Climate & Energy

Question

What does it say about humanity if, knowing what we know, we stand by and allow a 4,000 MW dirty coal plant get built?

George W. Bush: the President of Mars

Take care of Earth before ruining other planets

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, executive director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. ----- One of the great ironies of our time is this: We have learned to walk on the Moon, but we haven't yet learned to walk on the earth. It is an irony that is fast devolving into a tragedy. Since the first man landed on the Moon in 1969, we have continued dumping greenhouse gases into the earth's atmosphere and making our planet less habitable. Meantime, under the direction of the Bush administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is working toward the goal of settling the moon and Mars. If we could do both -- put human beings on other planets while practicing good stewardship of Earth -- all would be well. But the next missions to the moon and Mars are being prepared at the expense of life at home.

DiCaprio's new digs

Leo’s new condo full of green amenities, paparazzi

Attention, paparazzi: It’s Leonardo DiCaprio’s 11th Hour in his current New York abode. He’s Departed (or will soon) for a new LEED-certified condo in Manhattan’s Battery Park City neighborhood. DiCaprio’s new digs are quite the eco-residence, featuring solar panels, a green roof, and units "decked out with locally obtained renewable materials and low- or nonpollutant paints, sealants, and adhesives." Of course, the place also features a 50-foot lap pool, dog spa, and in-house branch of the New York Public Library. But who’s counting? Hey, Leo, invite me up? Update: Curious about the price of green living? Well, at 1 River …

Lieberman-Warner: bad idea

Greenpeace and FOE call Climate Security Act too limited; too slow

It's time to call the Lieberman-Warner love train back to the station. This is not to say that we don't urgently need to immediately start reducing atmospheric GHG concentrations and get policies in place that price carbon. It is instead simply the observation that as L-W morphs into ever greater complexity, it becomes an ever-worse way to meet that goal. Like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, I rather doubt that L-W will go anywhere close to far enough to cure AGW. But I am quite certain that the side effects of this purported cure are worse than the disease. Herewith, a few rather simple distinctions to prove the point. Consider each of the following either/or propositions, and ask yourself which would be a hallmark of good GHG policy. (Hint 1: the right answer is always A. Hint 2: the Lieberman-Warner answer is always B.)

Labor and enviros join up for green-jobs campaign

A new green-jobs campaign has been launched by the Sierra Club, NRDC, the United Steelworkers, and the Blue Green Alliance (itself a project of the Sierra Club and the steelworkers union). The Green Jobs for America campaign, moving forward on the momentum of last month’s Good Jobs, Green Jobs conference, will be focused in 12 states and will aim to raise public awareness, encourage private investment in renewable energy, and push for green-minded policy.

Welcome <em>NYT</em> readers to the debate of the decade: Technology development vs. deployment

We’ve run out of time to wait for an unknown techno-fix to save us

Andy Revkin wrote in The New York Times last weekend about what I believe is the climate debate of the decade. This post will serve as an introduction to this crucial topic for readers new and old. I will devote many posts this week to laying out the "solution" to global warming, and a few to debunking the "technology breakthrough" crowd.

Can technology alone stop global warming?

Three non-tech essentials for combating climate change

Of course not. We need at least three other things: Major political change, to deploy the technologies fast enough. My first take on this is here ("Is 450 ppm [or less] politically possible? Part 1"). Major price change, to add a cost to emitting greenhouse gases that approximates the terrible damage done by them. All of the technology advances in renewables (or nuclear, or coal with carbon capture) that you can plausibly imagine in the next decade won't make coal cost-uneffective -- this is a critical point to understand. Major behavior change; most people need to understand at a visceral level that unrestricted greenhouse gas emissions are the gravest threat to the health and well-being of future generations that we face, by far. If we get the needed political and price change, much of the behavior change will follow. But not all. Climate change is probably going to have to get much more visibly worse before we see widespread and significant behavior change -- much as few people make a dramatic change in their diet and exercise before the heart trouble occurs. I'll be blogging more on these three points in the coming week(s). This post was created for ClimateProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Note to <em>Newsweek</em>

McCain is closer to Bush than to the Democrats

Originally posted at the Think Progress Wonk Room. Newsweek's cover story on the presidential candidates and global warming quotes UC Berkeley energy professor Dan Kammen, a supporter of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)'s presidential campaign: It's unusual to have a Republican candidate who openly disagrees with the Bush administration on the need for capping carbon emissions. There's more disagreement with the current administration than with each other. The idea that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is closer to the Democratic candidates running for president than he is to the president is popular with the political elite. Joe Klein similarly said "McCain's distance from George W. Bush seems greater than from the Democrats" on foreign policy issues like global warming. What McCain says he wants to do about global warming certainly sounds better than what the Bush administration has accomplished. A look at the facts paints a different picture:

Maryland keeps getting greener

State’s governor pursuing clean energy and GHG reductions

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Kari Manlove, fellows assistant at the Center for American Progress. ----- Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has prioritized clean energy policy and aims to reduce the state's energy consumption 15 percent by 2015. In addition, Maryland is a part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electric utilities. With those goals topping the governor's agenda, Maryland's Senate chambers have been a hot spot for progressive policy lately, juggling a handful of issues that will become magnified this summer as we launch into the national debate on the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act.

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