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 …
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:
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).
Check out a new video on food miles from The Nation: You can also check out the accompanying article here.
Peter Madden, chief executive of Forum for the Future, writes a monthly column for Gristmill on sustainability in the U.K. and Europe. Britain has a new prime minister. After leading the country for 10 years, Tony Blair has stepped down. Gordon Brown, Blair's number two for the past decade, takes up the reins. Brown is viewed as solid and dependable, if a little dour. He is slightly to the left of Blair on most issues, though he has also pushed through a lot of business-friendly policies. Gordon Brown is notoriously difficult to read; he gives very little of himself away. So what can we expect on the environment from a Brown premiership?
The Oil Drum has an excellent post that provides a neat framework, and then a huge series of links to specific stories that fit into the framework. The subject is energy. Nicely done, TOD.
You can watch Disney and the Department of Energy's co-produced energy-efficiency PSA here. It's half an ad for Ratatouille, half a push for compact fluorescent lightbulbs. Maybe the marketing theory is, "Hook 'em while they're young." Works for soft drinks and breakfast cereals. Perhaps it will work for Energy Star, too.
On 7/7/07, climate change awareness will officially rock, as a series of concerts kick off at venues as far afield as Shanghai, Sydney, and the South Pole. Chatter about the Live Earth concerts has been rampant for months as bits of gossip trickled in here and there. Though organizers still promise a few surprises, much of the mystery is gone at this point. But when it all goes down this weekend, one question is still weighing on a few minds: How green will these concerts actually be? "Greening an event and a venue is not necessarily the most brilliant, exciting …
Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd talks energy policy at a house party in New Hampshire last week: