Climate & Energy

Play with fire and you're gonna get ... offsets?

N.J. firefighters puttin’ out the flames of the planet

“We’d all be heroes if we quit using petroleum,” says the fictional firefighter played by Marky Mark in I Heart Huckabees, who memorably opted to ride his bike to fires rather than take the truck with the rest of the fire department. If he’d only known about a group of New Jersey firefighters who claim to be the first public safety entity to offset their emissions. The Robbinsville Professional Firefighters Local 3786 recently bought offsets for their two emergency vehicles through TerraPass. They’re aware it’s not a long-term solution but hope to “spark” awareness (heh heh!): “The goal is that …

World’s glaciers melting rapidly, report says

The world’s glaciers are melting quite rapidly and will likely cause all sorts of environmental problems, according to data from the World Glacier Monitoring Service. The WGMS tracks the health of 30 “reference” glaciers throughout the world and has said that their rate of melt has sped up significantly in recent years. Between 1980 and 1999, the glaciers shrunk an average of 11.8 inches; between 2000 and 2006, they dwindled by 4.9 feet on average. Wilfried Haeberli, director of WGMS, said that most of the world’s roughly 160,000 glaciers are receding “at least” as much as the reference glaciers, if …

EPA’s economic analysis of climate bill relatively favorable

The U.S. EPA has released its economic analysis of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008, concluding that implementing the bill, which includes a carbon cap-and-trade system, would not significantly harm the U.S. economy over the next 20 years. The agency estimated the bill would likely cut U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions 11 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and about 56 percent below by 2050. The EPA also forecast that the U.S. gross domestic product would grow by some 80 percent between 2010 and 2030 under the bill — only 1 percent below what it would otherwise have been. Critics of …

ECO:nomics: Presidential energy advisers, miscellanea

More notable stuff from a panel with the campaigns’ energy folk

Here are some bits and pieces that didn’t fit in to my other post about the presidential energy adviser panel: — At the end of the panel, host Alan Murray called on the audience to use their little clicker widgets to indicate: which of the candidates would you vote for based on the energy policy you just heard about? The vote came out: 17 percent for Clinton, 41 percent for McCain, 42 percent for Obama. Apparently, though, there was something wrong with the vote, so a few minutes later, they re-voted. This time: 17 percent for Clinton, 42 percent for …

On the Ball: Good sports

The athletics news you can’t live without

Here’s a fun game for the whole family: You name a sport; I’ll tell you how it’s jumping on the green bandwagon. Ready? OK! Baseball: Milwaukee Brewers first basement Prince Fielder has become a vegetarian after his wife gave him a copy of the book Skinny Bitch. He’s probably not in their target demographic, but whatevs. Photo: Kingdafy Major League Baseball has teamed up with the Natural Resources Defense Council for a Team Greening Program, designed to “support and coordinate the many environmentally sensitive practices now pursued by virtually every Major League Baseball Club.” (Who knew?) The New York Mets …

Patagonia: It's a dam ... threat

Some of world’s purest water and pristine ecosystems under threat

International Rivers is fighting to preserve biodiversity against the large companies that want to dam this river: The Pascua River, in Chilean Patagonia, is one of the most pristine and unknown regions on the planet. Why? For one, it is extremely difficult to even get there. Secondly, once you actually see the river, doing anything other than standing with your mouth open and hands over your ears is virtually impossible. This is a rip-roaring, roller-coaster of a river with rugged, impassable canyons and unsurvivable Class 6+ whitewater.

ECO:nomics: Presidential energy advisors

Campaign energy wonks clarify candidates’ differences on climate change

As Adam pointed out, it seems to have become conventional wisdom among media that the presidential candidates’ positions on climate change are roughly identical. But the campaigns themselves don’t see it that way. That became clear during a panel featuring the candidates’ top energy advisors. Obama was represented by Jason Grumet, whose day job is running the Bipartisan Policy Center. The Clinton campaign sent Gene Sperling, senior fellow at both the Council of Foreign Relations and the Center for American Progress and onetime (Bill) Clinton National Economic Adviser. In the Republican corner was Douglas Holtz-Eakin, widely respected former head of …


Bush administration quietly acknowledges climate plan is doable

Hey, did you notice that new analysis the Environmental Protection Agency just put out? The one on the economic impacts of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act? No? None of this ringing a bell? That's just the way the EPA wants it. Like it was putting a scandal-ridden aide out to pasture, the administration quietly released the report on Friday afternoon and has tried to bury the important findings. But while the release may have been stealthy and the presentation was marked by the White House's typical efforts to make everything look bleak, the results speak loudly, showing we can both tackle global warming and grow America's economy.

Compromise vs. strong action

Don’t hold your breath on Lieberman-Warner passing in 2008

I can't imagine anyone believing we would see 60 Senate votes this year for an unwatered-down climate bill. The center-right folk want big compromises, like a poison-pill safety valve (see below). But Sen. Boxer (D-Calif.) has little motivation to gut her legislation, since next year will probably bring more Senate Democrats and definitely bring a president who wants to take action, rather than one who has done everything in his power to block action and destroy the climate. E&E News has a good article on this titled, "Lieberman-Warner floor strategy bothers some Senate swing votes" ($ub. req'd):