I don’t want to head into the holidays with a browser full of unattended tabs, so forthwith, the Great Holiday Tab Dump of 2008!
This gets my vote for Most Awesome Stunt of 2008. Somebody — no one knows who — walked up to Britain’s biggest and allegedly most secure coal power plant, climbed the fence, walked over to a computer, hacked in and shut the entire plant down, hung a homemade banner reading "no new coal," climbed back over the fence, and walked away. Balls. In a stroke, the mysterious climate crusader cut Britain’s GHG emissions by 2 percent.
A new attempt to model the earth’s coal reserves shows that said reserves may be far, far smaller than previously estimated. If true it is, for obvious reasons, great news for the climate and for humanity. The model was developed by Dave Rutledge, chair of Caltech’s engineering and applied sciences division, who says, "The record of geological estimates made by governments for their fossil fuel estimates is really horrible. And the estimates tend to be quite high. They over-predict future coal production." Let’s hope.
The other day Ed Mazria of Architecture 2030 shared his excellent economic stimulus plan, built around achieving bold energy efficiency targets in the building sector. Along the same lines, check out "Time to Upgrade Windows: New Green Jobs for the Construction Industry." It notes how awful things are for the construction indutries right now, and how many of those folks could be put back to work with an aggressive efficiency program.
Don’t miss "Are Cows Worse Than Cars?", Ben Adler’s in-depth examination of how meat consumption contributes to global warming and why greens are so gun shy about dealing with the issue.
Remember Poznan? I’ll admit I didn’t follow it too closely. International climate negotiations are a unique mix of boring and depressing. And it sounds like this one’s no different, with the EU settling on a deal riddled with permit giveaways and bogus offsets. Sigh.
Jim Manzi is not fan of gas taxes either. The fact that Manzi agrees with me makes me think I must have gone horribly wrong somewhere.
The inimitable Elizabeth Kolbert blogs for the New Yorker about Steven Chu and refrigerators. Send this paragraph to everyone you know:
Refrigerators consume a lot of energy; all alone, they account for almost fifteen per cent of the average home’s electricity use. In the mid nineteen-seventies, California — the state Chu now lives in — set about establishing the country’s first refrigerator-efficiency standards. Refrigerator manufacturers, of course, fought them. The standards couldn’t be met, they said, at anything like a price consumers could afford. California imposed the standards anyway, and then what happened, as Chu observed, is that "the manufacturers had to assign the job to the engineers, instead of to the lobbyists." The following decade, standards were imposed for refrigerators nationwide. Since then, the size of the average American refrigerator has increased by more than ten per cent, while the price, in inflation-adjusted dollars, has been cut in half. Meanwhile, energy use has dropped by two-thirds.
Translation: lobbyists and economists don’t know sh*t. Solving our energy problems will be cheaper than anyone now predicts.
Now that the science of climate change impacts is getting better, watch for a wave of lawsuits from those adversely affected.