Mid-August 2008 News
- Sen. Jim Demint was in Charleston during August trying to enlist support for off-shore drilling, something he appears to believe can lead to "energy independence."
- Is the war between Russia and Georgia yet another resource war? Author Michael Klare argues that it is in an article at the Foreign Policy in Focus website.
- Ocean "dead zones," in which sea life is severely depleted or wiped out due to low oxygen levels, now number around 400 around the world and they are doubling their area about every 10 years according to a NYT article. One has even appeared off the SC coast.
- John Holdren, Director of the Woods Hole Oceanagraphic Institute, had an interesting opinion piece on "Convincing the Climate Change Skeptics" in The Boston Globe. A number of critics of manmade climate change respond in Andy Revkin's post about the column at DotEarth.
- Economic slowing may be hindering progress on the climate change front, but oil at around $110/barrel is still a stimulus for development of renewable energy sources according to a Reuters article.
- Problems - especially of GHG emissions and pollution from toxic chemicals - abound for production of fuel from oil shale in the American west according to an article for McClatchy Newspapers.
- Here's a short article (with informative links) about the Green goals of the Democratic Party Platform from the Grist website.
- In Colorado, the state's major utility has abandoned its opposition to mandatory quotas for energy from renewables and has even agreed to boost to 20% the portion of its energy it gets from renewables.
- An article in The Independent describes how England is gearing up to fight the swarms of jelly fish invading her coastal waters. Here in McClellanville, shrimpers are not going out because jelly balls are too numerous.
- The next round of UN sponsored climate talks are Aug. 22-29 and that's when the fishing must begin and the bait cutting come to an end. If a global climate action plan is to be negotiated in December 2009 then a draft proposal must be ready in six months, according to a Reuters article.
- The NYT has an interesting article about how production is falling at the largest oil companies because they cannot find new places to drill. "Resource nationalism," wherein oil-rich countries spurn the expertise of the big companies in favor of their own state run oil companies, is contributing to the production decline.
- According to NASA's Earth Observatory website, a devastating drought has developed in the high plains of Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, Kansas, and Oklahoma.
- The SC Department of Natural Resources has a comprehensive article about shrimp at their website. It is also available as a PDF file.
- The San Francisco Chronicle website had an extensive article on sustainable eating and the slow food movement.
- For those of you interested in getting a close look at the denialist side of the argument about global warming, have a look as and the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council go at it with the National Center for Policy Analysis and the Heartland Institute over the question "Is Global Warming a Crisis?" at the Opposing Views website
- And, to close out this post, U.S. News & World Report has an interesting article on how high gasoline prices may decrease the rate of urban sprawl as home buyers look to live closer to urban centers.
August 12, 2008
- Correction: the climate change report released by the EPA that was referred to in the July 19th climate change news posting, was not the one the White House refused to look at by not opening the e-mail it was in. That one remains off limits except for carefully restricted viewing by a few Senators - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/24/AR2008072403423.html
- South Carolina's Climate, Energy, and Commerce Committee (CECAC) has completed its action plan, which calls for a reduction in GHG emissions to 5% below 1990 levels by 2020. To see the full report go to - http://www.scclimatechange.us/plenarygroup.cfm . For The Post & Courier's positive editorial about the report go to - http://www.charleston.net/news/2008/aug/08/good_start_on_global_warming50159/
- Here's what one state is doing to help homeowners. Efficiency Maine is a statewide effort to promote the more efficient use of electricity, help Maine residents and businesses reduce energy costs, and improve Maine's environment. Efficiency Maine is funded by electricity consumers and administered by the Maine Public Utilities Commission. See http://www.efficiencymaine.com/
- How about a university focused on sustainability? Stony Brook at Southampton is trailbreaking the effort - http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/27/education/edlife/27southampton-depalma.html
- The Guardian has a piece on how the little has been actually been accomplished in Britain to slow the growth of GHGs, in spite of many high-minded promises. This is the sort of inaction that we must strive to avoid in this country - http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/jul/27/carboncapturestorage.activists1
Reuters has an good section of short environmental videos, See http://www.reuters.com/news/video?videoId=86131&videoChannel=74 and scroll down.
According to the Green-Blog website, in early 2008 the US was the world's top producer of electrical power from wind. Although wind power generation is growing rapidly in the US, it still represents less than 2% of our total energy production - http://green-blog.org/2008/07/25/usa-is-now-the-worlds-largest-generator-of-wind-energy/
Looking for quotations from leading climate scientists about the climate change crisis? A recent article at Green-Blog gives about 20 of them - http://green-blog.org/2008/07/23/what-top-world-scientists-say-about-the-climate-emergency/#more-486
The EPA's Office of Inspector General, in a review of the voluntary approach to GHG emission reduction, has found that "8 of the 11 programs in our review showed weaknesses in their current data collection and reporting systems – caused by limited, unverified, and anonymous data reporting. These systems are neither transparent nor verifiable, and are limited by anonymous reporting and use of third party industry data." For a 1 page report, see http://www.epa.gov/oig/reports/2008/20080723-08-P-0206_glance.pdf . For the full report, titled "Voluntary Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs Have Limited Potential," see http://www.epa.gov/oig/reports/2008/20080723-08-P-0206.pdf
The NYT Magazine has an informative short article about the mostly beneficial effects of global warming on Greenland and its peoples - http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/27/magazine/27wwln-phenom-t.html?emc=tnt&tntemail1=y
Thanks to George Johnson of the EnviroExec list serve for the list of postive things arising from $4.00/gal gasoline prices (see attached)
If we can pay to get old cars off the road, surely we can do the same for old, inefficient, pollution-heavy coal fired power plants! - http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/27/business/27view.html
Why not go all the way? Let's have a Green New Deal - http://www.neweconomics.org/gen/z_sys_PublicationDetail.aspx?pid=258 See also http://www.marklynas.org/2008/7/18/a-green-new-deal
A Green New Deal may not include very many new nuclear reactors. Proposed nuclear reactors - that you are or soon will be paying the "pre-construction costs" for - may never be built due to the fact that many key design features have not been approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Agency - http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/07/26/10619/
Have you ever visited the website for the South Carolina State Climatology Office? They have an informative page on potential climate change impacts on South Caroling - http://www.dnr.sc.gov/climate/sco/Publications/climate_change_impacts.php
Andy Revkin has an interesting article on the not-so-smooth process of scientific discovery and analysis of climate change, and the inconsistent ways the news media deals with the subject - http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/29/science/earth/29clim.html
Here's an informative article on the ethics of addressing climate change inthe face of scientific uncertainty about some aspects - http://climateethics.org/?p=35#more-35
South Carolinians are reported to be quite vulnerable to increased fuel costs - http://www.ourfuture.org/progressive-opinion/most-oil-addicted-states
Oops! Somebody let the gag order sent to EPA employees, which forbade them to speak to the EPA Inspector General or to any reporters, loose - http://www.peer.org/news/print_detail.php?row_id=1083
A new satellite has been launched that will help climate scientists and meterologists keep tract of ocean surface conditions, including wave heights and tracks of hurricanes - http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NasaNews/2008/2008071627136.html
Mark Lynas discusses the idea of "mitigating for two degrees and adapting for four" and concludes that we must do better than that. See http://www.marklynas.org/2008/8/7/climate-change-catastrophe-by-degrees
In the Arctic, things are really heating up. A national park on Canada's Baffin Island has been closed and people evacuated by helicopter due to flooding caused by unusual rapid warming - http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25970864/ - an arctic ice shelf has just lost a "giant" chunk - http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25917328/ - and researchers studying shore birds had to be airlifted to safety from maurading polar bears stuck on land due to lost of sea ice - http://blogs.reuters.com/environment/2008/08/07/global-warming-research-getting-more-dangerous/ . And, speaking of Arctic sea ice, it's rate of loss has recently surged, in part due to stormy weather that is breaking up the unusually thin ice - http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/ - and the North Pole may be ice free by 2013 - http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/aug/10/climatechange.arctic
Two articles discussing the future of the earth's population are available at http://e360.yale.edu/ . One suggests that the earth's population will begin to decline later this century and the other suggests that overpopulation is the "central environmental crisis" of our time.
In England, concerns about global warming are growing and some are actively wondering if catastrophe can be avoided - http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/aug/08/kingsnorthclimatecamp.climatechange . See also - http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/aug/06/climatechange.scienceofclimatechange . In this regard, remember the ominous looking impacts of global increasing use of coal to meet demands for electricity - http://www.reutersinteractive.com/Carbon/102998?tm_source=20080811&utm_medium=email (see "Coal's Future" attachment) and the likely failure of cap-and-trade programs to produce deep cuts in emissions - http://www.carbonpositive.net/viewarticle.aspx?articleID=1187
Is there a solar power revolutiion in the works? A report from MIT suggests that might be the case - http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2008/oxygen-0731.html