Archive for June, 2010

Perception is greater than reality, but that’s even truer when reality is years away. Climate change has fallen victim to this cliche with two major events in the past year.

The first scandal is Climategate, which conveniently erupted right around the time of last year’s Copenhagen summit on climate change. It supposedly showed scientists fixing stats in order to make a more convincing argument that global warming is true. But not only would these two have had to rig their data, but thousands of scientists would have to be in on it, too. More likely was that these two scientists were talking about making some changes to their data, which didn’t jive with decades-worth of data on climate change.

Media outlets, however, picked up on the data and all of a sudden, all climate change data was rigged to show global warming. The initial story? Well, the newspaper has retracted it - but nobody seems to have noticed. Global warming data was called into question and that is what will be remembered.

The second scandal has nothing to do with climate change, but it has something to do with the face of climate change. For better or worse, Al Gore is considered the man behind alternative energy. He was not even close to the first person to talk about global warming, but he has had the most success in bringing the message to a mainstream audience. But if he wasn’t already a punch-line, his latest alleged missteps in Seattle have made him one.

It’s not that anything in Al Gore’s personal life has anything to do with climate change, but the reports that allege he attacked a masseuse in an attempt to have sex with her undermine his own honesty. And when you say to Congress or the American people: “Believe me on this – climate change will be harmful.” Well, you’re not the first person I’ll really be believing.

Do Al Gore’s missteps mean he’s been lying about global warming. NO. But will critics seize upon them to make it seem like he’s been lying about global warming. YES. And when the answer to the global warming problem needs a collective action to succeed, we need as many people as possible believing in overwhelming global warming data. It’s not right, but Al Gore and the Climategate scandal make it all the tougher.

The New York Times has an extensive Q & A on the oil spill.

A new energy bill may be on the way (LA Times). A new study says the natural gas share of the US energy market is likely to double in the coming decades (NY Times), while another report says the EPA is a decade behind setting certain air pollution standards (NY Times).

Cleanup material from the spill isn’t being disposed of all that cleanly (MSNBC).

Rhode Island and Massachusetts compete to have the first U.S. offshore wind farm (Providence Journal). Meanwhile, Cape Wind faces yet another lawsuit (LA Times).

In just 10 million years, a new ocean may split Africa apart (BBC).

Here’s an in-depth feature on the possible extinction of bluefin tuna (NY Times Magazine).

Full fridges use less energy. You can fill up extra space with pitchers containing water.

Here a few stories on the oil spill, now on Day 67, from the New York Times.

Progress has been made in many areas since 1989, but cleaning up oil spills isn’t one of them. Even available tools like containment boom are in short supply. Meanwhile, a federal judge has lifted the deepwater drilling ban and refused to grant a stay while the government appeals.  And BP says the containment cap that had problems on Wednesday is now working again.

Dubbed by Lights Out, Green In as Say Hello to the Sun Day, Monday was also the first day of summer. And what a great day to display how useful natural sunlight is.

From 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., the sun shined with all of its strength on the longest day of light all year. Hourly conservation tips were posted from sunrise to sunset on Facebook. The tips are aimed to help cut down waste whether it be from leftovers or coffee cups. You can see all 16 tips by visiting our Facebook page. But fear not – more tips (as they have been for two years) will be shared every Monday on this site at 10 a.m.

But the sun was the true star of the day was the sun – you could’ve used natural light to light your home or office almost all day.

BP is now capturing about 25,000 gallons of oil per day (NY Times), but the spill rate is estimated at 35,000-60,000 gallons. The Times also speculates on where the spill ranks in the annals of ecological disasters.

Oversight of the rig was patchwork at best (LA Times), while the Interior Department faces mounting criticism (NY Times).

Boston uses infrared to pinpoint energy losses (Boston Globe).

The Supreme Court ruled for Florida in a beach-access case (LA Times). But elsewhere, private property owners have the upper hand (MSNBC).

Solar power struggles to gain traction (MSNBC). Meanwhile, here’s another article questioning the benefits of biomass (NY Times).

Cleaning up the Charles River is a costly endeavor (Boston Globe).

Africa looks into planting a tree belt (BBC).

Clean the World recycles and processes barely-used hotel soap for use in Third World countries.

A few stories on the Gulf oil spill, now coming up on Day 60.

New estimates indicate the spill is now at 35,000-60,000 barrels a day (NY Times), potentially twice as much as last week’s estimate, which itself was several times greater than prior estimates. BP thinks it can collect 53,000 barrels a day by the end of June (NY Times).

Congress didn’t get many answers from Tony Hayward yesterday (NY Times). President Obama calls for reducing the dependence on oil (NY Times).

“Say Hello to the Sun Day” is coming on Monday (June 21), which is the longest day of the year. It’s a Facebook event created by Lights Out, Green In with two purposes in mind.

The first is to grow our Facebook membership from 522 members to even more people. The more members LOGI has, the more people hear our message, hear about our events and take the pledge. The hope is that our current members invite their friends and family and more and more people join.

The second reason behind the day is to educate people on easy ways to conserve. From 5:30 A.M. to 8:30 P.M., there will be hourly tips on how you can conserve energy.

What can you do to get ready? Invite your friends to join Lights Out, Green In and contribute as much as you can.

President Obama wants BP to set up an escrow account to pay for the damages (NY Times), while the Coast Guard has demands BP devise a plan to speed up its containment efforts (LA Times). The company has deployed sensors to try to better measure the spill rate (Washington Post).

The spill threatens sea turtle breeding (LA Times).

Many outstanding issues remain after the latest UN climate talks (BBC). Some are accusing wealthy nations of trying to set up rules to benefit themselves (BBC).

The BBC has this diary from a polar science conference in Oslo.

Product design increasingly incorporates sustainability (NY Times).

The oil spill is unlikely to spur any action on a climate bill (NY Times).  Congress defeats a resolution that would have stripped the EPA’s authority to regulate carbon (MSNBC).

As the number of electric cars increases, miles per gallon may not be the best way to measure energy consumption (Washington Post).

The pros and cons of e-waste recycling in India (Washington Post).

An oil pipeline breaks in Salt Lake City (MSNBC).

Massachusetts suspends an energy rule (Boston Globe). Also, a state-sponsored study found that burning wood may be worse than burning coal (Boston Globe).