Climate & Energy

A shrinking Chad

Lake Chad now one-tenth of its 1972 size

Satellite images show Lake Chad one-tenth the size it was in 1972, not even 40 years ago. Lake Chad used to be the world's sixth-largest lake, but its resources have been diverted for human use or affected by rainfall such that its been almost entirely depleted in a very short amount of time:

Green coal baron?

NYT Magazine’s fawning piece on Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers

There's no doubt about it: Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers is the most adept figure in corporate America at making himself look better than he is. He's proven it again in an extremely flattering profile in The New York Times Sunday Magazine. The piece refers to Rogers as "one of the electricity industry's most vocal environmentalists." Indeed, the piece reports that many "prominent environmentalists" are his "friends" and quotes in particular Eileen Claussen, head of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, saying, "It's fair to say that we wouldn't be where we are in Congress if it weren't for him," and that "he helped put carbon legislation on the map." That legislation, the Lieberman-Warner bill, sputtered apart when the Senate took it up. (Even though we're told Barbara Boxer staged a post-failure victory celebration. Never underestimate the power of self delusion in Washington.) And one reason for its demise was the active opposition of Rogers, who mobilized numerous businesses to complain about the costs.

I'd drive 245 billion miles (just not five billion more)

Americans drove less in April 2008

April 2008 saw another sharp drop in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) according to the Federal Highway Administration's monthly report on "Traffic Volume Trends" (PDF). This follows, "the sharpest yearly drop for any month in FHWA history" in March (see here). I was compelled to blog on this because of the incredibly astute media coverage by AFP, "worldwide news agency," which wins the "Duh!" award for the month: Observers surmise a possible link between the declining number of miles driven and rising US gasoline prices.

Nuuk beachfront real estate

Greenland can warm 2-4°C in one year

A new article in Science Express (PDF)($ub. req'd), "High-Resolution Greenland Ice Core Data Show Abrupt Climate Change Happens in Few Years," examines, "The last two abrupt warmings at the onset of our present warm interglacial period." The article explores the underlying causes of ... ... abrupt shifts of northern hemisphere atmospheric circulation resulting in 2-4°K changes in Greenland moisture source temperature from one year to the next. The article concludes that ... polar atmospheric circulation can shift in 1-3 years resulting in decadal to centennial scale changes from cold stadials to warm interstadials/interglacials associated with astounding Greenland temperature changes of 10°K. Neither the magnitude of such shifts nor their abruptnesses are currently captured by state of the art climate models. The time to act is yesterday. This post was created for, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Hill heap

A weekly roundup of greenish news from the Capitol

A few of this week’s environmental happenings that I’ve been meaning to point out: • Oilman-turned-clean-energy-evangelist T. Boone Pickens came to town to testify about the country’s transmission problems that are preventing wind from becoming …

Solar strides in New York

Solar proponents in the Empire State eagerly await new legislation

My colleague, Shaun Chapman, of our New York City office, offers this update on solar policy progress in the Empire State:

Dig it Krupp

On Charlie Rose, EDF leader Fred Krupp endorses domestic drilling for new oil

EDF chief Fred Krupp appeared on the Charlie Rose show yesterday. For the most part, it was the usual stumping for cap-and-trade. However, Rose pushed him on the question of whether, in the short-term, we …

Cuckoo for kudzu

Kudzu as the next biofuel source?

Some biofuel experts seem to think that the next big biofuel source should be kudzu in the U.S. I hope biodiversity experts and readers from the South will comment on this idea. Take the poll beneath the fold:

A huge tax increase?

The GOP disinformation machine settles on an angle

It seems that another way that the GOP will try to win on this issue is by painting carbon pricing as a massive tax increase. This is just dishonest, though politically it’s their best bet …

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