Depressing video of the day

1/2 acre of Louisiana sinks into the Gulf of Mexico every 15 minutes

US seeks G8 climate text changes

OK, reducing greenhouse emissions is a noble goal and I can certainly see why the other members of the G8 summit might not like the idea of the US wanting to leave greenhouse emissions out completely.

However, setting a cap on temperature increase? At what point did we determine we have that much control on global temperatures? None of this global “consensus” on climate change has determined exactly how much temperature increase is contributed by carbon emissions, they have simply come to the conclusion that we are somehow contributing to certain measurements, with terms like “likely”, “somewhat likely”, “very likely,” etc.

Do they intend to simply treat it like a thermostat? Lower emissions and the temperature will automatically stop going up?

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature

Does Solar Make Economic Sense? East vs. West.

A recent conversation with our good friend Rothell made this particular post fairly timely. Apparently the east coast and west coast have different views on the economic benefits of solar power.

As it’s getting late, I’m going to pretty much phone this one in; and besides the whole post is worth a read. I welcome your comments.

Ecotality Blog

Smog and soot

The American Lung Association recently released their annual study, “State of the Air”, on smog and soot levels across the US. The results were mixed, with smog levels decreasing across the country, while soot levels were found to be increasing – especially in the Eastern part of the US. The blame for the soot increases is being placed on the prevalence of coal-fired power plants in the affected areas.

The report is not without controversy (no surprise there), as the article also contains arguments refuting the accuracy of the findings by a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute.

Truthfully inconvenient, or, looking behind the global warming curtain of consensus

Remember, this didn’t happen, it’s all a consensus, just listen to Sheryl Crow…

He said that over the past 40 years the number of major hurricanes making landfall on the U.S. Atlantic coast has declined even though carbon dioxide levels have risen.

Gray, speaking to a group of Republican state lawmakers, had harsh words for researchers and politicians who say man-made greenhouse gases are responsible for global warming.

“They’re blaming it all on humans, which is crazy,” he said. “We’re not the cause of it.”

Many researchers believe warming is causing hurricanes to get stronger, while others aren’t sure.

Gray complained that politics and research into global warming have created “almost an industry” that has unfairly frightened the public and overwhelmed dissenting voices.

He said research arguing that humans are causing global warming is “mush” based on unreliable computer models that cannot possibly take into account the hundreds of factors that influence the weather.

Alarm raised over Kyoto in Canada

It seems the Canadians are saying what everyone already knew:

John Baird claimed petrol prices would leap and thousands of jobs would vanish if Canada tried to reduce greenhouse gases by 6% from 1990 levels by 2012.

No. Really?

It seems at least someone in the rest of the world is beginning to agree with this position. Including the Turkish:

In the last century the primary energy source was petrol but in this century it would be natural gas, said Guler In response to a question over signing of the Kyoto Protocol Guker responded by saying, “We do not want the world to get polluted either.

But in the protocol there are views that even object to building of dams. This is important in respect to our national interests.”

This is what happens when only environmentalists try to structure environmental reform. Water power is forbidden because it might upset some fish. Thus the real goal of reducing air pollutants and dependence on fossil fuels is usurped.

Thus the environmentalists in Canada who are taking advantage of the Earth Day to push for…guess what…the Kyoto Treaty:

International Earth Day will be celebrated Sunday in Montreal by a march condemning what environmental groups see as the federal government’s inaction over the Kyoto Protocol…”We want people to go into the streets to send a message to the government of Canada: You must act now,” said Jocelyn Higginson of Greenpeace Quebec.

And the Australian Labor Party seems to feel that the economics are apparently not important:

Mr Rudd, who is on his first visit to the US since becoming Opposition Leader late last year, has told an American research institute that Australia, China and the US must work together to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

…“On this question, our respective national positions are compromised by our refusal so far to ratify the Kyoto protocol,” Mr Rudd said.

“Given that it is projected that China’s greenhouse gas emissions will exceed those of the US by 2009, the planet demands that all three of us engage in the necessary international governance arrangements to cap greenhouse gas emissions before it is too late.”

Apparently, Mr Rudd has not even glanced at the Kyoto Treaty which clearly relieves China of any financial responsiblity for their soon-to-be leading CO2 emissions. The way it works is a “all have to play but not all have to pay” set up where developing countries (like India and China) really don’t have to do anything at all except beg developed countries for money to help them solve their emissions problems. This is an excerpt of a publication by a Stanford Climatologist, that was sent to me by a “Kyoto apologist” a year ago:

Delay in LDC participation in decarbonizing protocols could lock in many dozens of inefficient coal burning power plants, each with four decades of economic life in, say, India or China or Indonesia, which would not allow global warming solutions to be very cost-effective, I argued. Not unexpectedly, I noticed frowns from the Africans and Asians present. But their faces changed when I added: “But just because protecting nature and the global commons requires that all countries must play, fairness suggests that not all should have to pay!

“We have responsibilities, too…” AWWWWWW. “But the West is going to pay for it all” YAAAAAYYYYY!!!!

The logic of course is that you get more “bang for the buck” (reduction in emissions/$) if the US, for instance, invests in developing countries to improve their emissions than it is to invest in advancing already advanced US technologies. One problem with that logic is that it doesn’t improve the air quality in the US which honestly should be a major motivator for reducing emissions, thus the investment has no economic return for the investor.

This is where I just go nuts. Let’s forget about global warming for a second. Who doesn’t want cleaner air? I mean really. Has anyone been to L.A. lately? Not pleasant. What about Jakarta? Isn’t it simply easier to talk in terms of improving the quality of the air so that those living in those cities have better living conditions. Nope. One must make the whole world (the U.S.) responsible for the whole world (Asia and Africa). Whatever happened to think globally, act locally?

Yes, the US (and Canada, et al) should take a leadership role in attempting to reducing emissions (global warming or not), but by the VERY DEFINITION of the Kyoto Treaty, they already HAVE taken a leadership role in reducing carbon emissions. If the US is so advanced that it’s cheaper to pay for some else’s advancements, in what way have we not already taken a leadership role? Obviously, though, the West has to be punished for being more advanced, their economic strength sacrificed for the “greater good.” Thus results global distribution of wealth.

Any “Global” treaty that relieves the biggest violators (East Asia) free from responsibility to reduce emissions is not a treaty that a developed country would do well to sign on to.

A better approach in my opinion is for cities and states to develop their own individual plans to reduce emissions in their own locales; plans that fit with their own current levels of technology, emissions levels, economic strength, etc, and work from the bottom up:

“California is doing everything we can to tip the balance on the environment,” Schwarzenegger said, speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. “We are not waiting for the federal government. We are not waiting for Washington.”

Federal policymakers may be pressured to enact nationwide limits on greenhouse gas emissions in light of a U.S. Supreme Court decision earlier this month. In a case involving states and environmental groups seeking stricter federal emissions mandates, the high court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate carbon emissions from vehicles and must offer a reasonable explanation if it decides not to impose more stringent restrictions.

That last is because Kennedy sure wouldn’t have states make any decisions for themselves.

But even better, iff Michigan, New Jersey, California, etc…add “we have the cleanest air of all the Metropolitan centers in the country” to their commercials touting business-friendliness, etc, wouldn’t they attract more people, businesses, and income. Wouldn’t your average American (voter) be even MORE concerned about the air that their children breathe, that we obviously DO have ultimate control over, than some long term, unclear, nefarious “climate change” that we may or may not have any control over?

BBC News

Coastal restoration

The Times Picayune has a series up on combating coastal erosion in Louisiana, an environmental issue about which there is a true consensus.

Success will require huge, strategically placed diversions, which essentially redirect water from the Mississippi and other rivers into the dying wetlands. The slow-acting diversions will have to be paired with much more rapid efforts to rebuild barrier islands and interior wetlands, using dredged sediment that in some cases will be transported by pipeline miles from the Mississippi.

This comprehensive effort must be quickly launched through what would be an unprecedented display of federal will, efficiency and cooperation with the state and a host of competing private interest groups. Also needed will be truckloads of money: State and federal officials estimated the cost of rebuilding the coast at about $15 billion in 2004 – a year before Hurricane Katrina, in one day, stripped Louisiana of 217 square miles of marsh.