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Not everyone's a Feynmann

Public presentations on global warming — not as easy as you might think

So I had an opportunity to go see a free, open-to-the-public talk by Dr. Michael Mann, one of the lead authors for the IPCC, the person most associated with the "hockey stick" graph of temperature, and a faculty member at Penn State University. His topic: "Global Climate Change: Past and Present." A review: All in all, a disappointment. It was almost like an advertisement for Edward Tufte's pamphlet about how PowerPoint fails us. Mann, one of the brains behind Realclimate.org, is a giant, one of the most important people in the world of climate history, climate modeling, and projections. A …

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Being careful about the word 'voluntary'

More on Bush’s climate strategy

My post yesterday said what needs to be said about Bush's "new" climate strategy, but this passage from Dana Milbank's hilarious column today is too good to pass up: "Will the new framework consist of binding commitments or voluntary commitments?" asked CBS News's Jim Axelrod. "In this instance, you have a long-term, aspirational goal," [Bush environmental advisor Jim] Connaughton answered. Aspirational goal? Like having the body you want without diet or exercise? Or getting rich without working? "I'm confused," Axelrod said. "Does that mean there will be targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions, and that everybody will be making binding …

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The path to carbon capture and storage

A new report

The Center for American Progress has a terrific new report on "Global Warming and the Future of Coal" by Ken Berlin and Robert Sussman. The report explores what to do about the explosive growth in coal plant construction projected for the coming quarter century -- 1,400 gigawatts of electricity by 2030, with more than 10 percent in the U.S. alone. In the absence of emission controls, these new plants will increase worldwide annual emissions of carbon dioxide by approximately 7.6 billion metric tons by 2030. These emissions would equal roughly 50 percent of all fossil fuel emissions over the past …

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Check Baby Check Baby One Two … 300

Wachovia, fourth-largest U.S. bank, plans to build 300 green branches The fourth-largest bank in the U.S. will build only green branches by the end of 2008, aiming for 300 eco-friendly offices by 2010. Wachovia, based in Charlotte, N.C., is expanding into California and will begin its green experiment there. It is also seeking LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for a financial center built in Texas last year, and a 1.2-million-square-foot office tower under construction in Charlotte. The move -- expected to save each branch $80,000 in construction costs and 20 percent in operating costs -- "makes sense …

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Hey, At Least He Pronounced It Right

Bush announces climate plan, world squirms uncomfortably The world gave George W. Bush lemons, and he made some dee-licious lemonade. Yesterday, Bush said the U.S. would take the lead on the climate issue, convening a series of meetings of the world's top 10 to 15 polluting nations and setting long-term goals for cutting emissions. Coming amid criticism that the U.S. is blocking potential climate progress at next week's G8 summit in Germany, the news seemed sweet. But those who sipped his lemony concoction got all puckery. "The declaration by President Bush basically restates the U.S. classic line on climate change: …

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What is the optimal climate?

On the NASA administrator’s comments

Michael Griffin is a highly educated guy. He has five Masters degrees (count 'em: aerospace science, electrical engineering, applied physics, business administration, and civil engineering) and a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering (see here). However, his interview on NPR shows that all that book learnin' doesn't mean what he says is intelligent. For a recap of the high points of the interview, see David's post. I'm going to talk in this post about what makes our climate optimal. (This is adapted from an old post on my previous blog.) Everything else equal, one might be able to make an argument that …

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Honey, pack up, we're moving to ... Minnesota!

Who knew the stoic people of Minnesota were so advanced?

Wow, we hear about California this and California that, occasionally some Vermont or Oregon thrown in, once in awhile someone will know that Texas is a wind capitol. But I can't remember anyone ever mentioning that, when it comes to a serious program to address global heating, Minnesota rocks! Just for comparison, note how weak and pallid Oregon's renewable energy standard (which only applies to electricity, not energy) is compared to Minnesota's comprehensive greenhouse gas law. From the Union of Concerned Scientists: Minnesota: On May 20, the Minnesota Legislature overwhelmingly passed groundbreaking global warming, energy efficiency, and community-based energy legislation …

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Oxfam: Rich must pay the bulk of climate change bill

Wealthy nations should be held accountable for their actions

Oxfam has just taken a big step -- it wasn't easy, and they deserve heaps of kudos for it. It has called for a mandatory, global adaptation-funding regime, one that's on the right scale, or at least the right order of magnitude. It would make national obligations to pay -- to help poor and vulnerable communities adapt to the now inevitable impacts of climate change -- contingent on historical responsibility for the impacts of climate change, and on ability to pay. I couldn't be more pleased, and not just because Oxfam's "Adaptation Financing Index" is closely related to our own …

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Wider, but still paper thin

Reality checking the polls

Public opinion polls show a significant increase in the number of Americans who support strong climate action. Deeper digging shows this support is superficial, too thin to drive the rapid sociopolitical change now required. For the first time, however, a small, but measurable number of Americans -- probably no more than 3% -- identify climate change as the greatest threat. U.S. environmentalists' carefully buffered climate narrative, calculated to not frighten the majority, does not engage these "three percenters." A significant shift in U.S. public opinion on climate has been measured in recent polls. 27% of those polled in a CNN/Opinion …

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NASA administrator says stupid things

Hard to believe he’s part of the Bush administration!

Everybody and their cousin has already posted on this, so I won't spend a lot of time on it, but yesterday on NPR, NASA administrator Michael Griffin said some extraordinarily stupid things. To wit: I'm aware that global warming exists. ... Whether that is a longterm concern or not, I can't say. ... ... I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with. To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of Earth's climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could …

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