Climate & Energy

Should we keep rebutting skeptics?


A little while back, CNN recruited a right-wing talk radio host named Glenn Beck to host one of its prime-time shows. As MediaMatters rather exhaustively reveals, Beck is an unreconstructed racist, sexist, classist, misogynist, authoritarian, xenophobic troglodyte of the old school. He doesn’t work particularly hard to conceal his trogloditicism. In fact, one suspects CNN views the trogloditicism as the draw. Beck’s latest crusade is — you guessed it — global warming skepticism. He has a special running on CNN (“Exposed: The Climate of Fear“) in which he compares the consensus on global warming to the early-20th-century consensus on eugenics. …

The permafrost is melting …

… releasing the possums!

The sun in Spain falls mainly on the concentrated-solar plant in Seville

Man, that’s the worst headline ever

Here’s a short but fascinating BBC story about a ginormous (11MW, with plans for expansion) concentrated-solar power plant in Seville, Spain — the first commercial concentrated-solar plant in Europe. Hundreds of mirrors reflect sunlight at a single point at the top of a tower, where the heat boils water for stream that drives a generator. I’d only quibble with one thing: Is it true that this power is three times more expensive than power from conventional sources? Yes, but prices will fall, as they have with wind power, as the technologies develop. Also, a more realistic comparison is with the …

Battle of the developed vs. the developing

Climate change justice is contentious

As this round of the IPCC unfolds, developing countries are scurrying to relieve themselves of any major responsibility for historic emissions and, consequently, aggressive mitigation policies. For example, China has requested inserting language that formally recognizes the percentage of emissions for which developed countries are responsible -- 95 percent from the pre-industrial era until 1950, and 77 percent from 1950 to the start of the millennium.

One and a half cheers for goofy offsetting projects

Planktos may be a bad idea, but innovation is good

The green blogosphere generally reacted with chuckles or consternation to Planktos' announced plans to dump tons of iron into the ocean to, you know, see what happens. Gar Lipow took the article as another excuse to bash carbon offsets. To follow the logic, you first have to know why anyone would want to dump several tons of iron into the sea. Planktos hopes to demonstrate that seeding the oceans with certain nutrients is a credible way to stimulate plankton blooms. It further hopes to demonstrate that these blooms are a credible way to sequester atmospheric carbon. Carbon markets provide the incentive for this quixotic undertaking. If the experiment is successful -- a big if -- Planktos could one day tap into the many billions of dollars available for carbon reduction projects.

Polluting to save the planet: RealClimate disapproves

And why wouldn’t they?

RealClimate, a blog run by leading climate scientists, thinks Planktos's scheme to dump iron particles in the ocean to make plankton bloom and sequester carbon is "thin soup." I have some extended quotes from David Archer on the subject below the fold. But if you are interested, read the whole thing. In spite of public relations claims by Planktos representatives in comments, it appears that most of the scientific community does not think highly of the Planktos claims.

IPCC out of date, again

More current science paints an even grimmer picture

Already, there are serious reservations about the final IPCC summary for policymakers, which was released today. The BBC leads the charge, noting that the economic models used to recommend mitigation policies aim to hold the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration at 550 parts per million (ppm). However, more recent scientific evidence suggests, and I agree, that our policies need to keep concentrations much closer to 450 ppm.

Scan much?

The final IPCC WGIII report is out, but the PDF seems like a horrible scan or something — it’s almost unreadable. Anybody got a clean copy they want to send me?

Clash With the Titan

Anti-dam activists target billionaire Warren Buffett This weekend, activists are descending on Omaha, Neb., to push for removal of four Western dams they say are killing salmon and causing a health risk to humans. Their target: skillionaire Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway holding company owns PacifiCorp, the utility that owns the Klamath River dams. In addition to picketing Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting, anti-dam advocates, including local tribal leaders and anglers, filed a federal lawsuit against PacifiCorp this week, alleging that the dams are a nuisance and a threat to public health. Led by Robert Kennedy Jr.’s law firm, Kennedy and …

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