Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Desmogblog on election climate politics

Australia had it's green election ten months ago, and the new government signed the Kyoto Protocol as their first act . They transformed us from pariah to trier in one stroke, and today we had the Garnaut report released, recommending 10% emissions reductions by 2020, or 25% in the event of a workable international consensus at Copenhagen.

So that's one of the big three per-capita emitters on the right path. Good luck, Canada, and the US
clipped from www.desmogblog.com

New DeSmog Site Clears Election Pollution

29 Sep 08

Go to Elections.Desmogblog.com for News and Analysis

Election fever has captured the U.S. and Canada simultaneously and the outcome of these two contests may affect the future of humankind more critically than any previous elections in this history of either country.

Given the recent (i.e. George Bush-induced) climate policy in the United States, U.S. voters are choosing between one candidate (John McCain) who is better than the last guy and one who may actually show leadership on this, the most important environmental issue in human history.

The situation is more clear cut - if more dire - in Canada.
Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has made it clear that his most important constituents are the people who want unfettered rights to develop the tar sands - environmental consequences be damned.
Elections.DesmogBlog.com will help you analyse the position of all the leading candidates.
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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Oreskes outs Nierenberg

Story so far: Ronald Regan does not like the first three climate science reports provided by the government's elite scientific advisory group, the Jasons. But he like the fourth. It was synthesised by Bill Nierenberg, a Jason who had worked on the Manhattan project.

So bringing us into the now, to history in the making, is Naomi Oreskes, of 'consensus' fame as she dissects how Bill Nierenberg synthesised his 1983 report to give civilisation the first tenets of US government climate change denial:

From Chicken Little to Dr. Pangloss: William Nierenberg, Global Warming, and the Social Deconstruction of Scientific Knowledge
Oreskes, Conway, Shindell.

Atmoz has been following the thread, as has Eli Rabett.

Life's Good and Do No Evil to power low-carbon grid

clipped from www.worldwatch.org
The recently announced alliance between technology giants General Electric and Google may provide the lobbying arsenal necessary for the U.S. to overhaul an outdated electric grid widely considered as a barricade to a low-carbon future.

The collaboration brings together two industry leaders with significant investments in U.S. renewable energy. Their focus on electricity infrastructure may stimulate improvements in transmission efficiency and utility access to clean energy sources, industry observers said.

The companies' early messages indicate support for more national leadership. "The current regulatory and economic model is failing to drive the innovation and investment we need in today's electric grid," a joint statement said [PDF]. "We will work to overcome regulatory and institutional barriers, and advocate for appropriate incentives."

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Woah there Putin, woah, easy boy

Michael Tobias explores Sarah Palin's ability to portray foreign leaders in animal terms, and her appreciation of geography.

Palin:"it's very important when you consider even national security issueswith Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of theUnited States of America, where, where do they go? It's Alaska. It'sjust right over the border."


Tobias: But if Putin were to actually visit Washington DC or the UN in NewYork, he would pass near or over Iceland and then enter US airspace inNew England, no doubt rearing his head menacingly all the while.

I guess never having had a passport means you are not really the type to pour over air corridor maps in your free-time. Or even appreciate where your country's main airports are. Didn't America just re-elect a President who had never or hardly been out of the country before? And look at the mess he made.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Summer will be an erratic El Nino and La Nina sandwich

clipped from www.smh.com.au

After the coldest winter in a decade, weather experts are warning Sydney to expect an erratic summer.

Veteran weatherman and director of Weatherwatch Don White said people should expect the mercury to soar and sink this year, with temperatures in the Pacific Ocean indicating that the region is in a flux between El Nino and La Nina events.

"We should be looking for the above average temperatures
[throughout spring and summer] but that might include some quite
hot spells and some quite cold spells," he said.

Sydney is expecting a warmer than usual spring, with temperatures again expecting to break 30 degrees by the weekend.

Bureau of Meteorology climate officer Mike de Salis said the mercury plunged most in August.

The average maximum temperature was 17.3 degrees, more than half a degree lower than the average and the coldest monthly average since 1989.

The average maximum temperature throughout the three winter months was the lowest since 1998.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Global warming — bad guys found at last

The science on global warming is so clear that it's hard to understand why the public doesn't push the politicians to pass the laws necessary for our preservation.

But, as a species we do not respond to changes on a geological time-scale, even those as rapid as our anthropocene. We can intellectualise the threat of climate change, but it takes a visceral threat, say - a bushfire, to move us into survival mode.

We can be moved to action by moral threat, as Howard showed us when we stood firm against invading refugee fleets armed with nothing but children for projectiles. We weren't going to let them tell us how they were going to come into the country. No sir. Howard skilfully turned those poor refugees into the bad-guys by suggesting they use their children to evoke our sympathy.

The problem with climate change, in terms of generating public outrage, is that it had no 'bad guys'. There is no identifiable moral threat oil companies represent, considering...

Until now. NY Times reports:

Sex, Drug Use and Graft Cited in Interior Department

WASHINGTON — As Congress prepares to debate expansion of drilling in taxpayer-owned coastal waters, the Interior Department agency that collects oil and gas royalties has been caught up in a wide-ranging ethics scandal — including allegations of financial self-dealing, accepting gifts from energy companies, cocaine use and sexual misconduct.

In three reports delivered to Congress on Wednesday, the department’s inspector general, Earl E. Devaney, found wrongdoing by a dozen current and former employees of the Minerals Management Service, which collects about $10 billion in royalties annually and is one of the government’s largest sources of revenue other than taxes.

A culture of ethical failure” pervades the agency, Mr. Devaney wrote in a cover memo.

The reports portray a dysfunctional organization that has been riddled with conflicts of interest, unprofessional behavior and a free-for-all atmosphere for much of the Bush administration’s watch.

The highest-ranking official criticized in the reports is Lucy Q. Denett, the former associate director of minerals revenue management, who retired earlier this year as the inquiry was progressing.

Never mind the intergenerational accumulating existentialist threat to the species these folk are perpetrating, what about the sex, drugs and graft renting at the very moral fabric of our society? They are the types of people who would throw their children overboard. You just know it.

Here's a report from the Globe and Mail: Sex, drugs, oil and gas

Sarah "Shapeshifter" Palin's climate change change

From this audio of a long letter of a disgruntled Alaskan, who claims to know Sarah Palin — minus lipstick — we learn that she does not believe that man-made global warming is shrinking the habitat of polar bears. Ergo, legislation protecting their habitat — from oil extraction — should be overturned.

That's from before she was thrust into the public spotlight (and into dissonance with McCain's stance). But Desmogblog now detects a subtle shift in stance:

... show me where I've said there's absolute proof that nothing that man has ever conducted or engaged in has had any effect or no effect on climate change. I have not said that. I have said that my belief is there is a cyclical nature of our planet — warming trends, cooling trends — I'm not going to argue scientists, because I believe in science and have such a great respect for what they are telling us. I'm not going to disagree with the point that they make that man's activities can be attributed to changes."

The denial lobby are boning her up as we read this. Count on it.