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Surgeon General and global warming

It’s as bad as we thought

Don't miss this tidbit from Former Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona's Tuesday testimony before Congress: He described attending a meeting of top officials in which the subject of global warming was discussed. The officials concluded that global warming was a liberal cause and dismissed it, he said. "And I said to myself, 'I realize why I've been invited. They want me to discuss the science because they obviously don't understand the science,'" he said. "I was never invited back." This post was created for ClimateProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

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Dingell channels Cartman

Takes potshots at Markey

In the much-discussed Dingell interview, he said a few other things that were, at least from an inside-baseball perspective, just as interesting as the carbon tax stuff. Especially notable was his scathing comments toward Rep. Markey's climate change committee. Get a load of this: HITT: The speaker created, or moved to create, at the beginning of the year, a special Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Climate Change. And that caused some heartburn in some quarters of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and I think you had some concerns about it. I wondered, six months after that committee has …

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A river runs through it

Literally

The International Rivers Network has a new study out, "Before the Deluge: Coping with Floods in a Changing Climate," which details the failures of flood control techniques like dams and levees and presents other options for areas that may face flooding from severe weather and rising shorelines. Turns out traditional flood control measures like embankments and dams can sometimes actually make flooding worse since they force rivers to run straighter and faster, making flooding more powerful when it occurs. This is all especially timely in light of all the flooding that's been happening in Texas and Oklahoma, as well as …

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The Low Carbon Economy Act of 2007

It’s weak

I really don't think we have time to waste on safety valves. That said, the new bill by Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) is worth understanding because it is garnering a lot of support -- at a cost: But to secure labor and corporate support, the measure also places a limit on the price industry would have to pay for such permits. And to win the endorsement of Alaska's two Republican senators, the bill contains billions of dollars in new money to help their state cope with the effects of climate change on roads, bridges and coastal …

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More rules of the road for offsets: Common sense is good

Measure, monitor, reduce, offset

Haven't had enough on offsets yet? Good. Romm's zeroth rule of carbon offsets is that you should "do everything reasonably possible to reduce your own emissions" before buying offsets. At first blush, this reads like a memo from Obviousland, a staunch statement in favor of apple pie. Pretty much every marketer of carbon offsets heavily stresses that offset purchases should go hand-in-hand with serious attempts at conservation, and I certainly agree. So far, so good. But the rest of the post serves as a lesson in what can happen when common sense hardens into ideology. After making a bunch of …

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Carbon offsets and tree huggers

Trees should play a bigger role

After reading the recent posts by Romm, Stein, and Roberts, I have concluded that carbon offsets are a pretty good idea if properly implemented. Once government regulations have been established (and enforced), consumers should be able to buy with greater confidence. As it stands today, you are taking a small risk that your purchase may not actually result in CO2 reductions. So, if you are going to buy them, do your homework first. I also don't see why an individual should do everything reasonably possible to offset carbon emissions that are under their direct control before buying offsets from a …

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As Long As the Sox Are OK

Study says climate threatens Northeast icons like lobsters and foliage Imagine the Northeast without lobsters, snow, cranberries, and colorful foliage. Without that, you'd have -- what, white churches and crusty old lumberjacks? But all those natural icons are at risk from climate change, says a report the Union of Concerned Scientists put together with scientists and economists. "The character of this region is at stake," says UCS President Kevin Knobloch. "The emissions choices that we make today will lead to starkly different futures in our lifetime and certainly the lifetime of our children." In an area where average annual temperatures …

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The loan arranger

Consumers are stingy about buying new energy-efficient appliances

We've been meaning to replace our furnace -- an old oil heater that was converted to gas back in the '70s -- for years. It's big, it's ugly, and worst of all, it's inefficient. So we pay much more for heat than we'd like, even in Seattle's relatively mild winters. But new furnaces don't come cheap. In fact, some back-of-the envelope calculations a few years back convinced me that it could take nearly a decade before the savings on our gas bills paid for the up-front costs of a new furnace. In theory, of course, that's still a pretty good …

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Offset markets

A new Pardoner’s Tale?

David objects to calling offsets indulgences. In contrast, the actual offset purchasers I've met -- via the internet or in the "real world" -- tend to be environmentally concerned and engaged. They view offsets as something they can do in addition to other things they do to lighten their footprint. This is disingenuous on two levels. First the indulgence metaphor is primarily aimed at CDM and JT under the Kyoto treaty, where offsets are legally permissions to emit. An offset that is less than 100 percent perfect in that context is very like indulgences at their worst; net emissions are …

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Is there scientific consensus on climate change?

Yes

Yes.

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