Climate & Energy

I'm melting

Breaking news: Permafrost loss linked to Arctic sea ice loss

A major new study published Friday in Geophysical Research Letters by leading tundra experts has found "Accelerated Arctic land warming and permafrost degradation during rapid sea ice loss." The lead author is David Lawrence of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, who I interviewed for my book and recently interviewed again via email about his recent work. The study's ominous conclusion:

<em>National Journal</em> confirms our low expectations

Republican members of Congress do not believe in climate change or deem it a priority

National Journal polls members of Congress: Matt draws our attention to one particular quote from a Republican No: "If there’s one thing poll after poll indicates, it’s that the science is not settled on this …

Still, waters run deep

Mainstream media misses connection between global warming and Midwest floods

The British and the Chinese understand global warming has driven their record flooding. The United States? Not so much. Although you wouldn't know it from most U.S. media coverage, the record "once-in-a-hundred-year flooding" the Midwest now seems to be getting every decade or so is precisely what scientists have been expecting from the warming. A 2004 analysis [PDF] by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center found an increase during the 20th century of "precipitation, temperature, streamflow, heavy and very heavy precipitation and high streamflow in the East." They found a 14 percent increase in "heavy rain events" of greater than 2 inches in one day, and a 20 percent increase in "very heavy rain events" -- best described as deluges -- greater than 4 inches in one day. These extreme downpours are precisely what is predicted by global warming scientists and models [PDF].

Manifestos for the next president

Climate action plans for the first 100 days and beyond

I am blown away by the depth and scope of the nonpartisan Presidential Climate Action Project. Its centerpiece is a first-100-days plan, detailed in a 300-page report, covering issues ranging from energy policy and green collar jobs to the farm bill and ethanol subsidies to the Law of the Sea. My only quibble is the continued support for grain ethanol -- although the project does advocate quick turnover to cellulosic sources -- how quick that evolution will be is a huge outstanding question. Apart from the report, the PCAP website also features a very cool Who's Who in Climate Action, a database of climate professionals and a Contact the Candidates link, where you can submit your own suggestions to the presidential hopefuls (the page needs to be updated; although I'm sure Giuliani would still welcome email about the state of the planet). And PCAP isn't the only player in the game. As Elizabeth Kolbert reports, a number of think tanks and coalitions have been cranking out climate recommendations for the next president of the United States. Whoever that turns out to be, the next president's problem won't be a lack of guidelines or expert advice ... if anything, it will be the opposite.

Dick move

Cheney perpetuates myth about China-Cuba oil partnership

During his “drill, drill, drill” rant yesterday, Dick Cheney complained that Cuba and China are drilling for oil closer to the coast of Florida than American companies are currently allowed. It’s become a common talking …

Dingell dangle

Dingell promises climate bill friendlier to manufacturers

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair John Dingell (D-Mich.) has been saying for months now that a climate bill from his committee is on the way. Yesterday he talked about his pending legislation to industry …

Cool idea of the day

Floating wind turbines that can be placed farther out at sea (and in heavier wind) than typical anchored offshore turbines. Next: high-altitude wind!

So, what now?

What we learned from the stymied Climate Security Act, and what comes next

After months of engine-revving, the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act sputtered to a halt in the Senate last week. Now attention has turned to what was learned — or wasn’t — and how things might play …

Notable quotable

Ragin’ Cajun for Gore

“I think if I was Senator Obama I would say the biggest economic problem we face is the biggest national security problem and the biggest environmental problem. And if I were him, I would ask …

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