Tom Friedman, in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine, makes the point that green is the color that can unite the red and blue states. At Oceana we have found that conservation issues can and do cross party lines. For example, the Bush administration (yes, the Bush administration!) recently -- after working closely with our organization and other groups -- submitted a proposal in the ongoing World Trade Organization talks that would significantly cut fisheries subsidies.
In the interest of keeping you informed, I offer the final chapter in the mtvU GE Ecomagination Challenge. As you may (or may not) recall, students were asked to propose projects that would green their respective campuses. Out of more than 100 entries, 10 finalists were chosen, and then you voted to help pick the winner (you did vote, didn’t you?). Well, the results are in, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Biodiesel@MIT project has won a $25,000 grant and an Earth Day concert (this weekend) by Angels and Airwaves. Congrats, y’all! The eight-person Biodiesel@MIT team proposed the construction and management …
This is rarely said openly, but needs to be. Yes, climate change is a serious problem; yes, we should address it; but beware of easy solutions and feel-good measures like carbon neutrality that are more than likely scams than serious measures, since they more often than not pay people to do things they would already have done.
But some people want him to. As always, watch this space for updates on Gore’s non-candidacy.
One piece of the smart-grid puzzle is home electricity monitoring — allowing homeowners (and eventually business and factory owners) to track their electricity use in real time. As the old saw goes, what gets measured gets done. Simply making people aware of energy flows is the first step to helping them modulate those flows efficiently. On that note, it’s fantastic to see this: soon, every household in the U.K. will be able to request a smart meter and have it installed for free. The next step, of course, is giving homeowners more automated control. One part of that is smart, …
Did the EPA really think the Mass. v. EPA decision was a "stunner"? Isn’t that the kind of thing you prepare for? On that note, check out a new blog: Warming Law. It was started in the wake of Mass. v. EPA to analyze that decision and its effect on other important pending environmental cases. The writers are attorneys at the Community Rights Council. It’s invaluable for legal laymen like myself, trying to keep up with the rapidly developing role of the judicial branch in the green world.
The IPCC reports are some of the most highly anticipated of 2007. An obvious sign? Within two weeks of one report's release, papers are already covering a leak from the next. IPCC Working Group III's focus is on mitigation, meaning a fair number of policy implications can be derived from its conclusions. So here's a hint for America's auto industry: the report calls for urgent action on road pollution. In the United States, there are 483 passenger cars per 1,000 people (EarthTrends). The world average is about 100, and few countries outnumber our car count (Australia, for example, had 492 in 1996).
The Seattle Times is reporting on a Bothell family -- the Fraleys -- who are attempting to cut their family's greenhouse-gas emissions by 15 percent in May. Bully for them, and best of luck! Still, there's something about the Times account of their experiment that rankles, just a bit. It leaves a casual reader with the impression that reducing carbon emissions is a total pain in the behind. To wit: [The Fraleys] will try to reduce the household's greenhouse-gas emissions by using some common-sense ideas that nonetheless may be inconvenient. [Emphasis added.] And ... "I realized this wasn't going to be a cakewalk. The easy changes were already made, and the next one will be more -- painful is not the word -- but will take more effort." Jeez, that makes sustainability sound like hair shirts and broccoli. Good luck getting people on board with that.
Yesterday I wrote about an energy conference in Utah at which Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer enthusiastically shilled for coal and demanded more federal money for it. Looking more closely at the conference, I see I shouldn’t have been surprised. The Salt Lake Tribune story from yesterday is all but a press release for Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., who hosted the shindig. Toward the end, though, it drops this tidbit: Some of the West’s biggest names in energy, including $10,000-apiece Platinum sponsors Arch Coal, Rocky Mountain Power, Questar, Chevron and Bill Barrett Corp., are paying for the summit. Hmm. It …
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