Climate & Energy

Leaving behind coal codependence

Humanity’s fate is not tied to coal’s

The clean coal PR push is looking more and more hollow. In The NYT, Matt Wald paints a grim picture: cost overruns, technological uncertainty, waning …

Coal: looks kinda hot, but only because America is wearing beer goggles

Heinberg raises doubts about coal reserves

Energy analyst Richard Heinberg is working on a book about coal, tentatively titled Coal’s Future/Earth’s Fate, to be published by Post Carbon Press in spring …

U.S. public transit overwhelmed by increased ridership, higher fuel costs

Public transit agencies across the United States are lately encountering a curious double-bind: ridership has increased quickly and dramatically, straining current capacity, and at the …

More defense

EDF airs another ad in support of the Climate Security Act

Environmental Defense Fund is running another ad in support of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act, this one in Washington, D.C., and other markets around the …

Dear Governor Greenwash

Hansen: Governors aren’t getting it

My recent experience with governors raises a question about whether this is an effective way to communicate about climate change. (Apologies for the length -- you may skip the three tales and go to the bottom line.) Dear Governor Pawlenty [PDF] Minnesota Gov. Pawlenty presides over a population that appreciates nature. Explorer Will Steger has done a marvelous job of informing the public there about climate change in the Arctic, the threat of climate change to species and indigenous people, and the relevance of climate change to Minnesota. Early actions made it appear that Minnesota would be a leader, defining energy policies and directions that would be a great example for other states. Specifically (get this!), in spring 2007 Minnesota passed and Gov. Pawlenty signed a law called the Next Generation Energy Act of 2007, requiring 25 percent renewable energy by 2025 and a 1.5 percent per year improvement in energy efficiency. Some people used this to help paint Gov. Pawlenty green, second in greenness only to Arnold Schwarzenegger among Republican governors. Pawlenty, according to the Washington Post, is at the top of the list of candidates to be John McCain's running mate. Coincidentally, the Republican convention will be in Minnesota in September. But ... read on.

Green skies are the new black

Two scientists offer a grim preview of where humanity is headed

Feel like you’re just not depressed enough today? Read the last bit of this Dot Earth post: During a break, I asked [Nobel prize-winning atmospheric …

Another reason to listen to Smokey

Forests and fires foster fearsome feedbacks

Previously, I looked at why the permafrost won't be perma for long. Then I looked at whether the potential destruction of the tundra represents the point of no return for the climate, necessitating that we keep atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide below 450 ppm or else risk going to 800 ppm to 1,000 ppm. Here I examine two local amplifying feedbacks that further threaten the permafrost: forests and fires. Reduced snow cover and albedo (reflectivity) in the summertime Arctic landscape, caused by global warming, has added local atmospheric heating ($ub. req'd) "similar in magnitude to the regional heating expected over multiple decades from a doubling of atmospheric CO2." That same Science study warns "Continuation of current trends in shrub and tree expansion could further amplify this atmospheric heating 2-7 times."

Coal is dirty

A new blog takes on the enemy of the human race

This week marked the launch of Coal is Dirty. (It is “a joint project managed by The DeSmog Project, Rainforest Action Network, and Greenpeace U.S.A.”) …

White House admits humans causing climate change

The White House has begrudgingly admitted that “most of the recent global warming is very likely due to human generated increases in greenhouse gas concentrations.” …

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