Politics

Catching up

Experts to Utah: Climate change is real

If this happened any place else but Utah, it might not be worth noting, but in that state I believe it’s progress: A state blue ribbon task force on climate change stated emphatically Monday that humans are to blame for global warming and offered a slate of recommendations on ways Utah can fight the changes. Glad that’s settled! This is somewhat surprising: But one much-discussed option, developing nuclear power, was only on the B list of recommendations by the Blue Ribbon Advisory Council on Climate Change. Dirty hippies! Here are some highlights from the "high-priority" options to fight climate change: …

Emission Accomplished

Indiana regulators give BP a pass on meeting federal soot regulations Last week, oil company BP backed off of a plan to dump lots more ammonia and sludge into Lake Michigan; this week, Indiana regulators granted the same refinery an exemption to a federal rule that would have required it to halve its soot emissions. Because we certainly wouldn’t want it polluting too little! The Indiana Department of Environmental Management suggested that meeting federal soot regulations would pose “an extreme hardship” to poor BP.

Talkin'

Latest round of UN climate talks focuses on energy investment

Just how excited can one get by the latest round of international talks on climate change? This one is focused on business, specifically energy investment: A new report by the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change says additional investments of about $210 billion a year will be needed – mostly in the developing world – to maintain greenhouse gas emissions at their current levels until 2030. “If the funding available … remains at its current level and continues to rely mainly on voluntary contributions, it will not be sufficient,” the report warns. If you weren’t aware.

Sustainable math in East Asia

East Asian countries could save money shifting to renewables, but aren’t gonna

According to Greenpeace International, East Asian countries can save about $2 trillion in fuel costs over the next 23 years by shifting to renewable energy (abandoning plans for both coal and nuclear plants). Said dazzlingly monickered Greenpeace campaign coordinator Athena Ballasteros … … investment costs for new power plants in East Asia projected by the International Energy Agency (IEA) would total 490 billion dollars between 2004 and 2030. Under Greepeace’s scenario, investment costs on renewable energy would amount to 556 billion dollars over the same time frame. However, fuel costs in the IEA projections would cost 6.3 trillion dollars over …

Nothing to fear ...

Fear of death leads to authoritarianism, not sustainability

It’s tempting to think that if you scare the shit out of people — really convince them, down to their bones, that hurricanes, diseases, and starving refugees are hiding just around the corner — that mass mobilization against global warming will at long last ensue. There’s good reason to doubt it. Fear causes fairly predictable reactions, which do not include international cooperation, equitable distribution of resources, cost-benefit analysis on a multidecadal scale, and short-term sacrifice in the service of long-term problem-solving. They do include increased xenophobia, reactionary moralism, and susceptibility to demagogues. That is to say, the language of fear …

Put It in Park

Donations roll in for national parks’ centennial projects The 100th anniversary of the National Park Service is a mere nine years away, and donations are rolling in to spruce up parks for the occasion. In a spending bill yet to be approved by Congress, Bush made funds available to match private giving; some $300 million has already been pledged by corporations, nonprofits, and visitors’ groups. Last week, the National Park Service unveiled a list of 201 priority projects for the centennial bash, covering 116 parks in 40 states. Says NPS Deputy Superintendent Frank Mares, “The last big heady time for …

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