Climate & Energy

World’s oceans sequestering less CO2 than expected

The world’s oceans appear to be sequestering far less carbon dioxide than one would hope, says a new study. CO2 soakage by the north Atlantic Ocean has lessened dramatically in the last decade. “The speed and size of the change show that we cannot take for granted the ocean sink for the carbon dioxide,” says one researcher. What we can take for granted: a continuing slew of depressing studies.

ED come home

Facing big obstacles, environmental movement can’t afford division

A little tenderness Cartoon: Bob Englehart; Hartford Courant. I'm excited that Environmental Defense is now saying publicly, in response to criticism from Matt Stoller and me, that it "has not endorsed" the Lieberman-Warner bill and that it "will work to strengthen the bill, particularly to achieve the deeper long-term emissions reductions scientists tell us we need to avoid a climate catastrophe." That's great, but I must note it's a sentiment that was distinctly lacking from the statement ED put out in response to the bill, which mainly offered a passionate defense, or the fund-raising letter it sent out to activists (thanks Roger Smith for posting this). True, it did include one line that said, "This bill is a good start in that direction [of 80 percent emissions deductions], and we will continue to work in that direction." But the clear implication was that they would push for those commitments through some future legislative mechanism. In contrast, almost every other major environmental group gave the bill qualified praise, but also clearly stated that the bill should be improved to get the maximum possible greenhouse-gas reductions (I do wish Environmental Defense had acknowledged this difference a little more explicitly in its post rather than just doing selective quoting -- let's try to be fair here!). That's the right strategy, and I'm psyched that Environmental Defense is now on board.

Caption contest

Winner to receive unimaginable riches, fame

Leave a caption for this image in comments. The winner, chosen via our highly scientific process, will receive a prize worth somewhere between nothing and two gazillion dollars.

Water loss in Great Lakes reduces shipping revenue

Water loss in the Great Lakes is creating a dilemma for shipping companies. Allow Jonathan Daniels, director of a public port agency, to explain: “The more we lose water, the less cargo the ships that travel in the Great Lakes can carry, and each time that happens, shipping companies lose money. Ultimately, it’s people like you and I who are going to pay the price.” Thanks to higher-than-normal evaporation and lower-than-normal precipitation, all five Great Lakes are shrinking — Lake Ontario’s water level has dropped three inches in October alone.

Coal is the enemy of the human race: Western coalition edition

The fight against coal makes for strange bedfellows out West

The fight against coal is spilling out of the "environmental" box the coal industry wants to keep it in: An increasingly vocal, potent and widespread anti-coal movement is developing [across the West]. Environmental groups that have long opposed new power plants are being joined by ranchers, farmers, retired homeowners, ski resort operators and even religious groups. Activists say the increasing diversity of these coalitions is making them more effective. "You’re seeing a convergence of people who previously never worked together or even talked to each other," said Anne Hedges, program director of the Montana Environmental Information Center, which is spearheading …

Lol Bush

White House warns Democrats of energy bill veto

I mentioned that the Bush White House sent a letter to Congressional Democrats last week, regarding what it would find acceptable for an energy bill. I’ve gotten a copy of the letter, from a top-secret source who risked his career, his family, even his life bringing this information to light. Thanks Adam! Let me know what y’all think. I found it breathtakingly arrogant — a vow to veto a bill that deviates in any way from the monstrous, malformed porkfest that was the 2005 energy bill. A spitball at the Democratic leadership. A petulant, foot-stomping, self-negating assertion of relevance. Kind …

I am pretty sure you are not aware of this

October is Energy Awareness Month

October is Energy Awareness Month. What's more, October first got this designation from the first President Bush in 1991. Why do I know this? Because the only people I have ever met who know about Energy Awareness Month are people who have worked at the Department of Energy. I'm going to change all that with this blog post, which will probably double the number of people aware of Energy Awareness Month. Don't worry, though, the DOE has made it easy to take action: To help you customize your energy awareness program, You Have the Power campaign artwork is available for you to download from the images [on this website]. This is my favorite downloadable poster. Click on the image for animation -- I could watch it for hours. And yes, since you ask, the energy savings from walking one or two flights of stairs instead of using an elevator is humongous -- easily equal to those cancelled Kansas coal plants. Easily! (Although if there are other people waiting for the elevator, then it was going to run anyway, but don't go all techno-nerd on me -- it is the thought that counts!)

This urban life

Even the greenest suburbs can’t touch low urban emission rates

Last Sunday, the Washington Post published a piece by Joel Kotkin and Ali Modarres which sought to debunk the ideas that dense urban areas are greener than their suburban counterparts and that encouraging dense growth might play a significant role in reducing America’s carbon output. The piece was wrong or misleading on practically every point, to the extent that any complete response would take up far more time and space than I have available. Some of the authors’ most egregious errors simply must be addressed, however. Kotkin and Modarres spend the first half of their op-ed arguing that cities contribute …

Low-budget Bjornography

George Will’s latest column tests the limits of self parody

George Will pulls off a real triple axel of hackery in his latest column, taking the Stepford flimflam of Bjorn Lomborg and ladling on a glutinous serving of his own pinkie-raised pomposity. Rarely has such a poor grasp of the facts been presented with such preening self-regard … at least since the last George Will column. It even won him a MediaPutz of the Day award. I’ll skip the specific points, which are just poorly edited Bjornography, and point you to the hilarious conclusion: If nations concert to impose antiwarming measures commensurate with the hyperbole about the danger, the damage …

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