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Compact fluorescent lamps

Wikipedia

My interest in this subject came from a lot of talk on the web about replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFL). Much of this talk is surely driven by the Answer the Call: Make The Commitment campaign that Live Earth is currently promoting. While I was confident that fluorescent was better at producing light for a given amount of energy coming from the socket, the mechanical engineer in me questioned that it was a free lunch.

It didn’t take long for me to start to realize that lunch costs money!

Let’s start with Wikipedia which is always a decent source but sometimes can’t be trusted so we will dig more lower in this post. You can read the full Wikipedia reference here but I will pull out a few key passages and then add my comments.

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Edwards wins online poll on climate change

Boston.com – July 11, 2007

I think that, after Iraq, climate change may be the biggest global political issue. It is also an issue where the leadership of the US President is very influential across the world. For my readers outside of the US, the citizens of the United States will elect a new President on November 4, 2008.  Our current President, George W. Bush, will step down and is not able to run again due to constitutional term limits.

This survey is not scientific and so I am not sure how valid it is.  It is interesting that John Edwards nearly doubled his rivals, however this could be that the respondents just preferred Mr. Edwards.

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Is global warming destroying Mount Everest?

HowStuffWorks

This article details how things are changing on Mount Everest, the worlds tallest mountain. While the article doesn’t lay blame on the cause of the warming, it does describe what happens as the concentration of ice and glaciers changes. The article also goes on to describe the other great calamity affecting the area around Everest – trash.

Peter Hillary and Jamling Tenzing, in an interview with British newspaper The Independent, lamented that global warming is radically altering the appearance, ecology and climate of Mount Everest and the surrounding area of Tibet. Inaction, they warn, could lead to an environmental disaster.

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Counting on Failure, Energy Chairman Floats Carbon Tax

NY Times – July 6, 2007

This may just be a time when both sides are correct!

Yes – much of the US (and the world for that matter) is deluding themselves into what it will take to make enough of a change in energy use to make any difference in carbon dioxide production.

Yes – a carbon tax would be disastrous, politically, to any politician that tried to push that kind of a tax without clear evidence of it’s dire need.

Yes – a carbon tax would radically change the way everyone uses energy.

Yes – a carbon tax would dramatically hurt the poor.

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Ford says hydrogen cars close to production

USA Today – July 11, 2007

This is great news. Regardless of your personal feeling on global warming, you probably want us to start using alternative fuels that are cleaner, safe, and don’t adversely affect our trading balance with the world (if you are in the US).

Hydrogen has been discussed for a long time as a great alternative fuel. This article discusses burning hydrogen (as opposed to using hydrogen fuel cells). I think that may actually be a more cost effective method of using hydrogen but I will let market economics dictate that.

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VIEW: Live earth, deaf to reality

Pakistan Daily Times – July 4, 2007

This is not a news story. Rather it is an op-ed that discusses the various trade-offs that must be made if we are to adopt radical changes for the sake of global warming control.  I have made similar comments before (read article here) and I differ from Mr. Lomborg in that I feel that if the case for global warming can be scientifically made, we should invest in solutions. If the definitive case for human induced climate change cannot be made though, it is far better to save lives in some other way.

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Live Earth London’s Glacial Pacing

Washington Post – July 8, 2007

I tried to do the math on the big quote from this article and couldn’t make it work. John Buckley of Carbon Footprint says that it would take 100,000 trees to offset the effects of the Live Earth concert from this weekend. While I am not sure on his math, I am sure that it is a big number.

The problem with saying this is that I don’t think carbon offsets are effective. To say that you can buy your way out of pollution by planting trees is, at best, a short term consideration. The trees are barely carbon negative over their entire life and death, even though they can have a big impact in their first years of fast growing. 

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Wembley Urged To Take Meat Off Live Earth Menu

LifeStyleExtra – July 5, 2007

It seems that the organizers of Live Earth are a little closed in their thinking.  Methane is one of the largest greenhouse gas components and animal production is one of the largest contributors to methane overproduction.  It seems that Live Earth is selling meat products which is sending the wrong message.

Organizers of the Live Earth concerts should not sell burgers or hot dogs at the high profile gigs, an animal rights group claimed


PETA activists said that Wembley should take meat off the menu after a recent UN report found that the meat industry creates more greenhouse gases than all the cars, trucks, ships and planes in the world combined.

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Gore’s Army may be Lacking in Scientific Background

AccuWeather.com – July 5, 2007
ChronicleOnline – May 30, 2007

I first learned of this story on AccuWeather’s global warming blog but their coverage of it is fairly sparse so I am going to quote their sources as well.

I am concerned that Mr. Gore didn’t choose student engineers and scientists that could give presentations (yes, engineers can be trained to speak to a crowd as well). I would have thought that being able to effectively communicate would be only one criteria – the other being able to effectively understand the chemistry and physics involved.  But then this program is being run by a politician who, at one time, claimed to have invented the Internet. Communication skills are probably the most important to him.

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Rock Stars Against Live Earth

New site that I just became aware of.  Check it out if you are interested in learning about Live Earth and the various musical groups that are supporting or not supporting the effort.

http://www.rockstarsagainstliveearth.com/

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