Climate & Energy

Also, Could You Paint Tom Sawyer’s Fence?

South Korea ships oil to North Korea in nuke-shutdown deal South Korea will ship oil to North Korea next week as part of a six-nation agreement reached in February that trades energy aid for a shutdown of the North’s main nuclear facility. Funny story, though: North Korea hasn’t shut down the reactor. But it totally will! It promises! In talks on Tuesday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il said that “all the parties should implement the initial actions” of the agreement. But then he asked for 5,500 to 11,000 tons of the promised 55,000 tons of oil in advance. “Good faith …

Droughting on our parade

Global warming cancels 4th of July celebrations

Global warming threatens our White Chistmases with winter heatwaves and our Arbor Days with record wildfires. And now it imperils our Independence Day fireworks with ever worsening droughts. The Drudge Report headline blares "No Fireworks." As USA Today reports: Dozens of communities in drought-stricken areas are scrapping public fireworks displays and cracking down on backyard pyrotechnics to reduce the risk of fires."From a fire standpoint and a safety standpoint, it was an easy call," Burbank Fire Chief Tracy Pansini says. He recommended calling off fireworks at the Starlight Bowl because they're launched from a mountainside covered with vegetation that's "all dead." The record droughts around the country have nixed fireworks in a half dozen states. What will happen to 4th of July celebrations over much of the country if, as predicted in an April Science, article, we have "a permanent drought by 2050 throughout the Southwest"? Here are some of the places canceling fireworks this year:

The second rule of carbon offsets: Two rare exceptions to rule one

Emphasis on the ‘rare’

Trees are terrific in every way but one: they make lousy carbon offsets. That was the point of the "First rule of carbon offsets." But a number of comments and some media queries have led me include two rare exceptions: certified urban trees and certified tropical forest preservation. The word "certified" is key in both cases. For these two rare cases, I would allow trees to comprise no more than 10 percent of an overall offset portfolio (which should be heavily weighted toward efficiency, renewables, fuel switching, and perhaps carbon capture and storage). Also, their offset value should probably be discounted over time (because urban trees are unlikely to be permanent and tropical forest accounting is quite uncertain).

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