Climate change and the media, reality and the future /
Coal plants’ renaissance pits energy vs. pollution /
Schwarzenegger speech today could put California in forefront of climate change efforts

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Environment - Apr 12

Click on the headline (link) for the full text.

Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage


Global warming threatens extinctions: report

Alister Doyle, Reuters
OSLO - Global warming will become a top cause of extinction from the tropical Andes to South Africa with thousands of species of plants and animals likely to be wiped out in coming decades, a study said on Tuesday.

"Global warming ranks among the most serious threats to the planet's biodiversity and, under some scenarios, may rival or exceed that due to deforestation," according to the study in the journal Conservation Biology.

"This study provides even stronger scientific evidence that global warming will result in catastrophic species loss across the planet," said Jay Malcolm, an assistant forestry professor at the University of Toronto and a lead author of the study with scientists in the United States and Australia.
(10 April 2006)


Lyin' Tamer
On global warming

Umbra Fisk, Grist Magazine
Dear Umbra,

The many articles on global warming conclude with something about the inherent complexity and uncertainty of the issue. So exactly what is the evidence for (and against) arguing that the current warming trend is inside the scope of normal fluctuations? What is the evidence for (and against) arguing that the trend is caused by human activities, and is not just part of a "natural cycle"? Is it true that the U.S. is just about the only country where scientists seriously debate the reality of global warming? Who are these people writing articles telling us we don't have anything to worry about? What are their credentials?

A: Yours is a very long question, I have received many like it, and in the next few weeks I'm going to harp on climate change in honor of Earth Day, probably until we're all terrified of the future and sick of me.

I'll answer your question's last part quickly: no credible scientific body in the United States continues to debate whether or not human activity contributes to climate change.
(10 April 2006)


Climate change and the media, reality and the future

Alex Steffen, WorldChanging
We are of course deeply heartened by the sudden clamor over climate change. 2006 may just be the year in which climate change will finally break through into the popular consciousness, and people (especially mainstream Americans) will finally get it that this global warming stuff is really, really serious. With glossy magazines, television shows, feature films and multiple online campaigns pouring forth the climate change stories, it would appear that we are finally reaching the climate politics tipping point. This is our Climate Spring.

Except for one thing: the solutions. By and large, the solutions being offered by many of these newly-minted climate allies are quite simply out of whack with the magnitude of the crisis we face. Take the Vanity Fair green issue, in which associate editor Heather Halberstadt offers this prescription for action: "Turn off the faucet while you're brushing your teeth or recycle your Sunday newspaper. Little things can have an impact on a global scale; it doesn't necessarily mean buying a hybrid vehicle."

A few years ago, this would have been unobjectionable, if trite. The problem is, we know more now. We know, for instance, that the climate models scientists have been using to predict the effects of climate change (which have usually been dismissed as alarmist by much of the Washington, D.C. power structure) seem to have been too conservative in their assumptions, and that we may already be seeing the beginning of effects we were told not to expect for another decade or two. We know that the more we find out about climate, the tighter the horizon for effective action starts to look (on the extreme, ten years before we're over the ledge, according to NASA's James Hansen), and the more certain some of the drastic effects, like sea-level rise become.
(10 April 2006)


Coal plants’ renaissance pits energy vs. pollution

Karen Dillon, Kansas City Star
Proposed power plants in Kansas and Missouri have become targets of environmentalists who are fighting to halt a new wave of coal-fired units.

Utilities have plans to build more than 130 power plants throughout the country, and at least eight of those are in Kansas and western Missouri, with two in the immediate Kansas City area.

It has been decades since so many coal-fired power plants were proposed. In Kansas, a coal plant hasn’t been built since the 1970s. In Missouri, it was the early 1980s.

But coal-fired plants have become the most economical to build in recent years, and the utility industry says a large number are needed to keep up with demand.

Environmentalists argue, though, that they emit large amounts of air pollution and contribute to global warming. The Bush administration has refused to adopt rules that go far enough in protecting the public’s health and the environment, they say.

The Sierra Club recently adopted a national policy to challenge any new power plants until stricter rules for air pollution and global warming are implemented.
(11 April 2006)


Governor wants industry to cut greenhouse gases
Carbon dioxide emissions would fall dramatically in plan to be announced in S.F.

Mark Martin, SF Chronicle
Sacramento -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will call today for restricting the amount of greenhouse gases California industries can emit, pushing California into the forefront of international efforts to combat global warming.

In a speech to be delivered in San Francisco, Schwarzenegger is expected to embrace environmental policy rejected by the Bush administration by proposing a cap on carbon dioxide emissions and the creation of market-based systems to help companies meet the new caps. While short on specifics, the speech will be the governor's strongest commitment yet to make California a leader in regulating emissions that most scientists believe are causing climate changes that could have disastrous consequences.

Schwarzenegger will call reducing greenhouse gases a great challenge that will require sacrifices, but he will urge the state to "provide an example to the rest of the world," according to an advance copy of the speech given to The Chronicle.
(11 April 2006)
Related: Contra Costa Times.

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