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Antarctica’s penguins threatened by global warming

Reuters – December 11, 2007

Penguins are especially appreciated by humans, at least in the US.  There are countless movies which feature them as interesting and cute animals.  Due to their coloring, they are often depicted as uppity butlers in many children cartoons.  Even Batman had a few battles with Penguin.

So when a study suggests that harm has come to these animals, many people take notice.  They are much more attractive to us than polar bears which, while cuddly as stuffed animals, are fairly ferocious animals.It is a little unfortunate though that the penguins are getting the attention since it appears that the penguins are reducing in numbers because krill are reducing in numbers.  Why isn’t this article entitled: “Antarctica’s krill threatened by global warming” rather than the one that was chosen.  Krill are kind of ugly so that must be the reason. At least Nemo appears to be safe!

Ford hands over the plug-in Escape hybrid to SCE

AutoblogGreen – December 4, 2007

One of the big problems with hybrid vehicles is that they produce extremely expensive electricity and they do it while putting a great number of pollutants into the air.

Think about it.  You are burning gasoline (a fairly high energy fuel source) to spin a generator to charge a battery. The pollution controls must be small and light enough to fit on a moving vehicle and low cost enough to be affordable to a consumer. On top of that, the gasoline is very expensive source of energy (currently about $3 gallon). To put it into perspective, gasoline contains about 125,000 BTU per gallon while coal is only about 10,000 BTU per pound. The burning of coal at an efficient central power station captures far more of its energy capacity into electricity than the burning of gasoline as it moves down the road.

In divorce, even the environment pays a price

Los Angeles Times – December 3, 2007

I have to apologize.  I couldn’t stop laughing when I read this article. Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out what was more ridiculous:

  1. someone suggested that this was plausible and should be considered
  2. someone spent money and a part of their life studying this non-issue

With all of the great reasons to conserve power (global warming, efficient use of precious resources, break the reliance on foreign energy sources, etc.) why in the world would someone even think about this issue? Why did the LA Times spend their time writing it? Why did Alan Zarembo spend part of his time writing it and want to put his byline on it (Alan – you need to talk to your assignment editor about getting real stories)?

White House threatens veto of energy bill

The Detroit News – December 4, 2007

I can’t figure out wether this is incompetence on the part of the House and Senate, convenient forgetfulness, or excuse making on the part of the Administration.

A few days ago, I wrote on the compromise that would have allowed an increase in the CAFE requirements for automobiles. You can read that post at:

New Fuel Standards Are Poised to Advance

It appears that the White House is threatening a veto of the bill that would increase fuel standards to 35 mpg by 2020. The bill evidently doesn’t cover some nuances that the Administration feels are necessary and is going to throw it back to the Hill and tell them to get this fixed. How did the Congress forget to include this stuff? Is the President just trying to find a convenient way to get out of signing it?

Australia Signs Up to Ratifying Kyoto

Associated Press – December 3, 2007

If you follow global warming news at all, you knew this was going to happen today.  The new Australian Prime Minister, Mr. Kevin Rudd, signed the Kyoto Protocol on his first day in office.  It is very telling that this was his first official act as Prime Minister and is sure to be used as a signal to the world on his belief in the human causation of global warming. It probably is also indicative of his relationship with the United States although that analysis exceeds the scope of this site.

New Fuel Standards Are Poised to Advance

Wall Street Journal – December 1, 2007

An important step has been taken in a new bill to increase the required fuel mileage per gallon required for US cars.  Late Friday evening a deal was struck with the major players in the House which should lead to passage in the House.

The new CAFE standard (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) will increase 40% and must be attained by 2020. It should reduce the amount of CO2 produced by autos slightly as well as slightly reduce the dependence on foreign oil.

The estimated cost increase to the consumer should be about $1400 and save the consumer about $200 in gas costs.  Frankly, I never believe these estimates as they tend to be worse than global climate models in their accuracy.