Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Climate & Energy

Comments

Let’s Give ‘Em Something to Not Talk About

U.S. negotiators edit climate out of G8 climate draft Here's a comforting thought for a Monday: your future is being played like a poker hand. Next month, the leaders of the G8 nations will meet in Germany along with the heads of China, India, South Africa, Mexico, and Brazil. With hopes of agreeing on climate-change action, Germany has circulated a draft of a declaration that the U.S. is editing all to hell. According to press reports, U.S. negotiators have suggested cutting a pledge to limit global temperature rise; excising a promise to cut greenhouse-gas emissions 50 percent below 1990 levels …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

More on peak coal

Yeah, that’s running out too

A few weeks ago I mentioned a study showing that coal reserves are not nearly as extensive as the "200-year supply" invoked by coal boosters. Now Richard Heinberg brings word of another study that reaches substantially similar conclusions. The main thrust is that the quality of easily accessible coal is declining and that prices are almost certain to go up, and soon. An interesting correlate -- which hadn't really occurred to me, but makes sense -- is that rising coal prices are going to make it less likely for carbon sequestration to catch on. Heinberg's conclusion is worth reading in …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

U.S. pushing to weaken G8 climate declaration

This is getting old

Next month, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will convene a summit of the G8 countries, which will issue a joint declaration on climate change. Here's how that's going: A draft proposal dated April 2007 that is being debated in Bonn, Germany, this weekend by senior officials of the Group of Eight includes a pledge to limit the global temperature rise this century to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as an agreement to reduce worldwide greenhouse gas emissions to 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The United States is seeking to strike that section, the documents show. Oh, and this: The …

Comments

Class, not dismissed

Garret Keizer burns in anger about ‘green capitalism’

The new Harper's (June 2007) contains a stunning and powerful "Notebook" essay titled "Climate, Class, and Claptrap," by Garret Keizer -- a minister, if I recall correctly. Keizer writes as well as Wendell Berry, but with a kind of righteous anger that the more ponderous Berry tamps down. This essay is about the contradictions inherent in the environmental community's fast embrace of "green capitalism" and wondertoys. The intestinal tipping point came for me when a contingent of students from Middlebury College (annual tuition and fees $44,330) found both the gas money and the gall to drive to the town of …

Comments

On the Ball: Booooooog!

Well, actually it’s about sports

The Oregonian brings word of outdoor companies going "carbon neutral" in the near future. They include roof-rack manufacturer Yakima (aiming to be zero-emissions before this fall), outdoor-gear behemoth REI (planning to neutralize its emissions by, um, 2020), Nike (which already powers more than half of its electricity use through wind energy), and shoe company KEEN. Well-played, outdoorsy folk -- and well-played Oregonian, for not buying fully into carbon offsets' promise of "neutrality," and quoting gallant Gristmill contributor Clark Williams-Derry. On a different note, updates on Beijing's preparations for the 2008 Olympics are in the news nearly every day. The city …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

Comments

Epistemological standards, arbitrarily applied

Why must global-warming science produce certainty?

I wonder what would happen if the same amount of skeptical attention paid to global warming science were paid to the other disciplines that inform policymakers: economics, opinion polling, covert intelligence, diplomacy, history, ethics, etc. Do those other areas of analysis produce models and predictions free of uncertainty? Of course not. And yet we use them every day, because -- outside this bizarre cultural artifact we call the "global warming debate" -- people are quite accustomed to the notion that we have to do the best we can with the best information available. If all our best economic models were …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

WWF on coal

It’s bad

The WWF has a new briefing out called "Are the costs of using coal higher than the cost of cleaning it up?" It contains the standard "coal is the enemy of the human race" statistics, and concludes with six recommendations for how to reduce coal's impact on global warming: 1. Emerging economies need access to best-available-technologies including last-generation coal-fired power technology and support from G8 nations and the financial sector in deploying it. 2. OECD countries should not replace aging power stations with traditional coal. 3. Demand-side management solutions should be considered before considering construction of new power stations. This …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

The denialist deck of cards

A video you simply must see

Yikes. Everyone must watch this video, which comes to us from DeSmogBlog: And on a related note, this seems like a good time to link to The Denialists' Deck of Cards: An Illustrated Taxonomy of Rhetoric Used to Frustrate Consumer Protection Efforts. You will see that these perpetual, maddening arguments about global warming are not new. The techniques are the same and the goals are the same: protecting industry. All the more reason not to feed the trolls. And PS: DeSmogBlog also has a petition asking Fox to fire Steven Milloy, one-time tobacco shill, now climate denialist shill. FYI.

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

Comments

Laboratories of democracy

Oh, Canada

So, it's an interesting time to be an environmentalist in Canada. On one hand, we have a federal government whose green policies were described as "a complete and total fraud ... designed to mislead the Canadian people" by no less than the Goreacle himself. In this case, however, one of the sometimes-maddening aspects of Canadian politics is of some benefit. You see, natural resources (including all energy sources) are matters of provincial jurisdiction in Canada. This is problematic if you want to see a national plan on fossil fuels, because as a political reality you'd have to get all 10 …

Comments

Mountaintop removal and clean water: Kinda at odds

DC lobbying effort May 12-16

Citizens from Appalachia were at the UN's meeting on sustainable energy policy this week to challenge the clean-coalers, and were received really well by the other delegates. Coal advocates were hard-put to refute the evidence that coal kills communities. Now the effort moves to D.C. from May 12-16 for the 2nd Annual Mountaintop Removal Week lobbying effort. Organized by Appalachian Voices, the effort will advance the Clean Water Protection Act toward passage and help end mountaintop removal coal mining. Call your senator or rep to support this effort and/or take action here. 'Cuz when you blow off a mountain's top …