Rule zero: Heal thyself

Offsets should be the last thing you need to turn to

Before you pay others to reduce their emissions on your behalf, you need to do everything reasonably possible to reduce your own emissions first. As the saying goes, "Physician, heal thyself," before presuming to heal other people. This rule is so obvious I almost forgot it. And yet many people, including Google and PG&E, don't seem to get it. The whole point of offsets is not to make you feel good, and it's not to allow you to continue polluting as much as you want (by, say, supporting new coal plants or other dirty forms of power). Offsets are cheap and in some sense bastardized emissions reductions (more on this in a future post). In general, the point of offsets is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and specifically to allow you to offset any emissions that are left over after you have cleaned up your own act -- or to offset emissions from one-time events such as concerts.

Mike D of the Beastie Boys drops science on green tours, politics, and Live Earth

The Beastie Boys are (L to R) MCA, Adrock, and Mike D. Photo: Jennifer Hall “I’m recording [this interview] so I can send the tapes to Jerry Lewis; he archives all of my interviews,” Beastie Boy Mike D deadpanned at the other end of the phone line. “In addition to being an all-around comedian and famous in France, he’s very much a stickler for recording interviews.” It was a bizarre response to my routine opener about recording interviews, but perhaps not entirely unexpected. I’d read that the hip-hop punk-rockers — known for hits like “Brass Monkey,” “Fight for Your Right …

Have We Mentioned This Big Climate Concert?

Live Earth concerts set to rock the world tomorrow Tomorrow, tomorrow … Gore loves ya, tomorrow. Live Earth, the much-anticipated event dreamed up by the former veep, will rock 7/7/07 with 24 hours of concerts to raise climate awareness. A total audience of some 2 billion will see Jack Johnson in Sydney, The Police reunited in New Joisey, Madonna in London, or the whole shebang via the internet and XM radio. It’s been a long road for Live Earth: a concert in Turkey was called off because of security concerns and lack of local support, U.S. lawmakers put the kibosh …

From Climax to Climate

Melts in your mouth, not in your hand Thousands of Hindu pilgrims were left less than satisfied at the climax of a long trek when they found that their sacred phallic icicle had melted into a tiny stump. Geologists blame the, ahem, performance issues on global warming and the travelers’ “hot, sweaty bodies.” Photo: iStockphoto One of these things is not like the others True or false (no peeking!): Al Gore predicts iPhone will reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 30 percent. Al Gore III is busted for drug possession after being caught speeding in his Prius. Paris Hilton will run for …

From SUVs to solar panels

Do higher MPG cars mean fewer jobs?

The Chicago Tribune has an article in today's paper entitled "MPG bill could cost UAW jobs; Workers fear SUV plant's fate sealed," although the article itself isn't as shrill as the title suggests. At first glance, the article looks like the classic "those environmentalists are going to take away your jobs" piece, but the author presents data for the other side, that is, that the problems of the auto industry are the problems of the managers of the auto industry: Higher fuel standards would affect all automakers but would hit the domestics harder because they sell a greater percentage of trucks than foreign rivals. Trucks account for 56 percent of GM's sales, two-thirds of Ford's and three-fourths of the Chrysler Group's. Youch! Who's fault is it that they bet the farm on SUVs? The car companies could have analyzed the data on peaking oil, foreign imports of oil, even global warming. Because of their short-term outlook, made much worse by Wall Street's emphasis on the next quarter, not the next quarter of a century, they refused to go down a path that should have been obvious by the end of the 1970s.

E.O. Wilson on Bill Moyers Journal this week

Check it out

On Friday, Bill Moyers profiles E.O. Wilson on the latest edition of “Bill Moyers Journal.” (The show is his new spot on PBS that started airing in late April, and happens to have the same name as his old show that stopped running in 1981.) Moyers talks to Wilson about subjects ranging from his work cataloging every living creature on earth to religion to his vision for facing climate change. Check out a preview: The show also includes an update on the work of the Earth Conservation Corps, a group of young adults who grew up along the Anacostia River …

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