Any way the wind blows, weather-consulting service 3Tier wants to map it. The company has created a global map of weather patterns that’s available free on the internet, allowing anyone to check whether there’s strong enough air movement — and transmission capacity — to power property in a certain area. 3Tier plans to do a similar project to show the potential of solar energy, to keep the renewable-energy industry from stickin’ panels where the sun don’t shine.
It appears that oil has reached a new all-time high in real terms. Given that gas prices normally peak during the summer season, the stage could be set for some ugly pump prices this year, although expensive oil may not be the most painful part of the current commodity price boom for consumers (an honor which may go to the exploding cost of grain). With oil so expensive, commuters may wish they had better transportation options. Some of them may even begin to wonder whether we might want to improve our investments in mass transit. This is important, as momentum …
Suppose you knew about a plot whose inevitable outcome would be to undermine the health and well-being of your children, their children, and the next 50 generations. Yes, hundreds of educated people -- mostly Americans -- are assembling in New York right now for just two purposes: Sharing the techniques needed to block vital action that could save billions of people from suffering and misery. Spreading long-debunked disinformation while masquerading as experts who believe in the scientific method. Well, of course, if you were Fox News, you'd be celebrating the event. What can the rest of us do about this dangerous plot? Three things: Get the facts from real climate scientists at RealClimate. Keep a watchful eye on the conspirators with the help of DeSmogBlog. Give your children an extra hug tonight. Remember, it's all about the children! If you don't stand up for them, who will? This post was created for ClimateProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
A conference of climate-change skeptics gathered in New York City this week to congratulate each other for daring to challenge the accepted science of global warming. A range of high-profile deniers painted themselves as put-upon independent thinkers branded as heretics by the church of climate-change dogma. Films were shown. Speeches were made. Al Gore jokes abounded. But actual climate science was largely avoided. Michael Oppenheimer, a Princeton University geosciences professor, said that with the media and most policymakers now largely ignoring the climate skeptics, “they have to get together to talk to each other, because nobody else is talking to …
Saw a good DVD this evening, after what seemed like several weeks where all the worst things were unfolding faster and faster and I was looking for something not quite so grim as the current headlines. Nobelity is worth a look. Two ideas of special note for Gristies. The film starts off with a discussion with physicist Steven Weinberg of the University of Texas, whose Nobel was for figuring out the electroweak force that unified two of the four fundamental forces in nature. He talks about (among other things) climate change. In a very matter of fact way, he makes a hugely important point that pertains to all the so-called skeptics (paraphrase):
I'm not sure this falls under my "campus news" beat for Grist, but I heard it at a seminar at a college campus, and it's compelling enough that I'm going to say that because it falls within academia, it counts. Michael Ross is a political scientist at UCLA who was published in the February 2008 American Political Science Review with the assertion (PDF) that much of the gender inequality in the Middle East relative to the rest of the world can be explained not by traditional Islam, but by the presence of oil. Photo: iStockphoto The quick version is that Ross makes a strong case that women are hurt by a previously unappreciated effect of the infamous "resource curse" that imperils democracy in countries with abundant fossil fuels.
The Alliance for Climate Protection and Current TV had a contest for provocative ecospots: short video messages to motivate friends, community, and government to get involved in solving the climate crisis. The winner created a great visual metaphor:
Popera sweetheart Rufus Wainwright has done Judy! Judy! Judy! and now he’s doing Blackout Sabbath — emphasis on the out. This newest venture isn’t a tribute album; it’s an energy conservation campaign. Inspired by the NYC blackout in 2003, Wainwright is proposing we all turn out our lights and unplug appliances for 12 hours starting at noon on June 21, 2008, the summer solstice. He’s also asking for donations of refrigerator magnets to be handed out at an upcoming unamplified candlelit Blackout Sabbath benefit concert. The connection? He suggests lighting a candle as darkness falls that night so that you …
About a year ago, I was cautiously bullish on British supermarket giant Tesco's pledge to start putting carbon labels on its food. But I think that their progress so far -- which I'll get to in a minute -- suggests an important lesson about the policy risks of treating a fuzzy exercise as if it were completely reliable. Tesco's idea was that the chain and its suppliers would pay for objective, comprehensive reviews of the greenhouse-gas emissions from the foods on the store's shelves. The analyses would cover all major steps in bringing food from farms to the checkout line -- everything from running farm machinery, to food processing, to transportation, to refrigeration. Then, each item in the store would be labeled with the climate-warming emissions that could be traced to that particular product. This sort of exercise is called "life cycle analysis," and it's been used for decades to great effect, to shed light on all sorts of questions: paper vs. plastic (for bags), cloth vs. disposable (for diapers), hybrids vs. hydrogen (for cars), and a host of others. Last week, a nifty article by Michael Specter in The New Yorker reported on Tesco's progress so far. The results? There's still only one product on the shelves with a carbon label -- a single brand of potato chips, or "crisps" in British parlance. You see, as it turns out, life cycle analysis can be really, really difficult. And to make matters worse, it may be that the whole enterprise is chock full of uncertainty. Where carbon is concerned, it can be hard to trust the label.
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