Climate & Energy

New report makes suggestions for sustainable energy future

Coal is the enemy of the human race, but don’t take our word for it: 15 national science academies pooh-pooh the evil black rock in their new report “Lighting the Way: Toward a Sustainable Energy Future.” The report also rah-rahs solar and wind power and energy efficiency, and is warily supportive of nuclear energy and cellulosic biofuels.

Coal isn't cheap

Don’t believe the power company hype about coal’s low price

This just in from Restructuring Today ($ub req'd): Sunflower Electric, of the recent Kansas decision not to allow an electric permit because of CO2 concerns, has argued that the decision was a bad idea because it will drive up power prices. But their math is wrong. Here's a partial excerpt from the RT story: A decision by the Kansas Department of Health & Environment to deny a coal power plant permit would mean higher power bills for some. That's "an absolute certainty," Sunflower Electric Power told us Friday. How much higher? At today's prices the firm could pay 1.5¢ for coal versus 8¢ for natural gas. Uh, no. But this is a mistake that is aggressively and frequently made by our electricity generators.

California wildfires continue to rage

In case you haven’t heard, there are some crazy fires going down in southern California. At the time of this posting, some 400,000 acres have burned, igniting more than 1,500 structures, including some 1,000 homes. An estimated 700,000 people have been evacuated; two have died. The White House has declared a state of emergency, and health officials are urging children, the elderly, and the sick to stay indoors to avoid breathing in soot particles. Guess we’ll get an answer to the question we posed last year: “Could a Western wildfire be the country’s next Katrina?” Um, we meant it rhetorically.

Don't panic

James Lovelock’s terror masks the same old industrial-era thinking

In the new issue of Rolling Stone, Jeff Goodell has a profile of James Lovelock, father of the Gaia Hypothesis and foremost representative of the OMFG we’re all totally f*cked!!1! school of green thinking: In Lovelock’s view, the scale of the catastrophe that awaits us will soon become obvious. By 2020, droughts and other extreme weather will be commonplace. By 2040, the Sahara will be moving into Europe, and Berlin will be as hot as Baghdad. Atlanta will end up a kudzu jungle. Phoenix will become uninhabitable, as will parts of Beijing (desert), Miami (rising seas) and London (floods). Food …

Planet in Peril

A two-part CNN documentary begins tonight

(Images: CNN Worldwide — All Rights Reserved 2007 ©) Beginning tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT, CNN will air a two-part documentary that takes viewers to the front lines of environmental change. Hosted by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper (above), chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and Animal Planet host/wildlife biologist Jeff Corwin, Planet in Peril will focus on four main issues: climate change, deforestation, species loss, and overpopulation. The four-hour documentary was filmed across four continents and 13 countries (see Corwin with an Arctic cutie). Check out the film’s interactive website, including a trailer for the documentary that features a new …

Citizens Lead for Energy Action Now

CLEAN calls for action on energy policy

Well, they dropped a bundle to get a quarter-page "Clean Power" ad in the Washington Post (page A21 today) so the least I can do is give them a shout out here. CLEAN is a "clean power and coalfield state grassroots organization" circulating a comprehensive national "call to action" on energy policy that includes:

Fresh water in peril

Investments are needed to stave off climate-induced water crisis

To me, loss of freshwater supplies is the scariest impact of climate change. After all, I can imagine adapting relatively successfully to a warmer world. I cannot imagine adapting to a world with less freshwater. That view was reinforced by a great article on water in The New York Times Magazine. Read it and then forward it to all of your friends. Over on inkstain, John Fleck also has a bunch of terrific blog entries about the ongoing water crisis in the Southeast U.S. In his latest entry, John points out that the drought there, while bad, is not that bad from a historical perspective.

Election news

Second Repub. candidate backs cap-and-trade

Somehow last week I missed Huckabee becoming the second Republican presidential candidate to support a mandatory carbon cap-and-trade system: “It goes to the moral issue,” the former Arkansas governor said at a climate-change conference [Sat. Oct. 13] in Manchester, New Hampshire. “We have a responsibility to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, to conserve energy, to find alternative forms of energy that are renewable and sustainable and environmentally friendly.” The first, of course, was John McCain. Huckabee: interview; fact sheet McCain: interview; fact sheet. (thanks CC)

Climate equity: Wolfgang Sachs

Climate change is about equality among nations and fundamental human rights

((equity_include)) This is a guest essay by Dr. Wolfgang Sachs, author and research director at the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, and Energy. Sachs (together with Timan Santarius et al) has just published a collection of essays called Fair Future: Resource Conflicts, Security, and Global Justice. This is part of a series on climate equity. —– Tulun and Takuu, two tiny islands off the coast of Papua New Guinea, are close to being swallowed up by the Pacific Ocean — victims of global climate change. The government has sent emergency food supplies to the islands, as the inhabitants have had …

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