Monthly Archives: October 2008

Eight Lost Years: An Interactive Timeline

Sheryl CanterWhat has the federal government done over the last eight years to stop global warming? Sadly, not much, despite numerous, dire warnings. Our new interactive timeline gives an at-a-glance overview of the scientific reports, lost policy opportunities, and environmental impacts over the last eight years. Click the forward and backward arrows to move through time, and click on a color-coded event box to learn more about it.

Besides giving a succinct summary of the last eight years, the timeline is fun to click around – lots of interesting information all in one place. And it makes it very clear what we need to do when the new administration comes in. There’s no time to waste.

This post is by Sheryl Canter, an online writer and editorial manager at Environmental Defense Fund.

Posted in Climate Change Legislation / Comments are closed

Geo-Engineering: Methadone for Carbon Addiction

Lisa Moore's profileWhat if, instead of reducing the greenhouse gas concentrations that hold excess heat in our atmosphere, we injected something in the atmosphere to reflect sunlight back into space? That’s the idea behind sulfate geo-engineering. As Bill wrote in his post "Can we engineer our way out?", there are a plethora of problems with geo-engineering, but scientists still study it as an option of last resort.

The idea of injecting sulfates into the atmosphere is based on the observation that large volcanic eruptions can cause short-term global cooling. But in addition to the usual problems with geo-engineering (for example, it does nothing to stop ocean acidification from excess CO2), scientists have found a new one. Sulfate geo-engineering could endanger food and water supplies for billions of people in Africa and Asia, according to a recent paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research [PDF].

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Posted in Geoengineering / Read 3 Responses

An Engaging, Eye-Pleasing Summary of Global Warming Science

James Wang's profileDire PredictionsWe frequently mention the IPCC reports on Climate 411 – often referencing them as the most trustworthy authority on global warming science. In fact, our very first blog post was titled "What is the IPCC, anyway?" But for non-scientists, these rather technical reports are a challenge to read.

Climate scientists Michael Mann and Lee Kump published the book Dire Predictions to make the IPCC’s crucially important findings accessible to the layperson. For the most part, they succeed admirably. Mann and Kump did a remarkable job of simplifying complex ideas. But it still gets a little dense in places.

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Posted in News / Comments are closed

A Profusion of Green Jobs is Just a Carbon Cap Away

Sheryl CanterThis Sunday’s New York Times Magazine had a cover story on green investment titled "Capitalism to the Rescue". We’ve mentioned in other posts that venture capital investment in clean energy is on the rise. This article was interesting in that it profiled one particular venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins. The author interviewed the firm’s partners about why they see clean energy as such a good investment.

To start with, explained partner Randy Komisar, the current energy market is so large and outdated that "green-tech" is a huge and relatively low-risk opportunity. And we’re not, as many think, waiting for the new inventions to come. We’re waiting for federal policy to give private investment incentive. That is, we’re waiting for a mandatory carbon cap.

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Posted in Economics, Energy / Read 2 Responses

Colbert on “Prescott Oil”

Sheryl CanterThis Stephen Colbert clip on oil companies and the environment is fall-over funny and dead-on right.

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This post is by Sheryl Canter, an online writer and editorial manager at Environmental Defense Fund.

Posted in Cars and Pollution / Comments are closed

Keeping Cool in a World that’s Hot, Flat, and Crowded

Gernot Wagner's profileHot, Flat, and Crowded - by Thomas FriedmanNew York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, three-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, has completed his transformation from Middle East specialist to green energy expert. He wants the United States to similarly switch focus.

Hot, Flat, and Crowded, Friedman’s latest book, explains how and why we must stop relying on "fuels from hell" (coal, oil, and gas) as our primary source of energy, and instead switch to "fuels from heaven" (wind, water, and solar). Without this shift, he argues, not only will we cook the planet, but wreck the economy and destroy our way of life. It is tough to quibble with Friedman’s assessments.

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Posted in News / Read 6 Responses