Climate & Energy

An interview with Google’s green energy czar, Bill Weihl

The phrase “to Google” has become synonymous with “to search.” But soon it may connote something altogether different: “to green.” That is, if the internet titan can successfully pull off its latest world-changing endeavor. Bill …

Sell-off of oil leases in polar-bear habitat brings record bidding

The Bush administration’s sell-off of leases for oil and gas drilling in Alaska’s polar-bear-harboring Chukchi Sea raised a lot of controversy — and a lot of moola. The sale brought in a record $2.66 billion …

New <em>Nation</em> post

Will the media give McCain a free ride on climate?

My latest post on The Nation is up, asking: Will the media give McCain a free ride on climate? I know there’s a sense out there that because McCain is relatively sane on climate, this …

'You should shudder a little bit ...'

According to Bush adviser, Bush actually serious about mandatory climate controls

This ($ub req'd) just in from Captain Environmental Compassion, Bush adviser James Connaughton: Bush is serious about climate change. Seriously! Surprised? Read on, for excerpts from this newsflash ...

Next market bubble: farmland!

Thanks to the ethanol boom, big investors are plowing cash into corn country

Big investors seem to have forgotten how to exist without some sort of speculative bubble. In the last decade, they’ve whipped cash from tech stocks to bonds to emerging markets to real estate to junk …

Impermafrost

Sobering dispatches from Alaska

The melting and erosion of permafrost is probably the most visible manifestation of climate change in Alaska. Photo: Seth Kantner, www.kapvikphotography.com Author and photographer Seth Kantner has a new blog that shares his observations of a changing Arctic in words and images. From trees invading the tundra and freakish weather to the hair-raising loss of the permafrost, it's a must-read. His phenomenal book Ordinary Wolves (one of my favorites of the last 10 years) takes place in the town of Kotzebue on the northwest coast of Alaska (where he's from), where the tundra is literally melting away from underfoot and into the sea.

Clean-energy-boosting economic stimulus bill falls one vote short in Senate

The Senate version of the economic stimulus bill, which included clean-energy incentives, was shot down in the chamber this evening. The loss was predicted, though the closeness of the vote perhaps wasn’t — had one …

Hurricanes and global warming

Revisiting the climate-science funding question

In the public climate change debate, one often hears the argument that scientists are making hysterical claims about climate change in order to get funding. I already blogged about how the argument fails the "common sense" test, but I think this issue deserves another post. Kerry Emanual and Chris Landsea, two of the major players in the debate over the connection between climate change and hurricanes, have visited A&M in the last three weeks and both gave seminars in my department. It is clear from their two talks that there is a vigorous scientific debate going on about the connection. After seeing both of them present their case, it is clear that this is an incredibly difficult problem and that no firm conclusions can be drawn at the present time. I certainly expect future research will shed more light on this question. So let's evaluate the hypothesis that the scientific community is fabricating hysterical and frightening results to bump up funding. If that were so, why is there an active debate about the climate change-hurricane connection? Shouldn't the hurricane community fabricate the result that hurricanes and climate change are related? According to the skeptics, this would result in increased funding. Here is what I conclude about this:

Climate Code Red

The case for a sustainability emergency

The pressure to soft-pedal is very, very high. I know because I feel it. I'm tempted. I do not wish to be dismissed as an apocalyptic. So when I read, in this fine and even astonishing report, that "politics as usual" must be cast aside, and quickly, there's something in me that balks. After all, the mainline debate at Bali was about a "25-40% cut by 2020" for the developed countries. Isn't this enough? Doesn't it tell us that we're already moving as quickly as we can? Must we call for emergency mobilization? Must we seek to put all "available and necessary resources" at the service of a global crash program to stabilize the climate?

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