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Good stuff at WC

Two good posts on Worldchanging I've been meaning to call out: Jeremy Faludi makes the important point that control technologies are just as important as efficiency technologies. Control technologies allow us to control energy systems in a more fine-grained way, using only what we need -- think occupancy sensors for lighting or continuously variable transmissions for cars. Make room for this in your conceptual toolbox. Alex Steffen, meanwhile, has an essay grappling with what he sees as the widening gap between our snail-pace, "small steps" reforms on one hand and the cutting edge ideas about a sustainable future that are …

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Yet another must-read by James Hansen

On ‘scientific reticence’ and sea-level rise

Sea level rise of 5 meters in one century? Even if most scientists will not say so publicly, that catastrophe is a real possibility, according to the director of NASA's Goddard Institute Of Space Studies. It may seem like I single Hansen out for recommended reading. But that's only because he: is the nation's top climatologist writes prolifically speaks with unusually bluntness for a scientist has been more right than just about any climate scientist He has written a terrific piece for the open-access Environmental Research Letters on "Scientific Reticence and Sea Level Rise": I suggest that a "scientific reticence" …

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A few random notes

For Gristers in Houston, you might be interested in this event. A good friend of mine, Emmett Duffy, has started a new blog called The Natural Patriot. Emmett is a marine scientist at the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences. Check out his entry on what it means to be a Natural Patriot -- and add this blog to your RSS reader.

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Wind-loss, wind-gain

On the heels of last week's apparent defeat of the proposed Hoosac Wind project in mountainous Western Massachusetts due to environmental (wetland) concerns, Massachusetts' new governor has put his voice behind further offshore wind projects. The timing is interesting. We already knew Governor Patrick supports Cape Wind, the final permitting for which is now up to the feds. Details are sketchy yet on what he proposes for further offshore projects, but it sounds like an unofficial rebuttal to the state arbitration panel's decision that the Department of Environmental Protection didn't do its job on the Hoosac proposal. And maybe they …

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Cutting carbon by 80% by 2050

Continuing the debate

Recently, in the post "Global Warming and the vision thing," I criticized the use of numbers in advocating policies, arguing instead on behalf of concrete images. Jon Warnow, a Step It Up 2007 organizer, responded to my post, and I thought it would be appropriate to give him the benefit of a separate post, along with my reply: In Defense of the Numbers As an organizer that worked on the Step It Up 2007 efforts on April 14th, I am one of the global warming activists that is guilty of having "advocated policies based on numerical goals" as Jon Rynn …

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Will it play in Bolivia?

A South American take on Gore’s film

Jessica Weisberg is an American journalist currently based in South America. The following is her take on the peculiar cultural dominance of An Inconvenient Truth. ----- I liked Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. Really, I did. But when I count off my reasons -- the special effects, the wet-your-pants astonishment, the drama -- I find myself applauding the film's popular appeal more than its take-home message. The film has achieved a global monopoly in the fight against global warming, becoming not just a film about climate change, but the film about climate change. Even in South America, where the fight …

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'A politics of reason faces a strong headwind'

I’ve been Gored in my own neighborhood

"A politics of reason faces a strong headwind." These were Al Gore's words last night, at New York's 92nd Street Y, where I had the unique pleasure of seeing him interviewed by Charlie Rose. The main topic of discussion was Gore's new book, The Assault On Reason, which not surprisingly is #1 on Amazon's bestseller list ("It's not about K-Fed," Gore was quick to chime in). Apart from offering a scathing critique of the Bush administration, the book lambastes the shallowness of today's media -- the amount of time spent on Pamela Anderson versus, say, the still ravaged landscape of …

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Cap-and-trade is looking like duck-and-cover

A rejoinder to Environmental Defense

Can any of Environmental Defense's three main points stand up to scrutiny? ED: A carbon tax can be gamed as easily as a carbon trading scheme. CTC: A carbon tax may be subject to gaming, but cap-and-trade positively invites it. USCAP concedes that some allowances will be given out (not auctioned) at the outset, which means protracted, high-stakes negotiations ("a giant food fight," a leading utility executive called it) over free allowances that will be worth billions. How will these be allocated? What baseline year? Watch earth burn as the polluters jockey for the baseline giving them the most allowances! …

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Nice Berk If You Can Get It

Berkeley, Calif., goes all crazy with the green ideas Six months ago, voters in Berkeley, Calif., overwhelmingly approved a measure to reduce the city's emissions 80 percent by 2050. Now proposals have been laid out to accomplish that goal, including requiring builders to use green materials, making landlords provide free bus passes to tenants, informing residents of the size of their carbon footprint, and helping sun-ergize every roof in the city. Berkeleyites' personal behavior will also be held to a high standard, with incentives provided for walking to work, buying local food, saving energy, and BYOB (bag, that is). Some …

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Feel the carbon sequestration love

BP pulls out of its one actual carbon sequestration project

Everyone seems to agree that carbon sequestration is going to save us from global warming. That's why the Scottish government announced it would have a competition, awarding the creation of an actual carbon sequestration facility with a big fat financial reward. BP spent $50 million just preparing to build such a facility. But then the Scots wanted a little more time to assess it -- another year -- which led BP to scrap the whole project. A technology that costs so much money to prepare that a major oil company can't afford to keep it in development for a year …