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'We should already be moving to prepare and protect ourselves'

Mooney on hurricanes and climate change

Chris Mooney has a piece in the L.A. Times about the current hurricane season and the connection between hurricanes and climate change. It echoes the sensible line taken in Chris' book. This is the crucial bit: When it comes to the hurricane-global warming relationship, neither outright alarmism nor dismissive skepticism are warranted. Rather, taking the limited information that we have and making the most of it should lead to a stance of cautious, well-informed concern. Further research -- or, perhaps, more mega-hurricanes -- may seal the issue. But meanwhile, given how much we have at stake, we should already be …

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The 'intensity' scam

APEC’s draft plan to reduce GHG intensity will do nothing to curb emissions

Reports coming out of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit say that a draft statement on climate change from the Pacific Rim nations is on the way. Early reports, however, contain this nugget: To strike the accord, negotiators agreed to set a target to reduce "energy intensity" -- the amount of energy needed to produce economic growth, Al-Farisi said. Australian Prime Minister John Howard previously called for reducing energy intensity 25 percent by 2030. A Southeast Asian official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that goal was included in the draft. This is, as I blogged about before, a …

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Al Gore will pen a solutions-focused sequel

Al Gore is writing another book -- and you can bet that climate change is shakin' in its boots. The Path to Survival, a solutions-focused sequel to the groundbreaking Inconvenient Truth, is slated to hit shelves on Earth Day 2008. (Where was that impeccable timing when you were campaigning, Al?) Billed as "part scientific manual, part exposé, part visionary call for a new planet-wide political movement," the book will spell out climate-helpful steps for both individuals and governments to take. It will also explain how "bold choices now to protect our environment will also create new jobs, propel sustainable economic …

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Notable quotable

From a Washington Post article about the transcendent potential of switchgrass: But such efforts [to persuade farmers to grow switchgrass] have hit a snag: Scientists haven't perfected the process that turns switchgrass into ethanol. So for today, the Crop That Could Change Virginia is just hay with better publicity.

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Global warming can breed terror

John Edwards links climate crisis and national security

In a major speech today on national security, presidential candidate John Edwards talked about how fighting the climate crisis is an integral part of battling terror (it also requires less duct tape): Finally, we must achieve energy independence. If we reduce our reliance on oil from instable parts of the world, Middle Eastern regimes will finally diversify their economies and modernize their societies. And fighting global climate change will reduce global disruptions that could lead to tends of millions of refugees and create massive new breeding grounds for desperation and radicalism.

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Update on PG&E's ClimateSmart Offset Program

On how electric utilities should become carbon neutral

Since my first post dissing PG&E's offset program, I've had phone calls with PG&E, NRDC, members of PG&E's ClimateSmart External Advisory Group, plus a call with a forestry expert who consults with those who oversee the van Eck forest, which is featured on the "Our Projects" page of the ClimateSmart website. I have four basic conclusions: I still think, in general, the vast majority of electric utilities should not be in the business of selling their customers offsets like trees (as opposed to selling them energy efficiency and renewable power). PG&E is perhaps a special case since state regulations have …

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More inconvenience

Coming Gore book to spell out climate solutions

Gore to pen a sequel: The Path to Survival will be published next spring to coincide with Earth Day on April 22. According to the publisher, Rodale Books, Gore will spell out a blueprint for the changes that individuals and governments need to make to avoid catastrophic climate change. I expect the book will be built around Gore's 10 policy recommendations to Congress, which remain the gold standard as far as I'm concerned.

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Turns out toxic heavy metals are, um, toxic

EPA determines coal waste raises cancer risk

The waste from burning coal -- coal combustion products, or CCPs, like coal ash and boiler slag -- contains toxic heavy metals like mercury and cadmium. But don't worry, the coal industry says that the concentrations aren't high enough to do anyone harm. Taking the coal industry's word for it, the U.S. EPA decided in 1993 and again in 2000 not to regulate CCPs as hazardous waste. As a consequence, the coal industry isn't all that careful with CCPs. Using a composite liner under CCP landfills can reduce the seepage of heavy metals into the water table, but eh, it's …

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Coal is the enemy of the human race: Architecture2030 edition

New full-page ad makes the case against coal

Ah, this kicks ass! The group Architecture2030 is putting a full-page ad in the next issue of the New Yorker. You can download the PDF here. I've reprinted the text below: ----- GLOBAL WARMING Think You're Making a Difference? Think Again. There are 151 new conventional coal-fired power plants in various stages of development in the US today. HOME DEPOT Home Depot is funding the planting of 300,000 trees in cities across the US to help absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions ... The CO2 emissions from only one medium-sized (500 MW) coal-fired power plant, in just 10 days of operation, …

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Big Oil gets OK from Australian state for multi-billion-dollar LNG project

A major energy venture on Western Australia's Barrow Island is one step closer to reality after getting a green light from state environmental officials. Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Royal Dutch Shell propose the development of a massive liquefied natural gas field expected to generate 10 million metric tons per year (which, in non-metric terms, is "a hell of a lot"). Some estimate that the Gorgon venture, which still awaits national approval and would be Australia's biggest-ever resources project, will cost $17 billion to build. Earlier this week, Shell struck a 20-year deal with China to buy LNG from the trio, and …

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