Climate & Energy

And you thought the subprime mess was bad for the homebuilding industry

Well, this is certainly bad news for anyone in the Phoenix real estate market. 

House Democrats make another push for renewable-energy credits

Democrats in the House of Representatives have introduced legislation that would extend renewable-energy incentives, which were booted out of both the recent energy bill and the economic stimulus bill. The House legislation would provide tax breaks for investments in energy efficiency and solar, wind, and geothermal power, at an expected cost of $17.5 billion over 10 years. It would be financed mostly by repealing some $13.6 billion in tax breaks currently enjoyed by crazy-rich oil and gas companies. The House legislation passed committee on Tuesday, but likely won’t be taken up by the full chamber until next week. There’s reason …

Against the wind

Cute take on wind power:

Biofuels: good for agrochemical/GMO biz

GMO giant Monsanto wows Wall Street, consolidates its grip on South America

While debate rages on Gristmill and elsewhere about whether biofuels are worth a damn ecologically, investors in agribusiness firms are quietly counting their cash. As corn and soy prices approach all-time highs, driven up by government biofuel mandates, farmers are scrambling to plant as much as they can — and lashing the earth with chemicals to maximize yields. At a Wall Street meeting on Tuesday, genetically modified seed/herbicide giant Monsanto promised investors even-higher-than-expected profits in fiscal year 2008. The company expects to rake in $1.3-$1.4 billion in gross profit from its Roundup herbicide alone (Monsanto had been previously expecting to …

Lake Mead could run out of water by 2021, says study

There’s a 50-50 chance that the Arizona- and Nevada-bordering, human-made Lake Mead will become Dry Ditch Mead by 2021, according to a study to be published in the journal Water Resources Research. Oh, and that’s a conservative estimate, say the study authors, as is this one: By 2017, there’s an equally good chance that water levels in the reservoir could drop so low that the Hoover Dam would be incapable of producing hydroelectric power. Lake Mead provides water to thirsty cities including Los Angeles and Las Vegas, as well as H2O to agricultural areas. Coauthor Tim Barnett says he was …

A post-energy-bill agenda

Twelve simple things green groups can do about climate change

Hey, environmentalists! You passed the energy bill -- what're you gonna do now? Here are 12 things that could be undertaken with present resources:

At last, some climate progress

Japan says it can meet Kyoto goals

Reuters reports: Japan will be able to meet its greenhouse gas emissions limits agreed under the Kyoto Protocol through additional, mainly voluntary, agreements with industry, a government panel said. The measures will help Japan cut 37 million tonnes or more of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent a year, a joint panel on climate change under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Environment said in a final report approved on Friday. This is offered in the spirit of actually posting some climate progress now and then ... This post was created for, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Historical warm periods linked to increased insect activity

This news has us buggin': Historical warm periods have been linked with an explosion of insect activity, and not-so-distant future warm periods may very well see the same, says new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Not only that, but elevated carbon dioxide levels may cause plants to produce fewer nutrients, so insects must gobble more foliage to mitigate their hunger — bad news for humans who wanted to eat those bug-devoured crops. Now where did we put our insect repellent?

Theo Jansen's creatures

Wind-powered autonomous artificial life

A friend of mine showed me this video last weekend, and I just wanted to show you all how freaking cool it is. It's a ongoing work of Dutch artist Theo Jansen, who's literally creating artificial creatures that can move on their own and survive autonomously on a beach. Wind-powered and updated using simulated genetic evolution ... well, just look!

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