Climate & Energy

Coal is the enemy of the human race: James Hansen edition

A guest essay

A week or so back, climate scientist James Hansen passed this essay along to a few folks. It’s about the need to rein in coal, and the puzzling lack of involvement from young people on the issue. I thought I’d pass it along. —– Scientific data reveal that the Earth is close to dangerous climate change, to tipping points that could produce irreversible effects. Global warming of 0.6°C in the past 30 years has brought the Earth’s temperature back to about the peak level of the Holocene — the current period of climate stability, now of nearly 12,000 year duration …

Dingell calls our bluff

He proposes a carbon tax, assuming it will fail

Last Sunday, Rep. John Dingell appeared on the C-SPAN show Newsmakers for a 30-min. interview (transcript here; video accessible via the website), and caused an enormous ruckus with this: SWAIN: Mr. Chairman, I want to go back to your statement that the American people want action [on climate change]. Does that also correlate with the American people being willing to pay higher prices, because of energy legislation? DINGELL: I sincerely doubt that the American people are willing to pay what this is really going to cost them. I will be introducing in the next little bit a carbon tax bill, …

Fox attacks the environment; I do a poor job defending it

Videos for your viewing pleasure, if that’s the word for it

Film director Robert Greenwald has been producing a series of videos exposing Fox News as a propaganda arm of the far right wing (is "exposing" the right word when everyone already knows it?), under the rubric Fox Attacks. The latest in the series is Fox Attacks: The Environment, which is about Fox’s hackery on the subject of global warming. Here it is: Accompanying the video is a campaign by a grassroots coalition to spread the word about Fox’s environmental hackery and to persuade Home Depot — which claims to be a green company — to withdraw its advertising from Fox. …

Behind the facade of the Planktos 'Voyage of Recovery'

A guest essay from Greenpeace scientists

A while back, after some criticisms of his company on this site, I ran an essay by Russ George, CEO of Planktos, defending his work. What follows is a response to that essay from the UK-based Greenpeace Science Unit. —– Russ George, CEO of self-professed ‘ecorestoration’ company Planktos, seems increasingly convinced that opposition to his plans for commercial-scale fertilisation of the oceans with iron results from the activities of ‘fringe environmentalists’, ignorant of his former connections with environmental groups and bent on hurting his profits. Perhaps by portraying in this divisive way the profound and widespread concerns expressed by scientists …

The emerging age of hydrogen energy

A guest essay from Geoffrey Holland

This is a guest essay by Geoffrey Holland, co-author (with James Provenzano) of The Hydrogen Age: Empowering a Clean Energy Future, which will be out in the fall. I know there are many hydrogen skeptics in the audience, so remember: keep it civil and substantive. —– Of the vexing challenges humanity faces — and there are many — the most imminent is around energy. Beyond food, water, and shelter, anything more than basic survival requires a serious dose of energy. Oil, the fuel of choice for more than a century, is a finite resource facing a future of supply uncertainty …

Also, people who sell deodorant will make more money

Thanks for the observation, Washington Post

Today’s “I’m a journalist and I’m objective, here let me prove it to you!” gem of the day, nestled in an otherwise relevant and interesting Washington Post article on the costs of climate change: Some have argued that the effects of global warming will be positive as well as negative, and Frumhoff acknowledged that there would be some winners in a warmer Northeast. Farmers, for instance, would have a longer growing season, and residents in more northern areas might use less fuel to keep warm in the winter. (h/t: Wonkette)

Tell Us What You Flaunt, What You Really Really Flaunt

Spice Girls reunion tour will be — gasp — carbon-intensive We’ve been looking for an excuse to mention the Spice Girls reunion since it was announced two weeks ago, and we’ve finally got one. It seems that — brace yourself — the group’s world tour will not be eco-friendly. In fact, each Girl will get a private Lear jet for the 11-show tour, which starts in December and covers ground from Los Angeles to Madrid to Buenos Aires. According to Alex Lambie, who runs a London-based website that helps consumers compare energy options, the combined flights will churn out nearly …

Should we call them Green 5 now?

Pop band Maroon 5 launches ‘carbon neutral’ tour

Grammy-winning pop quintet Maroon 5 have teamed up with Global Cool to green their upcoming arena tour in support of their sophomore album It Won’t Be Soon Before Long. From the press release: Global Cool will work closely with Maroon 5’s production team, management, and the boys themselves to reduce the carbon emissions produced by the world tour before offsetting the remaining emissions that cannot be reduced. For its part, Maroon 5 will donate $1.00 for each ticket purchased in North America to buy offsets that go toward making the tour "carbon neutral." Frontman Adam Levine says the band is …

The wind and the William

Malawian man powers village with a $16 windmill

A great story via Inhabitat: With all the sobering news lately about global warming and war, it’s important to remember all the positive things that are also going on in the world at any given time. Case in point: the story of intrepid Malawi youth William Kamkwamba who, despite having no education or training, recently engineered and built a windmill that powers his entire village. It’s certainly the most inspiring story we’ve read this month, and we think you’ll agree. After having to drop out of school due to lack of funds, William Kamkwamba from Malawi decided to learn as …