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Joseph Romm's Posts

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More on Supreme Court decision

In November, the issue of EPA's refusal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions went before the Supreme Court. Yesterday, the decision (PDF) was announced -- 5-4 in favor of Massachusetts, meaning that the EPA does have the authority and responsibility to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant. In short, the time to act is now! In the chutzpah department, EPA actually tried to argue that 1) "any EPA regulation of motor-vehicle emission" was a "piecemeal approach to climate change that would conflict with the President's comprehensive [!] approach" -- comprehensive, I suppose, in the sense that he refuses to take any …

Read more: Politics

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How high and how fast?

How high and fast will sea levels rise? An important piece (PDF) by Stefan Rahmstorf in Science concludes: A rise of over 1 m by 2100 for strong warming scenarios cannot be ruled out, because all that such a rise would require is that the linear relation of the rate of sea-level rise and temperature, which was found to be valid in the 20th century, remains valid in the 21st century. These scenarios, which are really nothing more than business-as-usual emissions plus amplifying carbon-cycle feedbacks, would give us sea level rising at 6 inches a decade in 2100. In such …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Personal ethics pledge my left foot

At the Environment and Public Works hearing yesterday, Sen. Inhofe (R-Okla.) displayed an amazing lack of understanding about energy as he tried to get Gore to make a meaningless pledge. Now the EPW Minority web page repeats the inane charge: Former Vice President Al Gore refused to take a "Personal Energy Ethics Pledge" today to consume no more energy than the average American household. But why should Gore take such a pledge? Gore is a champion of greenhouse gas reductions, not energy reductions. Gore explained he buys 100 percent renewable power and is planning to build a solar power system. …

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Come on, Drudge. You can do better

Al Gore is testifying on Capitol Hill twice on Wednesday -- before John Dingell's House Energy and Commerce Committee and Barbara Boxer's Senate Environment Committee. According to the Drudge Report (link may only be temporary), "Proposed questions for Gore, which are circulating behind-the-scenes, have been obtained by the DRUDGE REPORT -- questions that could lead Gore scrambling for answers!" Here are the questions, which would not cause a fifth grader to scramble, but I am flattered to make the list: Mr. Gore: You have said several times that we have 10 years to act to stave off global warming. Was …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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2006, the year global warming came into focus

Steve Connor from the U.K.'s The Independent summarized what we learned in 2006 with the article "Review of the year: Global warming," subheaded with, "Our worst fears are exceeded by reality." According to Connor, "2006 will be remembered by climatologists as the year in which the potential scale of global warming came into focus. And the problem can be summarised in one word: feedback." Connor has collected and examined research from the last year on positive and negative feedback cycles, and he lays some out in layman's language. Yet his reporting is not diluted at all. To the contrary, it's …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Evangelical environmental movement gathering strength

For some Christians, teaching the science of climate change contradicts religious beliefs. But a growing group of evangelical environmentalists has been working to change that view. For a few years, Richard Cizik, the Vice President for Governmental Affairs with the National Association of Evangelicals, has spoken out as passionately in favor of addressing climate change as he has against abortion, gay marriages or embryonic stem-cell research. You can read an interview with him at Grist and hear one from NPR. Despite his being isolated by several other religious leaders, Cizik is not alone. The New York Times has also featured …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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Global warming may be primarily to blame

"The violence in Darfur is usually attributed to ethnic hatred. But global warming may be primarily to blame," concludes the Atlantic Monthly (sub. req). The article is worth quoting at length, for two reasons. First, the world needs to understand its moral obligation in Darfur if human emissions of greenhouse gases were a major contributing cause to the crisis. Second, the article almost single-handedly contradicts an absurd article that appears in the same issue by Gregg Easterbrook, suggesting that global warming might have as many winners as losers (which I will discuss in a later post). Here are the key …

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Finally!

At last, some of the nation's biggest newspapers have been making a big deal of energy efficiency and conservation. Over the weekend the Washington Post ran an article on California's ambitious and profitable efforts by utilities. The Post's article followed an energy series by the Wall Street Journal on cutting energy use and costs. Two of the WSJ pieces worth highlighting (sub req'd) are "How to Cut Energy Costs," which provides options for saving energy and money around the house, and "The Bottom Line," whose content overlaps with the Post's piece. All three pieces overlap in that their bottom line …

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Wyoming joins Oklahoma in drought

Irony is no stranger to our posts derived from the U.S. Drought Monitor, and again, this case is no exception. The monitor reveals severe to extreme drought covering most of the state of Wyoming (for at least the last three months), the home of none other than Vice President Dick Cheney. Cheney represented Wyoming for just over a decade on Capitol Hill (in the House) and his career is sturdily rooted in the coal and petroleum businesses that he backed in Wyoming, before becoming CEO of Halliburton. In some form or another, Cheney has contributed his share of greenhouse gases, …

Read more: Uncategorized

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Duh!

As if it were news, a report by Intellichoice.com found that over a five-year span, the owner of a Prius saves more than $13,000 compared to the owner of a similar non-hybrid. In fact, the savings apply "across the board," to all 22 hybrids evaluated. What's more, the study was the most inclusive of any yet: It factored in insurance, fuel, taxes, maintenance, and the works. Read it to believe it, but it just confirms what many of us have been saying for years.

Read more: Uncategorized