December 2010

Global Warming and the Risen Lord December 7, 2010 : 6:03 PM

My friend Rev. Jim Ball has written an important new book that explores the connection between solving the climate crisis and evangelical Christianity:

“Global Warming and the Risen Lord moves beyond the old debates about climate change to a new conversation focusing on the tremendous opportunities there are and the biblical and spiritual resources we have been given to meet this threat. A major focus of the book is the deep biblical basis for our engagement with global warming. Filled with inspirational stories and sobering scientific research, Rev. Ball shows us that global warming is one of the major challenges of our time, but one that can be overcome by following the Risen Lord.”

Go to www.creationcare.org to find out more and to order the book. You can also order the book at Amazon.

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China In the Lead December 9, 2010 : 5:09 PM

One of the most alarming realities of our government's failure to take real action to solve the climate crisis: the Chinese have jumped into the lead. Last week Repower America’s blog highlighted five ways in which China is a player in the clean energy arena:

"1. Admitting It Has a Carbon Problem. – China has recently admitted to being the world’s number one greenhouse gas emitter, and outwardly recognizing a problem is the first step towards making it better, right? Even though data have shown for several years that China leads the word in its GHG pollution, China has also been taking steps to increase its efforts to combat climate change and ramp up clean energy technology."

"2. Significantly Growing Wind Energy Capacity. – According to an October 2010 Bloomberg New Energy Finance release [PDF], in 2010, China “will install 25% more new capacity than in 2009, when the country set a record with 14,000 new megawatts,” whereas in the United States, “installations [of wind turbines are expected] to fall 39% in 2010 compared to 2009.”

"3. Surpassing the U.S. as The Most Attractive Market For Renewables Investment. – The August 2010 Renewable energy country attractiveness indices by Ernst and Young “sees the U.S. relinquishing its top position held since 2006 — dropping two points to slip behind China, effectively crowning the Asian giant the most attractive market for renewables investment.” Green jobs and investment are moving from the U.S. to China because the American government is not implementing policies that would give more confidence to investors. Ben Warren of Ernst and Young stated, “China has all the benefits of capital, government will, and it’s a massive market.” In 2009, an American company called Applied Materials opened a new research and development facility in China. Mark Pinto, the company’s CTO said, “We’re doing R&D in China because they’re becoming a big market whose needs are different from those in the U.S.” He added that he also sees China becoming “the biggest solar market in the world.”

"4. Setting Targets To Reduce Its Carbon Intensity. – In response to climate change, last year China pledged to reduce its carbon intensity by 40 to 45 percent compared to 2005 levels. A recent NRDC working paper [PDF] states that “China‘s CO2 intensity target is a big step in the right direction and it provides the right incentives for future improvements in reducing emissions.”

"5. Doing Something About Coal-Fired Power Plants. – China still gets around 80 percent of its energy from coal, which means the country is continuing to pour carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The Chinese are trying to balance this by building more efficient coal power plants and by shutting down less efficient plants. But China needs to do a lot more in order to end its reliance on coal."

Read the entire post by clicking here.

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One Planet December 10, 2010 : 2:50 PM

The damage we do to our environment is not a localized problem, hence the need for global solutions. People thousands of miles away can damage locations with nearly no human presence. For example:

“Following in Edmund Hillary's footsteps? Don't drink the water on your way up. Dangerous levels of arsenic and cadmium have been found in snow samples from Mount Everest.”

“Both heavy metals were found at levels higher than those the US Environmental Protection Agency considers acceptable, says Samantha Langley-Turnbaugh of the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.”

“Langley-Turnbaugh's student Bill Yeo climbed most of the way up Everest in 2006, taking soil and snow samples every 300 metres between 5334 and 7772 metres up. All the snow samples had high levels of arsenic and cadmium, and all the soil samples had high levels of arsenic.”

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Bill McKibben Explains Why December 13, 2010 : 2:02 PM

Bill McKibben has held some of the most successful events that publicize the peril our planet faces from the climate crisis. In an interview he explains the point of these events:

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Fox News Manipulates Climate Coverage December 15, 2010 : 12:38 PM

Today, Media Matters posted an alarming email sent by Bill Sammon, the Washington, DC, managing editor at Fox News. Sammon sent the email to Fox News producers on December 8, 2009 - just as the Climate Conference in Copenhagen was beginning:

“Subject:Given the controversy over the veracity of climate change data"
"we should refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question. It is not our place as journalists to assert such notions as facts, especially as this debate intensifies.”

But there's no legitimate debate: the planet is warming. Moreover, man-made global warming pollution is the principal cause. To drive the point home, Media Matters points to something that happened just fifteen minutes before Sammon sent the email:

"On the December 8 edition of Happening Now, one of Fox News' daytime straight news shows, Fox White House correspondent Wendell Goler delivered a live report from Copenhagen and was asked by host Jon Scott about 'U.N. scientists issuing a new report today saying this decade is on track to be the warmest on record.'"

"Goler accurately reported that, indeed, 2000-2009 was 'expected to turn out to be the warmest decade on record,' following a 'trend that has scientists concerned because 2000-2009 [was] warmer than the 1990s, which were warmer than the 1980s.' Goler went on to explain that 'ironically 2009 was a cooler than average year in the U.S. and Canada,' which, he said, was 'politically troubling because Americans are among the most skeptical about global warming.'"

"When Scott brought up the 'Climategate' emails, Goler explained that although people had raised questions about the CRU data, 'the data also comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and from NASA. And scientists say the data of course across all three sources is pretty consistent.'"

Fox News has consistently delivered false and misleading information to its viewers about the climate crisis. The leaked emails now suggest that this bias comes directly from the executives responsible for their news coverage.

COP15 was a critical moment in the fight against the climate crisis. It is unsurprising, yet still disturbing, that Fox would allow its political bias to infiltrate its news reporting about the conference. Over all the media’s coverage of climate issues has been atrocious. However, Fox seems determined to set the bar even lower.

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Another Record December 22, 2010 : 5:13 PM

2010 is the warmest year on record:

“Many scientists use the climate year, which runs from December of the preceding year to November of the current year, to evaluate long-term climate trends. The combined land-ocean temperature readings NASA's Goddard Institute posted Friday indicate that 2010 has surpassed what it identified as the previous warmest climate year, 2005.”

“The findings are significant, according to experts, and barring some temperature anomaly in December, should place 2010 as the warmest year on record overall. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has identified 1998 as the warmest year on record with 2005 close behind, will release its climate year readings next week.”

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Coal Plants Might Be Closing Down December 23, 2010 : 5:10 PM

According to Grist:

“Brattle's report digs into the upgrade-or-retire decision every coal plant in the U.S. will soon face, using a "retirement screening tool," and concludes that ...”

“... emerging EPA regulations on air quality and water for coal-fired power plants could result in over 50,000 MW of coal plant retirements and require an investment of up to $180 billion for remaining plants to comply with the likely mandates.”

“Both those numbers go up substantially -- retirements by 11-12 GW and needed investment by $30-50 billion -- if EPA requires cooling towers in addition to smokestack scrubbers. (This is consistent with the FBR Capital Markets report, which finds a total of up to 70,000 MW of coal on the line.)”

“By 2020, the authors say, coal plant closures will reduce coal demand by about 15 percent, increase natural gas demand by about 10 percent, and (assuming the coal is replaced by gas) reduce CO2 emissions by 150 million tons.”

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