibly be true? Color me skeptical: I think there's very good reason not to take the study too seriously -- at least, not until the authors can answer some tough questions about what their study implies.
I haven't read all (or even most) of it yet, but I feel obliged to direct you to a special edition of American Prospect on the subject of a post-petroleum economy. Much of it is behind a subscription wall (go ahead, subscribe), but David Morris' piece on the carbohydrate economy is free to read, and a mind-blower. At least it blew my mind a little. I'm still processing it -- may post something later.
Alan Durning wants to know: What's your Burley score? The Burley in question is an old bike trailer. The Durning family uses it when they walk around their neighborhood, to carry groceries, broken vacuum cleaners, whatever. (Their car was recently totaled.) They can get about a mile from home comfortably, towing the Burley. Within a mile of the Durning household are 248 businesses. That's his Burley score: 248. What's yours? (Check out Alan's post for instructions on calculating your score. Mine happens to be identical to his, since apparently we live mere blocks from one another.)
Supporters of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge loathe Washington Senator Maria Cantwell, their most tenacious and successful foe. And no one loathes her more than the Alaskan Congressional delegation. In a week or so, they are holding a big fundraiser for Republican Senate candidate Mike McGavick, who's challenging Cantwell in November:
All you biocentrists have a new hero. Particularly amusing was this understated student evaluation:Though I agree that conservation biology is of utmost importance to the world, I do not think that preaching that 90 percent of the human population should die of Ebola is the most effective means of encouraging conservation awareness. (via Drudge) Update [2006-4-5 12:39:2 by David Roberts]: Well, dammit. I had a bad feeling about posting this, but it seemed like the kind of juicy thing that would start discussion. Now it seems I was a dupe. Via Andrew Sullivan, I see that the big stink being raised over this professor was started by an anti-evolutionist kook, and that the professor's words have been twisted and stripped of context. Let this be a lesson to all of you (OK, to me) about the dangers of speed blogging. Pharyngula has more.
You many have heard a while back about a new mutual fund -- the Free Enterprise Action Fund -- headed by Junk Science proprietor and legendary hack Steven Milloy. Milloy started the fund as a way to counter what he sees as the pernicious influence of so-called socially responsible investment (SRI) initiatives, which are (obviously!) nothing more than fronts for capitalism-hatin' lefty special-interest groups. The fund launches shareholder initiatives at places like Goldman Sachs and GE demanding that the companies stop saving energy and cutting back greenhouse-gas emissions. Seriously. Anyhoo, we didn't cover this in Daily Grist or here, 'cause really, why give cranks the attention they so desperately seek? However, Tim Lambert has a hilarious post up today reviewing the financial performance of the fund. It is, to say the least, less than stellar. Sweet, sweet schadenfreude.
There's some big stuff happening in Venezuela these days. In an interview with the BBC, President Hugo Chavez announced a bid that could change the entire world oil situation. He wants OPEC to set its long-term oil target price at $50/barrel. Why? At $50, large portions of Venezuela's copious heavy crude in the Orinoco Tar Sands become economically viable, and Venezuela's official oil reserves automatically skyrocket to 312 billion barrels -- surpassing Saudi Arabia's 262 billion, currently the world's largest. This would raise OPEC's production quotas, bring in a bucketload of new revenue to the Venezuelan government (which just renegotiated more favorable terms with several oil companies, and seized oil fields from two companies that refused to cooperate), and dramatically increase the country's influence and Chavez's stature. The best summary I've seen is this one from Motley Fool:
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