Patrick Mazza

Patrick Mazza is an independent journalist-activist focused on climate and global sustainability. He was formerly research director at Climate Solutions, and a founder of the group. His blog is Cascadia Planet.

Literal grassroots leadership: The Soil Carbon Challenge

Sitting down to talk about his work to focus the climate-saving power of soil carbon, Peter Donovan starts off with a trick question. “What’s the major greenhouse gas?”  I fall right into it. “Carbon dioxide.” “No, it’s water vapor.” Of course, he’s right, and I know it.  I have answered the question I thought I heard – What is the human-emitted pollutant that is the largest source of climate change?  But in terms of actual gases in the atmosphere, good old H2O is hands down the greatest heat trapper. So what does this have to do with carbon in the …

Newly discovered super-advanced biocarbon device: anchovy poop!

(At the Northwest Biocarbon Initiative we are constantly on the hunt for ways to improve the carbon storage capacity of natural systems.   One of my partners in the project, Rhys Roth, came across this new scientific study on the importance of fish poop.  One way to help remove the carbon load in the Earth’s atmosphere!  Patrick Mazza) Filed under: NBI, biocarbon, solutions, carbon, natural systems   By Rhys Roth I love pizza, but the anchovies?  Not so much.  Little did I know that by skipping the anchovies I may actually be helping protect’s  natural CO2 cleansing system.  Anchovy poop, …

Climate & Energy

Fires, droughts put focus on climate — but will we seize the moment?

Information won't lead to action without proactive planning -- the kind that requires cooperation between government, business, and other groups with a commitment to change.

A storm-resistant power grid?

On the verge of revolutionizing the U.S. power grid

Rachel Maddow, a kindred spirit whose heart beats a little faster at the word "infrastructure," has been campaigning recently for more infrastructure spending in the stimulus package. Pointing to the mass blackouts caused by Midwest storms, she asked the other day on her MSNBC show, "Can I put in a request for a grid that works, even in the snow?" Yes, Rachel, you can! What you want is a smart grid rich in distributed energy resources. First, it is important to be clear that we have two power grids: a transmission grid, which consists of the big lines carrying power from distant generating stations, and a distribution grid, which carries power in the local area to homes, businesses, etc. Failures on the transmission grid, that's T to us geeks, lead to the really big blackouts like that in the Northeast in August 2003. But most failures -- around 90 percent -- happen on the distribution, or D grid, and they are usually not well publicized. Electric Power Research Institute estimates that, overall, blackouts and other power disturbances cost the U.S. economy in the range of $119-188 billion (see p. ES-3 [PDF].) By comparison U.S. power customers paid a total of $343.7 billion for electricity in 2007. The shocking fact is that the costs of an aging and technologically backward power grid adds something like one-third to one-half to our annual electricity costs. Ghost Town Louisville is a poster child, but most power problems do not receive national publicity.

GM 2.0

Call it ‘green mobility’

With an auto industry bailout careening down the pike, Climate Solutions policy director KC Golden has some vitally needed insights regarding what we need to demand from industry leader GM in return. —– We should not rescue General Motors as we know it. But Congress could use the proposed bailout as an opportunity to begin building a new prosperity that can last. As part of any public assistance, GM should be required to help America reduce its oil dependence and tackle the climate challenge by producing the cars of the future. Saving GM under any circumstances is a hard swallow. …

Stronger, simpler, fairer

Upward from the Climate Security Act

Climate Solutions Policy Director K.C. Golden has some thoughts on where to go with national climate legislation after last week's down vote on the Climate Security Act. As thunderstorms and tornadoes ripped through the nation's capital last week, the U.S. Senate tied itself in a procedural knot, preventing a vote on the substance of the Climate Security Act -- the first meaningful climate legislation to reach the Senate floor. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called it "the most important issue facing the world today." But the minority stalled -- insisting on a full reading of the nearly 500-page bill -- while the storm raged outside. Once again, the "world's greatest deliberative body" did nothing about the world's biggest problem. Twenty years after our preeminent climate scientist Jim Hansen warned Congress of the need for immediate action, this dilly-dallying is enough to make you scream.

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