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Watch at your own risk

I was going to wrap this into a previous post, but this kind of spectacular cluelessness deserves its time in the spotlight. Watch two mandarins of Beltway "moderation," Mark Shields and David Brooks, discuss Bush's "new" climate strategy: Astounding. You really could not ask for a more crystalline example of the intellectual tics that have come to substitute for thought among the D.C. media chattering class. A couple of things to note. The first and most glaring is that throughout the entire discussion, neither Shields nor Brooks analyzes or even so much as mentions the merits of the new strategy. …

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And spy planes

Identifying energy-saving opportunities is one thing -- and a good thing -- but just think of the potential for evaluating politicians ...

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A conservative kids’ book publisher takes on climate change

The L.A. Times visits a conservative publisher of children's books. Here's what they find: First up is a story about a boy named Jake who watches a dire film about global warming in school. Jake walks home cursing every SUV -- until his best friend, Ben, sets him straight with a didactic lecture disguised as dialogue. The story makes its point perfectly clear; at one point, Ben tells Jake, "There is NO conclusive evidence that humans are causing the Earth to heat up." But Norman Book, vice president of World Ahead, had a few objections: "There's no plot, or narrative, …

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Public presentations on global warming — not as easy as you might think

So I had an opportunity to go see a free, open-to-the-public talk by Dr. Michael Mann, one of the lead authors for the IPCC, the person most associated with the "hockey stick" graph of temperature, and a faculty member at Penn State University. His topic: "Global Climate Change: Past and Present." A review: All in all, a disappointment. It was almost like an advertisement for Edward Tufte's pamphlet about how PowerPoint fails us. Mann, one of the brains behind Realclimate.org, is a giant, one of the most important people in the world of climate history, climate modeling, and projections. A …

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More on Bush’s climate strategy

My post yesterday said what needs to be said about Bush's "new" climate strategy, but this passage from Dana Milbank's hilarious column today is too good to pass up: "Will the new framework consist of binding commitments or voluntary commitments?" asked CBS News's Jim Axelrod. "In this instance, you have a long-term, aspirational goal," [Bush environmental advisor Jim] Connaughton answered. Aspirational goal? Like having the body you want without diet or exercise? Or getting rich without working? "I'm confused," Axelrod said. "Does that mean there will be targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions, and that everybody will be making binding …

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A new report

The Center for American Progress has a terrific new report on "Global Warming and the Future of Coal" by Ken Berlin and Robert Sussman. The report explores what to do about the explosive growth in coal plant construction projected for the coming quarter century -- 1,400 gigawatts of electricity by 2030, with more than 10 percent in the U.S. alone. In the absence of emission controls, these new plants will increase worldwide annual emissions of carbon dioxide by approximately 7.6 billion metric tons by 2030. These emissions would equal roughly 50 percent of all fossil fuel emissions over the past …

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Check Baby Check Baby One Two … 300

Wachovia, fourth-largest U.S. bank, plans to build 300 green branches The fourth-largest bank in the U.S. will build only green branches by the end of 2008, aiming for 300 eco-friendly offices by 2010. Wachovia, based in Charlotte, N.C., is expanding into California and will begin its green experiment there. It is also seeking LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for a financial center built in Texas last year, and a 1.2-million-square-foot office tower under construction in Charlotte. The move -- expected to save each branch $80,000 in construction costs and 20 percent in operating costs -- "makes sense …

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Hey, At Least He Pronounced It Right

Bush announces climate plan, world squirms uncomfortably The world gave George W. Bush lemons, and he made some dee-licious lemonade. Yesterday, Bush said the U.S. would take the lead on the climate issue, convening a series of meetings of the world's top 10 to 15 polluting nations and setting long-term goals for cutting emissions. Coming amid criticism that the U.S. is blocking potential climate progress at next week's G8 summit in Germany, the news seemed sweet. But those who sipped his lemony concoction got all puckery. "The declaration by President Bush basically restates the U.S. classic line on climate change: …

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On the NASA administrator’s comments

Michael Griffin is a highly educated guy. He has five Masters degrees (count 'em: aerospace science, electrical engineering, applied physics, business administration, and civil engineering) and a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering (see here). However, his interview on NPR shows that all that book learnin' doesn't mean what he says is intelligent. For a recap of the high points of the interview, see David's post. I'm going to talk in this post about what makes our climate optimal. (This is adapted from an old post on my previous blog.) Everything else equal, one might be able to make an argument that …

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Who knew the stoic people of Minnesota were so advanced?

Wow, we hear about California this and California that, occasionally some Vermont or Oregon thrown in, once in awhile someone will know that Texas is a wind capitol. But I can't remember anyone ever mentioning that, when it comes to a serious program to address global heating, Minnesota rocks! Just for comparison, note how weak and pallid Oregon's renewable energy standard (which only applies to electricity, not energy) is compared to Minnesota's comprehensive greenhouse gas law. From the Union of Concerned Scientists: Minnesota: On May 20, the Minnesota Legislature overwhelmingly passed groundbreaking global warming, energy efficiency, and community-based energy legislation …