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Penguin populations in trouble, climate cited as one cause

Photo: iStockphoto First, the good news: there's an International Penguin Conference! Who knew? Now, the bad news: at said conference, taking place this week in Tasmania, a team of researchers has reported that the world's penguins are in trouble. The 17 species "face serious population decreases throughout their range," the team wrote, adding that officials, scientists, and the public need to take action if there's any hope of reversing the trend. OK, ready for the really bad news? "Penguins are the bellwether of climate change," says seabird ecologist Eric Woehler. "As birds they're pretty much at the top of the …

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Take this box and check it

Japan offers Micky D’s as reward for climate change promises

Today, in Japan: A Japanese government website crashed Wednesday as people raced to take up an offer of a half-price McDonald's hamburger in exchange for pledging to fight global warming. ... People were asked to check up to 39 boxes on a form they could download from the environment ministry's website, each listing a way of reducing carbon dioxide emissions blamed for global warming. ... The 39 measures range from cutting air conditioning use to reducing shower time by one minute to simply wiping water off the bottom of a kettle to save energy when heating it on a stove. …

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Climate can't wait for techno-fixes

A guest essay from Jan Lundberg

This is a guest essay from Jan Lundberg, who is, at press time, on the Climate Emergency Fast promoted by Mike Tidwell's organization. It is a response to Tidwell's recent piece in Grist, "Consider Using the N-Word Less." Jan publishes Culturechange.org and participates in campaigns to have cities ban plastic bags and water bottles. His previous article in Gristmill is "(How can we be) looking at the end of the age of oil." ----- We have to do more to minimize global heating and catastrophic climate change than do the same things differently. Rather, it is time for a revolution …

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A must-read 1972 climate prediction

Rate of global warming predicted 35 years ago in Nature

Nature just published this remarkable letter by Neville Nicholls of Australia's Monash University: Climate: Sawyer predicted rate of warming in 1972 Thirty-five years ago this week, Nature published a paper titled "Man-made carbon dioxide and the 'greenhouse' effect" by the eminent atmospheric scientist J.S. Sawyer (Nature 239, 23-26; 1972, $ubs. req'd). In four pages, Sawyer summarized what was known about the role of carbon dioxide in enhancing the natural greenhouse effect, and made a remarkable prediction of the warming expected at the end of the twentieth century. He concluded that the 25% increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide predicted to occur …

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House vs. Senate smackdown

How the congressional energy bills stack up

We've got three big hurdles before we see a new Energy Bill enacted: substantive, procedural, and presidential. First, the substantive hurdle: the House and Senate bills differ on key points, such as fuel economy standards, a national renewable electricity standard, and energy taxes (I have reprinted a side-by-side comparison below). Merging the bills won't be easy. Second, the procedural hurdle: both chambers must "formally be considering the same legislation," as E&E Daily ($ub. req'd) explains: The Senate in June passed its amendment to H.R. 6, which is the energy bill the House passed during the new Democratic majority's opening 100 …

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Dingell-hopper

Examining John Dingell’s about-face on climate change

New York Times economics writer David Leonhardt examines a question that David and I have enjoyed disagreeing about (or at least that I've enjoyed disagreeing with David about) for a couple of months now: Is John Dingell sincere about tackling climate change, or is he pulling old tricks? Leonhardt recounts the tale of Dingell's efforts to block fuel-economy standards introduced by former Sen. Richard Bryan a couple of decades ago by introducing a bill that would have created a nuclear waste dump in Bryan's home state of Nevada. Are we seeing that type of tactic again, albeit in slightly different …

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Well, it's memorable ...

Greenpeace ad on climate change

I have mixed feelings about this powerful ad. I'm curious to know how it strikes others.

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Atlas makes significant changes to maps due to human activity

The editors of the Times Atlas made significant changes to their newest edition to reflect altered coastlines and shrinking lakes affected by climate change and unregulated irrigation. The last edition of the Atlas, which is published in Britain, came out in 2003; the newest edition contains "half a dozen major examples of how human activities are causing changes in our maps," says Publishing Editor Jethro Lennox. Adds Mick Ashworth, atlas editor-in-chief: "We can literally see environmental disasters unfolding before our eyes. We have a real fear that in the near future, famous geographical features will disappear forever."

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Doctors suggest global warming could lead to more heart problems

Does global warming make you heartsick? Oh wait, we mistyped. Retry: Does global warming make your heart sick? Some doctors think it might.

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Offsets never, ever resemble indulgences: Part II

On the problem of carbon-offset projects in developing countries

[editor's note, by David Roberts] Important update to this post here. It turns out that Climate Care, a major indulgence offset provider, is paying farmers in India to pump water with treadles rather than diesel pumps in order to offset plane flights. I would hope that supporters of offsets would be as quick as opponents to see what is wrong with this. In case someone is reading this before their morning coffee, I will simply point out that it is one thing for rich, overweight Americans to substitute manual labor for energy use, and another for a poor Indian farmer …

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