Friday, June 01, 2007

Weather, Water, Energy 6-1-07

Amidst the faux offerings of Bushnev on emissions and the half-hearted cheers from foreign leaders (note Joseph Romm's catch of the fooled-yet-again US coverage and the not-fooled-at-all European coverage), the EU commissioner nails him:

"It is clear that we need a more ambitious position on the part of the United States," Barroso told Friday's edition of the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper.

"The United States are putting a lot of emphasis on market mechanisms in the fight against climate change, and they are right to do so," Barroso said.

"But market mechanisms only work if there are binding targets.

"As a major emitter of toxic gases, the United States naturally bears a particular responsibility."

Barroso said he did not believe that Bush's promise to work with his fellow leaders of the Group of Eight wealthiest nations to create a new framework to cap greenhouse gas emissions made it more likely that a commitment on the issue would be struck at the summit in the northern German resort of Heiligendamm. . . .

Barroso said: "In the US Congress there is very visible support for more ambitious proposals. It is all just a question of time.

"I hope we will make a genuine breakthrough in 2009 for the post-Kyoto era."

And here’s proof. Australia’s idiot PM is adopting the same line, but, being an idiot, admitting that nothing’s really going to happen with these sorts of plans:

Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Friday dropped his objections to a national carbon emissions trading scheme but said he would not be rushed into setting targets that could damage the economy.
Howard released a government-commissioned report that recommended establishing a carbon trading scheme in 2012, drawing criticism from green groups who want immediate action.

Meanwhile, MN shows what happens when gov’t’s are serious about dealing with the problem:

The bill sets a goal of reducing statewide global warming pollution across all sectors to 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. To accomplish these goals, the legislation requires the state to establish a carbon cap and trade program and to develop and implement a regional approach to reducing global warming pollution. ...

The bill increases annual energy savings in conservation improvement programs to 1.5 percent per year, which will result in a 25 percent decrease in Minnesota's electric and natural gas use by 2025. The law also requires utilities to consider community-based renewable energy for the satisfaction of the standard. UCS Minnesota consultant Barbara Freese was integrally involved in the passage of the bill.

But then, when the constituency you represent is ignorant, why would you try to lead? Latest CNN poll shows only 53% see global warming as extremely or very important, only a third even see it as the most important environmental problem (ocean pollution at 52%?? Really???), and only 3% recognize it as the most important problem this planet faces, which explains the general lack of attention paid by even the supposedly “progressive” blogs. The “let’s not scare people, let’s be good and moderate” types are winning, and will be damned. Nothing else is important, not abortion, homosexuality, Iraq, the economy, nothing, if this train goes off the rails, but only 3% see that after almost 3 decades of news on it. Like the old saying goes, if you think those representatives are bad, you should see their constituents. . . .

A new study indicates that climate models may be overestimating the droughts and underestimating the flooding in the future due to global warming. The data for the study are limited so it’s not fully accepted at this point (although this study does link monsoons to climate change), but somehow I don’t feel relieved either way it goes. And another study finds that models may need to be changed because apparently hurricanes and cyclones stir up the oceans enough to change flows and affect subsequent weather. So, if this is true, but wasn’t figured into the “droughts/floods” study, . . . see why it could go either way and neither is good? . . .

One of the popular “defenses” of the global warming deniers and obstructionists is to cite studies showing that plants (see “tropical forests”) contribute substantial amounts to our methane emissions. However, a new study has found flaws in that research and has indicated that methane emissions are actually negligible. Let’s all raise our hands, those of us who believe this will get the deniers and obstructionists to back off. . . .

And while we dither, the Japanese (of course) are showing off zero-emission cars at the G8 meeting where the US will insist that getting serious will deny economic opportunities. Makes you proud, doesn’t it?

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