Climate & Energy

Connecting the dots: Part II

Stopping global warring and global warming

Ted Glick is on the 44th day of his fast, by my count, as part of his effort to bring awareness to and demand action concerning global warming. On Sunday through Tuesday, October 21 to 23, there will be a series of protests and actions grouped under the name "No war, no warming." It is an attempt to bridge the two issues of ending the war in Iraq and global warming by taking immediate action to: Stop the war in Iraq and future resource wars by ending our addiction to fossil fuels; Shift government funding to rebuild New Orleans and all communities suffering from racism and corporate greed; Go green and promote environmental justice with new jobs in a clean energy economy. In my last post, I argued that it is important for environmental activists to build coalitions with others that are working for progressive change, for instance among European-Americans and African-Americans. In this post, I want to discuss the meaning of peace, war, and the military, and how integrating these issues might help in the fight to save the biosphere -- and how people might understandably feel that such issues might hurt such efforts as well. In this era of an alleged "war on terror" (really more of a police investigation of terror), people are skittish about criticizing the military. Taking on the military might seem futile, might seem to alienate a large constituency of people open to action on global warming. While I don't hope to change that perspective with this post, I want to at least offer a few ideas to think about. First of all, the long-term military capability of the U.S. is dependent on our ability to produce the machinery that is used by sustainable energy, transportation, and agricultural sectors of the economy. The reason: the military depends on a healthy manufacturing sector in order to produce its tanks, jets, and ships.

They've got solar

Solar decathlon underway in D.C.

The Solar Decathlon is underway on the National Mall this week, and Inhabitat’s got some great coverage, including a Flickr set of the fully solar-powered homes built by university students.

Is wind worth it?

A former NRC official turns NIMBY?

Jostling over climate legislation

Lieberman-Warner bill to be introduced tomorrow; green groups fight over strategy

The Lieberman-Warner climate bill will likely be introduced tomorrow and — given its status as the consensus bill and the most likely to pass — the green world is on the edge of its seat. The draft (PDF) that was released in August fell short in a few key respects: the short-term targets were too soft, it didn’t cover enough of the economy, and too many of the pollution permits were given away rather than auctioned. Since then Lieberman has signaled his willingness to hear out the objections of green groups. Several, notably Environmental Defense, Sierra Club, and NRDC, have …

Racking up climate debt

The biggest GHG offenders will suffer the least from climate change

The United States is an awfully wealthy nation, as is the United Kingdom. It shows in our lifestyles and it shows in our carbon dioxide emissions -- we are energy rich, not necessarily in production but in consumption. The BBC recently ran an article (opening paragraphs below) highlighting some research from a development organization, and the numbers tell a stunning yet very real story:

Climate equity: Andrew Pendleton

On how to divvy up responsibility for climate change

((equity_include)) This is a guest essay by Andrew Pendleton. Pendleton leads the climate change policy work at Christian Aid. The essay is part of a series on climate equity. —– 1. What would climate equity look like? What’s the end state we’re aiming for? There are many truths in the climate change debate — almost all of them inconvenient. Perhaps the least convenient is that it is no longer possible to stay below 2°C without cutting the emissions of nations yet to develop — that is to say, a real cut over current levels, not just a lower rate of …

Bush swaps debt for nature

Costa Rica and Guatemala deals could point to common ground on climate crisis

The Bush administration, Costa Rica, Conservation International, and The Nature Conservancy will today announce a "debt-for-nature" swap that could herald something bigger in the future. The United States will write off $12.6 million in debt owed it by Costa Rica. In exchange, Costa Rica will protect some of the most valuable rainforest wildlife habitat in the world. Photo: obooble This follows the Bush administration's support for an even bigger swap with Guatemala. Of course, the sums involved and the area conserved are relatively puny compared to the global forest destruction caused by the Bush administration, especially through its support for tropically grown biofuels that require deforestation to be grown. But the Bush administration has always had two sides to its tropical forest policy. Although it's happy to help Cargill, ADM, and other agrigiants despoil the last remaining tropical forests, it's also expressed quiet backing for carbon ranching -- allowing polluters to get global warming credit for protecting forests instead of cleaning up pollution at their own facilities. They like it because saving carbon through protecting forests is generally a lot cheaper than cleaning up industrial pollution, and we should like it because that means we can keep a lot more carbon out of the atmosphere a lot quicker -- and save the forests, their wildlife, and their indigenous people at the same time. Of course, the Bush administration's quiet backing of this concept is completely worthless right now until the Bush administration backs strict, mandatory limits on greenhouse-gas pollution. Until they do, polluters will have no incentive to actually go ahead and protect those forests (or clean up their own pollution). But that support -- and today's forest conservation actions -- signals that forest conservation may provide some common ground between Democrats and the White House on stopping the climate crisis.

Notable quotable

“I’m interested in good policy. Kyoto, I thought, was bad policy.” – George W. Bush

Kill King Corn

Nature on ethanol

The editors at Nature discover that corn ethanol sucks: Biofuels are unlikely ever to be more than bit-players in the great task of weaning civilization from Earth’s coal-mine and oil-well teats. But they may yet have valuable niches — including some that allow them to serve some of the world’s poor, both as fuels for their own use and as exports. Provided, that is, that someone kills king corn.