Monday, June 30, 2008

Hero of the Day: Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore

So it's been a while, but this is kind of exciting. A Georgia judge halted the construction of a coal-fired power plant, citing the April decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that the EPA has a duty to monitor CO2 emissions.
The construction of a coal-fired power plant in Georgia was halted Monday when a judge ruled that the plant's builders must first obtain a permit from state regulators that limits the amount of carbon dioxide emissions.
Of course, the company trying to build the plant is going to appeal, and who knows if the next judge will be sympathetic to the argument of the litigants. But it's a start. If Republicans in congress are going to filibuster any possible attempt at climate legislation, then we can at least start with local politics and in the courts.

Oh, in other climate news, The New York Review of Books failed to publish any critical letters on Freeman Dyson's climate article, although they did publish one that heaped praise on it, then asked about the half life of carbon. Way to face the controversy, NYRB.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

So everyone is by now aware of today's big news. No, it's not Ryan Seacrest's new show , "Momma's Boys. Obama has clinched the nomination. Now the speculation is as to whether he will pick Clinton as his running mate. There are at least two major reasons why that would be a bad idea, and I'm not even of the normal anti-Clinton ilk. The first is that it would cripple him as a president. You can not have an ex-president and his senator wife directly under you without them taking much of the control into their own hands. The second big reason, very obvious to many, is that an Obama-Clinton ticket doesn't poll all that wel (cf. this story). There are so many better running mates that Obama could choose that Hillary Clinton seems like a booby prize.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Waterworld

The battles of yesterday were fought over land, they warn. Those of the present center on oil. But those of the future — a future made hotter and drier by climate change in much of the world — seem likely to focus on water, they say.
The New York Times reports on the global warming-induced desertification of the Murcia farming province in Spain.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

In my long-ish response to Freeman Dyson's article in the New York Review of Books, I mention blogger and environmental scientist Joseph Romm's prediction about the melting of the permafrost in the arctic tundra releasing more CO2 into the atmosphere. Today, Gerry linked to a Wired article reviewing a new study that points to massive methane deposits under the permafrost as well:
Methane is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. And the frozen reserve is twice as large, by volume, as the world's known fossil fuel reserves.
The study, appearing in next Thursday's issue of Nature suggests that a release of methane similar to the one projected "rapidly warmed the Earth 635 million years ago, replacing an Ice Age with a period of tropical heat."

In other climate news, Why aren't we getting it? Joseph Romm has a pretty good answer.
The answer is that ideology trumps rationality. Most conservatives cannot abide the solution to global warming--strong government regulations and a government-led effort to accelerate clean energy technologies into the market. According to the late Jude Wanniski, Elizabeth Kolbert’s New Yorker articles [on global warming], did nothing more “than write a long editorial on behalf of government intervention to stamp out carbon dioxide.” His villain is not global warming, but is the threat to Americans from government itself.
We'll take freedom all the way to mass graves if we need to!