Monthly Archives: May 2007

Inside a Carbon Calculator

Today’s Guest Blogger, Lisa Moore, is a scientist in the Climate and Air Program.

There’s a new site on Yahoo! that can calculate how much your carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions go down when you try their energy saving tips. It’s fun to use, and I especially appreciate the snazzy interactive features because I know how hard people worked to build it. My colleagues and I provided the Yahoo! design team with the data they use in their calculations.

I hope you’ll visit the site to see how simple changes in your house and car can save energy and lower emissions. But first, let me take you behind the scenes to the complicated world of carbon calculation.

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Posted in News / Read 14 Responses

A Good Side to Global Warming?

ignoratio elenchi n.
A logical fallacy of presenting an argument that may in itself be valid, but has nothing to do with the proposition it purports to prove. Also known as “irrelevant conclusion”. [Lat. ignorance of refutation.]

As the fact of climate change becomes ever more apparent, the science skeptics have come up with a new one: Sure climate change has some unfortunate consequences, but there are good aspects, too. For example, read Myron Ebell’s recent piece in Forbes magazine titled "Love Global Warming". For that, Mr. Ebell wins our latest Ignoratio Elenchi Award.

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Posted in News / Read 1 Response

Bike-to-Work Week

The League of American Bicyclists is promoting Bike-to-Work Week from May 14-18, and Bike-to-Work Day on May 18. Biking is the ultimate in clean transportation, emitting no greenhouse gases whatsoever. Plus it keeps you fit and it’s fun.

Still not sure? Check out our stories from people who bike to work daily. If you decide to join in, tell us your experiences!

Posted in News / Read 5 Responses

What is a Carbon Footprint?

You hear a lot of talk these days about "carbon footprints". But what is a carbon footprint, anyway?

Carbon dioxide (CO2), while not the only greenhouse gas, is the most abundant. CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere when we burn fossil fuels, and most of the energy in this country comes from burning fossil fuels. Thus, anything that requires energy to manufacture, transport, or operate causes the emission of CO2 (see my previous post, The Carbon Footprint of… Everything).

A "carbon footprint" is the amount of CO2 released by an activity or entity. So what’s your carbon footprint?

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Posted in Economics, Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Read 12 Responses

Part 5 of 5: The Melting of the North Pole

The second installment of the IPCC’s 4th Assessment on Climate Change, titled “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability”, was released on April 6, 2007. In recognition of this report, I’m doing a weekly series called “Climate Dangers You May Not Know About“.

1. More Acidic Oceans
2. Drinking Water and Disease
3. Shifts in Lifecycle Timing
4. Drought and Violence
5. The Melting of the North Pole

The North Pole is surrounded by the huge Arctic Ocean. For millennia, that ocean has been covered by ice, but today that sea ice is rapidly melting. We’ve lost about 20 percent of summer sea ice since 1980 – an area equal to Texas, California and Montana combined – and it’s happening faster than we had predicted. The North Pole could be ice-free during summer months well before 2050.

Illustration by Steve Deyo, ©UCAR, based on research by NSIDC and NCAR.

A lot of press attention has been focused on how the loss of sea ice is threatening the polar bear. Much less attention has been paid to global impacts of this melting sea ice.

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Posted in Arctic & Antarctic / Read 6 Responses

USCAP Doubles in Size and Adds GM

David Yarnold, today’s guest blogger, is Executive Vice President of Environmental Defense, and co-chair of the USCAP Communications committee.

Today the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) announced it has doubled its membership. This was no small feat for a coalition comprised of busy corporate CEOs.

USCAP is a coalition of businesses and environmental organizations advocating national legislation for mandatory reduction of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. New members such as General Motors (the coalition’s first automaker) and The Nature Conversancy speak to how mainstream the issue of global warming has become.

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Posted in News / Read 3 Responses