Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Weather, Water, Energy 3-28-07

  • Next month a study will be published id'ing the populations at greatest risk from rising sea levels and hurricanes ("cyclones" in some parts). A tenth of the world pop lives in coastal areas ten meters or less above sea level. You can get the details of the report now here, and you just have to love any database acronymed "GRUMP."
  • More than related to the above, there are now Flood Maps that will show you what will happen to your area when the water levels start creeping in, just like that scene in "An Inconvenient Truth."
  • The British National Trust is urging the gov't there to start preserving the country's peat bogs, to stop them from drying out and releasing CO2 into the atmosphere and to maintain as a kind of CO2 storehouse right now. You don't like to hear "It is the forgotten climate change timebomb."
  • Over at Grist, David Roberts gets into an ongoing battle over purity v. pragmatism in global warming and other environmental debates. This kind of split is so common in so much of human history. Reading the post, I was reminded of the split among the Irish after they got Britain to agree to get out, between Michael Collins' forces (pragmatists) and Eamon DeValera's (purists) forces. The thing is, DeValera enjoyed later triumph because the clear lack of commitment to basic overriding principle ended up eroding Collins’ original base of support (that and difficulties getting the country on its feet and Collins being, you know, killed in a gun battle). So David should be concerned that his “pragmatism” will have its usual pattern of failing to inspire and thus end up losing out to more zealous types and also losing the reasonableness that the pragmatism was supposed to be insuring. The problem is that the means (process and compromise) can become the end and be held to just as tenaciously and vainly as the “purists.” The trick is to maintain a balance, open as much to chances for purity to be attained as to opportunities to split the baby with obstacles. I would have liked to have seen a little recognition of that in Roberts’ post. We may literally be dealing with life and death here and splitting that baby doesn’t really leave much that’s attractive.
  • Long, thoughtful post at Environmental Journalism Now on the coming “holy war” over the environment. Not between environmentalists and the Dobson/Falwell types, but within the evangelistic community itself. Good analysis of why Dobson et al., think they’re doing God’s work in opposing causes promoted by Satanist secularists, even when those evildoers are trying to save God’s planet for all his creation, not just for overly self-impressed humans. Add in the religious zeal of some environmentalists (see above), and you have the makings, as is said here, of something far more potent than creationism v. evolution.
  • The human side of the coal-fired power plant boom and what happens, as in TX, when the plug gets pulled. A nice foretelling of what may be happening a lot of places in the future.
  • Scientists swear, just swear, that ethanol doesn't have to mean less food to eat for folks. We'll use chutes and leaves, not corn. Problem solved. Except for that grazing land that's already nailing ranchers. And that water thing, that's already going to be a problem even without the enormous amounts that will be needed. Odd that these experts didn't mention this stuff.
  • And here, similar experts are expediting the process to bring more nuke plants on line for a big buildup soon. Better get it done soon because Sen. Bernie is moving to get power back to the states to require independent safety reviews. By independent, I don't think he's talking about the "experts."
  • For better news, it's possible that hydrogen cell obstacles are on the way to resolution. Which will make a lot of this so moot. Then what will the experts do?