Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Climate & Energy

Comments

Arnie on Blairoids

Blair and Schwarzenegger joining forces to fight climate change Perhaps finally sensing he's been poodling to the wrong pseudo-manly Republican, U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair has decided to wag his tail for California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger: The two leaders are planning to create a trans-Atlantic cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide allowances. The alliance will be announced today at a meeting attended by some 25 major corporate CEOs, who plan to discuss means of moving toward cleaner technologies. The Bush administration would have sent a representative to the gathering, it really wanted to, but -- wouldn't you know it? -- there …

Comments

That Darn Pat

Coal-fired cooperative coughs up cash to climate crank Say you don't like the results of climate science. What to do? Us, we suffer from night terrors. But the Colorado-based Intermountain Rural Electric Association -- a group heavily invested in coal-burning utilities -- is going with the fossil-fuel industry's favorite alternate strategy: buy more favorable science! They've donated $100,000 to notorious climate crank Pat Michaels, and are urging other industry types to come up with more. Michaels, a University of Virginia professor, fellow at the Cato Institute, and isolated scientific outlier, has long had a large megaphone, quoted endlessly by a …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

And You Were Thinking It Couldn’t Get Worse

Oil spill and power-plant fire wreak havoc in already-havoc-stricken Lebanon Bombed by Israel two weeks ago, a storage fuel tank of a power plant in Beirut, Lebanon, is still burning, filling the air with dangerous fumes; another exploded, sending at least 10,000 tons of oil into the Mediterranean Sea. Particulate pollution could waft as far as Europe, and winds have pushed the oil spill dozens of miles up the coast, blackening beaches and threatening marine life like the endangered green turtle and the commercially important blue fin tuna. Lebanon lacks the resources to extinguish the oil fire; if the second …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

Docket Science

Global warming likely to spur litigation against polluters As global warming's effects reverberate across the planet, expect an uptick in litigation against governments and companies. Pacific Islanders whose homes are being swallowed by the ocean, African farmers with withered crops, and ski-resort owners resigned to offering mountaintop waterskiing may seek redress. "If the evidence [of anthropogenic warming] hardens up ... it has all the ingredients of the tobacco case," said Myles Allen of Oxford University. It won't be easy to prove that a specific company or country is liable for making global warming worse -- but that doesn't mean enterprising …

Comments

And the Wind Cries Scary

Pacific Northwest ocean dead zone getting larger Researchers believe global warming is behind a recurring low-oxygen "dead zone" in the Pacific Northwest ocean. Triggered by north winds, a process called upwelling encourages the growth of phytoplankton blooms; when the water calms, the phytoplankton die for lack of nutrients, sink to the bottom, and rot, using up oxygen in the water. Another round of upwelling then brings the low-oxygen water toward shore, killing fishies and crabs that aren't quick enough to escape. "We are seeing wild swings from year to year in the timing and duration of the winds that are …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

It’s Like Rain on Your Wedding Day

New Arctic Refuge drilling bill would spend proceeds on alt-energy The recurring nightmare of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is back, but with a new twist: proceeds would support alternative energy. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is introducing a bill today to open 2,000 acres of the refuge to oil drilling. Backers of the legislation estimate that in coming decades, refuge development could bring in up to $40 billion in revenue -- all of which would go toward providing tax credits for solar power, cellulosic (not corn) ethanol, and coal-to-liquid fuel technologies. The legislation is co-sponsored by drill-obsessed Rep. …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

So That’s Why It’s Called Death Valley

Climate change threatens national parks in the western U.S. Glacier National Park without glaciers? If global warming keeps on keepin' on, 12 of the most famous U.S. national parks are at serious risk, says a report released yesterday by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization. Temperatures in the Western U.S. have risen twice as fast over the past five decades as temps in the rest of the country. Beetles that would normally be killed by cold weather are chowing down on trees that sustain Yellowstone's grizzly bears. Drought and wildfires endanger wildlife and recreational activities. …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

Wildfires are raging — why isn’t concern about climate change?

Earlier this month, Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert delivered a provocative Los Angeles Times op-ed explaining why the public is more scared of terrorism than global warming. Gilbert's basic premise was that human beings are conditioned by evolution to react most strongly to situations that have certain characteristics: they must be personal (have a face or an intention attached), morally repugnant, imminent, or rapid. Terrorism, he said, fulfills all of these requirements; climate change, on the other hand, fulfills none. Thus, while we focus on combating ideological hoodlums around the world, we fail to respond to an even greater global peril. …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

‘Cane Do Spirit

Hurricane researchers unite in call to curb coastal development The media has made much of the disagreement among hurricane researchers about the effects of global warming on storm strength. So much, in fact, that it's starting to annoy the hurricane researchers. Yesterday, 10 prominent experts in the field -- who have disagreed among themselves about the climate question -- released a statement saying that the media should pay more attention to the real problem, about which there is broad consensus: vulnerable coastal areas of the country are being overdeveloped. Death and financial ruin are sure to follow, they say, and …

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy

Comments

NASA Lapso

NASA deletes planet-protecting phrasing from mission statement The phrase "to understand and protect our home planet" was quietly deleted from NASA's mission statement in February; the agency's mission now is "to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery, and aeronautics research." NASA's 19,000 employees were neither consulted nor informed ahead of time of the deletion. The planet-protection phrase had been added to the mission statement in 2002; scientists say it shaped research priorities, and the deletion will reduce incentive for research on phenomena like -- oh, to pick one at random -- climate change. Agency spokesflack David Steitz said …

Read more: Climate & Energy