Climate & Energy

Coal-solar hybrid

It doesn’t make sense — and that’s the point

More than a few people were taken in by a guy peddling a coal/solar hybrid system at Solar Power 2007. "But, smokestacks on the roof -- that just doesn't make sense," said a government bureaucrat, who shall remain unnamed pending resolution of my grant proposal. Indeed, it doesn't. As the less credulous might have predicted, it was a marketing spoof by Sharp Solar:

The market isn't enough

Ted Nordhaus responds to NRDC’s Dave Hawkins

The following post is from Ted Nordhaus, responding to an essay from David Hawkins of the NRDC. —– David, You and I have always maintained a respectful relationship so I’ll pass on the name calling and just respond to the content of your response. You say, "the authors are wrong in their claim that we have to wait for new ‘breakthrough’ technologies before we can move away from dirty resources." You know this in not true. We have never suggested such a thing. We made clear in our book, we made clear in the New Republic excerpt, and we made …

The race to catch up

McKibben’s clarion call

Bill McKibben has a clarion call of an op-ed in yesterday’s Washington Post. The reality of climate change is moving much more quickly than politics: The Democratic majority is finally beginning to move legislation that would commit the United States to long-term reductions in carbon dioxide emissions — the first law Congress might actually pass in the years since global warming became an issue. But here, too, the legislative process is backing away from what science demands — a strong bill put forward by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is in danger of being supplanted by half-measures …

A hoax based on a fraud

Rush Limbaugh calls climatologist James Hansen a ‘double agent’

Earlier this week, the notorious Rush Limbaugh got in trouble for calling soldiers in Iraq opposed to the war "phony." Thursday he called the science of ozone depletion "phony" and the science of climate change "fraudulent." Limbaugh went on to accuse Dr. James Hansen, America's top climatologist, of being "dishonest," compared him to a "CIA double agent," and said he should be "drummed out of NASA." Does anyone take Limbaugh seriously anymore? Apparently, the answer is yes. Here are facts and links for the open-minded:

'Technology, technology, blah, blah, blah'

Bush climate speech follows Luntz playbook

Bush has given us a new drinking game: Down a shot whenever the President uses the word "technology" in a climate speech. You'd get 19 shots for yesterday's 21 minute speech! As predicted, Bush closely follows the Frank Luntz playbook on how to seem like you care about the climate when you don't. Bush stated the basic do-nothing message well: Our investments in research and technology are bringing the world closer to a remarkable breakthrough -- an age of clean energy where we can power our growing economies and improve the lives of our people and be responsible stewards of the earth the Almighty trusted to our care. Translation: "If we had those technologies today, then maybe we could take genuine action now. But, darn it, people, we don't. We can't grow the economy and be responsible stewards of the earth quite yet. We are close, though, so be patient already and stop with all those calls for mandatory regulation. Sheesh!"

This week in ocean news

European fisheries ‘poor,’ island nation Palau rich in corals

Stakes in the seas are high, but in at least one case, an interest in ocean health can lead to cooperation between unlikely teammates ... ... the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution held an international conference on the possibility of mitigating global warming by seeding the ocean with iron, a controversial procedure which would theoretically boost phytoplankton populations ... ... meanwhile, the scientist behind the theory that the earth is a living organism suggested installing a series of giant pipes in the oceans to circulate water, creating algae blooms, under the theory that the algae would consume carbon dioxide and promote cloud production ...

Bush climate summit: Greenwashing vs. myth-busting

Foreign media take a more discerning look at Bush’s climate meetings this week

Once again, the foreign media is not fooled by Bush's PR stunt, while the U.S. media buys the White House line. The U.K.'s The Independent labeled this a "Greenwashing Climate Summit" in its headline, and opened their story with: For the first time in 16 years, a major environmental conference opens in Washington, hosted by the Bush administration. But no concrete results are expected, and that -- say European participants -- is the point of this high-level meeting. Far from representing a Damascene conversion on climate change by President George Bush, the two-day gathering of the world's biggest polluting nations is aimed at undermining the UN's efforts to tackle global warming, say European sources. "The conference was called at very short notice," said one participant. "It's a cynical exercise in destabilising the UN process." So how does the AP puff piece on the summit begin?

Climate week in New York comes to an end

The U.N. summit and Clinton Global Initiative are over, and where did they get us?

This week's New York Climate Change Bonanza has come to an end. It's always a good thing when powerful people hold high-profile event after high-profile event dedicated to amplifying the profile of the climate change crisis and then solving it, as they did this week with the U.N.'s climate summit and the Clinton Global Initiative. But there's still the question of efficacy. On Monday, for instance, I sat and watched as literally dozens of world leaders -- who had flown in from around the globe to spend five minutes on an international stage -- called for global action on climate change. They hailed mostly from countries that have contributed a pittance to the near-critical mass of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and yet that will suffer the worst of the effects. Many hadn't had much of a voice until that moment -- and when they finally spoke, it fell for the most part upon deaf ears. George W. Bush, of course, thumbed his nose at the summit, then held his own.

U.S. summit concludes with no progress to speak of

At the conclusion of a two-day U.S.-hosted climate summit of the world’s major emitters, George W. Bush announced that he’s been faking his climate-change laggardness all along, and signed on to reduce greenhouse gases in various planet-saving-while-still-economy-boosting ways. Ha ha ha! Sob. No, just as expected, Bush said what he always says — voluntary measures will save the world! goals are for pansies! coordinated efforts are stupid! Oh, and there should be discussions about an “international clean technology fund.” Woohoo. The gathered countries recognized Bush’s admission that climate change is a problem (gasp!) and that something should be done about …

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