Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Weather, Water, Energy 6-06-07

  • The history that will define the US legacy to humanity is being written right now. Yes, indeed, Bushnev has already said flat out that the US will not support German and G8 initiatives to commit major nations to the already compromised goals of limiting the increase of our temps rather than even trying to reverse our effects on the planet, as if we know what we’re playing with, no matter what heroics Japan thinks it can play. When the books (or electronic files) are written on this era, this nation will stand with China as the major villains, with India and Australia playing their ignorant flunkies. Think about that. We will be linked with China, a nation so bound up and stupid that it commits this. That’s all that needs to be said.
  • Don’t really know what Spain’s Prince of Asturias Award is (like you do), but Gore just won it for his efforts in fighting global warming so it must be cool.
  • Here’s why our efforts to deal with global warming, despite Al and the 3% who get the threat we face. The people responsible for dealing with it approach it the same way they approach everything, as if the elements for control are there and it’s just a matter of human ingenuity to pull the solutions together. Catch this quote from an idiot minister in Australia:
    Downer questioned a draconian approach, saying: "You will not succeed in getting China to abandon a policy of lifting people out of poverty, or getting India to abandon a policy of lifting people out of poverty. You will succeed by ensuring that there is appropriate investment in research and development and new technologies that come on stream over time. That is going to be the best way of dealing with this."
    What if the crap is going to come down whether China or India pull anyone out of poverty or not? Okay, nature, we’re not going to let you overwhelm us unless you agree to let China, India, everyone on the whole damn planet set things up the way they want them. You rising temps. Just go back in your hole because we humans decide how the entire planet and its systems are going to behave. We aren’t going to pay attention to the latest British Antarctic Survey study showing the glaciers there moving faster toward the sea than we previously knew or predicted or that a cyclone is about to hit the Middle East and its oil supplies for the first time in recorded history. La, la, la, can’t hear you.
    When the seas start (continue) rising and crops start (continue) dying and species start (continue) going extinct and populations start (continue) piling up on one another (great summary of basics you need to memorize here), we as humans will nevertheless have the power to decide whether or not a China or an India will get to do whatever they want. At least the historical record, if it survives (doesn’t look like world monuments will), will have these kinds of (bad) nonsense quotes to verify the trail of hubris that not only led to this natural disaster occurring but also justified all the inaction that let the worst that could happen happen (or adopted more hubris-induced and cure-worse-than-the-disease “fixes” ). And we, the US and all of us in it, will be held responsible. But somehow I bet we’ll just live with that ‘cause that’s just who we are now.
  • Meanwhile, OPEC is threatening that, should the US and others seriously develop ethanol, it will cut back on oil production and send prices through the roof. Tell me again why this will be upsetting to Bushnev, Cheneyov, and the rest of the Big Oil White House? (And airlines are trying to hold the EU and its emissions restrictions to the same extortion, as Ecuador is to anyone who doesn’t want them to allow drilling in their tropical forests. Sounds like, in a world of scarcity, the future will be called “blackmail.”)
  • Yet, just when the night is darkest, light may suddenly appear. Solar-generated light. From the Vatican. No fooling. Not a big fan of the Pope, at best he’s a tool, at worst he’s despicable, but this might actually help on the margins, and given what’s happening with the rest of the world “leadership,” anything that helps right now is welcome.
  • And Jerry Brown didn’t wait way too long to make another mark on CA politics. As the state’s AG, he’s filing suit against San Bernadino County for, get this, its unplanned sprawl because of its impact on greenhouse gas emissions. If he’s successful, this might, like most things good and bad, out of CA into other states and make a positive mark on national politics. The guy just doesn’t ever seem to go away, does he? We’ll be keeping an eye on this.
  • The EPA funded this: "The State Energy Efficiency Scorecard for 2006," released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, based in Washington, D.C., lists as the best 10 states Vermont, Connecticut and California (tied for first place), Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island and Minnesota, tied for ninth place. Before we get cocky, let’s note that the highest score was 33 out of 44. The bottom 26 states scored between 10 and, gulp, 0.5. Reminds me of the curves I used to give on Amer gov’t tests . . . and why I got out of higher ed.
  • Alberta (the Canadian province, not the waitress at your bar) had big eyes for making money off its oil sands until CA, other states, and some Canadian provinces agreed to limit purchase of fuels that emit high levels of greenhouse gases in their production. Oil types there are still cocky that they will prevail, given politics and economic pressures, and who’s betting against them? But it’s nice to see sense prevail for a while, especially when the article never even mentioned the water usage for this kind of fuel production. Canada may not dread the future in that way other nations do, but it may also find more profitable uses for its water, too. Just can’t be excited about fuel that causes more trouble than it solves for some reason.
  • Finally, thunder in Greenland. No, not from storms. From melting icecaps. Melting faster than the models predicted. Enhancing the chances of that fresh water flow into the Gulf Stream and other warm weather-delivering currents. On the positive side, the Greenland fishermen are loving the warmer fish catches they’re starting to get, and the tourism industry there is booming with more and more people catching flights in to see global warming happening . . . uh . . . more flights?
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