Climate & Energy

Summary of the IPCC Summary for Policymakers, part II

Summarizin’ summaries, summarily

Here is the second half of my summary of the IPCC summary (PDF): Energy Efficiency: It is often more cost-effective to invest in end-use energy efficiency improvement than in increasing energy supply to satisfy demand for energy services. Efficiency improvement has a positive effect on energy security, local and regional air pollution abatement, and employment. (In buildings): Energy efficiency options for new and existing buildings could considerably reduce CO2 emissions with net economic benefit. Many barriers exist against tapping this potential, but there are also large co-benefits (high agreement, much evidence). By 2030, about 30 percent of the projected GHG emissions in the building sector can be avoided with net economic benefit.

Is the science of climate change settled?

No, but we still know enough to start taking action

A few weeks ago, I was perusing Grist when I ran across an ad for A Convenient Fiction, a slideshow rebuttal of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. The author was none other than Steve Hayward, who you might remember from the AEI-$10,000-payola scandal. I had actually seen this slideshow discussed in the New York Times, and was interested to see it. In my previous communications with Hayward, he was at great pains to describe himself as someone who believed the science as described by the IPCC. I wanted to see if the slideshow bore that out.

Maybe you <em>can</em> go broke underestimating the taste of the American public

Denialist special tanks in the ratings

Eric Boehlert on Glenn Beck: The bad news last week was that Glenn Beck, the right-wing radio talker and self-described "rodeo clown" who broadcasts nightly on CNN Headline News, hosted a world-is-flat special about the "myths" surrounding global warming. In it, Beck rounded up the usual band of discredited, oil industry-friendly "experts" who announced that the looming atmospheric crisis is overblown, and that far from being a consensus, serious scientists still disagree on the matter. The good news was that Beck’s special, "Exposed: Climate of Fear," was a commercial flop, finishing dead last in total viewers among CNN, Headline News, …

Measure Twice, Cut One of These Days

Coalition of 31 states creates greenhouse-gas emissions registry Flipping the feds the collective bird, 31 U.S. states have created a registry to track industrial greenhouse-gas emissions. The states — joined by British Columbia, Manitoba, and a Native American nation in California — represent some 70 percent of the U.S. population and all (er, both?) sides of the political spectrum. Starting in January, the registry will track emissions data that’s verified by a third party; the system is similar to a federal one already in place, except for that whole “verified by a third party” thing. Supporters say that difference is …

Rupert Murdoch launches effort to green News Corp.’s operations and programming

Today, the fast-growing cadre of corporate leaders pressing for climate action welcomes a new member: Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corporation, the media empire that encompasses Fox News, 20th Century Fox, HarperCollins,, and dozens of newspapers in Australia, the U.K., the U.S., and beyond. Rupert Murdoch. Photo: Kelly Kline/ At an event held this morning in midtown Manhattan and webcast to all News Corp. employees, Murdoch launched a company-wide plan to address climate change that includes not only a pledge to reduce the company’s emissions (which has come to be expected at such biz-greening events) but also a vow …

The Overton window keeps moving

Senate’s strongest climate bill now has more co-sponsors

Two bills floating around Congress now serve as the far side of the Overton window on climate policy. Both adopt the (relatively) stringent target of reducing CO2 emissions 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. In the House, there’s Rep. Waxman’s Safe Climate Act, and in the Senate, there’s Sen. Sanders’ (formerly Sen. Jeffords’) Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act. It is a mark of how far the debate has shifted that the latter actually seems to be moving into the realm of the possible. Sen. Boxer became a co-sponsor shortly after the election, and today, the bill picked up some …

The cap and trade boat just got a little fuller

Oh what a relief it biz

The United States Climate Action Partnership, the group of corporations calling "on the federal government to quickly enact strong national legislation to require significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions," just doubled in size (PDF): With its new members, USCAP companies now have total revenues of $1.7 trillion, a collective workforce of more than 2 million and operations in all 50 states; they also have a combine market capitalization of more than $1.9 trillion. The big news is that General Motors has joined the list:

Peak coal, peak bees

Trends on an ever-shrinking planet

I was at Coop Power's excellent annual renewable energy summit in western Massachusetts recently. Richard Heinberg was there as a presenter. He discussed his well-regarded peak oil projections, and he then put that curve next to his peak uranium and peak coal projections. That visual drew gasps from the crowd -- especially the peak coal bit. Sure we've got lots of coal, but its quality ain't what it used to be, and won't go as far. Check his data. This got me thinking of all the indexes we might put forward to track important trends on this ever-shrinking planet. The next one I'd promote, given our perilous reliance on the mobile hives that are driven from farm to farm to pollinate our crops, plus this winter's mysterious honeybee population crash, would have to be peak bees. And how about peak freshwater. What would you propose?

Subsidized ethanol blues

Bio Willie, make way for Jeff Parnell

Political songwriter Jeff Parnell has just composed a jaunty little ditty called "Subsidized Ethanol Blues." (Click on link to play.) As Parnell sings it: "Sacrifice the water and land, and what do you gain? Line the pockets of cronies, playing that subsidy game!" The rest of the lyrics are found below the fold:

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