Climate & Energy

Stickin' it to the <del>man</del> car

California vehicles to get global warming stickers

The following post is by Earl Killian, guest blogger at Climate Progress. ----- Go shopping in 2009 in California for a new car and you'll notice some new information on the smog index window sticker. Next to the smog score will be a global warming score. The California Air Resources Board is putting the finishing touches on the program. You can see some of the details in the presentation (PDF) from their last meeting. According to CARB, approximately 13 states have thus far adopted the California's Low Emission Vehicle regulations, which requires the smog labels. At least 11 of those states -- including New York, Connecticut, Oregon, and Washington -- are likely to adopt the new global warming labels. Vehicles are assigned a score of 1 to 10 based upon their emissions, with 1 for the worst and 10 for the lowest greenhouse-gas emissions. However, calling it a "Global Warming Score" and having 10 be the best is likely to cause some confusion. Perhaps "Planet-saver Score" would be better? This post was created for ClimateProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

The enemy of my enemy

Natural gas utilities are no friends of Big Coal

In the fight against coal, crucial support may come from another fossil fuel: natural gas. A price on carbon emissions, bane to the big coal utilities, will advantage gas utilities, at least in the short-term. As coal gets more expensive, nat gas is the cheapest alternative ready at hand. Will their contrary incentives lead them to open warfare? To some extent it already has. Remember those xenophobic ads Sunflower ran in against Gov. Sebelius in Kansas? They were premised on the notion that opting for natural gas means cuddling with Hugo Chavez. Recently another contretemps spilled over into public. The …

Solar-panel manufacturers dumping toxic waste in China

Solar panels may look bright and shiny, but they have a dark underbelly: production of polysilicon for panels gives off a highly toxic byproduct called silicon tetrachloride. In China, where factories are rushing to alleviate a polysilicon shortage that’s cramping the global solar-panel industry, the bubbly white liquid is often just dumped in nearby villages. “The land where you dump or bury [silicon tetrachloride] will be infertile. No grass or trees will grow in the place,” says a material-sciences expert at Hebei Industrial University. “It is poisonous, it is polluting. Human beings can never touch it.” While silicon tetrachloride can …

Queen Elizabeth II encourages environmental protection

In her annual Commonwealth Day speech on Monday, Queen Elizabeth II had unusually pointed words regarding environmental protection. “The impact of pollution falls unequally,” she said. “It is often those who pollute the least — notably in the world’s least-developed nations — who are closest to the razor’s edge and most affected by the impact of climate change and least equipped to cope with it.” She encouraged all Commonwealthers to contribute to solving the crisis. “Whatever we do, wherever we live, our actions in defense of the environment can have a real and positive effect upon the lives of others, …

Face It: No coal

Students create body paint images for anti-coal contest

Emily Bibler. Photo: Architecture 2030. Architecture and design students across the country were challenged by Architecture 2030, Metropolis Magazine, the USGBC and the AIAStudents to face it, literally. Students competed to produce the best body- and face-paint image that conveyed a "no coal" message. Emily Bibler of Ohio Iowa State won the Face Color Award, Jackie Fabella of Cal Poly Pomona won the Face B+W Award, and Miles Courtney of Pratt Institute won the Body Award. Jackie Fabella's image will be featured in a full-page ad in the March issue of Metropolis magazine titled "Choose." These and other images will be used throughout the year to spread the word. A student's comment to Metropolis:

Screwing with the planet, but on purpose this time

Geo-engineering: cooking up solutions just like nature used to make

Geoengineering may be an awful idea for reversing the warming effects of climate change, but it sure makes for a sweet subject of satire, à la this retro-style informational video. Like they say, “If you can’t fix the problem, techno-fix the problem!” After all, technology will save the world. Because we know everything there is to know about the planet and all. Not to mention what happens when we mess with it. So, instead of cleaning up and trimming the world’s energy glut, let’s focus on dumping SO2 into the atmosphere to stop global warming. We probably wouldn’t get literally …

Cape Wind comments

Agency holds hearings for Massachusetts wind project, extends comment period 30 days

Heads up! The Minerals Management Service is extending the public comment period on the draft environmental impact statement for Cape Wind for an additional 30 days, until April 21. Leave your loving or loathing feedback here or attend one of four hearings this week in Mass. and give your opinion in person: Monday, March 10, West Yarmouth Tuesday, March 11, Nantucket Wednesday, March 12, Martha's Vineyard Thursday, March 13, Boston There's sure to be a "festive" atmosphere at each of these events! Plan on hearing about more guerrilla theater by Cape Wind proponents, all dressed up like Kennedys for a fine day of yachting on Nantucket Sound.

Monday linkfest

My browser’s getting crowded. Time for a link dump! Yes! magazine has an entire issue devoted to climate change. There’s tons to see, with good pieces from Bill McKibben and Peter Barnes, but I particularly liked this hopeful rundown of solutions. It’s odd that I love reading about solutions but I don’t write about them much. Not sure why that is. Remember how the Bush administration spent 7.5 years battling and thwarting binding carbon emissions treaties and then said, less than a year from the end of Bush’s term, that it was open to such a treaty? Good times. Ed …

E.U. report warns of increased security threats due to climate change

A new report from the European Union’s two top foreign-policy officials warns of a wide range of security threats that will be caused or exacerbated by climate change. The report echoes the concerns of earlier U.S. and U.K. reports, warning of “significant potential conflicts” over energy resources, climate-related mass migration, economic instability, and more. A growing rich-poor and north-south divide is forecast in the E.U. report, caused by resentment over richer countries having released far more climate-changing greenhouse gases and poorer countries bearing the brunt of the effects. The thawing Arctic is another potential flashpoint, according to the report, as …

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