Climate & Energy

Mille grazie!

Should we take Italian nuclear waste?

So an industry CEO tells E&E News that nuclear is the only non-carbon baseload power (not!) and that therefore nuclear is our only future and since the United States does such a great job of dealing with low-level radioactive waste, we should become the world's repository. That would be the logic of one Steve Creamer, CEO of EnergySolutions, "a full-service nuclear fuel cycle company" (in contrast to all of those "partial-service nuclear fuel cycle companies," sometimes called electric utilities). Why shouldn't we take the world's low-level radioactive waste? asks Creamer. Other countries take our recycled computers [!], so it's the perfect division of global labor:

To preserve and protect

Valuing environmental services saves lives

As this new BBC article points out, it appears that the loss of mangroves around cities in Myanmar made the impact of the cyclone much worse, resulting in higher casualties and greater destruction. Scientific evidence compiled after the 2004 Asian tsunami showed that areas with more intact coastal ecosystems suffered less destruction, showing the upside of investing in the preservation of coastal swamps and forests, especially in disaster-prone areas. These developments highlight the urgent need to continue to demonstrate and make clear to policymakers the tremendous value these coastal environmental services provide. Of course, coastal ecosystems are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the full range of environmental services that forests (both tropical and temperate), wetlands, coral reefs, and prairies provide. Identifying these values and estimating their magnitude is the first step in making sure that they are not ignored when development decisions are made, or when assessing the value of restoring systems that have been degraded. This is one area where the combination of economics and ecological science can demonstrate why conservation not only pays but saves lives.

Corny weather

FT: Midwest rains threaten U.S. corn crop

Remember in February, when a fertilizer magnate raised the specter of widespread famine if any of the globe’s big farming regions hit a rough patch this year? Here’s what he said: If you had any …

Big biz ranked on greenness

Takeaways from a new ranking of eco-friendly practices in big biz: Consumer companies are getting greener, but there’s plenty of ground to gain. In its second annual scorecard, nonprofit Climate Counts ranked 56 companies on …

Alaska legislature looking for polar-bear skeptics

The Alaska legislature wants to use $2 million in state money to fund an “academic based” conference to highlight the views of scientists who don’t think the polar bear should be put on the endangered-species …

CCS gets slammed

Hawkins to industry: ‘deal with it’

Greenpeace's body slam of the core "clean coal" technology known as carbon capture and storage (CCS) may take a while to sink in. Not so long ago, groups like NRDC were writing glowing accounts of the technology, and it's safe to say that much of the environmental movement is still sipping the Kool-Aid. So it was heartening to read that at least one person attending the Carbon Capture and Sequestration conference in Pittsburgh seems to have her head screwed on straight and her ear to the grassroots: Becky Tarbotton of Rainforest Action Network. Becky writes:

McCain: We went to war for oil

In ’91, that is! Not in 2003. No sir.

Sierra Club will sue over new coal plants

The Sierra Club is planning lawsuits to halt construction of coal plants in seven states, arguing that the mercury-spewing plants violate the Clean Air Act. Noting that a federal appeals court ruled in February that …

Danny sings the blues

Seattle Times columnist needs a new ride

Via the Sunday Seattle Times: Danny Westneat has wrecked his car and needs a new ride. Now, I don't expect it to be easy being green. But this is ridiculous. What was hailed as our leading green alternative to petroleum [biodiesel] is now an affront to humanity? I wonder which print media gave him this false impression that biodiesel was our leading green alternative? But when we asked around about biodiesel, it didn't take long before the scolding started. Biodiesel pollutes more than oil, said one e-mailer on a community site where my wife asked for advice. Another questioned our morality, saying it's wrong to use food for fuel when people are starving. I find it ironic that a newspaper journalist had to learn all of this on an internet forum. Why didn't they just search the Times archives for articles instead? And what is wrong with stuffing 15 acres of vegetable oil annually into your gas tank? Hint: The price of cooking oil in Africa has gone up 60 percent.

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