Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Climate & Energy

Comments

They’re not going to save us

Oh well, it was a nice thought: A decade-long experiment led by Duke University scientists indicates that trees provide little help in offsetting increased levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. Note to the hordes of indignant commenters lunging for the CAPS LOCK key: this does not mean trees are worthless. Trees do many wonderful things. They're like ponies and ice cream, only awesomer. I'm going to go hug one as soon as I'm done with this post. Yay for trees! It just so happens they're not going to save us from climate change.

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

Except that we still have to wait another 10 years

The German government on Wednesday cleared the way -- finally -- to phase out the mining of hard coal in Germany. As explained by this Associated Press article in the International Herald Tribune, the heavily subsidized German hard coal industry still employs about 33,000 people in eight underground mines. The plan is to phase out hard-coal mining starting in 2009, and for miners to receive compensation if they are laid off prematurely. Hard-coal mining "has no future" in Germany, declared Economy Minister Michael Glos. "A great, long era is coming to an end in a socially responsible way." For decades, …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

Their Bark Is Worse For Our Blight

Decade-long study says trees may not be good at offsetting carbon Step away from the vegetation, treehuggers, and find something else to embrace. New research finds that when it comes to offsetting greenhouse gases, trees may not be up to the challenge. For 10 years, Duke University researchers plied a stand of North Carolina loblolly pines with higher-than-normal levels of carbon dioxide; they found that the foliaged friends grew more than non-gassed trees, but did not consistently absorb significantly higher levels of CO2. "The responses are very variable according to how available other resources are -- nutrients and water -- …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

A Jolly Good Rockefeller

Rockefeller Foundation offers climate aid to Asia, Africa Comin' on over to the dirty-hippie side, the Rockefeller Foundation has announced an investment of $70 million over the next five years to help communities in Asia and Africa withstand the effects of climate change. The foundation will focus on developing adaptation strategies for affected populations, and, admirably sidestepping the blame game, will not hinge the assistance on nations' plans (or lack thereof) for limiting greenhouse-gas emissions. "Emissions mitigation is fantastically important, but that is about changing behavior relative to future climate change," says foundation president Judith Rodin. "In the meantime, data …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

The Big Green Bus rides again

Witness the Big Green Bus. Hard to miss, even amid the glaring sun and smog at Bonnaroo. I happened upon the crew of Dartmouth students at the festival last year and got just a few minutes to chat with them. This year, I sought them out on the festival grounds and then met up with them again when they rolled into Seattle last weekend. During their 12,000-mile trek this summer, the Big Green Busriders are stopping at various events and landmarks ranging from a Doobie Brothers concert to Zion National Park to San Francisco Marathon Water Stop #3. And they're …

Comments

Don’t let the one color your feelings on the other

I don't think it's politically or substantively wise to set ourselves up as dogmatically opposed to any given source of energy (except coal!) (just kidding!) (only not!). The key is to set up low-carbon standards and benchmarks and say, "if you can meet these without ginormous subsidies, have at it." This is true of biofuels as well. We all agree that politically speaking, biofuels are a freaking mess -- a big subsidy-ridden boondoggle that's doing great harm and very little good. And no, biofuel proponents can't defend the current political situation by waving their hands at cellulosic ponies. After all: …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

An interview with Hillary Clinton about her presidential platform on energy and the environment

This is part of a series of interviews with presidential candidates produced jointly by Grist and Outside. Update: Clinton suspended her campaign for the presidency on June 7, 2008. Hillary Clinton. Photo: SEIU True to form, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton has done her homework on environmental and energy issues. A member of the Environment and Public Works Committee during her six and a half years in the Senate, she has sponsored or cosponsored nearly 400 legislative proposals related to energy and the environment. They've hit on high-profile topics like energy independence as well as less-discussed green issues like toxic …

Comments

Hansen gives a talk in Iowa about climate change impacts

Hansen writes faster than I can blog. He has posted a "talk given at Des Moines last Sunday, with description of Declaration of Stewardship slightly edited for clarity." He talks about the "three major consequences of global warming, if we go down the business-as-usual path, with fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions continuing to increase": First, there is the extermination of species. We could drive half of the plant and animal species on the planet to extinction. Humans are already placing stresses on many species as we take over the land, and climate stress is being added on top …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

Activists pester him about the most trivial stuff

OK, I'm back to defending Dingell (sorry Brian!), mainly because the activists attacking him are acting like idiots. At a town hall in Ann Arbor, Mich., Dingell unveiled the various climate-change proposals he's going to introduce to Congress on Sep. 1. Press coverage of the event is fairly sketchy, and I can't find a transcript anywhere, so there's not a lot of detail, but the measures include: A carbon tax of up to $100 per ton. A gas tax of $0.50 a gallon. A cap-and-trade system. Ending the mortgage tax deduction for "McMansions" over 3,000 sq. feet. All with the …

Comments

More thoughts on how sea level will be influenced by global warming

Hansen has posted some important thoughts about sea level rise on his website. In particular, he has shortened his "Scientific reticence and sea level rise" paper and New Scientist has published it. The key conclusion: [I]ce sheets will respond in a non-linear fashion to global warming --- and are already beginning to do so. There is enough information now, in my opinion, to make it a near certainty that business-as-usual [emissions] scenarios will lead to disastrous multi-metre sea level rise on the century time scale. This leads directly to his emissions strategy: The global community must aim to restrict any …

Read more: Climate & Energy