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Battling the Borg

Some reviews and criticism of Bjorn Lomborg’s new book Cool It

I was all geared up to recommend this review of Bjorn Lomborg's new book Cool It, written by The Weather Makers author Tim Flannery, but it turns out to be pretty bad. It's kind of scattered all over the place a makes no coherent, forceful critique. Much better is Eban Goodstein's review in Salon, which drills in on the subject of tipping points, which Lomborg totally ignores: But this really is not the point. The glaring error in "Cool It," and the one that disqualifies the book from making a serious contribution, is that Lomborg ignores the main concern driving …

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Will polar bears go extinct by 2030? Part I

On the myth that polar bear populations are flourishing

Human-caused global warming is poised to wipe out polar bears. The normally staid U.S. Geological Survey -- studying whether the bear should be listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act -- concluded grimly last Friday: Projected changes in future sea ice conditions, if realized, will result in loss of approximately 2/3 of the world's current polar bear population by the mid 21st century. Because the observed trajectory of Arctic sea ice decline appears to be underestimated by currently available models, this assessment of future polar bear status may be conservative. That's right -- this grim prediction is …

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Solar-powered plane breaks world record for longest unmanned flight

Ooh, fancy: A lightweight solar-powered plane has smashed the official world record for the longest-duration unmanned flight. The plane flew for 54 hours, through two sunless nights, and was controlled remotely from the ground and by autopilot. And manned (excuse us, personed) flights are on the horizon: A Swiss man has plans to circumnavigate the globe aboard a solar-powered plane in 2010.

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Bringing the Doddmentum

Dodd doesn’t have the boldest climate goal, but he’s got the boldest policy proposals

Chris Dodd says the right things. To my mind, he's every bit as good on climate change as John Edwards and Bill Richardson, if not better. Putting aside political feasibility and the electability of any of these candidates, what's the best way to look at their policy proposals? I think there are two important things to note. The first and most obvious is a policy's particular goals. On that score, Richardson wins. He calls for a 90 percent reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2050, which is better than Dodd and Edwards who call for 80 percent reductions …

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To everything, turn turn turn

One inconclusive set of international meetings yielding weak climate resolutions ends -- another begins.

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'Smooth the transition'

Carbon sequestration is a costly alternative to renewables, not a transition to them

Half the reason I wrote this post was to respond to this article, and then I forgot to mention it. Check this out: Developing commercially viable carbon capture and storage, or CCS, technology should be a major priority for companies and governments all over the world because renewable energy sources will not be able to replace oil and gas quickly enough, a senior executive at Royal Dutch Shell PLC said Tuesday. "Without CCS, fossil fuel use would have to be cut by more than half," Malcolm Brinded, Executive Director of Exploration and Production at the Anglo-Dutch company, said at the …

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CTL follies

Coal-to-liquid is a dead end if there’s a price on CO2

One final post on this week's liquid coal hearing. Forbes wrote up the hearing and got my bluntest quote: "Coal-to-liquid is just a dead end, from a climate perspective," added Joseph Romm, a senior fellow at the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress. "Liquid coal will not have a future in this country, no matter how much money Congress squanders on it." Well, I guess "liberal-leaning" is better than "liberal." Why is liquid coal a dead end? Because, as I explain in my testimony, even a relatively low price for carbon dioxide is fatal to liquid coal's economics, as made clear …

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Eh …

... who needs sea ice and polar bears anyway.

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Oil addiction is ugly

Enter a climate video contest, win a Toyota hybrid

Watch this short eco-video, then make one of your own and enter it in the Ecospot Contest. (Having trouble viewing the video? Download the latest version of Flash.) Current TV and the Alliance for Climate Protection have teamed up to promote :60 Seconds to Save the Earth, a contest soliciting video public service announcements about climate change. They're looking for 15-, 30-, or 60-second video spots that will showcase green action and spur public change. A panel of celebrity judges (including Cameron Diaz, Orlando Bloom, Rihanna, and George Clooney) will whittle the entries down to 20 semifinalists, and the cream …

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Greentech and EEStor

Ultracapacitor company claims it will revolutionize electric cars

The AlwaysOn Network has selected its GoingGreen 100 -- the 100 top companies in greentech, based on "innovation, market potential, commercialization, stakeholder value creation, and media attention or 'buzz.'" Here's the category I'm watching: Energy Storage A123 Systems Bloom Energy Cobasys Deeya Energy EEStor GridPoint Jadoo Power Lilliputian Systems ZPower (Gridpoint was the top company in AlwaysOn's overall rankings. Good to see a smart grid company win the gold medal!) Note the enigmatic EEStor, which doesn't even have an operational website. It claims to have developed an ultracapacitor that will revolutionize the plug-in hybrid and electric car markets and render …