As you can see, Eco-Diary Rescue has switched to Tuesdays. So today’s installment includes Diaries from the past 12 days. And if this isn't enough for you, please drop in at DailyKos Environmentalists.
jillian weighed in with three of her signature compilation Diaries – BREAKING!...the Earth (TGIF Version): "France unveils blueprint for green revolution. Green taxes on gas-guzzling cars, lower speed caps on highways and eco-labels on supermarket food: French campaigners and businesses on Thursday unveiled a blueprint for a green revolution ahead of a high-profile environmental summit. Agence France-Presse." And BREAKING!...the Earth :-) version: "Money on the way to fight lead poisoning in homes. Parents may worry about their children's exposure to lead paint on toys made in China, but experts say the biggest threat of lead poisoning still comes from exposure to lead-laced paint and dust in kids' homes. Detroit Free Press." And BREAKING!...the Earth (Avocado Festival Edition): "EPA approves new pesticide despite scientists' concerns. Despite the protests of more than 50 scientists, including five Nobel laureates in chemistry, the U.S. EPA on Friday approved use of a new, highly toxic fumigant, mainly for strawberry fields. Los Angeles Times."
In his Marine Life Series: Basking Sharks, Mark H told us that: "Next to the whale shark, basking sharks (Cetorhinus maximus) are the second largest fish in existence. Fortunately, like the whale shark, these giant fish are harmless filter feeders. Its scientific name comes from the Greek roots meaning "giant big-nosed monster," which seems pretty apt. Found in temperate waters of both the northern and southern hemispheres, these sharks can grow to well over thirty feet in length."
wcproteus wondered Will species extinction be the scientific effect of elitist greed? "The time has come to seriously examine the biological consequences of rampant immorality. If an alien life form was observing human civilization (and perhaps they are!), probably they would classify "disease" not only biologically, but socially. This would make sense if disease was defined as a "force of nature" which had the potential to lead to civilization death, if not species extinction. With such a definition in mind, elitist greed could certainly be the number one candidate for the death of human civilization and/or the extinction of the human race."
davidseth had not yet encountered the disturbing decades-old story of Lost Frogs, Extinct Frogs: "How very strange and disquieting. Frogs are disappearing from our planet. Many species have already become extinct and even more are being driven toward extinction. I am not a herpetologist. And I hadn't heard this news. Or if I did, it somehow didn't make a very deep or lasting impression. But I read Latin American literature extensively. I just finished Mayra Montero's gem of a novel In the Palm of Darkness, which is about love and politics and, yes, the extinction of frogs."
betson08 registered his displeasure overSlaughtering Wolves in Alaska: "Slaughtering you say? Yes, automatic weapons are being used from small aircraft to gun down wolves in Alaska. What kind of people would slaughter these majestic creatures for sport – in a place where there isn't even the excuse of protecting livestock? This sadistic practice doesn't belong anywhere in a society that considers itself ‘civilized.’"
The killing of other canines was what spurred bigwildlife to write Federal Government Waging War on Wildlife: "Today, leading conservation and animal welfare organizations – including Big Wildlife, The Humane Society of the United States, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Animal Protection Institute, Sierra Club, Animal Welfare Institute, Center for Biological Diversity, and others – called on the federal government to stop killing coyotes and foxes at their den sites. The coalition urged a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, called Wildlife Services, to cease all ‘denning’ activities – the practice of killing pups at or in their dens – after the groups learned the agency was using shovels to behead young coyote pups or breaking the pups’ necks. Wildlife Services kills tens of thousands of animals each year for livestock growers, and farmers’ interests."
Saving just one animal was yoduuuh do or do not’s concern in Need Vet Advice for Wild Crow: "Right now my crow has a broken wing. It completely launches to one side and does not even fold up. There is no blood and no obvious wound. I have not tried to move it at this point. I have had the crow now called Ebony for the fifth day today. I know how to cut flight feathers so it would not drag. He is on an elevated perch so it does not touch the ground on the perch. He has gotten down and walked around dragging it and ignoring it. Can I do anything to fix it? I do know if it stays this way he will never fly again. California has the strictest animal laws in the nation. Taking him to a vet means the vet has to report me and animal control will come and take him and kill him. There is no appeal and it is the end of the story."
According to Contributing Editor Devilstower in Science Friday: For the Birds, the feathered creatures have got quite a bit going for them that we didn’t know about until recently: "Considering their relatively late arrival on the evolutionary stage, perhaps it's not surprising that birds have some pretty advanced features. In fact, it seems that birds may have their own built in GPS. Like many other animals, birds have an ability to sense the magnetic field. However, recent experiments point to the idea that they can literally see the orientation of the magnetic field. Besides determining the compounds in the optical system that support this ability, experiments also show that birds have difficulty orienting in environments where the lighting was limited to yellow or red light."
Jo Etta returned for another look at Missouri Corps of Engineers: Criticism Revisited:
"Let me reiterate that the Corps' own 1998 fifty million dollar study of their plan to build more locks and dams concluded that doing so was not cost effective. The Corps ignored its own study and lied about the conclusions, until its chief economist, Donald Sweeney, called the top brass on their lies. I'm not an economist for the Corps, so my explanation of why building those locks and dams wasn't cost effective won't be fiscally precise. But neither will it be ‘bird-brained.’"
POLLUTION and ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
ufw urged us to TAKE ACTION: EPA Approves Toxic Pesticide Despite Protests of 54 Scientists: "Do you want to help pregnant women, farm workers, and young children from being exposed to a toxic, mutagenic pesticide? Well, you can. We need you to contact the Environmental Protection Agency today and tell them to protect the public by immediately revoking the registration for the highly toxic pesticide Methyl Iodide. The EPA approved the one-year use of this dangerous chemical on Friday."
bottsimons informed us about Klamath River: huge toxic algae blooms (dam removal needed): "Toxic algae warnings posted along the Klamath River, urge people to avoid contact with river water due to serious health risks. According to the Washington Post and other sources, these multiple dams, which facilitate algae growth in reservoirs, produce electricity for only about 70,000 homes: PacifiCorp’s Klamath hydroelectric facility consists of a total of 7 dams and 6 powerhouses that produce enough electricity to supply 70,000 homes during a year. The first dam on the Klamath River was completed in 1918, and salmon, steelhead, and Pacific lamprey have been stuck in the lower half of the Klamath River Basin ever since.
While several Diaries have hammered Chevron for its operations in Burma, and Daily Kos for running ads from the oil and gas giant, AskQuestions noted that an old Chevron refinery pollutes San Fran area: "The Chevron Richmond Refinery in Richmond, California, just north of Berkeley, is one of the oldest and largest refineries in the United States. Built in 1902... the refinery sits on nearly 3,000 acres of land. To refine its capacity of 87.6 million barrels of crude oil per year – 240,000 barrels a day – the refinery produces over two million pounds of waste a year."
seesdifferent complainted that the EPA disregards scientists, approves toxic insecticide: "Bush's Environmental Pollution Agency political commissars showed their devotion to profit and politics by approving, in the classic Friday afternoon announcement, the use of methyl iodide aka iodomethane aka Midas."
The Cunctator couldn’t believe it when Toyota Declares Europe "Does Not Exist" and Japan "Beyond What Is Possible": "Toyota is under pressure to stop joining Ford and GM in fighting 35 MPG CAFE standards in the Democratic energy bill. Toyota's latest claim: Our engineers tell us the requirements specified by these proposed measures are beyond what is possible. Toyota spends $23 million every day on research and development but, at this point, the technology to meet such stringent standards by 2020 does not exist."
smoo also shook his head over this in OH NO Toyota fights fuel economy standards: "Toyota has been swarmed like a piece of bait in a piranha tank recently for fighting Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. The company, known for its 46 mpg Prius, has joined a number of auto manufacturers from Detroit [correction- is a longstanding member] in the "Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers" that have heavily lobbied and sued at the federal and state government levels to prevent California's 35 mpg standards from becoming a reality. After the jump: Top five reasons Toyota is fighting 35 mpg fuel economy standards in the US that it already meets in Japan and Europe."
A Siegel had his say on the subject in Empty Barrel Politics ...: "When it comes to the automakers, Friedman is noting that they are following empty-barrel politics, conniving to have Michigan lawmakers year after year shielding Detroit from pressure to innovate on higher mileage standards, even though Detroit’s failure to sell more energy-efficient vehicles has clearly contributed to its brush with bankruptcy, its loss of market share to Toyota and Honda — whose fleets beat all U.S. automakers in fuel economy in 2007 — and its loss of jobs. And well, as noted in Astroturfing to fight mileage standards, the auto firms are working hard to give these politicians coverage."
Having been one of the originators of Energize America, where a handful of us battled among ourselves over the issues for months, Jerome a Paris took aim in Dingell, gas taxes, CAFE and diet - 3 data points: "Should CAFE standards be tightened? Should a gas tax be imposed? How do you fight global climate change without imposing a crippling burden on the poor?"
Devilstower still fondly remembers his days speeding along on the Kentucky backroads in his muscle car, but he’s repeated, part way, and reminded us of how we got where we’ve got in The Once and Future American Car: "But what happened instead was that in 1984, America lost its mind. I blame it on too much exposure to A Flock of Seagulls. From that year forward, instead of increasing fuel economy, what began to increase was both weight and horsepower. In 1984, the average light vehicle sold in America had less than 100 horsepower. By 1995, the average vehicle weight had gone up by a third and the average horsepower had gone up more than 50%. And the speed limit Congress had reduced to 55 in 1974 was rolled back to 65 in 1987. If that rate had continued, by now we'd be driving around in bloated vehicles that average more then 200 horsepower on highways where the speed limit is 70 or more. Oh, wait a second – we are."
NNadir went ga-ga over A Car Love-in: Supercritical Biomass Gasification and DME Motor Fuels: "The desperate effort to save the car culture is stimulating a lot of research that will be useful for a lot of other things should humanity survive global climate change. This brief diary is about the effort to make syn gas from biomass. Syn gas could be used to make fuels that are like petroleum based fuels or better yet, it could be used to make the wonder fuel DME which is the most flexible, safest and cleanest fuel of which I've ever heard."
"I love my new hybrid Camry," wrote Sylvester McMonkey Mcbean in A simple proposition to save $billions in oil: "No, this isn't going to be one of those smug-fest diaries about how enlightened I am because of my new car. It isn't going to be a love-fest extolling the virtues of the hybrid technology (which is cool) or the great feeling I have driving past gas stations (which is also cool). Instead, I am going to extol a dial on my dashboard. And why this could save oil by the tankerful."
Porsche51688 didn’t exactly take the shrinking violet approach in Own a nice car? Come and rape the Earth with us: "I realized today, that if you're a car aficionado as much as I am, and you love the environment as much as I do, there might be five people just like us, collectively, on Earth (like gay republicans). I really do hope I am making an exaggeration, but I am trying to make a point. Today, I passed by Autoweek.com, and I noticed they had an article on there about CO2 emissions. If you scroll down to the comments section, you will not find a single pro-environment post. Not one. And although I am using Autoweek as the sacrificial lamb here, this is not a phenomenon confined to their website. It pervades car culture, especially exotic car culture. I don't find it so much in tuning car culture, but then, I can't really make generalizations about them either, since that's not exactly my area of expertise."
gmoke visited AltWheels: From Jr Solar Sprint to Electrathon and Beyond: "The Fifth Annual Altwheels Festival happened on City Hall Plaza in Boston the last Friday and Saturday of September. This year was the biggest ever. The usually barren brick plaza was filled with alternative fuel cars, trucks, vans, bikes, solar collectors, windmills, fuel cells, and a whole buncha other renewable kinda stuff."
In two Diaries, Sustainable transportation - Podcar City Conference in Uppsala and Live From Sweden. Podcars As Sustainable Transportation, Aeolus blogged on location: "It's a sunny day in Uppsala, and two hundred representatives from around the world are gathering for the Podcar City Conference. "Imagine, if you will, a station built into the second story of a commercial building within walking distance of your home. There you buy your free-trade coffee and board a small, lightweight automated car, powered by electricity from the sun. Enter a destination, and the car moves above traffic, non-stop, on a grid, to any higher density node of development in your immediate area - education, shopping, employment, entertainment."
FOOD and AGRICULTURE
Chaoslillith let us in on some Good Environmental News: Gov pushes local farming progams: "I know a lot of people are really into local growing in Kossackia."
Mr Tek warned about a New madness: Reduced meat inspections: "Story in Chicago Tribune, Bill would reduce meat inspections, from last night says that a provision in the farm bill from July would require only state inspection, not federal."
The Vegetables of Mass Destruction: Eat Les Chikin® beat fell to waitingforvizzini this week: "My girlfriend is a vegetarian and I am not. Frankly I am seriously considering it. ... Now we've been told many times here about the many reasons and virtues of vegetarianism/veganism. Whether you draw you comfort in the scriptures (Yeah there are pro vegetarian/vegan scriptures), or because CAFOs are a major emitter of greenhouse gases, or health reasons. I know that one of her reasons was ethical. She believes firmly that all animals should be treated humanely. I respect her a great deal for her choice. In addition to acting on this belief in her own dietary choices she has chosen to support an organization called United Poultry Concerns. That is what I'd like to talk about today."
Frankenoid had another pair in
his her long-running series Saturday Morning (Home And) Garden Blogging Vol. 3.32 and Saturday Morning (Home And) Garden Blogging Vol. 3.33
"Our lovely fall weather has continued for the past week, but that is about to change — into what, I'm not quite sure. A cold front is slated for the state, bringing with it lower temperatures and, depending on elevation, timing, and to which forecaster one is listening, rain and/or snow. In other words, your guess is as good as mine whether we'll have a killing frost tonight. Most predictions have us in the mid-30s, so the remainder of the passionflower buds will, most likely, have an opportunity to bloom."
He’s not voting for him, but Mr Bofothum took note of Ron Paul and industrial hemp: "Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul has filed a bill that would legalize hemp farming in the United States. This marks the second time Rep. Paul has filed this bill, but it went nowhere in the last Congress. The bill, HR 1009, would allow domestic hemp manufacturers to buy their hemp from American producers. Currently, US law bars the production of industrial hemp, and American manufacturers have to import their hemp from other countries. This legislation is several months old, yet I think it is rather important to understand why liberals like me are fond of Ron Paul. PS - I am an Edwards supporter."
Sick of It expressed a problem with NIMBYism in This is why alternative energy never gets off the ground: "In blustery regions, home turbines can cut power bills by up to 80 percent. But opponents claim Mann's wind turbine needlessly threatens neighborhood property values because Atlanta's low winds don't produce enough speed to make the device worthwhile. I'm all for beautifying the neighborhood, but will there be a neighborhood left if global warming goes bonkers? They're also complaining about wind farms being built off coastal areas. Well, sheesh. This might be a more picturesque alternative, though."
Challenging the conventional wisdom of even many environmentalists, Parburypolitica picks an old theme to plug a new approach in Small is Beautiful: "What is decentralised energy? It’s environmentally friendly energy that is locally produced to where it will be used. It actually covers a fairly wide variety of renewable technologies from solar panels on the school roofs, to windmills on houseboats, to geothermal boreholes at Buckingham palace or micro hydroelectricity. What is wrong with the centralised electricity system we have at the moment? Actually lots. Only 22% of the energy input into the electricity system is actually used, The rest is lost during inefficient generation, transmission over vast distances through the national grid or in domestic energy inefficiency. When it comes to coal or gas powered power stations this represents a terrible waste of a finite natural resource."
indycam pointed us to a news story and pondered Peak Oil vs Endless Oil: "The biofuel of the future could well be gasoline. That's the hope of one biotech startup that on Monday described for the first time how it is coaxing bacteria into producing hydrocarbons that could be processed into fuels like those made from petroleum. Could it be that we will never run out? If that’s the case , would it be a good thing or a bad thing? The infrastructure already built for delivery would not need rebuilding. The vast amounts of money tied up in the huge fleet of gas and diesel burners, saved. The knowledge base for building and repairing said vehicles, saved. ... Could it be that gasoline will be to cheap to meter? Could it be that no one will ever need to turn off the motor in their vehicle? Could it be that the internal combustion motor is here to stay?"
Beware the Coming Coal Publicity Blitz was our warning from CaliforniaDrySherry : "I enjoy taking an occasional poll, so I'm signed up for PollingPoint. Got one this morning, all about Coal. It showed me 7 different ads for "Clean Coal" and kept asking my opinion of the future of coal as an energy source in the United States, with such factoids as: 1) The US has as much coal as Saudi Arabia has oil! 2) Half of the energy used in the US is currently produced using coal! 3) Particulate emissions from coal-based generating plants have been reduced 70%! 4) Universities are working on a way to do away with the CO2 problem! Ahem. I'm not the most informed person when it comes to this subject, but I noticed something missing. All of the ads, with all their talking points, failed to address what is to me the most salient point of all: to get coal to burn, you have to dig it up. So be aware, and beware, of the upcoming Clean Coal advertising blitz."
In that light, DJShay reported that CNN, AP Suing To Make Utah Mine Collapse Investigation Public: "The News Media is suing to get access to the investigation into the Crandall Canyon Mine Collapse. MSHA, of course, would prefer to keep this media nightmare behind closed doors. Because what's being dug up isn't pretty."
Gandhi’s curious but productive daily habit was the topic of gmoke’s Solar Swadeshi: "Gandhi would spin for an hour each day, usually producing a hundred yards of thread, and helped develop a simple spinning wheel (charkha) that allowed many to do the same. He believed that spinning was the foundation of non-violence. This type of practical labor may have to be the core of any sustainable ecological action. We need a solar swadeshi, an ecological practice on a daily basis that allows us to live within our solar income. Gandhi used the charkha, the spinning wheel. What would be an ecological charkha, a solar charkha?"
One thing about Kossacks, in general, and eco-Kossacks, in particular, is that they put their money where their mouth is. cumberland sibyl told of a bit of participation in This Saturday is National Solar Tour Day: "Every year, the first Saturday in October is National Solar Tour Day, as part of National Solar Awareness month. We’re participating for the second time. Last year we had 95 people from all over the state visit our partially earth sheltered, passive solar designed home, to which we added 4kw of photovoltaic panels last July."
retrograde highlighted A Coal CEO's rant, and other coal news: "The coal industry has become the "whipping boy" of environmentalists who fail to come up with realistic alternatives for energy, the head of one of America's biggest coal producers said. Brett Harvey, chief executive of Consol Energy Inc ... also suggested a surcharge on electricity use to help pay for development of technology that makes coal burn off less carbon dioxide and converts the fossil fuel into liquids and gas."
In a pair of Diaries, wcalvin discussed geothermal energy. In Search of a Clean Gigawatt: "I recently stood next to an electrical generator, big enough to power a city the size of Seattle (about 1,000 megawatts, known as a gigawatt). It was surprisingly small, no larger than a classroom with a tall ceiling. The generator’s spinning shaft could be seen where it connected to the steam turbine, next in line. And backing it up were three more turbines, helping to keep that long shaft spinning at 1,800 revolutions every minute. The generator doesn’t spin freely because every electrical light and appliance in that gigawatt-sized city is resisting it. It takes a lot of push from the four steam turbines to keep it up to speed. Some power plants create the steam in a boiler heated by burning coal, others by using nuclear fission of uranium-235 to generate the requisite heat. The cleanest method of all is harvesting steam from water sprayed on hot granite a few miles [5 km] underground.
He also wrote a cheeky wcalvin Get-rich-quick Memo to the Oil Barons: "Drilling wells is exactly what deep geothermal energy is all about: drill down 5 km, pressure-fracture the rock down there, then drill another well into the fracture zone. At that, they are the experts. The other use of this technique, invented at Los Alamos in 1972, is what the oil barons ought to be embracing: Aim for a deep rock layer (say, granite) that is dry but hot. Push water down one well, harvest the steam up the other. Then run an old-fashioned steam turbine to generate electricity for the plug-in hybrids."
apsmith Breakthrough Energy Technologies,Environmental bad boys Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger have a new book out: Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility that's been receiving a lot of attention. Joseph Romm, for whom I have a lot of respect from his "hype about the hydrogen economy" days, has written several "debunking" articles culminating in one today that links them with Bjorn Lomborg. It's an interesting fight, but it had me wondering, what exactly would breakthrough energy technologies look like, that we'd be funding with these R&D proposals?"
A number of nuclear power advocates at Daily Kos for several months have been bringing their what they consider the green case for this method of generating electricity. They’ve recently been joined by wagsbags who challenged what he said were another Diarist’s Nuclear Power misconceptions: "Nuclear power plants are not ‘terrorist magnets’ as (the Diarist) claims. The effort that it would take to cause a significant release of radiation at a plant could be used to kill far more people elsewhere. Even a plane flown directly into containment has a very small chance of causing a significant release of radiation. More concerning is the panic this might cause because of people's irrational fear of the consequences of such an event."
In another pro-nuclear Diary, davidwalters argued Why Wind Power Won't Make Power Flow: "Critics of nuclear energy sometimes point to Germany's planned nuclear phase-out policy as an example of the industry's limited future. Let us put aside the very credible discussions regarding the possibility of that policy being reversed for a moment and turn the tables. How are German renewables performing?
A Siegel, who, in a deluge of Diaries in the past two years, has taken a look at energy from just about every angle, wrote that Winds blow stronger on the coast ...: "From my perspective, the heavily funded NIMBY effort delaying the Cape Wind project in Massachusetts has been having an impact contributing to stalling offshore wind projects around the United States.
"News item after news item, whether from Texasor New York or ..., has promised the first offshore wind project. Even though so many of these are not panning out or keep moving to the right like Cape Wind, my heart still races with hope when optimistic news emerges. Today, it is Delaware that is looking like it might slip into first place for a commercial offshore wind farm providing clean power into the US electrical grid."
He devoted another Diary to Blowing in the mountains ...
" ‘Almost heaven, West Virginia’ ..." An anthem immediately recognizable to millions. Yet, an anthem under ever mounting threat. West Virginia, as with much of the world, faces a clear choice between an ever-dirtier fossil fuel path and moving toward a prosperous, climate friendly economy. While this is a global challenge, in West Virginia the choices are quite stark and, well, quite immediate: Mountaintop removal (MTR) or wind farms on the tops of mountain ridges and within valleys."
friday durdikova gave a thumbs-up for Wind turbines in MANHATTAN? Hell yeah!!!:
"Now you might think that wind power are a rural affair. And you'd be wrong, wrong, wrong. Believe it or not there is more wind power to harvested in compacted cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco than you'd ever imagine."
A Siegel, whose Diary output could itself power a small city, had an intriguing entry on Energy COOL: Purifying waste streams?: "One serious problem in the energy system is waste -- whether CO2 from fossil fuels, methane coming up from dammed waters, waste from solar PV manufactoriting, or radioactive wastes from nuclear power. As we strive for a Prosperous, Climate Friendly Economy around the globe, dealing with waste streams is one critical path toward success. Courtesy of EcoGeek, here are two excellent examples to start a conversation about cleaning up waste streams." He also took a look at two other Energy COOL ideas: Energy COOL: New approaches to pumped storage, and Energy COOL: Swell Electricity from the Sea,. In his fourth Energy Cool Diary,Energy COOL time in Washington, DC, he reminded us that: "...for anyone in the DC area concerned about energy and environment, Elections have consequences! Prior to this January, one could easily keep track of Global Warming-related meetings and sessions related to innovated energy concepts. Now, well, it would be a full-time job just to know what is going on, let alone actually attend any events. This is, well, a good problem and some assistance is out there, such as Hill Heat keeping track of Global Warming issues and the Hill. Green, energy and otherwise, is becoming ever more fashionable. And, well, October is going to be a busy fashion month to see and be scene in DC. Just in the next week, here are three events ...* Solar Decathlon, 12-20 October * Washington, DC, Green Festival, 6-7 October * Solar Tour, 6 October."
POLITICIANS and POLICIES
psericks looked at the details in Obama Goes Green: Comparing the Candidates on Credit Auctions: "Obama announced additional details for his plan to fight global warming today. The plan would set two crucial deadlines. By 2030, we would: 1) take dramatic steps to improve energy efficiency – aiming for a 50% improvement by 2030 through steps like a) phasing out the incandescent light bulb by 2014 – ‘a measure that Obama estimates would save consumers $6 billion a year on their electric bills’; b) having all federal government buildings carbon neutral by 2025; c) require all new construction to be carbon neutral by 2030, and 2) reduce "our dependence on foreign oil and reducing oil consumption overall by at least 35 percent, or 10 million barrels of oil." By 2050, we would have reduced global warming emissions by 80% below 1990 levels through "an economy-wide cap-and-trade program." (The system would also mandate a return to 1990 levels by 2020.)
For several weeks, oregonj has been checking to see if any new presidential candidates have taken the coal pledge, as noted in this week’s UPDATE on No New Coal - 55 weeks to election: "The Pledge – I Support A Ban On New Coal Plants Lacking Technology To Capture Carbon Dioxide Emissions. Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, and John Edwards are "ayes." Bill Richardson is an "aye" but not until 2010. Barack Obama has an unclear position. Hillary Clinton has no position. Rudolph Guiliani, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson all have no position.
mattinjersey took a whack at Brian Baird (D-WA) and his support of logging: "Recently there have been many articles about Brian Baird, a Democrat from Washington who returned from Iraq to announce that he supported the troop surge. But there is more to like about Baird! Apparently he is a firm proponent of the logging industry. He has supported several bills that would destroy US national forest for the benefit of the industry."
Against the Environment Before He Was For It was Baron Vitelius’s view of "Michael Chertoff, environmental crusader: Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on Monday defended the construction of a fence along the southwest border, saying it's actually better for the environment than what happens when people illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico line."
to hell with George W Bush operated as a free political consultant in Eco-talking Points for Candidates: "I don't think y'all fully realize the potential of the podium and how much change you can implement RIGHT NOW if you were to simply enumerate some of the very simple key ways that business and government can be creating jobs and protecting the environment while ALSO creating jobs. Example 1: Say that when you're the President you'll create jobs by hiring electricians to install light and motion sensors in every building in America. This puts money in the electricians' pockets, money in the pockets of those who pay the electric bill, reduces global warming emissions AND reduces dependence on foreign oil. Be sure to ponder why it is that Bush and his Republican Congress hasn't already done this."
TonyZchastised a legislators because California Nuclear Campaign Is Marked By Distortions and Misrepresentations: "Recently, California Assemblyman Chuck Devore has begun a drive to overturn California’s tough nuclear power laws. Under current California law, there must be a Federal Government solution for nuclear waste storage before a new nuclear plant can be built in the state. Unfortunately, DeVore’s campaign has been marked by a series of misrepresentations and distortions. First and foremost, there is DeVore’s claim that his motivation for supporting nuclear power is fighting global warming. This is a laughable assertion, especially when considering the fact that DeVore voted against California’s landmark Global Warming Bill, AB32, in 2006."
"An Australian climate expert says that the threshold level of "tipping point" gases currently in the atmosphere which could trigger cataclysmic climate change is here RIGHT NOW," wrote a gnostic in Climate Expert: Apocalypse Now: "Strong worldwide economic growth has accelerated the level of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere to a dangerous threshold scientists had not expected for another decade, according to a leading Australian climate change expert. Scientist Tim Flannery told Australian Broadcasting Corp. that an upcoming report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will contain new data showing that the level of climate-changing gases in the atmosphere has already reached critical levels. "
Desmogblog reiterated that point of view in UN Report: Bush accelerating global warming 'tipping point': "According to a UN report to be released next month, we sped by the climate change 'tipping point' of no return about two years ago in mid-2005. International emissions caps? Pfft, the Bush Administration wants continued economic growth and they want it now. Just days after the US policy on climate change did not win any support and even developing countries, such as China, India, and Brazil support mandatory limits on carbon emissions -- one of the Bush Administration's much touted justifications for postponing domestic emissions caps -- Bush is still set on the voluntary approach."
Frank Palmer went all semi-technical on us in Physics for global warming: "Unless you know a modicum of physics, your best argument for the liberal position on Global Warming is: The majority of people who study that sort of thing believe it is caused by human activity. That, while true, is less than persuasive.
barcelonashouted Wake the Hell up! "Much of the Amazon basin is burning": "Yeah, it's nice and warm where I am. Some even like the change and are hoping for more. For others though, elsewhere on the planet, not so much. Roberto Smeraldi, head of Friends of the Earth Brazil, said the situation was out of control: ‘We have a strong concentration of fires, corresponding to more than 10,000 points of fire across a large area of about two million sq km in the southern Brazilian Amazon and Bolivia.’ Burning smoke has blocked out the sun and local communities have begun to complain of respiratory disorders."
Terrible, yes. But we expect the Amazon to be burning. colorado bob 1 reported that The Tundra is on Fire:
"Now we learn that 344 square miles of tundra has been blackened, that's 344 square miles of permafrost that will absorb more solar energy until nature repairs the burn. My guess .... this patch of tundra will be some of the most studied ever. The Climate Train Wreck in the Arctic continues, with another feed back into the system. In the last month we have learned that there are: Lakes on the permafrost boiling from seeping methane .
1,000,000 sq. km. of ice melted this year over last year. The largest tundra fire ever seen has been burning in Alaska."
FWIW was the first Kossack to take note of a Brain-eating Amoeba that may be spreading because of global warming: "Michael Beach, Center for Disease Control and Prevention spokesman said, ‘This is a heat-loving amoeba. As water temperatures go up, it does better (...) In future decades, as temperatures rise, we'd expect to see more cases.’" Several other Diarists also didn’t want us to miss this phenomenon, including GreyHawk in Climate Change OPEN THREAD: Here come the brain-eating amoebas...[UPDATED], a gnostic in Global-warmed amoebas feed on your brain, kill you in 2 weeks, and Sick of It in Global warming grows more bugs: 6 die from brain-eating amoeba in lakes, who noted: "It sounds like science fiction but it's true: A killer amoeba living in lakes enters the body through the nose and attacks the brain where it feeds until you die."
The WashPost gets something right? Global Warming edition, according to A Siegel: "The day after George W Bush gave a speech on climate change that has been panned by all serious reviewers (e.g., diplomats and scientists), The Washington Post did something it is doing too rarely nowadays: it published an OPED by someone who actually knows something about the subject matter: Bill McKibben.
No matter. The global warming pollyannas are out in force thanks to Foxaganda, and Contributing Editor Plutonium Page excoriates them for it in Fox News: Oil and Adventure in the Arctic!: "In a new series billed by Fox News as the "Race for the Arctic," the network has responded by sending a reporter to Greenland to document first-hand observations of glaciers receding, icebergs breaking off, and other drastic climate-changing effects. But if you think that Fox’s ‘race for the arctic’ is a race to educate and inform the public about global warming, you are mistaken. In fact, from Fox’s perspective, the "race" is actually a race for oil."
In the Diary Some global warming denier is canvassing college faculty, Caj said the know-nothings came trolling: "I just got a letter in my faculty mailbox from a PO box in La Jolla, CA, asking me to sign a petition denying global warming and opposing the Kyoto protocols. It came with a journal article, ‘Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide,’ and a letter inviting me to ‘consider these materials carefully’ and to mail back a signed petition card to ‘PETITION PROJECT.’ The petition card has a space to indicate my academic degree, which they would no doubt prominently display on the petition. After all, that's probably why they're sending it to university faculty around the country. Faculty in random departments like computer science, with no expertise whatsoever in climatology. But we all have PhDs, right, so a big list of us would sure impress the unwary."
lojo poured the acid on one of our least favorite editorial page editors in WaPo, Fred Hiatt: Global Warming? No Big Deal!: "Apparently, Fred Hiatt decided its not enough to give lots of space to paid shills in favor of Iraq and gives a full page top of the fold spread on the Post's Opinion page to the widely discredited ideas of Danish Business Professor Bjørn Lomborg."
turdraker, whose moniker is illustrative of what we may all be doing if outsourcing jobs remains the biggest growth industry in America, took on the deniers in It rains at the North Pole!: "I haven't heard much denial of global warming lately from those in my vicinity, short of Pavlovian outbursts whenever I poke one of them with a stick. ‘They just want to ruin our great economy!’ ‘The science is flawed!’ ‘It's the Sun warming up!’ ‘It's cyclical! Look at all those Ice Ages!’ Yes, Earth goes through regular cycles of cooling and warming. Serbian mathematician Milutin Milanković worked out many of the problems of our planet's motion and the resultant climate changes 70 years ago. But there is nothing in his work to lend any support to the wingnuts' claims of natural explanations for what is happening so rapidly. Scientists continuing his research speak of warming and cooling cycles that last from 19,000 to 50,000 years."
altscott took us for a cruise through the Top 100 Ways Global Warming Will Change Your Life: "As a concrete thinker, I am always on the lookout for someone explaining abstract concepts to me in a way I can easily grasp. The Center for American progress has done just that. I recommend you read the complete article but I will post what I think are the most interesting highlights: The Green, Green Grass of Antarctica. Grass has started to grow in Antarctica in areas formerly covered by ice sheets and glaciers. While Antarctic hair grass has grown before in isolated tufts, warmer temperatures allow it to take over larger and larger areas and, for the first time, survive through the winter.
While the folks at Foxaganda are now probably figuring out how to corral the lawn mower concession for Antarctica – always look on the bright side! – some other recovering global warming deniers are no doubt pondering whether they can make a buck in the bottled water business as Greenland prepares to go bare. FishOutofWater wrote that the Top of Greenland's Ice Cap Melted at Record Rate in 2007: "If all of Greenland's ice cap melted, global sea levels would rise by 21 feet (6.5m) inundating major coastal cities and much of the world's population centers. Until recently scientists thought that the Greenland ice cap would be stable under moderate warming scenarios, but new data have shaken their confidence in the stability of the ice sheet."
A Siegel chimed in with how we might reach A Prosperous, Climate-Friendly Society, arguing that goals for 2050 are all well and good, but, "43 years from now is a difficult thing for so many people to take seriously. And, well, that is why 1 Sky and others are calling for specific targets in the near term. 1 Sky, for example, calls for three items: 1) Mobilize America for five million green jobs with conserving 20 percent of US energy by 2015. 2) Freeze climate pollution levels now and cut at least 30% by 2020, and at least 80% by 2050, 3) Freeze (the building of new coal plants) until they can be carbon-dioxide free. Yes, there is a 2050 target, but there are near-term objectives that people can cling to. These are meaningful goals, providing objectives in the near term that will seriously turn the nation to a better path."
In Bush Outlines Climate Change "Policy", TylerDurden67 opines that "Those are the perversely vague words of our Leader."
Devilstower took a humorous view of our chances in Earth vs. the Venusians "I had to wonder if Bush had ulterior reasons for hastening our flights to other plants. After all, his actions on this planet clearly reaffirm a policy of "Rape, Pillage, and Party -- who cares if tomorrow we all die." Meaning that an journey to Mars might be simply the Bush retirement plan. But after looking at the evidence of the last few weeks, I think I've changed my mind. It's more insidious than that. Mars is only a diversion. We've actually been taken over by the Venusians! Think about it. Venus is trapped under layers of choking smog, lashed by rains of sulfuric acid, and suffers from a greenhouse effect that raises temperatures there beyond the melting point of lead. Its scarred landscape is strewn with rubble and free of any living plants. That's the only possible reason that in the face of all evidence for global warming, and with his own science adviser admitting that humans are the cause, Bush boycotted the UN conference on global warming, and instead held his own."
MadScientist alerted us to a get-together by Pimping Global Warming Conference and Lobbying Event: "Upcoming, Nov. 2-5th is a large conference and "youth summit" on global warming. God knows that there's lots of crap out there that needs fixing--the war in Iraq, our broken government, the Democratic party--and lots of disagreements about what the best strategy is to follow. But almost everybody on this site agrees that we don't want the planet to fry and that so far almost nothing is being done by our appointed "leaders" to keep it from happening. It seems that it’s up to us."
In his Diary, Al Gore Is Not Saving The Planet!!!!! huntsu admits: "OK, so I am a fifth grader using all those exclamation points, but hopefully you'll excuse me for that. But I'm frustrated at the continued need for the media -- and actually for many others -- to portray environmentalism as some sort of wishy-washy exercise that has no impact on human beings. Today's culprit is the Times of London in an article on Al Gore's Nobel Prize possibilities: The environmental campaigner Al Gore is being tipped as a favourite to win the Nobel peace prize in Oslo this Friday in a controversial move that could place saving the planet above saving people from war and conflict. So working to prevent increased hurricanes, massive famines, flooding of coastal cities is saving the planet and not saving people? For goodness sake, who the hell cares about the planet? It was here before us, and it's going to be here after us. Life will go on even if there are no human beings. The whole point of stopping global warming is because massive climate change is bad for human beings!"
carbon tax skepticism was on azizhp’s mind: "It's funny how my views on global warming have shifted over the years. If there's one common thread, it's that I've been leery of the conventional wisdom, but trusting of the establishment. That's due to my biases: highly pro-peer review, highly pro-evidence-based policy, and highly anti-incrementalism. Count me as a skeptic of the power of markets to effect social change, as well. This is why I currently believe strongly that (1) global warming is real, (2) is anthropogenic, and (3) is unlikely to be ameliorated in any significant way by carbon taxes."
civil society complained about a much-applaued state law in Global Warming dodge - no teeth in NJ Law: "Apparently, the NJ law just sets goals without the means to implement them. The author claism that NJ's ‘mandatory’ law isn't any different than the Bush Adminsistration's voluntary approach."
And soyinkafan warned about an Alluvial Fan Threatened in Palm Springs.
kismet spoke about Charlotte’s problem in Heat and dust: "Power trouble, drinking water trouble. Two kinds of trouble that you do not want to have. Two kinds of trouble that could very well be fatal. No AC to cool us in the unusually persistent heat, and no water to drink, kind of trouble. Charlotte's not the only Southern city with a problem, though. Atlanta, a metro with a much larger population, is months away from a severe water problem. Atlanta's Lake Lanier stands more than 10 feet below full and could drop another 9 feet..."
Bob Guyer offered a personal credo in Blank - like you are part of the Planet: "I want to Eat like I’m part of the Planet, Drink like I’m part of the Planet, Feel like I’m part of the Planet, Touch like I’m part of the Planet, Think like I’m part of the Planet, See like I’m part of the Planet."
U Can Be Cool Like Me, was LAMaestra’s claim: "Though you're probably already way cooler! I could have called this "How I tried to save the world today", but that seems kind of overblown for just finding treasures in the thrift store. Consider some consumer choices with me..."
In a similar vein, sarahnity offered two more installments in her Frugal Fridays: Teach Your Children Well: "I've been thinking a lot lately about how to teach children to be wise money managers. It seems that every day I read another report about how people in our society are taking on huge debt and not building up savings. This problem seems particularly endemic amongst the young. This is not a sustainable lifestyle, and yet, it seems that many people don't figure that out until they have dug themselves into a financial hole that is supremely difficult to get out of. I can't help but think that some of this is because children are not learning money management skills before they leave home, get credit cards and start to make financial decisions that will affect the rest of their lives." In Frugal Fridays: Charge!: "I was writing last week's diary on teaching children about finance I got to thinking once again about credit cards and how they are used or how they use us, as the case may be. Disclaimer: I am not a financial professional. I'm just a consumer who tries to be educated. Take anything I say with a grain of salt."
slippytoad blasted Bjorn Lomborg, professional concern troll: "When we first met him, political scientist turned dilettante environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg was calling into question the reality of many long-accepted premises regarding the environment. At the time he first appeared prominently, Lomborg was immediately attacked by the environmental movement due to what we would now label his concern-trolling on the topics of sustainability and quality of our life on this planet. What's happened since then is that many of the worst fears of the environmentalists have become alarmingly obvious even to the willfully ignorant. What has Lomborg's response been? Spin, spin, spin. Lomborg wants people to stop fighting over our environmental issues."
wolflover lamented how we might be Saving the Economy, Losing the Environment: "I was listening to NPR and was fascinated by the comments of Mr. Bush concerning the national economy and global environment. His obvious stance would have him not only boycott the environmental meeting during the recent United Nations session. It also has him refusing to participate in the Kyoto agreements signed-on to by the majority of the world's nations. What was amazing was his rationale. The US would not want to mandate emissions standards (operative word mandate) because of the impact that it would have on the economy. ... The economy that favors the rich, the CEO's, the Oil, Auto, and Pharmaceutical industries (to name a few of those Bush protects) certainly must NOT be disrupted. That would be a crime against the rich and a sin in God's eyes, at least according to the President and his followers."
In yet another Diary, Greenwashing with an Oily Sheen ... A Siegel (does he ever sleep?) took on the attempts by some of the phony greenness a number of megacorporations are pumping us full of these days: "On the front page of today's Washington Post business section, Recasting Big Oil's Battered Image was subtitled "Ads by Chevron and Others Aim to Send Positive Messages". Whether "Beyond Petroleum" or Exxon Mobil telling us how to be more fuel efficient drivers, greenwashing efforts from the fossil fuel industry are fast and furiously growing in the face of Global Warming and potential legislative responses. This article addresses some of these efforts, sparked by a coming $10s of millions Chevron will be spending on educational ads in the near future."
Public Power versus Privately Owned Power Generation and Distribution had davidwalters discussing a topic that doesn’t get much attention from environmentalists: "When I worked on the 2001 San Francisco public power campaign (as part of the Labor Task Force for Public Power) we did a lot of research in state and out of state on how publicly owned utilities (as in "owned by public entities" not companies that issue stock owned by individual members of the public) we discovered something awesome: on average, public power entities provided power cheaper than regulated monopoly private utilities. ... I believe that public power is still on the agenda as a commodity such as electrical power should not be in the hands of profiteers. Those of us at left-atomics.blogspot.com are strong advocates of power generation and grid nationalization."
va dare Top Comments - 10.4.07 - Is eco-vandalism ever warranted?: "It's deja vu, all over again. This kind of guerrilla activity was ubiquitous in the 1970s before the passage of SMCRA, the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. I have many long-time 'friends' who took to the mountain-ridges during the 'late '60s and '70s with rifles to target engines, tires, and other equipment to - if not stop - at least short-circuit normal operations. Seems it's happening again."
Scenic Kevin reported that the Federal Highway Administration Caves to Billboard Companies: "It will come as a shock to no one that the Bush Administration has once again told the American people their safety and wellbeing are disposable and has ignored the law, regulatory requirements, science, congressional intent, and common sense in order to give an early Christmas present to giant corporations. In this case, the beneficiary of the administration’s largesse is the outdoor advertising industry, which is dominated by three giant media companies: Clear Channel Outdoor, CBS Outdoor, and Lamar Advertising. The issue is digital billboards, the enormous television-like screens that are popping up with increasing frequency along highways across the country.’
In Breaking: Largest Environmental settlement in history, lale announced: "With a symbolic one dollar for every year the earth has been around, the Associated Press is reporting that AEP has agreed to pay $4.6 Billion in that lawsuit initiated by 8 eastern states, directed at the midwestern coal plants contaminating the air and making the clouds rain acid: >The settlement requires American Electric Power, based in Columbus, Ohio, to reduce chemical emissions that cause acid rain by at least 69 percent over the next decade." funluvn1 also wrote a Diary on the subject, Clean Air Act finally upheld! $4.6 billion upgrade to coal plants.
With Burma in the news, and many people trying to figure out how outside pressure could be exerted on the murderous military regime that, cosmic debris took to the keyboard to draft Big Oil in Burma: A Primer: "This diary will provide an overview of the four, perhaps five, American big oil related companies that are still operating in Burma, which by their continued operation are assisting the oppressive and brutal junta, The State Peace and Development Council. Only a few days ago Reuters published an article here that said, ’U.S. energy companies are shrugging off pressure to end operations in Myanmar that critics contend help prop up the military junta and its hold over the country.’ So far, the protesting on line and on the street is not moving them to change their policy and tactics."
gmoke gave us the skiiny on the Sustainable Yellow Pages: "For years, the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association [NESEA] has been publishing its annual Sustainable Yellow Pages as the Fall edition of their magazine. It's a great resource and I always make sure that I get a copy. This year they are also publishing the Sustainable Yellow Pages online as a searchable database. At last. It covers not only the Northeast but includes listings in Florida, California, New Mexico, Illinois, Virginia, Ontario, and other states and provinces."