Climate & Energy

Ahead of the curve: States lead on climate change

Great new video on state efforts to tackle global warming

Sea Studios has put together a fantastic new video called "Ahead of the Curve: States Lead on Climate Change." Check it out: You might also remember their previous video, “Ahead of the Curve: Business Leads …

Removing mountaintop removal

North Carolina bill would ban burning of coal from mountaintop-removal mining

On Tuesday, North Carolina State Rep. Pricey Harrison introduced legislation in the state House that would ban the burning of coal obtained through mountaintop-removal mining. If it passes, North Carolina would become the first state …

Link dump

Nobel prize-winning economist Amartya Sen has an article in The NYT, "The Rich Get Hungrier," which is a good short summary of various causes of higher food prices and increased world hunger, and why they are related even though not the same thing.

Stonewall Johnson

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Bush Era:

The road not traveled

U.S. driving down 11 billion miles in March, the sharpest drop in history

Price does matter. So does public perception of likely future prices. As it becomes increasingly clear that high gasoline prices are not a fluke, Americans are adjusting their driving habits. March 2008 saw "the sharpest yearly drop for any month in FHWA history" of total vehicle miles traveled (aka VMT) according to the Federal Highway Administration's monthly report on "Traffic Volume Trends" [PDF]. In March 2008, Americans drove 246 billion milles, compared to 257 billion in March 2007. Indeed, the March 2008 figure is lower than the March 2004 figure. To see just how remarkable that is, look at the annual vehicle-distance traveled data (in billions of miles) since 1983 (this is a moving 12-month total):

Heating heaven

Early appearances of climate change in popular literature

Last week, I picked up a copy of the newly reissued 1971 Ursula Le Guin classic The Lathe of Heaven, which takes place in dystopic, post-collapse Portland, Ore., circa 2002 or so. It's typical brilliance from Le Guin, of whom I can't read enough, but I was interested to see that the novel begins by describing Mt. Hood devoid of snow due to the greenhouse effect. The climate is entirely different from that of the 1960s, with blue skies a thing of the past and rainfall patterns completely shifted. It's the earliest "popular literature" mention of global warming I've come across. Le Guin is often way ahead of her time (she invented Harry Potter and Hogwarts in 1968's A Wizard of Earthsea, for example), though perhaps there are earlier instances of authors adding climate change to the collective body of literature.

On your Markey

Rep. Ed Markey unveils ambitious new climate legislation

Rep. Ed Markey, chair of the Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming, unveiled new climate legislation on Wednesday morning, which he says will take “the innovative actions needed to ensure a greener, healthier, …

Junk emails go green

You know the spam: the Nigerian oil minister has an outrageous sum of money and desperately needs a foreigner’s help to take it off his hands. But the times are changing — junk email has …

Boxer bill update

Probably no U.S. CO2 emissions cuts from new Lieberman-Warner bill until after 2025

I made a mistake about the Boxer substitute for the Lieberman-Warner bill. Every year, it allows enough offsets into the market to cover 30 percent of the total quantity of emissions allowances. I had said it was 15 percent, which was a loophole the size of the Gateway Arch. How big a loophole is 30 percent offsets? Wait and see. I had said the three offsets -- domestic, international, and international forestry -- could make up 15 percent of allowances because the WRI summary [PDF] says that "The combination of all three of these mechanisms is limited to 15 percent of total emissions allowances" and because when I read the actual bill (page 23), that's what it seemed to say. But in fact we read it wrong. My apologies! What does this all mean?