Friday, August 10, 2007

Weather, Water, Energy 8-10-07

Quick hits today:

  • One of the disappointing but predictable results of every rationalization to "deregulate" in the name of lower costs and higher efficiency is that we get less efficiency (flown on a plane lately?) and higher costs, as this article highlights about "deregulated" electricity. And our leaders [sic] still haul out that sad "reason" every time, and we always buy it.
  • Corn not so bright as a fuel source now that people are thinking it through. (Notice I said "people," not "policymakers.")
  • OTOH, David Roberts at Grist has a post up on what could and may be happening to actually make biofuel more practical as an alternative. And, while you're over there, check out what he has to say about the warped logic of US automakers who say a giant gasoline tax is the only way to get consumers to "demand" fuel-efficient cars (just like past US automakers have resisted seat belts and anti-lock brakes until consumers "demanded" them), the good news about solar even without sunshine, and trees officially not being the answer to dealing with emissions.
  • Terra Daily has some worthwhile reading, including word on Malaysia claiming to be committed to preservation of its rainforest, cities affecting thunderstorms, the interest and puzzle that is permafrost thawing and its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, and Japan investigating non-edible biofuel crops, like straw. Gee, that makes sense. No wonder it's not happening here.
  • Over at RealClimate, evidence that Arctic sea ice melt will set a record this year.
  • At Science Daily, longer heat waves are upping hospital admissions, 19th century soot helped make Greenland an easier place to live now, and tech advancements to lessen the size necessary for water treatment plants by half. Doesn't cut the costs of treatment in half but it does reduce them as well. I shouldn't have to spell out what that means for our future, do I?

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