Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Climate & Energy

Comments

In the shadow of Mount Everest

Small countries are going green

While the western media focuses primarily on what the developed world is doing to solve the climate crisis, there's some great coverage on how Third World countries are greening too. SciDev's "Science in the Himalayas," a series of editorials and features, gives credence to the notion that local, community efforts can be just as effective as large-scale centralized ones. And low-tech solutions are often just as good as their high-tech counterparts. Nepal's successes in scientific application in recent decades aren't about grandiose hydropower dams or major infrastructure projects. The new technologies that have worked have been indigenously designed, based on …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

Alternative information

GA state legislature tries to figure out whether climate change is real

Wow. Via the indispensable Aunt Phyllis, this is old school: On Tuesday the Georgia legislature held a hearing called "Climate change: fact or fiction?" Listen to these blasts from the past: "In the media, we hear the gloom and doom side," said Rep. Jeff Lewis (R-White), chairman of the House Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee that held the hearing. "There is alternative information out there." Indeed there is! Puzzlingly, the "alternative information" continues to be offered exclusively by the same four or five people that have been offering it for years now. But no mind! "What this has done is …

Comments

Risk mismanagement

Bjorn Lomborg’s new book misunderstands risk and investment

This is a guest essay from Jon A. Anda, President of the Environmental Markets Network, an organization within Environmental Defense focused on legislation to create an efficient carbon market. He was previously a Vice Chairman of Morgan Stanley. ----- Bjorn Lomborg's forthcoming book says to Cool It about global warming. I am anxious to read the detailed rationale when the book is released in September. Based on his interviews about the book, as well as insights from bloggers who have read it, some preliminary commentary is worthwhile. Pecking order has long been Lomborg's weakness. Business provides a good analogy. If …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

Green goes the Lower Ninth

The Nation reports on sustainable revitalization of the New Orleans neighborhood

This article by Rebecca Solnit is reprinted from the Sept. 10, 2007 issue of The Nation, released today, which focuses on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, two years later. Solnit is the author of a dozen books, including, most recently, Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics. ----- The word "will" comes up constantly in the Lower Ninth Ward now; "We Will Rebuild" is spray-painted onto empty houses; "it will happen," one organizer told me. Will itself may achieve the ambitious objective of bringing this destroyed neighborhood back to life, and for many New Orleanians a ferocious determination seems …

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy

Comments

Are scientists overestimating -- or underestimating -- climate change? Part II

A closer look at the argument for climate change underestimation

My previous post debunked an article that argued scientists have seriously overestimated climate change. Now let's look at the evidence for a serious underestimation of climate change. To do that, we must understand the fatal flaw with the IPCC's over-reliance on the poorly named "equilibrium climate sensitivity" (ECS). Recall that the ECS is the "equilibrium change in global mean surface temperature following a doubling of the atmospheric (equivalent) CO2 concentration," which the IPCC's 2007 Fourth Assessment Report concluded was 2 to 4.5°C. You might think that the ECS tells you how much the planet's temperature will rise if humans emit …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

An inflection point?

U.S. energy consumption decreased from 2005 to 2006

According to new data from the DOE, total U.S. energy consumption actually declined from 2005 to 2006, in large part due to an increasing demand for renewables. Rather fascinating stuff. Details here.

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

One more scientist on the need for urgency

Another guy with his hair on fire

Another good Scientific blogging interview is "Urgency and Global Warming: An Interview with Martin I. Hoffert." I'm tempted to quote the whole thing, but instead you should just go read it. He's much more of a techno-optimist than I think is warranted, but if we all shared his sense of urgency, it would probably be more realistic. (Apparently he hasn't read The Black Swan either.)

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

Transportation is a big honking deal

Responsible climate policy means reducing transportation emissions

In the Northwest, it's impossible to address climate change without doing something about transportation. Take a look at this chart showing CO2 emissions from fossil fuels in Washington. In Washington (as in Oregon), everything else pales in comparison to the emissions that come from transportation. In fairness, the chart above shows only emission from fossil fuels. But fossil fuels represent better than four-fifths of the state's entire portfolio of greenhouse-gas emissions [MS Word doc]. They're also the emissions that are best understood, and by far the most practical to cover in carbon legislation, such as cap-and-trade systems. Whether we aim …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

NYT columnists drinking the efficiency Kool-Aid

And it’s goood …

The NYT has done itself proud with not one but two op-eds this week pushing for energy efficiency -- first Nic Kristof's, and now the The Mustache of Understanding. I guess the idea is gaining traction. The Mustache references a potentially revolutionary change being pushed by Duke Energy's Jim Rogers. (On Rogers, the cynical should note this.) The idea, now before the North Carolina Utilities Commission, is as follows: Because energy efficiency is, in effect, a resource ... in order for utilities to use more of it, "efficiency should be treated as a production cost in the regulatory arena." The …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

Brown Knows

San Bernardino County, Calif., will account for greenhouse-gas emissions One of the largest, fastest-growing, most sprawl-happy counties in the U.S. will have to measure its greenhouse-gas emissions and set targets for reducing them by 2010, according to a legal settlement announced Tuesday. California's San Bernardino County had been sued by State Attorney General Jerry Brown after county officials updated a 25-year growth plan without accounting for emissions. Both sides expressed satisfaction with the settlement, and enviros crossed their fingers that the ruling will set a precedent for other counties and municipalities to limit sprawl and create denser communities. Because driving …