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Climate & Energy

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A Current Affair

New data on warming oceans are strong evidence for climate change Measurements of ocean temperatures presented yesterday constitute (still more) compelling evidence that global warming is upon us, say scientists. The data, introduced at the annual gathering of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, show that temperature readings in the oceans for the past 40 years line up almost exactly with the predictions of climate models. Researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography spun several different scenarios to explain the warming -- natural climate variability, solar radiation, volcanic activity -- but "what absolutely nailed it was greenhouse warming," …

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Umbra on how climate change will affect us

Dear Umbra, My girlfriend asked me the other day why global warming was going to be so bad for her. I just graduated with a degree in environmental science, and I like to think I learned something in my classes, but I still struggled to give her a concise, straightforward answer. I see new research coming out all the time in Daily Grist and other places on the consequences of global warming and predictions for the future. Can you point me to a source where I can find an easy-to-read summary, preferably with citations for further reading, of what we …

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Are You Listening, Oldsmobile?

Pension fund pressures companies to be more responsible on climate The California Public Employees' Retirement System -- the largest public pension fund in the U.S., an economic powerhouse with some $182.9 billion in assets -- voted Monday to use its significant clout to help fight global warming. Specifically, CalPERS is asking companies in the Financial Times 500 to disclose investment info related to their carbon emissions, requesting that auto manufacturers reveal their emission-reduction plans, and demanding that utilities report the risks associated with their greenhouse-gas releases. Lest the fund be ignored, it appears to be making an example of automakers …

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As Kyoto goes live, U.S. green groups offer tepid response

It's an action-packed week on the climate front: The Kyoto Protocol finally goes into effect today throughout the vast majority of the industrialized world (the U.S. conspicuously not included), and Capitol Hill is awash in climate-related assaults and initiatives. As Kyoto and climate bills heat up, greens' response is tepid. Congress is facing a double whammy of President Bush's most environmentally controversial proposals: The back-from-the-dead omnibus energy bill -- a feast for purveyors of planet-warming fossil fuels -- will get a hearing in a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee today. Meanwhile, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will vote …

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Photos of Tuvalu show global warming in action

Since 1999, photographer Gary Braasch has worked to document global warming around the world. His images bring home a concept that's often hard to visualize. Today, as the Kyoto Protocol goes into effect, Braasch sends a dispatch and photos from Tuvalu, a Pacific island nation whose fate already hangs in the balance. Photos: © Gary Braasch They see a lot of rainbows in Tuvalu. But people disagree about whether they're a sign of God's protection or just a cruel reminder of this tiny country's position in the world. When I got to the capital, Funafuti, many of the friendly people …

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Join a people’s campaign to ratify the Kyoto Protocol

The much-discussed Kyoto Protocol takes effect today, Feb. 16. In the face of the United States' continuing refusal to ratify the international agreement, a group of progressive activists is launching a drive to gather millions of signatures from U.S. citizens for a "People's Ratification of the Kyoto Global Warming Treaty." Ross Gelbspan, a Grist contributor and author of two books on climate change -- The Heat Is On and Boiling Point -- explains why you should put your coffee mug down and sign the petition today. What on earth is a person supposed to do? History and nature are on …

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Unilateralism Is Starting to Look Pretty Good, Huh?

E.U. battles with U.K. over CO2 emissions Tony Blair has fashioned himself a climate champion of late, vowing to make the issue of global warming central to the U.K.'s 2005 leadership of the G8 nations. So it's rather embarrassing for him that the E.U. has just threatened to take legal action against the U.K. over its projected carbon-dioxide emissions. Last April, the U.K. submitted a plan to the European Commission calling for the country to be permitted just over 811 million tons of CO2 emissions. In early July, the commission approved the plan, giving the U.K. two months to request …

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Ain’t it funny how time slips away

We are late on this one -- later than J Lo's apology for sucking, later than the U.S. signing on to Kyoto -- but just in case you missed it: Willie Nelson is getting into the biodiesel business! The iconic singer and three partners have formed "Willie Nelson's Biodiesel," and they're marketing "BioWillie" (a name that somehow conjures former President Clinton, but never mind) to truck stops across the country. Lots of bloggers have gushed about this already. But here's my favorite part: "I got on the computer and punched in biodiesel and found out this could be the future," …

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Cloudy Day, Sweeping the Doom Away

Artificially enhanced clouds may ease global warming, scientists say With gloomy scientific report after gloomy scientific report warning about our globally warmed future, finally one group of scientists is offering a ray of sunshine -- in the unlikely form of clouds. Low-altitude, lumpy gray clouds, called stratocumulus, have the desirable quality of being especially reflective at their tops, which the scientists hope to exploit. Since, as atmospheric scientist John Latham says, "clouds become more reflective if you increase the number of droplets in them," the eggheads propose spraying seawater high into the air near stratocumulus clouds, causing salt particles to …

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Seeing Is Believing

Dramatic weather convinces many Westerners of global warming As the Western U.S. increasingly suffers from what many scientists believe are the effects of climate change -- reduced snowpack, massive forest fires, alternating drought and torrential rain -- more and more residents are accepting the reality of the phenomenon. "Do I believe in global warming? Absolutely," said Reese Woodling, who last year abandoned his ranch along the New Mexico-Arizona border because of crippling drought. A decade-long drought has Arizona's economy drying up as well, costing cattle-related industries $2.8 billion in 2002. But current conditions are just a taste of what's to …

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