Friday, March 30, 2007

Weather, Water, Energy 3-30-07

  • Really nice and thorough op-ed on why renewables and more efficiency and conservation are the only immediate responses of significance to global warming and why our politicians, including President Gore, can't be counted on to get them done (h/t Grist).
  • Nice example of political nonsense and counter-productivity. The new IA gov is committing $100 m. to making the state a world leader in renewables and efficiency. Sounds perfect, right? Except, being IA, the renewables are biofuels. And biofuels are starting to draw calls for boycotting as the land, food, and forests are consumed to create them right now while we wait for all those wonderful alternative bio products to come online. And then we've already got this: feed that used to go to dairy cows now goes to ethanol-->costs to dairy farmers go up-->higher milk prices. IA farmers will love that, won't they?
  • And when the nation realizes what's possible with solar, we'll be turning to CA, it looks like, with home developers incorporating it now and a multi-billion dollar initiative to promote even more through rebates for investment, etc. FL may actually be pretty close behind, especially with Bushnev's hermano gone.
  • This could be why CA is moving on solar. Its average temp went up 2 degrees F (the one we use, not that C thing) in the last 50 years, maybe as much because of all the concrete they've been throwing up. Not kidding, actually. An international meeting of mayors just spent a lot of time discussing warming and the role that urbanization is playing in adding to the total. And climbing.
  • Probs with carbon trading. A listing here, but it basically boils down to "too easy to be gamed" and "too many other better options."
  • The second IPCC report will apparently note how hammered Australia is going to get under global warming. And its idiot PM's response? "Mr. Howard told Parliament that Mr. Stern's demands [to embrace Kyoto and international agreements] would destroy Australia's economic growth and cost jobs." By all means. Country goes to Hell, almost literally, but our religious zeal for idiot theories of econ decline and global warming come first.
  • An unusually warm winter in the Arctic, ice didn't form the way it should have, that ain't good. Dry winters in the north Mediterranean, hotter summers further north in Europe, that ain't good either.
  • There's always a catch. Those long-lasting, less energy-using fluorescent bulbs we're all supposed to switch to? Got mercury in them. When they finally do go black, what do we do with them all?