Climate & Energy

On the Ball: Good sports

The athletics news you can’t live without

Here’s a fun game for the whole family: You name a sport; I’ll tell you how it’s jumping on the green bandwagon. Ready? OK! Baseball: …

Patagonia: It's a dam ... threat

Some of world’s purest water and pristine ecosystems under threat

International Rivers is fighting to preserve biodiversity against the large companies that want to dam this river: The Pascua River, in Chilean Patagonia, is one of the most pristine and unknown regions on the planet. Why? For one, it is extremely difficult to even get there. Secondly, once you actually see the river, doing anything other than standing with your mouth open and hands over your ears is virtually impossible. This is a rip-roaring, roller-coaster of a river with rugged, impassable canyons and unsurvivable Class 6+ whitewater.

ECO:nomics: Presidential energy advisors

Campaign energy wonks clarify candidates’ differences on climate change

As Adam pointed out, it seems to have become conventional wisdom among media that the presidential candidates’ positions on climate change are roughly identical. But …


Bush administration quietly acknowledges climate plan is doable

Hey, did you notice that new analysis the Environmental Protection Agency just put out? The one on the economic impacts of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act? No? None of this ringing a bell? That's just the way the EPA wants it. Like it was putting a scandal-ridden aide out to pasture, the administration quietly released the report on Friday afternoon and has tried to bury the important findings. But while the release may have been stealthy and the presentation was marked by the White House's typical efforts to make everything look bleak, the results speak loudly, showing we can both tackle global warming and grow America's economy.

Compromise vs. strong action

Don’t hold your breath on Lieberman-Warner passing in 2008

I can't imagine anyone believing we would see 60 Senate votes this year for an unwatered-down climate bill. The center-right folk want big compromises, like a poison-pill safety valve (see below). But Sen. Boxer (D-Calif.) has little motivation to gut her legislation, since next year will probably bring more Senate Democrats and definitely bring a president who wants to take action, rather than one who has done everything in his power to block action and destroy the climate. E&E News has a good article on this titled, "Lieberman-Warner floor strategy bothers some Senate swing votes" ($ub. req'd):

<em>L.A. Times</em> linked to lame climate coverage

CO2’s connection to global warming is not murky

I like the L.A. Times. They do some of the best reporting on environmental issues. So I'm reading a pretty good piece on how the EPA administrator overruled his science advisers on the recent ozone ruling (more on that in a later post), and I come to this remarkable paragraph that shows how the president himself actually intervened to weaken the EPA regulations: President Bush intervened at the 11th hour and turned down a second proposal by the EPA staff that would have established tougher seasonal limits on ozone based on its harm to forests, crops and other plants, according to documents obtained by The Times. Federal scientists had recommended those growing-season limits as a way to keep vegetation healthy and capable of trapping carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas linked to global warming. No, no, a thousand times, no! Can't the LAT do better than "linked to global warming"? The media use the word "linked" to deal with as-yet-uncorroborated or unproven allegations, as in the NY Times' recent blockbuster: "Spitzer Is Linked to Prostitution Ring." Carbon dioxide has been proven conclusively to help warm the globe -- there is no serious scientific dispute of that. Why do you think scientists and everyone else calls it a "greenhouse gas"? Why do you think your own story calls it a "greenhouse gas"? Time for the Times to stop soft-pedaling climate science. [Note to the L.A. Times: I really really hope assume you know that greenhouse gases cause global warming. So were you afraid to say, " ... carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that causes global warming" because that means you are acknowledging that global warming is a real phenomenon and caused by humans? If so, that is perhaps even lamer.] This post was created for, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

If you build it ...

Green building may be quickest path to decreased emissions

Reuters has the skinny on a new report on green building. The report concluded that building green would reduce greenhouse emissions more quickly than any other approach. According to the article: North America's buildings release more than 2,200 megatonnes, or about 35 percent of the continent's total, of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. If the construction market quickly adopted current and emerging energy-saving technologies, that number could be cut by 1,700 megatonnes by 2030, the report said. Alas, there are "obstacles" preventing the rapid adoption of green building techniques: One is the so-called split incentive policy, where those who construct environmentally-friendly buildings do not necessarily reap the benefits of using them.Also, governments and other institutions separate capital and operating budgets instead of budgeting for the lifetime of a construction project, creating a disincentive to build "green," the report found. Oh well, I guess I'll have to make do with a nice cozy place on the Street of Dreams until green building catches on. Uh, scratch that.

Not just good policy: practical politics, too

Shifting military spending to fund green infrastructure

Last Saturday, I spoke at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference. I argued that diverting military spending to green infrastructure is not only good policy but good politics as well. This is a Google presentation version of the PowerPoint slide show I gave. I gave a second short PowerPoint comparing emissions trading to rule-based regulation, also now a Google presentation. Please note that, though web-based, Google presentations are not standard web pages. They need as much screen real estate as you can give -- usually including zooming your browser to full-screen mode.

Tony Blair to lead international climate team

Photo: Monika Flueckiger / World Economic Forum Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he’s heading up a new international climate team with the goal …

Got 2.7 seconds?

We've devised the world's shortest survey to find out what kind of actions our readers are taking. You know you want to.