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Administration Releases EPA Report, Then Repudiates It

July 12, 2008 – Wall Street Journal

The Bush administration continues to struggle with what to do with global warming and carbon dioxide as a pollutant.  The Supreme Court ruled that carbon dioxide is a pollutant resulting from the burning of several fossil fuels. This has caused the EPA to try to figure out what to do with this new authority without destroying the economy.

As with most issues that revolve around Washington DC, this one is embroiled in politics with both major Presidential candidates chiming in.

The Bush administration published a government blueprint to reduce the U.S. output of global-warming gases, but at the same time rejected the document out of hand — saying it relied on “untested legal theories” and would impose “crippling costs” on the U.S. economy.

Global Warming Chief Among Threats to Coral Reefs

Environment News Service – July 7, 2008

image The degradation of coral life has been happening for quite some time.  I remember multiple articles on the effects of water pollution on coral life back in the 70s and 80s (before the Internet so I can’t point to those articles – sorry).

This article now includes global warming in that threat.  Since this is coming from the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium and the organization reportedly meets every 4 years then the problem is at least 44 years old!

IBM, Partner Develop Solar Technology

Wall Street Journal – June 16, 2008

In order to reduce the pollution of our atmosphere, it is imperative that we find other ways of generating electricity. IBM has a long history of inventing computer chip technology and it is good to see that they are going to try and commercialize their developed techniques.

International Business Machines Corp. said it is collaborating with a Japanese semiconductor-equipment maker to commercialize a solar-energy technology developed by IBM scientists.

Tokyo Ohka Kogyo Co. will work with IBM to develop processes and equipment for the production of thin-film photovoltaic solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity. Terms of the collaboration weren’t disclosed, but IBM said it expects to license the technology and, eventually, collect royalties, rather than building its own large-scale, manufacturing capability.

Reader questions – Part 2 of 4

I recently received an email from Brittany C asking four questions.  Brittany is allowing me to publish her questions and my answers.  These answers are a combination of scientific fact with conjecture and opinion from me. Earlier, I answered the first of her 4 questions and today I will answer the second.

Question 2: If CO2 were linked to temperature increase wouldn’t that mean that temperatures would have steadily increased from the start of the Industrial Revolution to today?  If that’s the case, why was there a cooling period from the 1940s to the 1970s?

Ocean Map Charts Path of Human Destruction

ScieneNOW – February 14, 2008

While the cause or reality of global warming is frequently debated on this site and many others, the fact that humans can (and have) negatively impacted our environment is rarely challenged. There are innumerable examples of abuse or neglect across the planet even though there appears to be more of an understanding of this activity. If you read this site regularly (or occasionally) you are likely concerned with the environment to some degree and this study will be interesting to you.

This article points to a study that covers the impact that human activity has had on the oceans. It makes a scary claim that humans have severely compromised 40% of the water ecosystems! This is potentially a bigger problem than global warming which only potentially threatens some beach-front properties.

An Inconvenient Reduction

Wall Street Journal – December 3, 2007

I am not a big believer in taxes. I do think that the government needs funds to operate and therefore has the right obligation to tax its citizens for services rendered. I also understand that, just like all costs, the act of taxing can be a deterrent to activity. Taxing “sin” activity such as tobacco and alcohol is simply good policy. If it was possible to tax overly fatty food, I would probably be in favor of that as well.

Based on this logic, it make sense to tax certain activity that adds pollution to the atmosphere. I question the logic of taxing automobiles but I do think that taxes on fossil fuels make a certain amount of sense as a revenue source and an activity deterrent. (Follow the feed link to read the rest of the story).

E.P.A. Says 17 States Can’t Set Emission Rules

New York Times – December 20, 2007

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just decided that 17 states could not have a waiver that allowed them to mandate their own standards for the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles. This comes after the EPA had previously granted approximately 50 waivers to California over many years allowing California regulators special privileges as they combat their unique pollution issues.

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.

The truth about recycling

Economist.com – June 7, 2007

True or False: Recycling is a waste of time as it costs more money to recycle than to produce as new.

FALSE!!

There are a lot of old wives tales regarding the benefits of recycling. When an old friend of mine sent me this article, I decided that it fit into the goal of this site to try to educate the world on global warming issues.

The short answer is that it is far more efficient to recycle materials than to create new.  The Economist has a long article on the subject.  I will cite a couple relevant quotes for this global warming audience but check out the full article.

Little Green Lies

BusinessWeek – October 29, 2007

BusinessWeek must be one of the most venerable periodicals in the business community. Few magazines can acclaim to the level and depth of business discussion. Most CEOs and business leaders read or at least skim the magazine on a regular basis.

As their cover story, BW decided to cover the idea that "going green" was a good thing for business.  I have discussed this issue before and it was good to get BW’s opinion and coverage on the story.  Their perspective is quite interesting.