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Population is not the short-term problem

Now and again some commentator will claim that we lack to resources to support our population sustainably -- either today or in the near future. But the fact is, even with current technology we have plenty of sustainable resources for our ~7 billion population and for the ~10 billion we expect in the future. What prevents this is not scarcity but folly and cruelty. What are the constraints usually cited? There is soil and sustainable food production. But as I recently documented, we can feed ten billion sustainably if we choose to. There is freshwater, but as I documented, we …

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So much goodness you could waste a day

Every since my Brooklyn vacation, I've been behind and struggling to catch up. You know what that means ... a link dump! Enjoy. In the course of joining the wonkosphere's call for a carbon tax, Fareed Zakaria comes very close to repeating my slogan: Understanding the causes and cures of global warming is actually very simple. One word: coal. Coal is the cheapest and dirtiest source of energy around and is being used in the world's fastest-growing countries. If we cannot get a handle on the coal problem, nothing else matters. Speaking of coal, turns out making it clean is …

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The roar of jets drowns out the warnings about jet emissions

"New Plane Trips Outstripping Any Ecological Improvements in Flying": Aviation growth is soaring to an all-time high, raising the prospect of a huge increase in the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. For the first time, more than 2.5 million commercial flights will be made around the world in a single month, with 2.51 million scheduled for May, says the flight information company OAG. This beats the previous record of 2.49 million flights last August. The figure marks year-on-year global growth in flight numbers of 5 per cent, which translates as an extra 114,000 flights and 17.7 million extra …

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I Don’t Want a Pickle, I Just Want a Fuel-Efficient Vehicle

Senate committee OKs bill to raise fuel-economy standards A Senate committee has approved legislation that would increase average vehicle fuel efficiency to 35 miles per gallon by 2020, with a 4 percent annual increase from 2021 to 2030. For nearly two decades, U.S. passenger cars have averaged 27.5 mpg, while light trucks and SUVs have measured even lower. Besides boosting those stats, the new bill would regulate large work trucks and tractor-trailers for the first time. Fuel-economy toughening has never had so much congressional support -- thanks, gas prices and climate change! -- but greens are wary, noting that the …

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Tony, We Hardly Knew Ye

British Prime Minister Tony Blair to resign, climate legacy mixed British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced his resignation today in a short speech whose message amounted to, "Sorry about blindly following Bush. Forgive me?" Blair leaves in late June after 10 years at 10 Downing Street, with Finance Minister Gordon Brown expected to replace him. While much of the insta-chatter over Blair's legacy is focused on Iraq and Ireland, climate change is in the mix. "Tony Blair has made a significant positive contribution to the global debate on climate change, but this has been undermined by his failure to tackle …

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The hits keep on comin’

Senate Foreign Relations Testimony on the grave threat to our nation's security posed by global warming: Admiral Joseph W. Prueher (PDF), USN (Ret.), Former Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Command and Former Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China; General Charles F. Wald (PDF), USAF (Ret.), Former Deputy Commander, U.S. European Command; and Vice Admiral Richard H. Truly (PDF), USN (Ret.), Former NASA Administrator, Shuttle Astronaut and the First Commander of the Naval Space Command. Memo to conservative global warming deniers: Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) asserts in his opening statement (PDF),"To adequately prepare our security and diplomatic forces for future threats, we …

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My continuing quest for total domination of obscure niche media

I forgot to mention that I was on EarthBeat radio the other day, which according to John Passacantando "does for environmental coverage on the airwaves what Grist Magazine does for the environment in the cyber world." And I think he means that's a good thing! Anyway, you can go here to download the show. I start jibber-jabbering about global warming and risk perception around minute 38.

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They don’t get that climate is a security issue

"The Democrats' Global War on Weather" and "Jack Bauer, Climatologist???" are the headlines conservatives are using to mock efforts by progressives to finance a National Intelligence Estimate to study global warming. But climate is clearly a national security threat, as made clear in a recent CNA report from a distinguished group of former military leaders (PDF). As but one example, a "ferocious drought and famine" were the driving forces behind the crisis in Darfur, which is "likely to be seen as the first climate change war," as the Guardian put it. Contrary to the mocking press release, the "war on …

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Summarizin’ summaries, summarily

Here is the second half of my summary of the IPCC summary (PDF): Energy Efficiency: It is often more cost-effective to invest in end-use energy efficiency improvement than in increasing energy supply to satisfy demand for energy services. Efficiency improvement has a positive effect on energy security, local and regional air pollution abatement, and employment. (In buildings): Energy efficiency options for new and existing buildings could considerably reduce CO2 emissions with net economic benefit. Many barriers exist against tapping this potential, but there are also large co-benefits (high agreement, much evidence). By 2030, about 30 percent of the projected GHG …

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No, but we still know enough to start taking action

A few weeks ago, I was perusing Grist when I ran across an ad for A Convenient Fiction, a slideshow rebuttal of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. The author was none other than Steve Hayward, who you might remember from the AEI-$10,000-payola scandal. I had actually seen this slideshow discussed in the New York Times, and was interested to see it. In my previous communications with Hayward, he was at great pains to describe himself as someone who believed the science as described by the IPCC. I wanted to see if the slideshow bore that out. Both Hayward's slideshow and …

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