Climate Crossroads Blog
Posted by: Bri Fo at 9:05AM PST on January 30, 2009
A quick review of this past week's happenings in the blog world
Don't believe everything you read, boys and girls. Let's take a look at the The Mirror (UK), for example. They scream the headline "Sea will rise 'to levels of last Ice Age" because of global warming. That'll grab your attention. Problem is, as this blog points out, sea levels were about 120 meters below what they are today during the last Ice Age. RealClimate.org has a better grasp of what science is saying about sea level in a warming world.
Speaking of science, Antarctica keeps melting. The image that comes to mind is that guy at the end of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" whose face deteriorates into oblivion. Unfortunately, skeptics keep insisting that Antarctica is actually cooling. Here's the latest study on South Pole warming that the science community is buzzing about.
Speaking of trends, gas prices are going back up. For a lesson on why, try this blog.
In politics, Washington insiders think Congress will not be addressing cap and trade ideas before the end of the year. Cap and trade is such a controversial topic, that it appears to be taking a backseat while the economy hogs the headlines.
Todd Stern has been anointed the climate king for Hillary Clinton's State Department. Earth2Tech explains why Stern's goal is to avoid another Kyoto from happening. SolveClimate.com examines whether Obama's campaign promises on emission reductions fall short of what scientists recommend.
And speaking of Obama and his inauguration, some celebrated with a green car parade. Over at the blog Creative Greenius are photos of the event. Great pics!
Posted by: Bri Fo at 4:11PM PST on January 29, 2009
If you are the founder of The Weather Channel who likes to publish diatribes about how global warming is "the greatest scam in history," at least double check the spelling of the headline of your masterpiece.
For more on how to talk to a skeptic like this guy, click here.
For more on the differences between weather science and climate science, try this site.
Posted by: Bri Fo at 4:02PM PST on January 28, 2009
Al Gore will be braving the snow in D.C. today to address Congress on climate change. Here's a little pre-game message from the Nobel Peace Prize laureate:
Posted by: Bri Fo at 2:20PM PST on January 27, 2009
We want to give credit to the HuffPost for looking back at those solar panels on the White House that Jimmy Carter put up and Ronald Reagan took down. Where are those panels now? Check out this video.
No one is really aware of the fact that George W. Bush's White House quietly installed smaller panels in 2003. But the amount of power they produce is pretty modest. If Obama is looking to make a statement the way Carter did, he should check out the renewable energy page here at Crossroads.
Posted by: Bri Fo at 3:45PM PST on January 26, 2009
This post was written by Don Knapp of ICLEI.
In Gatlinburg, Tennessee, there's no rush to take down holiday decorations. Thanks to kilowatt-sipping LED lights, the dozens of snowmen, snowflakes, toy soldiers, and Christmas tree displays that illuminate its downtown streets consume little energy and money, and produce a fraction of the greenhouse gases they formerly did. In 2008, the city—one of hundreds committed to climate protection—switched from incandescent bulbs to 100 percent LEDs for its famous four-month Winter Magic lighting program.
If your electricity bill were a fat $31,000—and remember, that's just for holiday lights alone—wouldn't you make the same switch? Gatlinburg now spends 75 percent less, and plugging in LEDs for 120 days costs the same as three days of incandescents.
Post-holiday bargain hunters should follow Gatlinburg's lead and grab some LED light strings. If all the holiday lights sold in the United States this year were LEDs, we would reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 300,000 cars off the road. Now that's seeing the light.
Posted by: Bri Fo at 12:43PM PST on January 26, 2009
Obama started the week off with highlighting the need for energy independence and rightly calling climate change a national security issue. For more on climate change and national security, check out this report (pdf).
"No single issue is as fundamental for our future as energy," he says.
Posted by: Bri Fo at 10:50AM PST on January 22, 2009
There's nothing better than a glass of orange juice to start your day. But have you ever stared at your glass and wondered how much in carbon emissions it represented? Pepsi Co., which owns Tropicana, wanted to know. The answer: a half-gallon translated into 3.75 pounds of CO2.
PepsiCo hired experts to do the math, measuring the emissions from such energy-intensive tasks as running a factory and transporting heavy juice cartons. But it turned out that the biggest single source of emissions was simply growing oranges. Citrus groves use a lot of nitrogen fertilizer, which requires natural gas to make and can turn into a potent greenhouse gas when it is spread on fields.
The moral of the story here isn't that you should stop drinking orange juice. It's that corporations, such as Pepsi, are increasingly conducting carbon footprint inventories and trying to do something about it.
But if you are concerned about how your diet is impacting the planet, check out our awesome food section that offers plenty of sustainable recipes.
Posted by: Bri Fo at 10:28AM PST on January 20, 2009
"We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do."
Posted by: Bri Fo at 4:07PM PST on January 16, 2009
A huge offshore wind energy project at Cape Cod cleared a hurdle today through the approval process at the Interior Department. But the players in this proposal think it's going to be a long while before it ever sees the light of day:
Posted by: Bri Fo at 2:27PM PST on January 16, 2009Bush Praises Himself for Climate Change Leadership
Posted by: Bri Fo at 11:17AM PST on January 16, 2009
Bush gave his official farewell to the nation yesterday. Earlier, he was the focus of a ceremony that highlighted his foriegn policy acheivements in which Condoleeza Rice told him in front of the press corps: "Mr. President, history's judgment is rarely the same as today's headlines."
And for further entertainment is this booklet that the White House put together entitled, "100 Things Americans May Not Know About the Bush Administration Record." Here's a little passage:
Thanks, Mr. President!
Posted by: Bri Fo at 3:47PM PST on January 13, 2009
Happy New Year! I hope everyone had enjoyable holidays.
I was quite pleased to see Bon Appetit magazine's "Special Feature" this month: 50 Easy Ways to Eat Green
The list includes ideas like packing your own lunch, shopping locally, not opening the oven door too often, and many others that are more or less familiar by now.
While it's great to see environmental consciousness going mainstream, I think Bon Appetit omitted two very important ways to " eat green", and I have a couple more esoteric thoughts as well, that I wish they'd included:
1. Stop using plastic water bottles. Water from the tap is just fine-- if necessary, water filters are easily installed.
2. It's not just the heat -- we need to keep our fridge doors closed as much as possible, too!
3. Buy reusable chopsticks for that takeout Chinese/Japanese. According to Jay Weinstein, author of The Ethical Gourmet, disposable chopsticks have a dubious history of contributing to deforestation. Even if they're made out of bamboo (as many are), why add to trash?
4. Finally, it's easy and really, really fun to make your own soda water. I just got a "soda stream" from Soda Club, and my son and I played with it for hours last night! Given how much fizzy stuff we drink, we'll recoup our (small) investment in no time, as well as reduce our plastic bottle use even further!
So, what other recommendations would you make?
Posted by: Bri Fo at 8:36AM PST on January 6, 2009
"It's like we're slicing through chocolate milk." That's what one member of United Mountain Defense said while shooting this video aboard a paddle boat on the local river in Kingston, TN. UMD members post continuous updates from the site of the disaster on their blog.
Posted by: Bri Fo at 11:19AM PST on January 5, 2009
The holidays began with a grim reminder that today's coal industry is anything but clean. The massive (5.4 million cubic yards -- a billion gallons) spill of coal ash at the Kingston Power plant in Tennessee devastated homes, covered hundreds of acres, and threatens rivers, wildlife, and drinking-water sources. And there is plenty of responsibility to share -- a disaster like this doesn't happen without multiple parties behaving irresponsibly -- and they all should have received coal in their stockings.
Here's a partial list:
Posted by: Bri Fo at 9:01AM PST on January 5, 2009
NASA took this photo immediately after the Dec. 22 coal ash disaster that gushed more than 1 billion gallons of sludge along Eastern Tennessee.
Some of the sludge traveled north through a valley, and some flowed to the east, where it damaged dozens of homes. The spill infiltrated the Emory River, buried some 120 hectares (300 acres) in sludge, and even knocked a nearby home completely off its foundation.Below is more media coverage of the spill. And there are now reports that there were previous warning signs that went unheeded.
Posted by: Bri Fo at 12:51PM PST on January 2, 2009
Posted by: Bri Fo at 6:17PM PST on January 1, 2009
There is a lot of commenting going on over at the latest Compass blog entry by Bruce Nellis, director of the Sierra Club's National Coal Campaign, regarding the recent coal ash spill in Eastern Tennessee, which is many times worse than the Exxon Valdez tragedy.
There is no such thing as clean coal.
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