IPCC Working Group III goes after transportation pollution

If you won’t go after them, we will

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).

A convenient truth

In nearby Bothell

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.

Jim Sims and the clean coal PR push

Learn how to recognize the shills

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 …

Wanted: One good environmentalist

USDA Seeks to fill enviro slot on Organic Board

The United States Department of Agriculture seeks to fill an "environmentalist" slot on the National Organic Standards Board, an opening announced in an April 16th press release. Why should you care? The NOSB makes recommendations to the USDA on what is allowable under USDA Organic Standards. Cloned animals? Recombinant DNA? Sewage sludge? The Board influenced all the decisions to keep these substances out, and will make important future recommendations as well. Contact Katherine E. Benham, of the National Organic Program. Nominations close August 17, 2007. The position will probably be filled around January, as that's when environmentalist Andrea Caroe's term ends. More in the press release here. Holla, people! I know you know someone!

Conservatives for rail transit

Um, overseas

“As part of efforts to shed its image of closeness to the motoring lobby, the party wants the government to commit immediately to key rail expansion projects …” That’s the conservative party. The dawn of …

Parody is so pre-9/11

I can’t do much to improve on the humor of the two lead paragraphs in this AP piece: The head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday the growth of greenhouse gases by less than …

No sweat solutions to global warming: a series

A reintroduction

I'm restarting my series on solutions to global warming, both on how to phase out fossil fuels and the best means to sequester carbon, because I consider the topic a critical one. The carbon lobby has mostly (not entirely) given up disputing that global warming is occurring. They know that they won't be able to confuse the public on its human-caused nature much longer. But a final stalling tactic is open to deniers -- to pretend that nothing can be done, or at least nothing that most people are willing to live with. There is an old engineering saying: "no solution, no problem." Converging with this, there is a small but unfortunately influential primitivist movement. In their belief that technology itself is totalitarian, they also contribute to the idea that the only solution to global warming is a drastic reduction in the technical level of civilization -- perhaps down to the hunter-gatherer level. Many well-meaning, intelligent people promote a less extreme version of this trope -- the conviction that we need to impoverish working people in rich nations to solve our environmental crisis and deal justly with the poorer countries. The primary purpose of this series is to ensure that energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies become known as inexpensive fossil fuel substitutes available today, rather than a high-priced vision of tomorrow. The U.S. needs to understand that continued use of fossil fuel is a political decision rather than a technical one.

G8: We really mean it on climate change this time


The 33rd meeting of the G8 is happening in early June, in Germany. German Chancellor Angela Merkel — perhaps in retaliation for the infamous backrub — is determined to put climate change high on the …

Great Danes

Denmark is a model of energy independence

Back in January, Jonathan Cohn wrote a fantastic piece in The New Republic about Denmark. Conventional economic wisdom says that countries must choose between robust social services and economic growth. But, Cohn wrote, Denmark casts …

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