Climate & Energy

Industry launches campaign against Lieberman-Warner climate bill

Energy industry and business trade groups have launched a concerted campaign against the Lieberman-Warner climate bill. The bill, which would establish a cap-and-trade system to reduce U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions, is much less stringent than some other climate bills in Congress, but Lieberman-Warner is so far the only one to pass out of committee; it’s scheduled for a Senate vote in June. Industry and business groups are sponsoring a 17-state anti-climate-bill tour to head off the legislation. The centerpiece of the roadshow is an industry-funded study stressing huge job losses and energy price hikes due to the bill. Also this week, …

The Hansen (et al.) ultimatum

Get back to 350 ppm or risk an ice-free planet

Here is the draft [PDF] of the long-awaited defense of why we need an ultimate target of 350 ppm for atmospheric carbon dioxide, by NASA's James Hansen et al., titled "Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim?" (Yes, they know we're already at 385 ppm and rising 2 ppm a year.) The paper does suffer from one analytical weakness that makes it a tad less dire than it appears -- and some people believe the core element of this analysis is wrong (see very end of post), although I don't. This paper is really just a continuation of Hansen's earlier analysis arguing that the real-world or long-term climate sensitivity of the planet to doubled CO2 [550 ppm] is 6 degrees C -- twice the short-term or fast-feedback-only climate sensitivity used by the IPCC. (You might want to read this post first, as it is a bit clearer on the difference between the two sensitivities.) The key paleoclimate finding of the article: We infer from the Cenozoic data that CO2 was the dominant Cenozoic forcing, that CO2 was only ~450 ppm when Antarctica glaciated, and that glaciation is reversible. That is, if we stabilize at 450 ppm or higher, we risk returning the planet to conditions when it was largely ice-free, when sea levels were higher by more than 200 feet!

Army Corps climate efforts in New Orleans may not be enough

No one wants to see this again — but can post-Katrina protection efforts keep the Big Easy safe? Photo: NOAA Here’s the good news: The Army Corps of Engineers is “racing” to complete a comprehensive levee system for metropolitan New Orleans by 2011 that actually takes into account global warming, at least in terms of sea-level rise. Here’s the bad news: the levee system under development is wildly insufficient to the growing climate problem, according to many informed critics. That’s because the vast and flat Louisiana coastal area — sometimes called the “Bangladesh of America” because it could disappear due …

Trading off jobs and lives for the 'economic necessity' of coal

Hillary Clinton gives tepid response on question about mountaintop-removal mining

Hillary Clinton was asked about mountaintop-removal mining in an interview on West Virginia public radio (mp3 link) this morning. Her answer was, in my eyes, terribly disappointing. Here it is: I am concerned about it for all the reasons people state, but I think it’s a difficult question because of the conflict between the economic and environmental trade-off that you have here. I’m not an expert. I don’t know enough to have an independent opinion, but I sure would like people who could be objective, understanding both the economic necessities and environmental damage, to come up with some approach that …

The blind <del>leading</del> quoting the blind

Roger Pielke Jr. defends his absurd delayer post … by quoting a global warming denier

Seriously! In a post ironically titled "You can't make this stuff up" (actually, you can -- that's what most deniers do), Roger Pielke, Jr. responds to my last post (which challenged his absurd defense of the "Earth is cooling" nonsense) as follows: And people wonder why some people see the more enthusiastic climate advocates akin to religious zealots. Who are these "some people" Pielke cites? Go to his link -- it's none other than NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, who became famous in the climate arena for saying:

Dealing with gas prices involves healing the economy

On oil and the dollar, Bush and McCain acknowledge their own cluelessness

This post was originally published at the just-launched Think Progress Wonk Room, the new public policy rapid-response blog of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Brad Johnson, the climate specialist for the Wonk Room, was a writer for Hill Heat. Skyrocketing gas prices are crippling the budgets of Americans, as Bush has newly discovered. But he doesn't have a solution. Nor does Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Bush's every response to energy problems is to drill for more oil and blame China. McCain has a more evolved position: his solution is to drill for more oil and build nuclear power plants, and blame China and terrorists. But neither will address a major culprit in the recent shocking spike in oil futures and gas prices -- the collapse of the American dollar due to a vicious circle of shortsighted right-wing economic policies.

All the colors of the wind

Wind farms get sponsored

It seems that if you have enough money, you can slap your name on any ol’ thing: stadiums, theaters, sporting events, and now wind farms. When John Deere Wind Energy opens its eight-turbine, 10 megawatt wind farm in Texas this May, it will be setting a precedent by allowing Steelcase, a furniture company out of Grand Rapids, Mich., to purchase the rights to name its little windmills. From The New York Times: [Steelcase] has committed to buying the farm’s entire output of renewable energy credits — the alternative energy version of carbon offsets, usually just called R.E.C.’s — for its …

Energy could be harvested from mixing of fresh and salt water

Through an osmotic process we don’t pretend to understand, the mixing of fresh and salt water at the world’s river mouths produces enough energy to feed 20 percent of the world’s electricity demand, say Dutch scientists. Could we start running our gadgetry on salt power? Small projects in Norway and the Netherlands are testing out ways to harvest estuary energy, but membranes needed for the process are expensive and energy-intensive to produce, so salt-to-power technology is unlikely to be viable anytime soon. But pass the margaritas anyway.

Take that, delayers (this means you, Pielke)!

Hadley Center says we’re warming, not cooling

The deniers/delayer-1000s cite recent U.K. Hadley Center data to promote their "climate is cooling" disinformation. Even Roger Pielke, Jr. is peddling this nonsense with his recent inanely titled post, "Update on Falsification of Climate Predictions." Falsification? Give me a break! According to the Hadley Center, the eight warmest years in the global temperature record of 150 are, in order, 1998, 2005, 2003, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2007. Those are also the eight warmest years in the NASA record in a different order, starting with 2005, then 2007 tied with 1998. Where the heck is the cooling trend? Shame on you, Pielke, for lending your name and website to this delayer-1000 nonsense. It is only fair to ask what the Hadley Center thinks its data shows (much as we've heard NASA explain that its data shows unequivocal warming). Answer: they believe it shows unequivocally that we are in a warming trend, including this decade. They make one of the best analytical points I have seen in the whole discussion of this cooling nonsense:

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