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Tufte would approve

The Musing Environmentalist highlights a keeper

Karen Street, who comments here regularly, runs an interesting blog of her own called Musing Environmentalist. I was taken with a graphic she highlighted from an article in Mechanical Engineering magazine, representing the GHG emissions from various sources. Check it out (click for larger version):

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Well, Uh, At Least No One Got Zero?

California, Vermont, Connecticut top ranking of energy-efficient states Less than a week after California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) declared at an economic summit in Canada that clean energy is becoming the basis for "a new gold rush," his all-star state has topped an energy-efficiency ranking issued by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Looking at eight factors, including transportation policies, building codes, spending on efficiency programs, and tax incentives, ACEEE -- also known for its "Green Book" ranking of vehicles -- developed a 44-point scale on which California scored 33 points, tying with Vermont and Connecticut for first place. …

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It's raining in Death Valley

Or is that geoengineering at work?

A new study shows that geoengineering should work. Just not exactly how we imagined: Geoengineering could indeed cool the atmosphere, ecologist Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution in Stanford, California, and colleagues conclude in their new analysis. The team examined the impact of 11 possible projects over the next century using computer simulations and assuming trends in greenhouse-gas emissions will continue unchecked. The good news is such measures would be effective even if undertaken decades from now, the researchers report online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The bad news is that in all cases …

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Europe to reform carbon trading system

Credits will be auctioned and limits tightened

This is extremely heartening: Europe is moving toward making significant changes to its emissions-trading system that could force large polluters to pay for most, if not all, permits to produce climate-changing gases, European officials said Monday. Although the European carbon-trading arrangement is considered to be among the world's most functional, the countries that administer it acknowledged in a meeting during the weekend in Essen, Germany, that the system had flaws, including a government credit allocation plan that allows companies to profit by lobbying for additional pollution permits. According to a statement, the governments of the European Union plan to ask …

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Let's kill this meme

Why we gotta knock solar?

Can we please, once and for all, stop decrying solar energy for being too area-intensive? See, for example, the oft-cited statistic that to power its economy, the U.S. would need "10 billion meters, squared, of land." America isn't exactly short on square meters, and awfully sunny ones at that. But 10 billion square meters sounds a lot bigger than it really is. 10,000 square kilometers (100km x 100km) form a square you could drive around entirely, at legal highway speeds, in four hours. (Less if you speed.) 10,000 square kilometers is also roughly one-fortieth the area that the human species …

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An enemy of my enemy ...

Conservatives like Bush’s climate plan because greens don’t

The conservative National Review likes the president's new climate change strategy. Not because it will work to reduce emissions, mind you. Because it irritates environmentalists and Europeans.

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Flaws in the Boucher bill

It would pre-empt state fuel efficiency laws

An energy bill is emerging from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, but it has some "unacceptable" provisions, according to leading energy and environmental experts. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), chair of the Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality, has a draft bill online, along with summaries of key provisions. The bill has a variety of important provisions aimed at promoting energy efficiency in electricity and vehicles -- and some useful provisions to promote low carbon fuels. But it has at least two serious flaws. First, it helps subsidize coal to liquids, which is an irredeemably bad idea, as I have argued …

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What if Hurricane Katrina had hit the Persian Gulf coast?

Stormy weather ahead

Well, we might find out, according to an exclusive from The Oil Drum and Chuck Watson of KAC/UCF, also using a weather blog, where Margie Kieper writes: An unusual event is happening over the next 48 hours, as the first tropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds, and major hurricane-force winds at that, is approaching the Gulf of Oman, to strike the eastern coast of Oman, curve northward, and make landfall on the coast of Iran. In the tropical cyclone best tracks and the modern era of weather satellites, there is no record of such an occurrence. As the Oil Drum writer …

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China's unveils new climate change plan

Still a Great Wall to progress

On the heels of Bush's bluster of the week, China today released its first comprehensive plan for climate change. But as the NY Times reports, it too isn't much to sing about. Said Ma Kai, head of China's National Development and Reform Commission: Our general stance is that China will not commit to any quantified emissions reduction targets, but that does not mean we will not assume responsibilities in responding to climate change. Thus, the plan calls for improving energy efficiency, but doesn't include any hard caps on carbon emissions. This is pretty scary news, since by now we all …

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Spitting out the Kool-Aid

Condi Rice goes out on limbs

First she rides in an electric car, now she says disagreeing with your government is not unpatriotic? Condi better watch her back.