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This is getting old

Next month, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will convene a summit of the G8 countries, which will issue a joint declaration on climate change. Here's how that's going: A draft proposal dated April 2007 that is being debated in Bonn, Germany, this weekend by senior officials of the Group of Eight includes a pledge to limit the global temperature rise this century to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as an agreement to reduce worldwide greenhouse gas emissions to 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The United States is seeking to strike that section, the documents show. Oh, and this: The …

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Garret Keizer burns in anger about ‘green capitalism’

The new Harper's (June 2007) contains a stunning and powerful "Notebook" essay titled "Climate, Class, and Claptrap," by Garret Keizer -- a minister, if I recall correctly. Keizer writes as well as Wendell Berry, but with a kind of righteous anger that the more ponderous Berry tamps down. This essay is about the contradictions inherent in the environmental community's fast embrace of "green capitalism" and wondertoys. The intestinal tipping point came for me when a contingent of students from Middlebury College (annual tuition and fees $44,330) found both the gas money and the gall to drive to the town of …

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Well, actually it’s about sports

The Oregonian brings word of outdoor companies going "carbon neutral" in the near future. They include roof-rack manufacturer Yakima (aiming to be zero-emissions before this fall), outdoor-gear behemoth REI (planning to neutralize its emissions by, um, 2020), Nike (which already powers more than half of its electricity use through wind energy), and shoe company KEEN. Well-played, outdoorsy folk -- and well-played Oregonian, for not buying fully into carbon offsets' promise of "neutrality," and quoting gallant Gristmill contributor Clark Williams-Derry. On a different note, updates on Beijing's preparations for the 2008 Olympics are in the news nearly every day. The city …

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Why must global-warming science produce certainty?

I wonder what would happen if the same amount of skeptical attention paid to global warming science were paid to the other disciplines that inform policymakers: economics, opinion polling, covert intelligence, diplomacy, history, ethics, etc. Do those other areas of analysis produce models and predictions free of uncertainty? Of course not. And yet we use them every day, because -- outside this bizarre cultural artifact we call the "global warming debate" -- people are quite accustomed to the notion that we have to do the best we can with the best information available. If all our best economic models were …

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It’s bad

The WWF has a new briefing out called "Are the costs of using coal higher than the cost of cleaning it up?" It contains the standard "coal is the enemy of the human race" statistics, and concludes with six recommendations for how to reduce coal's impact on global warming: 1. Emerging economies need access to best-available-technologies including last-generation coal-fired power technology and support from G8 nations and the financial sector in deploying it. 2. OECD countries should not replace aging power stations with traditional coal. 3. Demand-side management solutions should be considered before considering construction of new power stations. This …

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A video you simply must see

Yikes. Everyone must watch this video, which comes to us from DeSmogBlog: And on a related note, this seems like a good time to link to The Denialists' Deck of Cards: An Illustrated Taxonomy of Rhetoric Used to Frustrate Consumer Protection Efforts. You will see that these perpetual, maddening arguments about global warming are not new. The techniques are the same and the goals are the same: protecting industry. All the more reason not to feed the trolls. And PS: DeSmogBlog also has a petition asking Fox to fire Steven Milloy, one-time tobacco shill, now climate denialist shill. FYI.

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Oh, Canada

So, it's an interesting time to be an environmentalist in Canada. On one hand, we have a federal government whose green policies were described as "a complete and total fraud ... designed to mislead the Canadian people" by no less than the Goreacle himself. In this case, however, one of the sometimes-maddening aspects of Canadian politics is of some benefit. You see, natural resources (including all energy sources) are matters of provincial jurisdiction in Canada. This is problematic if you want to see a national plan on fossil fuels, because as a political reality you'd have to get all 10 …

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DC lobbying effort May 12-16

Citizens from Appalachia were at the UN's meeting on sustainable energy policy this week to challenge the clean-coalers, and were received really well by the other delegates. Coal advocates were hard-put to refute the evidence that coal kills communities. Now the effort moves to D.C. from May 12-16 for the 2nd Annual Mountaintop Removal Week lobbying effort. Organized by Appalachian Voices, the effort will advance the Clean Water Protection Act toward passage and help end mountaintop removal coal mining. Call your senator or rep to support this effort and/or take action here. 'Cuz when you blow off a mountain's top …

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Will it be adaptation, mitigation … or neither?

Despite a lot of talk, this nation has done little to restrain global warming, either in terms of mitigating carbon emissions or adapting to the climate changes that will come. Some nations around the world -- wealthy nations such as Australia and the Netherlands -- are beginning to adapt, while poorer nations -- such as Malawi and India -- can't afford to. In a superb piece of reporting last month in The New York Times, four writers reported on "the climate divide," elegantly laying out the issue. Andrew Revkin followed up this week with a look at an ensuing dispute …

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That’s what his support for CTL shows

The LA Times has a long story about the growing conflict over coal-to-liquid (CTL) fuel. This is the most important paragraph in the piece, though it is inexplicably buried at the bottom: A new study has concluded that turning coal into liquid fuel yields 125% more carbon dioxide than producing diesel fuel and 66% more than gasoline. If the carbon dioxide is captured and permanently stored, liquid coal emits 20% more greenhouse gas than diesel but 11% less than conventional gasoline, according to the study to be released next week by Argonne National Laboratory, a research arm of the Energy …