Archive for April, 2013

 

The U.S. could be an oil exporter by 2023 (NY Times).

Conservation gets a boost from DOD (LA Times).

Midwest droughts give way to flooding (NY times).

Gas stations are vanishing from the DC area (Washington Post).

California tries new technology to measure snowpack (Washington Post).

Montana ranchers take on coal (LA Times).

 

Obama’s second term is off to a slow start on the environment (NY Times).

The EPA criticizes the State Department’s Keystone XL environmental review (LA Times).

Two-way charging may be coming to electric cars (NY Times).

An LED streetlamp could reduce light pollution (BBC).

UK CO2 emissions are rising (BBC).

Cap-and-trade programs in California and Quebec merge (LA Times).

Did you miss the official Earth Day on Monday this year? No problem – it’s a whole week, much as it’s been the past few years. Only this time, the media seemed to really pick up on the Earth Week theme.

Fox Business offers up some Earth Week discounts, but the most useful thing you can do for the Earth costs nothing. Just cut your everyday energy use. To help you do that, here are the Starting Lineup of Conservation, which we unveiled way back in 2009:

1. Use reusable shopping bags – Leading off, even the Chinese government, which is somewhat questionable on environmental issues, iseliminating plastic bags. The key here is to get bags that are big enough and have a sturdy bottom, rather than the poor quality ones stores try to pass off. Also, make sure you actually use the reusable bags – keep them in the front seat of your car so you see them when you’re going in the store, and even bring them into CVS or a clothes store.

2. Switch to CFLs – You need a two hitter in the lineup that makes contact and CFLs just can’t miss. Replacing all your incandescents with fluorescents will reduce your electricity bill, which is good for the environment and your pocketbook.

3. Recycle – Sometimes lost in the environmental push is something that used to be fundamental. Make sure to recycle cans, bottles, etc. More bottles need to be recycled as people are turning more and more to bottled water.

4. TAKE THE PLEDGE - The heavy hitter for the environment. What else did you expect in the cleanup spot? Pledge to turn off your lights from 11 a.m. – 1p.m. every day and use natural sunlight instead. Watch your electricty consumption fall as you realize how useless some lights are during the day.

5. Reuse – You know that Poland Springs water bottle you were about to toss away. Can you spare reusing it with water from the tap?

6. Set it to cruise – It’s pretty expensive to buy a hybrid, but setting your car to cruise control when you can uses less fuel. It’s like upgrading your clunker to a fuel-efficient car without even trading it in.

7. Regular plates, please – We’re at the bottom of the lineup and while these final steps won’t pack too much power, they are steady and productive at helping the environment. So, instead of using paper plates because the cleanup is easier, opt for regular plates.

8. Shrink the wrap – Do you really need to wrap your gift with 3 laayers of tissue paper and then add thick gift wrap? Try reusing gift bags, not using tissue paper and maybe wrapping your gifts in the Sunday paper.

9. Use the flip side – There are two sides to every piece of paper, so why only use one?

 

 

 A dry winter could mean a big fire season in southern California (LA Times). The state may also face its biggest power issues since Enron (Bloomberg).

New York tries an electric taxi experiment (NY Times).

Investments in carbon-intensive businesses could be at risk (Bloomberg). Meanwhile, Europe’s carbon market is struggling (NY Times).

Florida sues BP (Washington Post).

Alaska gambles on an oi tax cut (Stateline).

 

Rising seas cause trouble in Southampton (NY Times).

The U.S. will release some Colorado River water to Mexico (NY times).

Chevron pushes back against California’s carbon emissions mandate (Bloomberg).

Energy is just as dirty as 20 years ago, the IEA says (Bloomberg).

Colorado and Utah want more aggressive federal forest management (Stateline).

Yes, it’s 2013 – and we’re still dealing with climate change deniers.

An article released last week by the news service Reuters took aim at the theory of global warming, citing a slowdown in rising temperatures as a reason why global warming might not be real. This comes as no shock to the UN’s environmental panel, which replied to the article.

The IPCC has consistently said that fluctuations in the weather, perhaps caused by variations in sunspots or a La Nina cooling of the Pacific, can mask any warming trend and the panel has never predicted a year-by-year rise in temperatures.

This article comes as U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart has blindly declared that not only is climate change wrong, but most Democrats know it’s wrong, too. He, of course, sits on a major scientific committee in the House. The silver lining to this wacko: He might not get re-elected because of it.

Stewart’s comments were particularly disturbing to Utah residents, who faced one of their worstwildfire seasons in the state’s history — one that the recent fossil-fueled drought and extreme heat exacerbated. Over 18,000 people have signed Forecast the Facts’ petition demanding that Stewart stop denying climate science and start developing policies to secure our country against the urgent threat of climate change.

Listen, does all the climate change data forever line up to show down to the degree that the earth is warming? No, there’s variations here or there, but they’re normal and if you focus on them, you’re missing the larger point. Not only that, these variations, much as those found in the differences of the melting Antarctic ice, can be explained.

At first blush, the two might appear to be at loggerheads. Instead, researchers suggest, the two highlight how, as on other continents, the intensity of global warming’s impact at the bottom of the world depends on location, location, location. And both point to the challenge researchers still face in forecasting the future of the continent’s ice chest in a warming climate.

Let us deny no more.

 

The Arctic could be ice-free by 2050, an NOAA study says (Bloomberg).

The EPA administrator nominee is questioned by senators (LA Times). Meanwhile, the agency delays a greenhouse gas emission rule for new power plants (Washington Post).

A river envelops and Indian island (NY Times).

 

California sees an opportunity in Chinese pollution (LA Times).

The new Interior secretary is confirmed (Washington Post).

Russia pushes for natural gas cars (NY Times).

A Utah-Nevada water agreement falls apart (Stateline).

The sun could give natural gas more juice (NY Times).

Some Kansans want to prohibit using public money for sustainable development (Bloomberg).

Sometimes it’s easy to point to major storms such as Hurricane Sandy and say “this is what happens because of climate change,” but it’s possibly more effective to tell people all the small ways that climate change will effect your life.
Terry and I have linked in the past to the effect of climate change on chocolate, coffe and other crops. And so it’s in the same vein that three everyday effects of climate change were released in stories this week:
- Do you want to just relax with an inexpensive bottle of wine from France? Well, the price is going to spike and it might not be the type of wine you want. The LA Times explains:
Land suitable for viticulture in current major wine producing regions could be reduced by 20% to 70% by 2050, depending on the amount of greenhouse gases produced, the researchers said this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
That could mean that wine grape production moves from regions such as Mediterranean France to higher latitudes, including Northern Europe and the western U.S. At present, Mediterranean regions, with dry and warm summers and cool and wet winters, are especially suitable.
There are some coping strategies available, and others are needed, such as investments in new varieties of grapes that have different climate tolerances – such as withstanding heat stress – and new ways to manage vineyards, the researchers said.
- Love hitting the slopes every winter? Well, maybe every other winter. Or you’ll have to take a flight to some remote mountain. The winter sports industry is in trouble and U.S. Olympians are pushing President Obama to think about climate change (not even the winter sports industry specifically, just climate change in general) when he’s making policy decisions.
Olympic medallists in snowboarding and skiing have called on Barack Obama on to save winter sports by taking ambitious measures against climate change.
In a letter to the White House, 75 champions, including pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones and Olympians Julia Mancuso and Lindsey Jacobellis said a run of record warm years and sporadic snowfalls jeopardised the survival of their sports and a winter tourism industry worth $12bn a year.
“As professional athletes, representing a community of 23 million winter sports enthusiasts, we’re witnessing climate change first-hand. Last year was the warmest year on record, and once again, we’re currently experiencing another winter season of inconsistent snow and questionable extremes. Without a doubt, winter is in trouble.
The letter urged Obama to adopt two key measures promoted by environmental groups: new rules that would clean up the country’s fleet of ageing coal-fired power plants and a shut down of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline project.
- And finally – do you love to travel but fear of turbulence can sometimes keep you grounded? It’s not going to get any better with transatlantic flights. And actually, it’s going to get worse. As in twice as bad turbulence on flights.
By 2050, airplanes could see a doubling in instances of moderate-intensity turbulence over the North Atlantic Ocean—one of the world’s busiest flight corridors—due to shifts in the jet stream as a result of global warming, according to a new study. (Related: 6 Ways Climate Change Will Affect You.)
Those bumps could also become stronger due to the intensification of conditions that lead to a type of turbulence called clear-air turbulence, according to the study published online today in the journal Nature Climate Change.
These increases are for moderate turbulence, he added. “So your drink might spill over, you might lift out of your seat a little bit—certainly the pilot would have the seatbelt sign on.”

 

Obama tells donors that environmental politics are tough (NY Times).

Here’s a primer on Keystone XL (Washington Post).

1,600 years of glacial ice in the Andes melted in just 25 years (NY Times).

Fuel efficiency improvements are a mixed bag for electric vehicles (NY Times).

California could be seeing electricity rebates from the 2000-01 crisis (Washington Post).

2013 could bring an opening to act on climate change (Bloomberg).

Antarctic sea ice is actually expanding (BBC).