Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Weather, Water, Energy 6-26-07

Uh-oh. Russia’s already throwing down on, claiming 1.2 m. sq. kilometers (now, are those bigger or smaller than the miles smart people use?) opening up in the Arctic. We talk about the impact of global warming in a lot of ways, but this burgeoning battle over the resources of the Arctic may be the sleeper in the group in terms of impact, at least in the short term. King Cheney and his minions aren’t going to like this. Bushnev won’t either, once they tell him what to “think”. . . . This just gets more bizarre, so it’s likely to happen. One of the major claims against pulling gasoline from the Canadian coal sands is the enormous amount of power it takes to do so. Most people would say, well, with other options available and the dangers posed by this, including the enormous amount of water, let’s try something else. Not those hearty Canadians. They’re going to use nuclear power, which uses enormous amounts of water and has those useful terrorist byproducts as well, to provide the power. You couldn’t sell a book or movie with a plot like this. . . . Lack of nuke waste storage sites, though, may keep CA from being equally lunatic in the near future as it slows consideration of new nuke plants. . . . Global warming-->drought in SW US-->dust blown north-->cover over snowpack in mountains-->earlier annual snow melt-->more unpredictability of fresh water availability. Isn’t nature wonderful? . . . France is joining Britain in calling for caps on greenhouse gas emissions from airlines. The US will block it all, of course, but at least some nations are trying. . . . Meanwhile, a major global investment bank has issued its recs on the best companies to invest in in a warming future. None American, of course. Go get rich. . . . Our daily check-in with David Roberts at Grist finds a good post on Obama’s ultimately pointless fence-straddling on coal (when coal is what we need to be running from, not finding excuses for) and a nice explanation of what goes on in debate over auctioning v. giving away of credits in a cap-and-trade system (guess which option the corporations that have been screwing up the environment want? And guess which one will win—answer at bottom of his post.) . . . Worried that the rush to turn corn into gas will starve people? Well, turns out we can make cookies from the ethanol production byproducts. And their fiber-full!! Problem solved, right? Right? . . . TX and MA both getting fed grants to develop wind power and to compete for basic dominance in wind tech. Hard to believe TX could lose. As we used to say in OK, no matter what direction you left TX, you were going into the wind. Because TX s-cks. . . . While looking at grants to states, WI, TN, and CA have businesses that have nailed down major Dept of Energy funding to start up bioenergy research centers. And think of the cookies they can make, too!! (Looks like MI is getting some of that ethanol-based grant-funding, too.) . . . No discipline has better resembled the clueless but very self-impressed academics in Gulliver’s Travels than economists. Their dirty secret for decades has been the deliberate lack of attention to actual empirical data and the observable world. Michael Tobis at Only In It for the Gold has found a heretic in the cathedral there and alerts us to her work and responses to it. Similar to a recent Nation piece and to this current Scientific American column talking about using MRIs to understand how people really think, not just how the very small pool of people strange enough to become economists think. Who knows? Maybe economists will join the real world, start trying to actually get things right about economies, and pull their ignorant noses out of areas like climate change, criminal justice, education, health care, et al., until they actually get their own house in order. . . nah. . . . One last note. Global warming helps poison ivy. Lets send some to Inhov and all his other deniers.

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