Another Week of Climate Disruption News
Sipping from the internet firehose…
This weekly posting is brought to you courtesy of H.E.Taylor. Happy reading, I hope you enjoy this week’s Global Warming news roundup
Another Week of Global Warming News
Sipping from the internet firehose…
December 28, 2008
- Top Stories:Tennessee Coal Sludge, USCCSP on ACC, EEStor Patent, Economics, 2008-In-Review
- Melting Arctic, Arctic Geopolitics, Antarctica, Civilization
- Food Crisis, Food Production
- Hurricanes, GHGs, Temperatures, Glaciers, Sea Levels
- Impacts, Forests, Climate Refugees, Wacky Weather, Floods & Droughts
- Mitigation, Transportation, Buildings, Geoengineering, Adaptation
- Journals, Misc. Science, Hansen, PFC
- Carbon Trade, Carbon Tax
- Politics:International, America, Britain, Europe, Australia, Canada
- Ecological Economics, Media, Books, Video
- Energy, Wind, Solar, Coal, Biofuel, Peak Oil, Efficiency, Cars, Greenwashing
- Carbon Lobby, Miscellaneous Climate, Useful Links
- Shameless Self Promotion, .sig
- 2008/12/26: TI:CF: (cartoon – Roberts) Lipo-Diesel
- 2008/12/24: TI:CF: (cartoon – Roberts) Coitus interruptus
- 2008/12/22: DeSmogBlog: (cartoon – Cottingham) Clean Coal is a Joke
It’s been a quiet week, what with the holidays, but in Tennessee a coal sludge spill demanded attention:
- 2008/12/26: CNN: Tennessee sludge spill estimate grows to 1 billion gallons
Cleanup crew works to keep sludge from coal plant out of river – EPA estimates spill is three times worse than thought – 15 homes damaged, three called uninhabitable – Environmental groups say sludge contains mercury, arsenic
- 2008/12/27: ThinkP: Tennessee coal ash disaster three times larger than originally estimated
- 2008/12/27: NYT: Coal Ash Spill Is Much Larger Than Initially Estimated
A coal ash spill that blanketed residential neighborhoods and contaminated nearby rivers in Roane County, Tenn., earlier this week is more than three times larger than initially estimated, the Tennessee Valley Authority said on Thursday. Coal ash, a byproduct of burning coal, contains toxic heavy metals like arsenic, lead and selenium that can cause cancer and neurological problems. Authority officials initially said that about 1.7 million cubic yards of wet coal ash had spilled when the earthen retaining wall of an ash pond breached, but on Thursday they released the results of an aerial survey that showed the actual amount was 5.4 million cubic yards, or enough to flood more than 3,000 acres one foot deep. The amount now said to have been spilled is larger than the amount the Authority initially said was in the pond, 2.6 million cubic yards.
- 2008/12/26: NEN: Tenn coal ash spill, christmas day at ground zero
- 2008/12/27: BRitholtz: Coal Ash Sludge
- 2008/12/26: GristMill: Clean coal — Tennessee ash spill more than three times larger than originally thought
- 2008/12/25: ClimateP: The day ‘clean coal’ died
- 2008/12/24: ThinkP: Tennessee coal sludge disaster ‘shows that the term clean coal is an oxymoron.’
- 2008/12/24: ClimateP: Clean coal, meet harsh reality
- 2008/12/23: GP: Environmental disaster in Tennessee
- 2008/12/24: TreeHugger: 2.6 Million Cubic Yards of Toxic Coal Ash Slurry Released in Tennessee Dike Burst
- 2008/12/24: DemNow: Spill at Tennessee Coal Plant Creates Environmental Disaster
Parts of Tennessee remain buried under toxic sludge today after a major disaster at a coal plant. A forty-acre pond containing toxic coal ash has collapsed, spilling out millions of gallons of coal ash. Environmentalists say the spill is more than thirty times larger than the Exxon Valdez, but the story has received little national attention. Greenpeace is calling for a criminal investigation.
- 2008/12/23: CNN: Tennessee sludge spill runs over homes, water
Wall breach sends sludge downhill, causing damage to 15 homes – Spokesman says 400 acres are coated by more than 500 million gallons of sludge – Area affected is bigger than Exxon Valdez oil spill, spokesman says – Footage shows dead fish, but sludge can’t be deemed toxic until tests are done [Note that this headline doesn't even mention coal! -het]
- 2008/12/23: GristMill: Ash Christmas — TVA coal disaster is toxic wake-up call
An estimated 500 million gallons of coal-ash sludge are seeping along the I-40 Knoxville-Nashville corridor in eastern Tennessee, after an earthen wall gave way on Dec. 22 at the TVA Harriman coal-fired plant. While no casualties were reported, the coal-ash spill — the refuse left over after the plant burns the coal — should be a terrifying toxic wake-up call about the thousands of coal-fired plants and refuse-pile accidents waiting to happen across the county.
- 2008/12/23: GristMill: Time for a green industrial policy? The economy is an ecosystem, and industrial policy will help that ecosystem
- 2008/12/23: DeSmogBlog: Massive Coal Ash Spill in Tennessee puts the lie to Clean Coal
More ACC aka abrupt climate change:
- 2008/12/19: USCCSP: Abrupt Climate Change — Final Report, Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.4
- 2008/12/26: CSW: New abrupt climate change report says greater sea level rise and more arid U.S. Southwest likely
- 2008/12/25: WaPo: Faster Climate Change Feared — New Report Points to Accelerated Melting, Longer Drought
- 2008/12/22: TreeHugger: Sea Level Rise Predictions Too Low, No Abrupt Release of Methane: US Climate Change Science Program
- 2008/12/22: ENN: Abrupt climate shifts may move faster than thought
EEStor has been granted a patent on their EESU Supercapacitor:
- 2008/12/24: CleanBrk: EEStor fails to deliver on ZENN hopes, but new patent shows improvement
- 2008/12/24: AutoBG: EEStor gets patent for EESU, we get some details
- 2008/12/22: TreeHugger: Secretive EEStor Granted Patent for Ultracapacitor Technology
- 2008/12/22: GM-Volt: [link to 821k pdf] EEStor is Granted a New Patent on the EESU Revealing Extensive Details
- 2008/12/22: SlashDot: EEStor Issued a Patent For Its Supercapacitor
Economics Of Climate Change:
- 2008/12/27: GristMill: Spend at least 2 percent of GDP to fight climate chaos successfully — Thinking big on climate offers better ratio of risk to reward than timidity
- 2008/12/26: BCLSB: The Economics Of Climate Change
- 2008/12/24: ClimateP: Washington Post tries mightily to spin a conflict between stimulus and green jobs
- 2008/12/23: TreeHugger: 90% Chance That Temperature Rise Can Be Held to 2 Degrees Celsius, If Nations Spend 2% of GDP On the Problem [Michiel Schaeffer]
- 2008/12/22: Reuters: Tough climate goals maybe easier than feared-study
- 2008/12/23: NewScientist: Ambitious climate goals make economic sense
Year end wrap-up stories:
- 2008/12/24: Guardian(UK): Change, but at what price? The environmental year in review (17 pictures)
- 2008/12/23: Stoat: Its a bit thin, isn’t it? [how far our understanding of climate change has come in the past twelve months...]
- 2008/12/18: NatureCC: What we’ve learned in 2008
The Arctic melt continues to get a lot of attention:
- 2008/12/28: BCLSB: Arctic Sea Ice Recovery Stalls?
- 2008/12/27: QuarkSoup: Arctic Sea Ice Update
- 2008/12/25: CBC: Arctic ice melting faster than predicted: expert
[...] Scientists now project that the North Pole and the entire Arctic Ocean could be ice-free during the summer months as early as 2015.
- 2008/12/24: TreeHugger: Arctic Sea Ice Melt 20 Years Ahead of Schedule, Scientist Maintains Tipping Point Assertion
- 2008/12/23: QuarkSoup: Serreze on Arctic Ice
- 2008/12/23: QuarkSoup: Lambert on Sea Ice
- 2008/12/22: QuarkSoup: Sea Ice at Record Low
- 2008/12/22: SciDaily: Arctic Greening Linked To Retreating Sea Ice
As for the geopolitics of the Arctic resources:
- 2008/12/25: CBC: Canada losing grip on Arctic agenda, experts say
Canada is being slowly pushed aside as the rest of the world sets the agenda for opening up the rapidly melting Arctic, say leading northern experts. With Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government focused on building a military presence in the North, agencies such as the European Union are seizing the initiative over developing rules that will eventually govern fisheries, energy exploration and transportation in the region. “The opportunity for us to take constructive steps diplomatically is now being usurped from us by the Europeans,” says Whitney Lackenbauer, a University of Waterloo history professor and co-author of Arctic Front: Defending Canada in the Far North. “They are going to steal the agenda.”
- 2008/12/24: Novosti: Climate change opens northeast route to foreign ships – Ivanov
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said Wednesday that he is concerned that global warming is opening up the Northern Sea Route for the uncontrolled movement of foreign ships. Many Arctic specialists agree that global warming is causing ice to retreat around the outer edges of sea ice drifting on the Arctic Ocean which is opening up previously closed maritime routes like Russia’s Northeast Sea Route and Canada’s Northwest Passage.
- 2008/12/22: ClimateP: Another AGU stunner: Evidence that Antarctica has warmed significantly over past 50 years
A succinct statement of civilization:
- 2008/12/22: Scaro: Nothing new under the sun
[...] At times, civilization only seems to be a collective agreement — or delusion. So long as we have access to clean water, food, and a modicum of security, we agree to behave civilly and to respect our neighbors and our neighborhoods. But take away these basics and soon after the demons of starvation and disease and slaughter are soon to return.
- 2008/12/22: SciDaily: Solar Activity Between 1250-1850 Linked To Temperature Changes In Siberia
No news like old news?
- 2008/12/21: PhysOrg: Tropics cooled by volcanic eruptions, says study
Volcanic eruptions have periodically cooled the tropics over at least the last 450 years by spewing out particles that girdle the world at high altitude and reflect sunlight, according to a study released Sunday. The research adds a chunk of regional evidence to earlier work that found major eruptions — such as Krakatoa, Indonesia in 1883 and Huaynaputina, Peru in 1600 — contribute to cooling on a worldwide scale.
- 2008/12/24: CCurrents: Acceptable Deaths! [over 150000 farmers have committed suicide in India]
And how are we going to feed 9 billion?
- 2008/12/27: BBC: Food needs ‘fundamental rethink’
A sustainable global food system in the 21st Century needs to be built on a series of “new fundamentals”, according to a leading food expert. Tim Lang warned that the current system, designed in the 1940s, was showing “structural failures”, such as “astronomic” environmental costs. The new approach needed to address key fundamentals like biodiversity, energy, water and urbanisation, he added. Professor Lang is a member of the UK government’s newly formed Food Council.
- 2008/12/27: SMH: Global food shortage pushes rice profits up
RiceGrowers, which trades as SunRice, has brushed aside the global financial crisis and a disastrous drought in the Riverina to post a stunning 600 per cent boost in half-year profits.
- 2008/12/26: NYT: Welfare as We Knew It
The nation’s poorest citizens are already suffering some of the harshest effects of the economic decline, most notoriously with a 60 percent increase in children forced into “food insecurity.” That’s bureaucratese for families driven to skipping meals. There were more than 690,000 youngsters who didn’t have enough to eat last year. There were 783,000 meal-skipping seniors among the 36 million Americans found to be chronically lacking adequate food, according to government data.
- 2008/12/26: SMH: The earth hums as an enemy bides its time — The next generation of plague locusts has started hatching in the Riverina
- 2008/12/22: Times(UK): Let us bend the rules, say organic farmers
Billy has been troubling Australia in the north east, otherwise it has been quiet:
- 2008/12/23: RigZone: Australia Braces for Tropical Cyclone Billy
While elsewhere in the hurricane wars:
- 2008/12/23: RigZone: ‘Active’ Atlantic Hurricane Season on Tap for 2009
- 2008/12/22: Wunderground: One hundred days which changed the lives of so many [after hurricane Ike]
As for GHGs:
- 2008/12/26: Tamino: The Other Anthropogenic Greenhouse Gas [CH4]
- 2008/12/21: McClatchyDC: Water vapor’s effects on atmosphere are debated
As for the temperature record:
- 2008/12/22: GreenGrok: Statistically Speaking: 2008′s Place in Warmest Years Sweepstakes
- 2008/12/21: ClimateP: Hadley Center study warns of “catastrophic” 5-7°C warming by 2100 on current emissions path
Glaciers are melting:
- 2008/12/26: Yahoo: Himalayan villagers on global warming frontline
- 2008/12/23: TerraDaily: Greenland’s Glaciers Losing Ice Faster This Year Than Last Year
- 2008/12/22: MercedSS: Melting Yosemite glacier an omen of climate change — More water runs off Mt. Lyell than can be replaced by snow
Sea levels are rising:
- 2008/12/26: ThinkP: Climate change report forecasts global sea levels to rise up to 4 feet by 2100
- 2008/12/24: Oxfham: Sea change: rising sea levels in Bangladesh
More GW impacts are being seen:
- 2008/12/27: TerraDaily: Erratic weather hurts Britain’s wildlife
- 2008/12/28: Guardian(UK): Third of Britain’s mammals ‘at risk’ — Climate change and habitat loss blamed as eight more species join the seriously endangered list
- 2008/12/27: SciDaily: Warmer Temperatures Could Lead To A Boom In Corn Pests
- 2008/12/27: BBC: Erratic weather ‘harms wildlife’
- 2008/12/27: Guardian(UK): British wildlife may not survive third wet summer, warns National Trust
- 2008/12/27: Guardian(UK): How the weather affected Britain’s wildlife in 2008
- 2008/12/26: ENN: Sierra Warming: Later snow, earlier melt: High anxiety
- 2008/12/22: SciAm: [Slideshow] Top 10 Places Already Affected by Climate Change
- 2008/12/23: ADN: Native leaders say climate affecting caribou populations — Alliance: Indigenous groups want to participate in global warming talks.
And then there are the world’s forests:
- 2008/12/28: Guardian(UK): Suspect quizzed over murder of eco-activist Dorothy Stang
- 2008/12/23: SciDaily: A Price On Carbon Not Enough To Save Rainforests
- 2008/12/22: DotEarth: Can Roads and Rain Forests Co-Exist?
- 2008/12/22: BBC: Brazil remembers slain activist
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is set to lead tributes to the Amazon rubber-tapper Chico Mendes on the 20th anniversary of his murder. Mr Mendes is seen as a pioneer of the environmental movement who mobilised local forest communities to stop the advance of loggers and ranchers.
- 2008/12/22: BBC: The life and legacy of Chico Mendes
Twenty years ago Amazon environmentalist Chico Mendes was shot dead in front of his home in the remote Brazilian state of Acre. He had campaigned for years to stop the slashing and burning of the rainforest. Brazil specialist Sue Branford, who met him, reflects…
- 2008/12/22: Guardian(UK): Hundreds of Brazil’s eco-warriors at risk of assassination
Twenty years after the killing of Chico Mendes, one of the world’s most prominent rainforest defenders, hundreds of human rights and environmental activists still face the threat of assassination in Brazil, a new study claims. The report, compiled by Brazil’s Catholic Land Commission (CPT) and due to be released in full early next year, reveals that at least 260 people, among them a Catholic bishop, live under the threat of murder because of their fight against a coalition of loggers, farmers and cattle ranchers.
- 2008/12/27: CCC: Climate change refugees seek a new international deal
Millions of people are predicted to become climate refugees as global warming increases. A new international pact will be needed to protect their rights to live.
- 2008/12/27: TerraDaily: Four killed as storms batter eastern Spain
- 2008/12/28: SciDaily: NASA Study Links Severe Storm Increases, Global Warming
- 2008/12/23: CBC: Prepare for longer emergencies due to climate change: EMO
The rise of freak weather storms as a result of global warming means that New Brunswickers should add extra water and supplies to their emergency stockpile, according to the director of the provincial Emergency Measures Organization. Traditionally, homeowners have been warned to keep 72 hours worth of food and water in case they are disconnected from the power grid because of a severe storm or flood. Ernie MacGillivray, the director of the Emergency Measures Organization, said even if most people were able to sustain themselves for 72 hours that would have given emergency responders the ability to deal with the most urgent cases. But times are changing as the climate changes. Now MacGillivray said people should be prepared now to be without power for as long as a week.
- 2008/12/23: UN: Rise in extreme weather events fuelling demand for UN disaster management expertise
- 2008/12/23: CBC: Thousands still without power as Nova Scotia cleans up after blizzard
- 2008/12/21: BCLSB: Snowmagedon And Global Warming
- 2008/12/22: G&M: From sea to stormy sea …
Winter walloped Vancouver on the official start of the snowy season Sunday — and it was the same story across the country as Canada approaches its first coast-to-coast white Christmas in almost four decades.
- 2008/12/24: KSJT: Reuters: Australia has an aquifer. A GIANT one. And it’s mostly being wasted.
- 2008/12/23: Xinhuanet: Mediterranean region adopts guidelines for water strategy
- 2008/12/22: UN: UN disaster team arrives in flood-stricken Papua New Guinea
- 2008/12/22: UN: Thousands hit by floods and avalanches in Colombia receive UN food aid
Elsewhere on the mitigation front:
- 2008/12/27: GristMill: Notable quotable — Biochar: magic bullet?
- 2008/12/27: ClimateP: Think Globally, plant locally
Consider transportation & GHG production:
- 2008/12/26: OilDrum: Rail Efficiencies
While in the endless quest for sustainable building codes:
- 2008/12/27: ClimateP: Stimulating the economy with green buildings
- 2008/12/27: FuturePundit: Passive House Design Takes Off In Germany
- 2008/12/27: NYT: The Energy Challenge — No Furnaces but Heat Aplenty in ‘Passive Houses’
- 2008/12/24: SciDaily: Green Homes That Withstand Hurricanes Under Development
- 2008/12/22: TreeHugger: Quote of the Day: Building Green Houses is Like “Polishing a Turd”
[...] they polish the turd. Rather than redesign the house
- 2008/12/27: SciDaily: No Quick Or Easy Technological Fix For Climate Change, Researchers Say
Global warming, some have argued, can be reversed with a large-scale “geoengineering” fix, such as having a giant blimp spray liquefied sulfur dioxide in the stratosphere or building tens of millions of chemical filter systems in the atmosphere to filter out carbon dioxide. But Richard Turco, a professor in the UCLA Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and a member and founding director of UCLA’s Institute of the Environment, sees no evidence that such technological alterations of the climate system would be as quick or easy as their proponents claim and says many of them wouldn’t work at all.
- 2008/12/26: CanWest: Harnessing the sea to fight global warming – Some scientists worry carbon-catching schemes could endanger ocean ecosystems
- 2008/12/21: McClatchyDC: Scientists doubt inventor’s global cooling idea — but what if it works?
- 2008/12/23: SciDaily: Fix For Global Warming? Scientists Propose Covering Deserts With Reflective Sheeting
- 2008/12/20: NBF: [The Weather Machine] Nanotechnology for Climate Control and Enabling a Kardashev Type 1 and 2 Civilization
While on the adaptation front:
- 2008/12/26: SMH: Disasters warning for Asia-Pacific
Australia’s neighbours in the Asia-Pacific region face an era of “mega-disasters” affecting hundreds of thousands of people as urbanisation, climate change and food shortages amplify the impact of natural catastrophes such as earthquakes and cyclones in coming years, scientific research has shown.
- 2008/12/22: CPD: Comment on “Aerosol radiative forcing and climate sensitivity deduced from the Last Glacial Maximum to Holocene transition”, by P. Chylek and U. Lohmann, Geophys. Res. Lett., 2008 by J. C. Hargreaves & J. D. Annan
- 2008/12/22: CPD: Three exceptionally strong East-Asian summer monsoon events during glacial conditions in the past 470 kyr by D.-D. Rousseau et al.
- 2008/12/23: ACP: Lagrangian analysis of low altitude anthropogenic plume processing across the North Atlantic by E. Real et al.
- 2008/12/23: PNAS: Increasing corn for biofuel production reduces biocontrol services in agricultural landscapes by Douglas A. Landis et al.
- 2008/12/23: PNAS: The role of nutricline depth in regulating the ocean carbon cycle by Pedro Cermeño et al.
- 2008/12/23: PNAS: Climate regulation of fire emissions and deforestation in equatorial Asia by G. R. van der Werf et al.
- 2008/12/23: PNAS: [Letter] Reply to Feeley and Silman: Extinction risk estimates are approximations but are not invalid by Stephen P. Hubbell et al.
- 2008/12/23: PNAS: [Letter] Unrealistic assumptions invalidate extinction estimates by Kenneth J. Feeley & Miles R. Silman
- 2008/12/: IJGEI: (ab$) Cosmic Heat Emission concept to ‘stop’ global warming by Takayuki Toyama & Alan Stainer
Before we get into politics, there was some science done:
- 2008/12/24: SciDaily: Does Global Warming Lead To A Change In Upper Atmospheric Transport?
- 2008/12/22: Yahoo: Seawater science can help climate change forecasts
- 2008/12/22: ABC(Au): Scientists sea salty solution
A number of international scientists have developed a new definition of saltwater which they say will improve the accuracy of climate change and weather predictions. Until now, climate change models have assumed saltwater and freshwater absorb heat at the same rate.
- 2008/12/27: QuarkSoup: Hansen’s AGU Lecture
- 2008/12/21: Stoat: The Venus Syndrome
The Pielke fan clubbe put in another appearance:
- 2008/12/21: ERabett: The honest broker quote mine
- 2008/12/22: ClimateP: Finally, Roger Pielke admits he supports policies that will take us to 5-7°C warming or more
And on the carbon trading front:
- 2008/12/22: CSW: Second RGGI cap-and-trade auction raised $106 M; states not spending any of it on adaptation
- 2008/12/22: WorldChanging: Clean Development Mechanism in Flux
The idea of a carbon tax is still bouncing around:
- 2008/12/27: NYT: The Gas Tax
- 2008/12/23: AutoBG: CO2 based motorbike [registration] tax goes into effect in Spain
Meanwhile on the international political front:
- 2008/12/22: ABC(Au): EU, Brazilian leaders meet on climate change, economy
- 2008/12/22: ENN: ‘Obama move will lure India into climate change fight’
- 2008/12/21: NEN: A greening China wants new energy deal with U.S.
And on the American political front:
- 2008/12/26: GristMill: Subsidizing suicide — American taxpayers help pay for coal sent to China
- 2008/12/24: GristMill: Mean, old, and dirty — Climate youth activists target the Capitol Power Plant
- 2008/12/24: AutoBG: Senator Evan Bayh proposes $1.6B investment in battery manufacturing, smart grid and EVs
- 2008/12/21: SDUnionTrib: How the West’s Energy Boom Could Threaten Drinking Water for 1 in 12 Americans
- 2008/12/21: PittsburghPG: State concerned about waste water from new gas wells
- 2008/12/21: NYT:Mag: Questions for Henry Waxman — Power Grab?
- 2008/12/23: GristMill: ‘Mustache of Justice’ — Waxman talks to NYT Magazine about unseating Dingell
- 2008/12/22: ClimateP: Like Detroit, the coal industry chooses (assisted) suicide
- 2008/12/22: CSW: Second RGGI cap-and-trade auction raised $106 M; states not spending any of it on adaptation
America has a new hero. Utah university student Tim DeChristopher derailed a BLM mineral rights auction:
- 2008/12/23: OilChange: Utah’s Own “Shoe Thrower” [Tim DeChristopher] Disrupts Bush Auction
- 2008/12/20: SLTrib: Impostor disrupts lands bid — Civil disobedience — U. student drives up bids, may face charges
- 2008/12/22: DemNow: Posing as a Bidder, Utah Student Disrupts Government Auction of 150,000 Acres of Wilderness for Oil & Gas Drilling
Thirteen year old Madeleine Stewart’s forthright statement caught a few ears:
- 2008/12/23: GristMill: From the mouths of babes — What U.S. leaders could learn from a 13-year-old
- 2008/12/22: EnvEcon: Ethanol is stupid [Madeleine Stewart]
- 2008/12/22: TreeHugger: Corn Ethanol Is Stupid: 13 Year Old Weighs In On Renewable Energy
Apparently we’ve reached some sort of tipping point on the issue of corn ethanol as our children are now writing letters to the editor on the subject…
- 2008/12/27: TreeHugger: Kentucky Environmental Groups Battle Bush Administration’s Midnight Rulemaking
- 2008/12/27: WaPo: Protections in Peril — A midnight attack on the Endangered Species Act, courtesy of the Interior Department
- 2008/12/24: NYT: In Reversal, Court Allows a Bush Plan on Pollution
A federal appeals court in Washington reversed itself on Tuesday and temporarily reinstated a Bush administration plan to reduce pollution from coal-fired power plants. In July, the court struck down the rule, saying the Environmental Protection Agency had exceeded its authority in devising a new emissions-trading system to reduce that pollution, and must rewrite the rule to fix its “fundamental flaws.” Environmentalists criticized the decision as a major setback for clean air. In Tuesday’s decision, the court said that having a flawed rule temporarily in place was better than having no rule at all. The agency must still revise the rule but has no deadline for doing so.
- 2008/12/24: AutoBG: EPA Administrator declares that CO2 CAN’T be considered for power plants!
- 2008/12/24: ThinkP: Boxer demands Mukasey force EPA to withdraw ‘blatantly illegal’ memo ignoring carbon emissions
- 2008/12/22: ClimateP: Boxer asks DOJ to force EPA withdrawal of ‘blatantly illegal’ emissions memo
- 2008/12/22: GristMill: ‘Renegade’ Johnson — Barbara Boxer wants AG to block EPA’s [Stephen] Johnson
- 2008/12/22: NEN: EPA gives coal permission to spew
The Obama chatter is nonstop:
- 2008/12/27: GristMill: [Dessler] What to do on day one — Memo to the president-elect about NASA
- 2008/12/26: HoustonChronicle: How to prevent the lights from going out across U.S. — As electricity crisis looms, points for Obama to consider
- 2008/12/24: BBerg: Rail Takes Back Seat as States Target Obama Stimulus for Roads
- 2008/12/23: GreenGrok: Change We Can Believe In?
- 2008/12/23: KSJT: Lots of Opinion: The Obama era in science – what to expect, hope for
- 2008/12/23: ENN: Obama team primed to push climate change agenda
- 2008/12/22: NatureN: Obama’s picks underline climate focus — Strong roles for biologists as the president-elect chooses his science and technology team
- 2008/12/22: ClimateP: Progressivism is pragmatism: Obama says “the facts demand bold action.”
- 2008/12/22: GristMill: Transition talk: He blinded me with science — Obama announces science advisers in his weekly radio address
And there is still a fair amount of talk about Obama’s appointments:
- 2008/12/26: WorldChanging: Chu, Browner, Holdren, Lubchenco: the Climate Superfriends
- 2008/12/23: GristMill: Savvy behind the scenes — Nancy Sutley is expected to be effective at CEQ, even in Carol Browner’s shadow
- 2008/12/22: GristMill: Jane Lubchenco: NOAA’s Ark? New NOAA head will have plenty of work to do
- 2008/12/23: CSW: Getting to know Dr. John Holdren, Part 1: Remarks in 1997 on global climatic disruption
- 2008/12/21: ClimateP: More proof Holdren is a great choice: Pielke, Tierney, Lomborg, and CEI diss him
- 2008/12/22: GristMill: Transition talk: Really got a Holdren on me — What Obama’s new science adviser has to say about climate change
- 2008/12/21: MTobis: Tierney vs Holdren
- 2008/12/22: TreeHugger: If NY Times Columnist Tierney Thinks Holdren Is Bad Science Advisor Pick, He’s Definitely the Right Choice
- 2008/12/22: OilDrum: Thoughts on the New Energy Team
While in the UK:
- 2008/12/22: Telegraph(UK): Blackouts could hit Britain by 2015, says National Grid chief
Blackouts could become a regular occurrence unless the Government ensures more power stations are built, the head of National Grid has said.
- 2008/12/23: Guardian(UK): Bold intentions for parliament that went up in smoke
- 2008/12/23: Guardian(UK): Lunacy clouds climate change policy
- 2008/12/24: Guardian(UK): [Letters] The Green New Deal offers a Christmas message of hope
- 2008/12/23: Guardian(UK): Government buildings emit more CO2 than all of Kenya — Poor energy efficiency, Ignorance among officials
- 2008/12/23: Guardian(UK): Climate change committee should take its own advice
And in Europe:
- 2008/12/28: EarthTimes: Swedish premier [Fredrik Reinfeldt]: Financial crisis a challenge for climate talks
Meanwhile in Australia:
- 2008/12/28: SMH: Businesses reap carbon bonanza
NSW businesses are reaping a bonanza from a new greenhouse fund, receiving more than five times the amount in subsidies from the State Government than they would from the Commonwealth, the NSW Opposition says. Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell said the inaugural report of the NSW Climate Change Fund revealed companies and government agencies had received $27 million to reduce their carbon footprint. But the report also confirmed that greenhouse gas emissions had only come down by 127,000 tonnes, meaning the Rees Government was paying emitters $214 a tonne. As part of its new emissions trading scheme, the Rudd Government has capped the cost of greenhouse gases at $40 a tonne for the next five years.
- 2008/12/27: ABC(Au): Energy companies under fire over smart meters
An environment lobby group says electricity companies are failing to roll out technology that could help reduce household consumption and greenhouse emissions. The New South Wales Government promised ‘smart meter’ installation a year ago, but the Total Environment Centre’s Jane Castles says only bottom-of-the-line technology is on offer. “[They are] smart meters without in-home displays and they certainly don’t offer the right pricing incentives that reflect the benefits of energy efficiency,” she said. The Energy Retailers Association’s chief executive, Cameron O’Reilly, says it is yet to be proved that smart meters do cut power usage.
- 2008/12/24: SMH: State climate programs under review
The Premier has called on the independent pricing tribunal to review the state’s biggest climate change programs. Residential rebates for solar hot water systems and insulation, an energy efficiency program for schools and the building sustainability, or BASIX, program that requires every new home or renovation to meet set environmental standards will go under the microscope. The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal will examine the efficiency and effectiveness of 12 state programs designed to cut greenhouse gases and assess whether they are compatible with the federal scheme announced by the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, last week. In particular, the review will examine the NSW Climate Change Fund…
- 2008/12/23: ABC(Au): Report praises council climate change efforts
A new New South Wales Government report shows Lake Macquarie Council is leading the way by developing a range of plans to tackle climate change.
- 2008/12/23: ABC(Au): The Australian Conservation Foundation says giving handouts to power generators will not protect jobs in the Latrobe Valley
- 2008/12/23: ABC(Au): Activist airs climate change protest fears
- 2008/12/22: ABC(Au): Solar panel rules change in SA
A change of rules in South Australia will make installation of solar panels exempt from needing planning approval.
- 2008/12/22: Australian: Middle class still not sold on Rudd’s climate change plan
In Canada, minority neocon PM Harper, continues his do-nothing policy:
- 2008/12/23: BCLSB: Action & Reaction
One of the most concrete manifestations of Global Warming in Canada is the Mountain Pine Beetle outbreak that has swept through B.C. and, now, is threatening large parts of Alberta. In its 2006 budget, the Harper Government made deep cuts to programs designed to study the beetle and fight its spread. Two years later, the inevitable has occurred…
- 2008/12/26: WaPo: Report: Alberta Mines Imperil Birds — Tar Sands Operations Affect Migrators, Environmentalists Say
- 2008/12/22: ASPO-USA: Will Canada be Our Salvation?
As for miscellaneous Canadiana:
- 2008/12/28: CanWest: Dion, Campbell felt sting of carbon tax
The movement toward a long term ecologically viable economics is glacial:
- 2008/12/27: CNN: Gas prices hit five-year low
The national average price of regular unleaded gasoline falls to $1.63 a gallon matching a level not seen since February 2004.
- 2008/12/24: EnergyBulletin: The barn raising
- 2008/12/24: EnergyBulletin: The moment of darkness
- 2008/12/23: TimesOfMalta: Taking the long view by Ban Ki-moon
- 2008/12/22: GristMill: What does economics explain, anyway? Does economics even look at the real world?
As for how the media handles the science of climatology:
- 2008/12/22: CJR: Science Groups Protest CNN Cuts — CASW, NASW, SEJ, and WFSJ issue first-ever joint letter
- 2008/12/26: ClimateP: John Tierney IS the country’s worst science writer, not Gregg Easterbrook
- 2008/12/24: GristMill: Notable quotable — Uh oh, looks like the news media is tired of getting played
- 2008/12/23: GristMill: The essential ‘clean coal’ scam — Politico lets shill get away with the basic dodge at the center of the ‘clean coal’ campaign
- 2008/12/23: Intersection:CCM: Missing the Point on Science Journalism
- 2008/12/22: TP:WonkRoom: John Tierney On Catastrophic Climate Change: ‘There Are Other Ways To Cope’
- 2008/12/22: KSJT: Four Sci-Journalism groups protest CNN’s evisceration of its science team / Plus, a poll says public’s eye is not mainly on science anyway
Here is something for your library:
- 2008/12/22: RealClimate: Books ’08
And for your film & video enjoyment:
- 2008/12/28: ClimateP: The best eco-movie of the year — and the worst
Developing a new energy infrastructure is a fundamental challenge of the current generation:
- 2008/12/25: GristMill: Step right up to the fossil fuel roller coaster! Survey: Oil and gas industry leaders say the era of cheap gas is over
- 2008/12/24: CalcRisk: Oil Prices: Cliff Diving
- 2008/12/24: ClimateP: CAP Report: Identifying hurdles to renewable electricity transmission
- 2008/12/22: Telegraph(UK): Blackouts could hit Britain by 2015, says National Grid chiefBlackouts could become a regular occurrence unless the Government ensures more power stations are built, the head of National Grid has said.
- 2008/12/24: OilChange: Putin: “Era of Cheap Gas” at an End
- 2008/12/24: BBC: Oil falls back below $39 a barrel — More bad economic news from the US has sent oil prices falling back below $39 a barrel
- 2008/12/23: G&M: Gas exporters formalize co-operation agreement — to create “gas OPEC” at Moscow meeting
- 2008/12/22: FinancialSense: The Coming Oil Train Wreck — First stop: Mexico?
- 2008/12/23: BBC: The era of cheap gas is coming to an end, Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has told ministers from the world’s major [natural] gas-exporting countries
- 2008/12/23: NakedCapitalism: Will Excess Liquefied Natural Gas Reach the United States?
- 2008/12/21: FTimes: Over a barrelThe plunging oil price is like a dangerously addictive painkiller: short-term relief is being provided at a cost of serious long-term harm
- 2008/12/22: WSJ: Green Bubble Goes ‘Pop’ — Clean-Energy Firms Struggle for Funding; Key [WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation] Index Slides 66%
- 2008/12/21: CalcRisk: U.S. retail gasoline prices decline to $1.66 per gallon
- 2008/12/22: SMH: NSW’s coal-seam gas producers fired up for growth
The answer my friend…:
- 2008/12/23: NEN: Biggest year yet for wind
Meanwhile among the solar aficionados:
- 2008/12/24: Reuters: Japan to bring back solar power subsidy for homes
- 2008/12/22: DeccanHerald: Tapping sunshine
India has had mixed results with its solar programme. The government is now gearing up to launch several mega schemes to harness this abundant source, says S V Suresh Babu
- 2008/12/23: Eureka: Enhancing solar cells with nanoparticles — New approach to help solar cells harvest light more efficiently
- 2008/12/22: NYT:GreenInc: Connecticut’s Solar Incentives Dry Up
The arithmetic of coal carbon is striking home:
- 2008/12/27: TreeHugger: Welcome to the 19th Century: Coal Comes Home Again
- 2008/12/27: NYT: Burning Coal at Home Is Making a Comeback
- 2008/12/22: NewsRevu: Coal hard truths — Sacramento-born activist seeks justice in the mountains
- 2008/12/24: GristMill: Numbers don’t lie — End of year musings on coal and its competitors
- 2008/12/23: ThinkP: New Gore ad shines a light on coal’s dirty lies
- 2008/12/18: GTMedia: Coal Reserve Estimates Way Too High, Says Expert
- 2008/12/18: SciAm: Coal Poses Climate Catastrophe as “Peak Oil” Approaches — When will oil production peak and begin to decline? And what will come after?
Biofuel bickering abounds:
- 2008/12/23: NEN: Work on algae ongoing
- 2008/12/22: Eureka: Modified plants may yield more biofuel
- 2008/12/21: BBC: Afro-Colombians fight biodiesel producers
For Afro-Colombians evicted from their land in north-western Colombia and along the Pacific coast, the loss of familiar surroundings of lush jungle and rugged mountains can be devastating.
- 2008/12/25: EnergyBulletin: The peak oil crisis: Confusion in the markets
- 2008/12/20: Straight: Gwynne Dyer: International Energy Agency says peak oil is coming sooner
And then there is the matter of efficiency & conservation:
- 2008/12/27: ClimateP: An efficiency portfolio standard is as important as a renewable standard — and should come first
- 2008/12/25: ClimateP: LED holiday light sales increase despite far higher initial costs
- 2008/12/22: RPTT: Is the LED revolution coming?
- 2008/12/23: UFlorida: Engineers: Efficient organic LEDs a step toward better lights
Automakers & lawyers, engineers & activists argue over the future of the car:
- 2008/12/27: LA Times: Charging ahead to push electric cars — Better Place envisions installing thousands of plug-in and battery replacement stations to serve drivers
- 2008/12/27: Independent(UK): The electric car that can break the speed limit signals a new road order — New Mitsubishi [i-MiEV] can reach 87mph and travel 100 miles without needing a recharge
- 2008/12/26: TreeHugger: American Lithium Ion Battery Makers Form Alliance
- 2008/12/24: AutoBG: Australians get another all-electric car option with Energetique evMe
- 2008/12/24: BBC: Toyota sales plunge in November — Toyota reports a 21.8% fall in gloabl vehicle sales in November, its worst decline since it began tracking such data
- 2008/12/24: BBC: Toshiba plans bike battery plant — Toshiba has announced plans to build a new factory to make its new super charge ion battery (SCiB), which can be used in electric vehicles
- 2008/12/23: AutoBG: Th!nk now under “public administration”
- 2008/12/23: NYT: Foreign Automakers in the U.S. Cut Back
- 2008/12/23: Guardian(UK): Sales slump puts Toyota on track for first loss in 70 years
- 2008/12/22: Google:AP: Toyota projects first loss in 70 years
Meanwhile in the greenwashing chronicles:
- 2008/12/22: AutoBG: GM, CEOs’ hybrid drive to DC make the list of 2008′s Top Greenwashes
The carbon lobby are up to the usual:
- 2008/12/28: Deltoid: Denialists scraping the bottom of the barrel
- 2008/12/28: Telegraph(UK): 2008 was the year man-made global warming was disproved
- 2008/12/27: DeSmogBlog: Debunking Joanne Nova’s ‘Skeptics Handbook’ part 2: Yes, Global Warming is Real and it’s Still Happening
- 2008/12/25: DeSmogBlog: Debunking the ‘Skeptics Handbook’: More CO2 Does Worsen Climate Change
- 2008/12/26: LFR: Why conservatives don’t like science and facts
- 2008/12/26: GristMill: The Creamy Baileys now open for voting — Vote for the worst piece of writing on climate change
- 2008/12/26: Deltoid: The Creamy Baileys Nobel Peace Prize for Science, 2008
- 2008/12/24: GristMill: Coal blogging is fun! Coal front group sets up ‘Blogger Brigade’ to fight reality
- 2008/12/24: Deltoid: The top 5 anti-science think tanks
- 2008/12/23: ClimateP: Which are the top 5 anti-science think tanks?
- 2008/12/22: ERabett: Something strange comes this way (well it’s NJ, what did you expect?)
- 2008/12/22: Deltoid: The Australian’s War on Science XXVIII
- 2008/12/23: GristMill: Technology, technooology, you are feeling sleepy … Gingrich summarizes the state-of-the-art delayer line
- 2008/12/23: TP:WonkRoom: Coal Front Group Sets Up Dirty ‘Blogger Brigade’ To Fight Reality
- 2008/12/23: ThinkP: Shuster Pushes Inhofe On Global Warming Skepticism: ‘If There Is A Hoax, Isn’t It This Report Of Yours?’
- 2008/12/23: TP:WonkRoom: Clean Coal Smoke: ACCCE Releases Long List Of Coal Tech Projects They’re Not Supporting
- 2008/12/21: Deltoid: John Tierney’s Easterbrook number is one
- 2008/12/21: Deltoid: So who’s on Inhofe’s list and the HIV/AIDS deniers list?
- 2008/12/22: TP:WonkRoom: Report: Coal Industry Talks ‘Clean Coal’ but Spends Few Dollars On It
As for climate miscellanea:
- 2008/12/27: BCLSB: A Quick Correction Re Farmers’ Almanacs And Global Warming
- 2008/12/26: CCurrents: Climate Code Red – Telling The Truth To Power
- 2008/12/24: Stoat: Christmas Quiz
- 2008/12/23: KSJT: BBC: Rubber Duckies – 90 of them – disappear in quest for global warming clues
- 2008/12/21: BSD: Climate change and the snows of San Francisco Bay
And here are a couple of sites you may find interesting and/or useful:
- Google Group – Climate Intervention
- NOAA: Carbon Tracker
- CO2 Quota
- LCV: League of Conservation Voters – News
- EarthJustice: Environmental Law
- NET: National Environmental Trust
- USGCRP: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Online Resources
- TheScream Blog
- WL: Warming Law – Changing the Climate in the Courts
- ENN: Environmental News Network
- MTobis: Only In It For The Gold
- CCD: Climate Change Denial
- Solar Electricity Action SOLAREC
- PVGIS: Geographical Assessment of Solar Energy Resource and Photovoltaic Technology
Let’s start with a smile:
While in Antarctica:
Here’s another one of those studies I would like to see replicated by a third party:
The food crisis is ongoing:
Climate refugees are becoming an issue:
Yes we have no wacky weather, except:
As for disruptions of the hydrological cycle [floods & droughts]:
Large scale geo-engineering keeps popping up:
Meanwhile in the journals:
The Bush administration’s midnight regulation changes continue to gather opprobrium:
The tricky & difficult question of the tar sands looms:
Yes we have a peak oil sighting:
Low Key Plug
My first novel Water was published in Canada May, 2007. The American release was in October. An Introductionto the novel is available, along with the Unpublished Forewordand the Launch Talk. An overview of my writing is available here.
“The laws of nature and the laws of economics are unforgiving. We can abuse our environment, but only for a while. We can spend beyond our means, but only for a while. We can free ride on the investments made in the past, but only for a while. Even the richest country in the world ignores the laws of nature and the laws of economics at its peril.” -Joseph E. Stiglitz