Climate & Energy

2007 was the year of warm temperatures and wacky weather

The year 2007 was typified by warm temperatures and wacky weather. This year in the U.S., 263 all-time high temperature records were tied or broken. New York City was hit by a tornado in August, the same month that more than 60 percent of the U.S. was abnormally dry or in drought. The Middle East saw a rare cyclone in June, Europe sizzled under killer heat waves all summer, and Australia suffered its worst drought in a century. South Africa got its first significant snowfall in 25 years, record rains fell in China, England, and Wales, and Reunion Island, 400 …

The 'Inhofe 400' Skeptic of the Day

Today: Chris Allen

Today's member of the "Inhofe 400" truly epitomizes the expertise and credibility of the group of experts that the good senator has assembled to demonstrate the obvious flaws in the theory of human-induced global warming. He is Chris Allen, weather director at WBKO, the ABC affiliate for south-central Kentucky. On his blog, Chris says this about global warming:My biggest argument against putting the primary blame on humans for climate change is that it completely takes God out of the picture. It must have slipped these people's minds that God created the heavens and the earth and has control over what's going on. (Dear Lord Jesus...did I just open a new pandora's box?) Yeah, I said it. Do you honestly believe God would allow humans to destroy the earth He created? Of course, if you don't believe in God and creationism then I can see why you would easily buy into the whole global warming fanfare. I think in many ways that's what this movement is ultimately out to do - rid the mere mention of God in any context. What these environmentalists are actually saying is "we know more than God - we're bigger than God - God is just a fantasy - science is real...He isn't...listen to US!" I have a huge problem with that.

Fisking Vinod's comment

Keeping power broker’s hands out of the cookie jar

[[editor's note, by David Roberts] In addition to the updates below, I wanted to make it clear that this post does not meet Grist's standards. Had I been around (I'm on vacation), I would not have published it. I've sent Khosla a personal apology, which he has graciously accepted.] [UPDATE: Dave has requested that I update this post, which I have done below with some clarifications and added links.] Vinod Khosla recently posted this comment titled: "Numbers Matter Here: Support your statements" over on Joseph Romm's post. There is nothing wrong with an individual investing in a product that he or she believes in. The problem arises when perversely wealthy individuals try to further line their pockets by putting their paws in our pockets, using our tax dollars to fund their get richer schemes. Get your hands out of our pockets and keep them out, you money-grubbing rascals. When Vinod Khosla takes E-85 fueled car trips with the likes of Sen. Tom Daschle, he is quite obviously lobbying for support of ethanol. Our government process has become seriously compromised thanks to wealthy special interest seekers buttonholing politicians to line their own pockets. It is a two-way street of course, with the senator hoping to receive campaign donations from those who want his support of ethanol. There are almost 35,000 registred lobbyists in Washington. How many of those lobbyists get to ride in a car with a Senator? Vinod, that may be how business has been done in India but that may also explain a lot of India's past problems. We need to fix the problem here before we end up like India (the country you bailed from). [UPDATE: The above comment has been taken by some to be xenophobic (and therefore racist). I am referring only to the Indian government's low CPI score (corruption perception index). I should have been more clear that it is this political corruption that Khosla has left behind. Commenter pangolin read my intent correctly here: The OP points out that the rise of ethanol as a motor vehicle fuel is the product of rampant political corruption and crony capitalism in the US Federal government. He vaugely mentions the well documented rampant political corruption and crony capitalism that has been widely acknowledged to be preventing India from solving it's many problems. All bloggers eventually get into hot water when what they write is misinterpreted or flat out wrong, as many of my fellow contributors can attest. It comes with the territory. And yes this is a harsh critique. Market distortions by special interests are wreaking havoc on the the environment. My apologies to anyone offended.] As a self-professed life-long Republican, you helped put the most anti-intellectual, anti-environmental, ham-fisted president in the history of this country into office who for the first time in our history took us to preemptive war and on erroneous data at that, essentially by accident. We may never recover from his legacy. Based on that decision alone I would not trust your judgment any further than I could throw you. Now let's talk about your numbers and especially about the assumptions made to get them.

The year in one cartoon

2007 was the year of splitting the difference

The triumph, for yet another year, of those who want to split the difference and, basically, do nothing (i.e. those whose key climate strategy is to invest in good ole technology or at least to say they want to invest in technology) -- this means you President Bush, Newt Gingrich, Bjørn Lomborg, OPEC (!), Shellenberger and Nordhaus (depending on what day you happen to catch them), and possibly Andy Revkin (and maybe even E. O. Wilson -- say it ain't so!) By the way, the (lame) outcome of the energy bill ought to make VERY clear that funding clean energy technology at the level it deserves ($10+ billion a year) is NOT politically easier than regulating carbon (contrary to what Shellenberger and Nordhaus keep saying). Conservatives hate both strategies -- and we will certainly need the money from the auctioning of carbon permits to pay for the technology, since it is now clearer than ever that such money won't come from 1) raising taxes [as if] or 2) shifting money away from huge government oil subsidies even when oil is at $90+ a barrel! This post was created for, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

U.S. EPA directs employees to gather documents related to California decision

The U.S. EPA has directed employees to preserve and produce all documents — including communications with the White House — related to its recent unpopular decision to block California from regulating greenhouse-gas emissions. The memo to employees indicates that the agency will comply with a Congressional investigation into its decision.

Papua New Guinea loses the moral high ground

PNG agrees to let palm-oil producers raze rainforest

Everyone at Bali cheered when the Papua New Guinea delegate dissed the Bush team: We seek your leadership. But if for some reason you are not willing to lead, leave it to the rest of us. Please get out of the way. Oh, snap! [Sorry, couldn't resist one last 2007 Daily Show-ism] Now comes the heartbreaking news:

Energy efficiency a tough sell to small businesses in India

India’s 4.5 million small or medium businesses produce 70 percent of the country’s industrial pollution, according to a World Bank study. But most of those small-scale entrepreneurs can’t afford the upfront cost of energy-efficient equipment — or aren’t persuaded of its usefulness — creating a barrier to India’s attempts to curb emissions from its fast-growing economy. Many areas of the country also experience frequent and severe power shortages, leading to more electricity use as machines reboot after an outage. Officials are urging factory owners to go in together to hire energy auditors, buy new machines, and apply for collective loans, …

Vinod Khosla blows his credibility dissing plug-ins

Venture-capital star ain’t no clean-tech expert

Vinod Khosla may be a "venture-capital star" who is now putting a lot of money into biofuels -- but he is no clean-tech expert, as he proved during a keynote address at ThinkEquity Partners' ThinkGreen conference in San Francisco. In remarks that should worry anybody relying on his judgment, Khosla said: Forget plug-ins. They are nice toys. But they will not be material to climate change.

On the Ball: Ready for the Olympics?

It’s almost 2008, and Beijing’s air is still polluted

The city of Beijing has been striving to clear its air for the sake of the Olympic athletes who will descend upon the city this coming summer — but whether it will be able to pull off blue skies remains to be seen. Beijingers were warned to stay inside today, as pollution hit “as bad as it can get,” according to a spokesperson from the city’s Environmental Protection Bureau, who adds, “This is as bad as it has been all year.” The International Olympic Committee has warned organizers that it will reschedule athletic events if air quality is a threat …

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