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Kif Scheuer's Posts

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Tesco will offer carbon labels

The folks over at Terrapass blogged this story today: Tesco, the largest supermarket chain in Britain, has announced that it will begin labeling all 70,000 products on its shelves with the amount of carbon generated from the production, transport, and consumption of those items. This is a fascinating experiment. Will people notice the labels? Will people actually choose between products based on carbon intensity? If this works, it throws some cold water on those who argue that measuring carbon is too difficult. Of course, it remains to be seen how transparent and accurate their labeling is. But this will be …

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What about buildings and industry?

As many have already dug into the particulars of the Bush climate-change non-plan, I'll take a different stab. The President's Plan Will Help Confront Climate Change By Stopping The Projected Growth Of Carbon Dioxide Emissions From Cars, Light Trucks, And SUVs Within 10 Years. Wait a doggone, oil-slugging, carbon-spewing minute! If Bush can finally stomach admitting that this problem exists, and does in fact demand serious enough action that we are going to stop growth of carbon emissions from automobiles (well, kind of, but not really -- pay no attention to the man behind the CAFE curtain), how, in the …

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Will Dingell obstruct on climate change?

Apparently, John Dingell is not sitting idly by as Nancy Pelosi sticks a thumb in his eye on global warming. An editorial in the NYT mentions that he has sent out a "quiet little letter to the members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce ... he said he would put climate change at the top of the committee agenda this year and, for good measure, would invite Al Gore ... to testify first." The editorial paints Dingell as less of an "obstruction" than others have: Hardly a believer, in other words, but plainly open to persuasion. Which is …

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It gets at what matters

A looong time ago I posted on bringing better psychology research into the climate debate. Others have also posted occasionally about the psychological dimensions of environmental issues (here and here and here). In the last few days there were a couple of items, unrelated to environmental issues (on the surface at least), that reminded me why I love this stuff so much. See below for details ... John Tierney at the NYT reports on fMRI studies of tightwads and spendthrifts, revealing that (surprise!) we're not wired to be rational consumers. There are distinct regions of the brain that activate pleasure …

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Depressing

Ken Calderia, of the Carenegie Instition's Department of Global Ecology has an op-ed in the NYT today, in which he cautions against willy-nilly tree-planting projects for carbon sequestration: While preserving and restoring forests is unquestionably good for the natural environment, new scientific studies are concluding that preservation and restoration of forests outside the tropics will do little or nothing to help slow climate change. And some projects intended to slow the heating of the planet may be accelerating it instead. Trees don't just absorb carbon dioxide -- they soak up the sun's heating rays, too. Forests tend to be darker …

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Could I have missed this?

I know I'm late on this, but the Wall Street Journal had a report on the 11th about Exxon backing off their position on climate change and perhaps engaging with emissions regulation: In one of the strongest signs yet that U.S. industry anticipates government curbs on global-warming emissions, Exxon Mobil Corp., long a leading opponent of such rules, is starting to talk about how it would like them to be structured. Here's the meat of the article: Exxon says important questions remain about the degree to which fossil-fuel emissions are contributing to global warming. But "the modeling has gotten better" …

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U.S. oil and gas leases screw taxpayers

It looks like the oil and gas industries are getting what we pay for when it comes to drilling rights. The NYT reports today that it's finally gotten its hands on an Interior Department report which paints a pretty bleak picture of the benefits that come from our leasing deals (another blow to subsidies, eh Dr. Scorse?). The United States offers some of the most lucrative incentives in the world to companies that drill for oil in publicly owned coastal waters, but a newly released study suggests that the government is getting very little for its money. The study, which …

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Codes are springing up in cities big and small

Just in the last month I've noticed signs of a major shift in green building practices around the country. Green building codes and ordinances are springing up all over the place. We may be seeing the beginning of one of the best environmental stories of 2007. Washington D.C. got a lot of attention early in December for passing rules that will force private development to green up (although not until 2012). Now Boston is entering the game, forcing all private development over 50,000 sq. ft. to meet LEED's minimum criteria (26 out of 69 possible points). In addition to large …

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Hockey stick study bolstered

Nice story over at Newscientist.com about a new study by David C. Lund, Jean Lynch-Stieglitz, and William B. Curry in Nature that undercuts the "where's the little ice age?" argument against Mann's Hockey Stick graph: The "hockey stick" graph, which shows a rapid rise in world temperatures over recent decades, has been both poster child for the dangers of human-induced global warming and prime target for climate change sceptics. They cite an anomaly in the graph - it does not record a dip in temperature between 1200 and 1850 - as reason to ditch the whole thing. Now new data …

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The bill could affect most large construction in the city starting in 2012

In a preliminary vote, the D.C. city council unanimously decided to phase in green building standards that would apply to private as well as public development in the district. The district is poised to become the first major city in the country to require that private developers build environmentally friendly projects that incorporate energy-saving measures. By 2012, most large construction in the city -- commercial and city-funded residential -- would have to meet the standards, if the D.C. council gives final approval to a new bill next month. Under the bill, within two years, all new district-owned projects, including schools, …

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