Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Weather, Water, Energy 9-19-06

Congrats to Great Britain!! Fishermen there just caught off the English shore an Atlantic triple fin fish, a fish normally found only off the coasts of Africa, South America, and the Mediterranean. It's joining the sunfish as a new arrival. Think of the new tourist fishing opportunities global warming will bring England and Ireland. (Except if that old "collapse of the Gulf Stream" thing . . . never mind.) . . . Speaking of Britain, the BBC reports on a new study there that shows temps in central England are up one degree (that weird centigrade one) since the '50s, and scientists estimate the odds of the increase not being human-related are less than 5%. Congrats again!!! . . . A good NY Times article (it can happen) on a Union of Concerned Scientists study detailing how age of reactor and experience of managers have no impact on their proneness to costly, lengthy shutdowns. Not thrilling news for those wanting to build new ones and pass the costs and dangers onto the next generation, the real US national pastime. . . . Terra Daily has a piece on Purdue Research Foundation technology that promises to produce ethanol at lower cost than existing techniques. . . . The AP has a story on the announcement from the CA, OR, and WA governors of their agreement to begin working together to manage Pacific health. Their efforts will include a joint message to Congress in the next 6 months opposing oil and gas leasing, development, or exploration off their Pacific coasts, along with a coastal regional research plan. Think the "dead zone" off OR we mentioned in an earlier "Weather . . . " had anything to do with it? . . . And, as we ponder what needs to be done to address the crises that face us on those topics, let us end with The Man Who Should Be King, Mr. Gore, who came out blasting both parties in a speech yesterday, but clearly going after Bushnev and his Politburo. You should read the whole article but, if you're in a hurry, here's the close, which will be ours as well:

In his speech, Gore framed the pursuit of renewable energy as an economic and national security issue for the United States, besides being an environmental imperative. But he also said the challenge of global climate change offered opportunities for innovation and investment.

'We can change this by inventing and manufacturing new solutions to stop global warming right here in America,' he said, adding that
venture capitalists are eager to put money behind effective technologies to cut greenhouse gases.

Gore laid out several policy proposals for reducing global warming. They included:

_ An immediate freeze on carbon dioxide emissions. He said continued debates on the matter represented 'a delusional and reckless approach.'
_ A retooling of U.S. auto giants to manufacture hybrid vehicles instead of gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs. Such a transformation, Gore said, would save thousands of jobs at the car companies.
_ A shift to a greater reliance on ethanol, wind and solar energy.
_ A requirement that all new buildings to be 'carbon neutral,' meaning they don't produce more than they consume, by 2030.
_ An elimination of payroll taxes in favor of pollution taxes. 'Instead of discouraging businesses from hiring more employees, it would discourage business from producing more pollution,' Gore said.