September 2010

13,200 Deaths September 15, 2010 : 1:36 PM

There is a very real and immediate human impact from the burning of fossil fuels. A new report from the Clean Air Task Force makes that abundantly clear:

“[F]ine particle pollution from existing coal plants is expected to cause nearly 13,200 deaths in 2010. Additional impacts include an estimated 9,700 hospitalizations and more than 20,000 heart attacks per year. The total monetized value of these adverse health impacts adds up to more than $100 billion per year. This burden is not distributed evenly across the population. Adverse impacts areespecially severe for the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. In addition, the poor, minority groups, and people who live in areas downwind of multiple power plants are likely to be disproportionately exposed to the health risks and costs of fine particle pollution.”


The Bigger Picture September 17, 2010 : 4:55 PM

David Roberts at Grist wrote an excellent post about the true nature of climate denialism.

“Climate denialism is part of something much broader and scarier on the right. The core idea is most clearly expressed by Rush Limbaugh:”

“We really live, folks, in two worlds. There are two worlds. We live in two universes. One universe is a lie. One universe is an entire lie. Everything run, dominated, and controlled by the left here and around the world is a lie. The other universe is where we are, and that's where reality reigns supreme and we deal with it. And seldom do these two universes ever overlap. ...”

“The Four Corners of Deceit: Government, academia, science, and media. Those institutions are now corrupt and exist by virtue of deceit. That's how they promulgate themselves; it is how they prosper.”

“The right's project over the last 30 years has been to dismantle the post-war liberal consensus by undermining trust in society's leading institutions. Experts are made elites; their presumption of expertise becomes self-damning. They think they're better than you. They talk down to you. They don't respect people like us, real Americans.”


Losing Green Jobs September 19, 2010 : 3:58 PM

Every day we fail to take action, we export green jobs and our technological advantage to China. While some deniers claim there are no green jobs, just last week The New York Times pointed to this story:

“With erect posture and clear gray eyes, Chuck Provini still looks like the Marine who graduated from the Naval Academy in 1969 and was repeatedly decorated for bravery in Vietnam.”

“He fumes at strangers who call him a traitor for agreeing to manufacture in Zhuzhou, China, a new solar panel production device that his company developed in the United States.”

“I love my country,” said Mr. Provini, chief executive of 10-employee Natcore Technology in Red Bank, N.J. “It makes me crazy that I’ve got countries that want to do things with us, but not here.”


Protect the Clean Air Act September 20, 2010 : 1:53 PM

Check out this new video from Repower America that features people from around the country making their voices heard in support of the Clean Air Act:


Another Great Friedman Column September 22, 2010 : 5:34 PM

Thomas Friedman continues his series of excellent columns making a strong case for why we need to solve the climate crisis:

“What a contrast. In a year that's on track to be our planet's hottest on record, America turned "climate change" into a four-letter word that many U.S. politicians won't even dare utter in public. If this were just some parlor game, it wouldn't matter. But the totally bogus "discrediting" of climate science has had serious implications. For starters, it helped scuttle Senate passage of the energy-climate bill needed to scale U.S.-made clean technologies, leaving America at a distinct disadvantage in the next great global industry. And that brings me to the contrast: While American Republicans were turning climate change into a wedge issue, the Chinese Communists were turning it into a work issue.”

"There is really no debate about climate change in China," said Peggy Liu, chairwoman of the Joint U.S.-China Collaboration on Clean Energy, a nonprofit group working to accelerate the greening of China. "China's leaders are mostly engineers and scientists, so they don't waste time questioning scientific data." The push for green in China, she added, "is a practical discussion on health and wealth. There is no need to emphasize future consequences when people already see, eat and breathe pollution every day."

Read the rest of this great column by clicking here.


A victory September 23, 2010 : 3:47 PM

Ozone depletion has stopped:

“The protective ozone layer in the earth's upper atmosphere has stopped thinning and should largely be restored by mid century thanks to a ban on harmful chemicals, UN scientists said on Thursday.”

“The "Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion 2010" report said a 1987 international treaty that phased out chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) -- substances used in refrigerators, aerosol sprays and some packing foams --- had been successful.”

In 1987 we came together, regulated the use of CFCs, solving this problem -- and it worked. Now we can do the same thing with CO2 and twenty years from now look back on the climate crisis as a thing of the past.


California Takes Another Step Ahead September 24, 2010 : 5:33 PM

Great news from California and another reason Prop 23 needs to be defeated:

“California regulators have licensed what is for the moment the world's largest solar thermal power plant, a 1,000-megawatt complex called the Blythe Solar Power Project to be built in the Mojave Desert.”

“By contrast, a total of 481 megawatts of new solar capacity was installed in the United States last year, mostly from thousands of rooftop solar arrays, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group.”

“"Given the challenge of climate change at this time, it is very important to reduce fossil fuel use by moving forward with the largest solar project in California," Robert Weisenmiller, a member of the California Energy Commission, said at a hearing Wednesday in Sacramento after a unanimous vote to approve the Blythe project.”


More evidence builds September 27, 2010 : 1:47 PM

The damage caused by the climate crisis continues to unfold:

“Record-breaking summer temperatures and the warmest year to date in 131 years are wreaking havoc on the global environment, say climate scientists.”

“The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado, is about to report near-record loss of sea ice this summer, and modelers say total ice volume is at a record low. Meanwhile, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued warnings about coral bleaching throughout the Caribbean, a problem exacerbated by high water temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean.”

“According to NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the first 8 months of 2010 is the warmest such January-to-August period in climate records stretching back 131 years. This period was nearly 0.7 degrees C warmer than the average temperature from 1951 to 1980. (NOAA announced roughly the same finding today, using many of the same temperature stations but a different analysis method.) Scorching summer temperatures set records across the United States, and nighttime temperatures hit record highs in 37 U.S. states this summer, the Natural Resources Defense Council will announce in a new report tomorrow.”


The Real Cost September 29, 2010 : 5:51 PM

Our addiction to oil has a real cost:

"Our friends at VoteVets released a TV ad of their own explaining why the oil companies are wrong. Narrated by a man who lost his brother in Iraq, the ad explains some of the real costs of our oil dependence: threats to national security and added danger to our troops overseas."

"Big oil companies and their lobbyists are engaged in a desperate attempt to scare us into thinking that it would be economically harmful to end our reliance on fossil fuels. Oilcompanies have already spent more than $126 million (PDF) on TV ads in 2010. And together, fossil fuel industries including oil, coal, natural gas and electric utilities have spent more than $335 million."