Take a magical tour of discovery!
Ugh. I’ve got about 50 things stacked up to write about, but I’ve finally been struck by the illness that’s been floating around Seattle. I can’t breathe, my muscles ache, and my head is … fuzzy. I feel stoopid.
Anyway, here’s a bunch of random stuff:
I giggled and clapped so much my wife came in the office to ask me WTF was going on when I read this article on Big Coal’s woes. If you, like me, believe that coal is the enemy of the human race, I encourage you to pour a libation of your choice, put your feet up, and savor the article slowly. Lots of its contents we’ve already covered elsewhere, but this is intriguing:
A forthcoming study from MIT faculty members … found that [carbon sequestration] won’t be as easy to do as proponents have argued. Some utilities have been hoping that carbon storage will overcome environmental objections to coal.
Needless to say, more on that later.
Despite growing alarm among … everyone, the international talks to establish some sort of successor to the Kyoto Protocol are completely stalled. What’s the problem? Guess:
The big problem for the U.N. climate negotiations is that the top emitters of greenhouse gases from human activities — the United States, China, Russia and India — are not among big enthusiasts for Kyoto led by European nations and Japan.
It’s easy to support carbon emissions trading because, well, it’s something rather than nothing. But as a recent Newsweek article makes painfully clear, emissions trading to date has been almost entirely a failure. Perhaps it could be improved, but I’m inclined to think it will always be subject to gaming and lobbying. Instead of swallowing this craptastic solution while mourning the political impossibility of a carbon tax, why don’t we all just get together and collectively make a carbon tax politically possible? I bet if the U.S. implemented a strong carbon tax, it would spark an instant sea change in world opinion. Leadership …
A new magazine on the block: Conserve.
Bill Clinton says lots of smart things in this speech, but I particularly like this tidbit:
In Denmark, unlike America, their unemployment rate is almost identical to ours but their growth rate is higher, their wages are going up, inequality is going down.
Why? In the last few years the Danish economy has increased in size by 50 percent. Now at the same time estimate how much their energy use has increased and how much their greenhouse gas emissions have increased. Answer? Zero. Nothing, zero, no increase in energy use, no increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
Windows Live Messenger (formerly plain ol’ Microsoft Messenger) — a popular chat program — has started a program called "I’m Home." You can choose one of nine organizations, and every time you send a chat message, some tiny portion of Messenger’s ad revenue gets donated to it. Among the orgs are the Sierra Club and StopGlobalWarming.org.
Coal-fired power plants use lots and lots of water. Otherwise they’re peachy!
The big question facing Texas after the scuttling of the TXU plants is: where’s the electricity going to come from? How the state answers that question will influence how other states address the same conundrum. Let’s hope Texans do the right thing.
I suspect that Bruce Sterling is going to irritate some folks in the environmental community by saying this:
It’s the Net vs. the 20th-century fossil order in a fight that the cybergreens are winning. Why? Because they’re not about spiritual potential, human decency, small is beautiful, peace, justice or anything else unattainable. The cybergreens are about stuff people want, such as health, sex, glamour, hot products, awesome bandwidth, tech innovation and tons of money.
We’re gonna glam, spend and consume our way into planetary survival.
But Bruce, my virtuous asceticism! The world must acknowledge and emulate my virtuous asceticism!
The U.S. military: oil-free by 2050?
As you may have heard, conservative pundit Ann Coulter called Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards a "faggot." This happened at CPAC, the year’s biggest convention for conservatives, attended by the top conservative opinionmakers and political aspirants. Coulter made her remarks after being enthusiastically introduced by presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. Obviously this blog isn’t the place for comment on such things — which I sometimes think is a shame — but if I were to say anything, it would probably be roughly along the lines of what Glenn Greenwald and Digby have said.