Believe it or not, politicians can mention the fact that the health of the planet is being slowly eroded due to carbon pollution and they won't immediately be impeached.
Kind of a surprise, right? Especially if the only evidence you have at hand is how willing elected officials are to discuss climate change. From the available evidence, it seems that members of Congress would rather talk about their sympathy for Al Qaeda than suggest that maybe we should take common-sense steps toward not ruining the climate.
They don't need to be so skittish. According to the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, advocating for action on climate change is a net benefit for political candidates. Some toplines from a poll the group released today [PDF]:
A majority of all registered voters (55%) say they will consider candidates' views on global warming when deciding how to vote.
Among these climate change issue voters, large majorities believe global warming is happening and support action by the U.S. to reduce global warming, even if it has economic costs.
Independents lean toward “climate action” and look more like Democrats than Republicans on the issue.
A pro-climate action position wins votes among Democrats and Independents, and has little negative impact with Republican voters.
This is generally good news -- but it seems hard to believe that this will inspire any Republican candidates to pick up the mantle, or encourage any Democrats to invoke the wrath of climate deniers. One of the missing factors in this poll (based on my read-through; happy to be corrected) is an assessment of the virulence of the belief. Climate deniers are far more vocal than proponents for action. This has been part of the problem: There's a much higher political cost paid when opposing deniers than supporters, even though the latter are the majority.
The analysis used the state obesity rates released today by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Mississippi had the highest rate of obesity at 34.9 percent, while Colorado had the lowest rate at 20.7 percent. Twenty-six of the 30 states with the highest obesity rates are in the Midwest and South.
Grim, to be sure.
Our contribution to this depressing bit of news? This interactive map.
The two presidential campaigns are now operating as weird reflections of each other. Each is criticizing the other for killing energy jobs; each is claiming to be an industry's salvation. It's basically the same strategy, but Romney says "coal" while Obama says "wind."
Romney will be at American Energy. A sister company within parent Murray Energy Corp. pleaded guilty last month for a pipeline rupture at a coal preparation plant near Beallsville that spilled thousands of gallons of slurry into pristine Captina Creek, turning the stream black for 22 miles. Ohio Valley Coal Co. pleaded guilty last month in federal district court to criminal violations of the federal Clean Water Act. The spill is costing the company millions.
Murray Energy is the largest privately held coal company in the nation, according to its website. An accident at its Century Mine in Beallsville on Aug. 8, 2011 killed a worker.
If you're familiar with the name Enbridge, it's probably because of the company's stellar track record of spilling oil all over Michigan and then spilling a bit less oil all over Wisconsin. It's like a vaudeville skit, something out of Laurel and Hardy -- a clumsy buffoon slipping and sliding all over the stage, oil pouring from his pants pockets and from under his hat.
Enbridge is currently "managed" by a guy named Patrick Daniel, continuing the new trend of dudes only having first names. Patrick Daniel (whose name I just accidentally typed as "Denial" -- seriously -- and then thought about whether I should change it) went on the radio in Canada yesterday and said the following things, according to the Edmonton Journal. His goal was to get people to like this idea he has for a new pipeline to take tar-sands oil from Alberta to British Columbia. He was maybe not so successful.
Everything that we say sounds defensive and self-interested, and on the other side, everything they say ... is really taken as gospel -- and it isn’t.
Shorter version: "Just because we lie, people don't like us."
Setting aside the irony of claiming that science is "taken as gospel," the debate isn't between oil-lovers and oil-haters. It's between people who make money by polluting and people who would like to curtail that pollution. It's between an industry that seeks to obscure the truth and a movement that wants to clarify. By the way, dude -- you sound defensive.
The long run-up to California's cap-and-trade program will finally end this November, as the state launches its market for carbon allowances. Polluters will buy allowances for each ton of carbon dioxide they produce on an open market. Producing more will therefore cost a company more; producing less will yield a cost savings. The system is intended not only to impose a cost on the pollution, but also to bring down the total amount of pollution.
The [California Air Resources Board] is on schedule to develop a platform for a Nov. 14 auction of allowances, each allowing for the release of one metric ton of carbon under a state program that caps emissions from plants beginning next year, Chairman Mary Nichols said during an interview at Bloomberg’s San Francisco office. ...
Allowances to be used as part of the state’s program are commanding higher prices than any other carbon permits traded on futures exchanges as regulators develop rules for a system that eventually will cover 85 percent of the greenhouse gases released in the state. It would become the first economy-wide program of its kind in the U.S.
The Exxon Valdez, at the still-young age of 26, will soon leave this world once and for all.
Yes, the ship that in 1989 drenched the beaches of Alaska in crude oil is still around, having fled the scene of its crime to drift through Europe under an assumed name, like so many disgraced scoundrels before it. With Oriental Nicety now written on its outermost layer of paint, the ship sits off the coast of India, having only recently learned its fate from an Indian court: death.
[I]n 2011, … she was sold for $16 million to an Indian demolition company, Priya Blue Industries. The same company had attracted bad press in 2006 for breaking down a ship called the Blue Lady, despite knowing that she contained asbestos. Activists claimed that the Oriental Nicety, too, was contaminated with asbestos and polychlorinated biphenyls, a persistent organic pollutant. The Indian Supreme Court forbade docking of the ship and imposed an environmental audit.
So the Oriental Nicety sat on death row for two months, costing her owner $10 million as the value of its steel declined and the company continued to pay its crew.
Last month, the court ruled in favour of Priya Blue: there was no toxic waste on the ship. The Oriental Nicety is welcome to beach at Alang, the world's largest ship-breaking yard, where she will be dismantled for scrap.
Connecticut has one nuclear power plant. On Saturday, one of its reactors was shut down because the water in Long Island Sound was too hot.
Unit 2 of Millstone Power Plant near New London was shut down Sunday afternoon after temperatures in the sound exceeded 75 degrees for 24 hours, the maximum temperature at which the nuclear power plant has permits to extract cooling water for the unit, said Ken Holt, spokesman for plant operator Dominion.
[T]he president continues to blame anyone and everyone for the drought but himself.
Yes! John Boehner, laying it on the line. Why doesn't the president accept the blame for the massive affliction that is almost unprecedented in national history? I bet John Boehner would, if he were president.
There are literally trillions of microbes in and around your body right now -- living in your stomach, crowded around your eyeballs, under your fingernails. But it's all a happy symbiotic relationship. You keep them alive; some of them keep you alive. None of them are trying to kill you.
Parasites, on the other hand, are happy to use your stomach itself as a food source and probably nest in your eyeballs. And with greater temperature shifts due to climate change, it's possible that you'll be more susceptible to parasitic invasion.
Parasites, which include tapeworms, the tiny organisms that cause malaria and funguses, may be more nimble at adapting to climatic shifts than the animals they live on since they are smaller and grow more quickly, scientists said.
It's possible. But you should be most worried if you're a frog.