Photo: Wikipedia… Not really, but the story of Fidel Castro’s sudden interest in the climate effects of nuclear war, not to mention the implications of climate change for Cuban agriculture, is both fascinating and almost totally unreported by the mainstream press.
The renewable energy standard rides again: In an improbable 11th-hour comeback, a bipartisan cohort of Senate cowboys has the temerity to suggest Congress might be able to pass an energy bill during the upcoming lame-duck session after all.
The bill covers only a national renewable energy standard, which would require the country to get 15 percent of its power from renewables, with one-quarter of that requirement eligible for fulfillment with energy efficiency measures. It was co-sponsored by Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.). Notably, it also has support from two other Republicans, Susan Collins (Maine) and John Ensign (Nev.), reports The New York Times.
At least one Democrat, Mary Landrieu (La.), has pledged not to support the bill unless it also removes the current moratorium on offshore drilling.
Democrats to environmentalists: “Where are you guys?”: Disheartened by recent defeats, environmentalists aren’t turning out for Democrats as they did in the last election.
A poll revealed members of both parties like environmental protection, but not when it extends to regulating CO2 emissions.
The Clean Air Act turned 40 and is so awesome even the American Enterprise Institute lauds it as an example of successful environmental regulation. More good news: the depletion of the ozone layer has apparently stopped.
Failure of climate talks inspires $1 billion investment: Now the bad news. The Cancun climate summit isn’t going to amount to a hill of beans, says the U.S.’s lead negotiator. India is even more pessimistic about the talks.
The overall failure of talks has inspired investor George Soros to pledge to donate $100 million to environmental policy groups working on new regulations, and invest $1 billion in clean energy technology.
Environmentalists may have given up on Obama and any chance of preserving a livable climate, but they’re not about to give up on Proposition 23, which would reverse California’s path-breaking law intended to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
Why scientists need marketers: White House science advisor John Holdren’s proposal to rename climate change as “global climate change disruption” was immediately picked up by opponents of action on climate change as evidence that it’s all a sinister plot.
A former correspondent for the BBC says that climate change as a story of note is “over” for the U.K.’s most important news outlet. The head of New York University’s journalism program says that the whole climate change debate “fries the circuits of the mainstream press.”
A paper highlighted by the National Science Foundation suggests we’re all just cherry-picking the experts who confirm our preconceived biases, anyway. Another paper, from the National Bureau of Economic Research, suggests recessions cause people to stop caring about the environment.
Current warming is “unprecedented”: “The last decades of the past millennium are characterized again by warm temperatures that seem to be unprecedented in the context of the last 1600 years,” according to a recent study [PDF].
Warming temperatures are drying out the U.S. Southwest and decreasing (already rare) cases of bubonic plague. Extreme heat not seen since 1998, when 16 percent of the world’s reefs died, is killing them off again.
The climate change crystal ball: Climate change could spell “disaster” for America’s wild areas, and the city of San Francisco is trying to figure out what to do about higher sea levels even as it prepares for electric cars.
Climate change science is finally sophisticated enough to tell municipalities how to prepare to adapt to its impacts. The U.K. is poorly prepared to deal with a warmer future, says the government’s climate advisers. A professor at the UCLA Institute of the Environment suggests if you’re worried about climate change, you should move to Fargo, N.D.
Energy drinks do not qualify as a renewable resource: China, now the world’s largest user of energy, has superseded the U.S. as “the world’s energy superpower,” complicating its attempts to use less energy.
The Environmental Protection Agency is about to reveal its guidelines for greenhouse gas controls.
The California Energy Commission just approved a plan to build the biggest solar array in the world. The concentrated solar thermal power plant could begin construction as early as November.
Stimulus funds for home energy retrofits in Michigan have been delayed by red tape. Walmart is buying up masses of thin-film solar panels, apparently in an attempt to nurture the technology into maturity. And an online poll suggests 80 percent of Americans are comfortable with nuclear power, but only a third of Europeans.
A new documentary argues some residents of small towns have really good reasons for not wanting wind farms in their backyards.
Soul-crushing irony: A Maryland Green Party candidate was killed by an SUV while riding her bicycle.
The Climate Post offers a rundown of the week in climate and energy news. It is produced each Thursday by Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.