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Joseph Romm's Posts

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All about hydrogen

Probably half the media queries I get concern hydrogen -- thanks to my last book, The Hype about Hydrogen. Yesterday's New York Times Magazine had an exceedingly long article, "The Zero-Energy Solution," on a solar-hydrogen home. The author refers to me as "an environmental pragmatist," no doubt because I don't automatically embrace every environmental solution that comes along, but judge each on its technical and practical merit. I have written a number of articles arguing that hydrogen has been wildly overhyped as an energy and climate solution, when in fact it holds little promise of being a cost-effective greenhouse gas …

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The two don’t mix well

This story deserves singling out because it is on an important but too-neglected subject -- the connection between energy and water. "Climate change puts nuclear energy into hot water," from the International Herald Tribune. Key point: Nuclear power "requires great amounts of cool water to keep reactors operating at safe temperatures. That is worrying if the rivers and reservoirs which many power plants rely on for water are hot or depleted because of steadily rising air temperatures." Factoid of the day: "During the extreme heat of 2003 in France, 17 nuclear reactors operated at reduced capacity or were turned off." …

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On a new McKibben editorial

If this were the daily sunset you had gotten used to growing up, you would understand the hesitancy of even Bill McKibben, a renowned environmentalist, to okay wind turbines on the horizon, interfering with bird migration in order to generate electricity. However, in an opinion article in which McKibben confesses his sentiment, entitled "One world, one problem," he ultimately resolves: In this world, the threat to that landscape, and to those birds, comes far more from rapid shifts in temperature than from a few dozen towers. McKibben goes on to write a testament to the gravity of climate change and …

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All green eyes turn to the West Coast

Popularized by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the term "Californication" actually refers to the surge of Californians migrating up the West Coast following the opening of a major highway. In this context, we're hoping we can Californicate the state's climate change and energy policies to the rest of the Union. Since the 1970s, California has kept its per capita energy use at a level rate, using primarily energy efficiency programs. Over time and with minimal spending, the cost of electricity under the programs is 1.4 cents per kilowatt-hour. That's an outstanding rate compared to traditional or even carbon-free energy sources. …

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Keeping an eye on the ‘wingers

(Part of a series of posts keeping an eye on Planet Gore, the National Review blog devoted to obfuscating on climate change.) New research finds low cost for tackling climate change. But not when that research is reported by Planet Gore. Sterling Burnett recently authored a classic example of PG's disinfotainment. He writes: Has the media completely lost objectivity and the search for the "truth" with regard to the issue of global warming. The latest reason that made me ponder this question arose with the "non-story" of the recent reports by MIT and the CBO detailing the substantial costs and …

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Or is it just us?

April may have seemed on the cool side in this country, but globally it was the third warmest on record (and the warmest April ever over land). In fact, the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reports that "globally averaged combined land and sea surface temperature was the warmest on record for January-April year-to-date period." Drudge reported the April news perversely: "WARMING ON HOLD? April’s temperatures were below average ..." April temperature anomalies are shown on the dot map below. The redder it is, the hotter it is: Note that the real news is that much of Siberia is a stunning …

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The hits keep on comin’

Senate Foreign Relations Testimony on the grave threat to our nation's security posed by global warming: Admiral Joseph W. Prueher (PDF), USN (Ret.), Former Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Command and Former Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China; General Charles F. Wald (PDF), USAF (Ret.), Former Deputy Commander, U.S. European Command; and Vice Admiral Richard H. Truly (PDF), USN (Ret.), Former NASA Administrator, Shuttle Astronaut and the First Commander of the Naval Space Command. Memo to conservative global warming deniers: Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) asserts in his opening statement (PDF),"To adequately prepare our security and diplomatic forces for future threats, we …

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They don’t get that climate is a security issue

"The Democrats' Global War on Weather" and "Jack Bauer, Climatologist???" are the headlines conservatives are using to mock efforts by progressives to finance a National Intelligence Estimate to study global warming. But climate is clearly a national security threat, as made clear in a recent CNA report from a distinguished group of former military leaders (PDF). As but one example, a "ferocious drought and famine" were the driving forces behind the crisis in Darfur, which is "likely to be seen as the first climate change war," as the Guardian put it. Contrary to the mocking press release, the "war on …

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Summarizin’ summaries, summarily

Here is the second half of my summary of the IPCC summary (PDF): Energy Efficiency: It is often more cost-effective to invest in end-use energy efficiency improvement than in increasing energy supply to satisfy demand for energy services. Efficiency improvement has a positive effect on energy security, local and regional air pollution abatement, and employment. (In buildings): Energy efficiency options for new and existing buildings could considerably reduce CO2 emissions with net economic benefit. Many barriers exist against tapping this potential, but there are also large co-benefits (high agreement, much evidence). By 2030, about 30 percent of the projected GHG …

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Summaries of a summary — the new black?

Finally, below is the first half of my summary of the IPCC summary (PDF): In 2030 macro-economic costs for multi-gas mitigation, consistent with emissions trajectories towards stabilization between 445 and 710 ppm CO2-eq, are estimated at between a 3% decrease of global GDP and a small increase, compared to the baseline. However, regional costs may differ significantly from global averages (high agreement, medium evidence). In 2050 global average macro-economic costs for multi-gas mitigation towards stabilization between 710 and 445 ppm CO2-eq, are between a 1% gain to a 5.5% decrease of global GDP. For specific countries and sectors, costs vary …

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