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Technology is the solution

For reducing the climate crisis

There are ongoing debates about the best way to address global warming, with most centering on whether a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade scheme is best (or some combination of the two). There are also some lively, though less extensive, debates about the extent to which we should balance our attempts to reduce global warming with mitigating its effects. I would like to shift the focus a little and ask the question: which policies will best promote technological innovation? Simple demographics and economic trends make it impossible to significantly curtail greenhouse gas emissions without major technological advances. By the end …

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More of NASA's James Hansen on Old King Coal

How coal CO2 is different from oil CO2

Our top climate scientist has sent out a really, really long email (where does he find the time?), mostly discussing comments on his recent essay on coal. I think Hansen is the clearest thinker on climate among the top scientists in the field, so I will reprint the email, breaking it up into several postings. The first one addresses "Coal-CO2 versus Oil-CO2": My statement that releasing a coal-CO2 molecule into the air is more harmful than setting free an oil-CO2 molecule caused puzzlement. Of course the molecules are identical. What I want people to recognize is a way of framing …

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Clean diesel: General Motors says yes, Toyota, no

GM will offer clean diesel passenger cars in 2010

GM is planning to bring diesel Saturns and Caddies to the U.S. market in 2010. (A Caddie that gets decent mileage? Who'd have guessed?) They join Nissan, Honda, DaimlerChrysler, and of course Volkswagen in planning to market clean diesels that will meet the new 2008 regulations on NOx and particulate emissions from diesel vehicles. Missing from this list of diesel adopters is Toyota, which is saying that clean diesels "... would end up being more expensive than gasoline-electric hybrids," a market segment which it dominates.

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Lieberman-Warner hearing, liveblogged

Oh, the excitement!

Speaking of the Lieberman-Warner hearing on carbon legislation: it's going on right now, and Brad over at HillHeat is liveblogging it.

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EPA economic analysis of cap-and-trade program

Like Christmas for nerds

For the hardcore dorks out there, the U.S. EPA has just finished an extensive economic analysis of Senate Bill S.280, the Lieberman-McCain Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act. This analysis is likely to carry considerable weight as Lieberman and Warner put together their new cap-and-trade bill. I'm going to look at this a bit later and report back with details.

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An interview with the directors of Arctic Tale

Adam Ravetch gets up close and personal with his subject. Photo: Arctic Bear Productions After the surprise success of March of the Penguins in 2005 -- a film about, well, penguins ... marching -- it's pretty clear that people like movies about cute animals in cold places. So it's no surprise that National Geographic Films, the company behind Penguins, is back this summer with a new movie documenting the lives of Arctic creatures, this time with a climate-change bent. Arctic Tale follows a polar bear cub named Nanu and a walrus calf named Seela as they come of age in …

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A word of caution on climate change and 'refugees'

It’s sometimes problematic to attribute migration specifically to climate change

Scholars, policy analysts, and even military officers are breaking down climate change's impacts into what they hope are more manageable topics for examination. The migration that climate change could cause is one such topic. For instance, the Center for American Progress recently posted a piece entitled "Climate Refugees: Global Warming will Spur Migration." The International Peace Academy analyzed "Climate Change and Conflict: The Migration Link" (PDF) in a May 2007 Coping With Crisis working paper. Climate change-induced migration also figured prominently in the security perspective offered by the CNA Corporation's Military Advisory Board in its report, "National Security and the …

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Climate change message: positive or negative?

Al Gore does both

Both: "What we're facing worldwide really is a planetary emergency," Gore said. "I'm optimistic, but we're losing this battle badly." That's in an article about Al Gore at the Aspen Institute. It's going to take a 90-percent decrease in carbon emissions from developed fossil fuel guzzlers like the U.S. and a 50-percent decrease worldwide to get a handle on the problem, Gore said -- changes that will take major leaps of political will far beyond what current politicians see as feasible. That reduction, which would be mandated by a world-wide treaty, could happen through carbon taxes, cap and trade, technological …

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Just Call Us the Rainmakers

Study confirms connection between human activity and increased rainfall A study led by Canadian scientists shows that peeps have an effect on precip: "For the first time, climate scientists have clearly detected the human fingerprint on changing global precipitation patterns over the past century," the team says. Comparing rainfall records from 1925 to 1999 against nearly 100 scenarios generated by 14 computer models, the team found that 50 to 85 percent of rainfall increase at latitudes north of 40 degrees, including Russia, Canada, and northern Europe, was connected to human activity. The study, set to appear in Nature on Thursday, …

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