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Climate & Energy


This week in ocean news

European fisheries ‘poor,’ island nation Palau rich in corals

Stakes in the seas are high, but in at least one case, an interest in ocean health can lead to cooperation between unlikely teammates ... ... the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution held an international conference on the possibility of mitigating global warming by seeding the ocean with iron, a controversial procedure which would theoretically boost phytoplankton populations ... ... meanwhile, the scientist behind the theory that the earth is a living organism suggested installing a series of giant pipes in the oceans to circulate water, creating algae blooms, under the theory that the algae would consume carbon dioxide and promote …

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Bush climate summit: Greenwashing vs. myth-busting

Foreign media take a more discerning look at Bush’s climate meetings this week

Once again, the foreign media is not fooled by Bush's PR stunt, while the U.S. media buys the White House line. The U.K.'s The Independent labeled this a "Greenwashing Climate Summit" in its headline, and opened their story with: For the first time in 16 years, a major environmental conference opens in Washington, hosted by the Bush administration. But no concrete results are expected, and that -- say European participants -- is the point of this high-level meeting. Far from representing a Damascene conversion on climate change by President George Bush, the two-day gathering of the world's biggest polluting nations …


Climate week in New York comes to an end

The U.N. summit and Clinton Global Initiative are over, and where did they get us?

This week's New York Climate Change Bonanza has come to an end. It's always a good thing when powerful people hold high-profile event after high-profile event dedicated to amplifying the profile of the climate change crisis and then solving it, as they did this week with the U.N.'s climate summit and the Clinton Global Initiative. But there's still the question of efficacy. On Monday, for instance, I sat and watched as literally dozens of world leaders -- who had flown in from around the globe to spend five minutes on an international stage -- called for global action on climate …


U.S. summit concludes with no progress to speak of

At the conclusion of a two-day U.S.-hosted climate summit of the world's major emitters, George W. Bush announced that he's been faking his climate-change laggardness all along, and signed on to reduce greenhouse gases in various planet-saving-while-still-economy-boosting ways. Ha ha ha! Sob. No, just as expected, Bush said what he always says -- voluntary measures will save the world! goals are for pansies! coordinated efforts are stupid! Oh, and there should be discussions about an "international clean technology fund." Woohoo. The gathered countries recognized Bush's admission that climate change is a problem (gasp!) and that something should be done about …


And then he said that thing that he always says again!

Press struggles to write something interesting about vacuous Bush speech

Well, Bush gave a speech on climate change today, in conjunction with his Major Economies Meeting. "What I'm telling you is, we've got a strategy,'' the man said. That's one way of putting it. As expected, Bush said nothing new, just some banalities about how we all recognize the problem and we all have to do something about it, as long as whatever it is doesn't slow economic growth or otherwise inconvenience us. He once again rejected mandatory caps on emissions, saying that each country should set its own voluntary policy for how and how much it wants to reduce …


On climate nightmares, the Ursula problem, and planning ahead

      A couple of weeks ago, Wroth -- as we affectionately call our story editor and chief punster -- gave me a call. "Sonja, I'd like some pictures of your kids for our parenting series slideshow." Not skipping a beat, I replied, "Piercings and all?" I wasn't sure my two teenagers quite fit the eco-kid image. But then I asked a more serious question: "By the way, I was just talking with my Nikki about global warming. She's been having nightmares about it. Are you covering that kind of thing?" "No shit, nightmares?" Wroth doesn't mince words either. …

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British citizen sues government over distribution of climate-change film to schools

In July, a judge ruled that the British government's decision to send Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth documentary to 3,500 English secondary schools did not constitute political indoctrination of children. British citizen and fun-name owner Stewart Dimmock disagrees, and is suing his government to quash the dastardly distribution. Dimmock claims the "irredeemable" film contains "serious inaccuracies" and "misrepresentations"; that "the majority of the arguments are false, or falsely exaggerated"; that the movie is aimed at "scaring children into a particular point of view"; and that, by his calculations, An Inconvenient Truth is "just over half scientific material, 30 percent pure politics …


The Hill goes green

Legislators take to the pages of the capitol’s mag to talk eco-this and that

Insidery capitol mag The Hill has a special section on "going green." There's some amusing stuff. First, it's nice to see a couple of members of Congress exposing the travesty that is corn ethanol. Seattle's own Rep. Dave Reichert has a hilariously poorly written essay on why Republicans should go green. It starts like this: America has come to a consensus. The American people want to protect the environment. OMG! Really?! Suspiciously, Reichert never offers a theory about why Republicans have come to be so anti-environment. I recommend, for reference, he check out Jonathan Chait's new book The Big Con. …


Chevron ad says renewables are great, oil is greater

A new TV commercial on energy and the environment debuts this weekend. The swooping camera shots of glaciers and freeways will be familiar, but the voice-over may not: "Our lives demand oil." Yes, the 2.5-minute spot, airing in eight languages around the globe, is an effort by Chevron to urge humanity to seek out alternative energy -- while continuing to cling to fossil fuels. Aimed at people who neither love nor hate oil companies, the ad states outright that Chevron is "not corporate titans" -- it's people just like you. And you really, really want to keep your convenient gas …


Passionate but confused

A response to Shellenberger & Nordhaus from David Hawkins of NRDC

The following is a guest essay from David Hawkins, director of the Climate Center at the Natural Resources Defense Council. ----- Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger are two passionate but confused individuals. They lambaste "environmentalists" for being fixated with a "pollution paradigm" that operates by "limiting human power" and by "increasing the cost of dirty energy." This approach, they argue, will not solve global warming. What is really needed is a five to ten-fold increase in government expenditures on "breakthrough" energy technologies. While their opinions are strong, their grasp of the facts is not. Unquestionably, we need to shift from …