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News & Views Curation

July 31, 2008

Olympics In The Dark

Beyond the story of China's media blackout look into its potential power blackout related to a lack of coal. Click

SA: From Coal To Cool

South Africa sets out on the path to combating climate change. Start here

Learn From European Experience

Europe offers several models for growing the renewable energy supply. What works well? Plug in

It's Solar Time

Riding high on technical breakthroughs and dropping production costs, solar power is poised for the big time say industry analysts. Read up

July 29, 2008

Ban The Bottle

NYC restaurants start to take the pledge and offer tap, not bottled, water, to thirsty diners. Bottoms up!

But Can It Work Here?

A US utility industry report, based on a fact-finding tour of solar power in Germany, sees both potential and problems for growing a domestic program.
Look into it

Walking The Climate Beat

Science advances in fits and starts while news appears daily. This makes reporting as well as public understanding about climate change tough to do. Read Revkin AND Revkin readers

July 28, 2008

Everyone Knows It's Windy

Spectacular growth in Chinese wind power creates a surge in domestic turbine production. Power pays

Washed Away

The impact of climate-related storms and coastal flooding on New Jersey would cost the state billions, according to new research. Dive in

Your State's Carbon Rating

Get the lowdown on carbon emissions ratings for your state. It's graphic

It's Not Too Cheap To Meter

Critics question the real cost of building a new generation of nuclear reactors. Start counting

Sunny Forecast For German Solar

Germany remains the world's leading solar power producer, even with internal debates over government financial support. Now, US manufacturers are opening solar factories in the low-wage east. Read on

Will LED's Light The Way?

Light emitting diodes, LED's, last twenty years and save a bundle on utility bills, but their sticker price still shocks. See more

July 26, 2008

Do-It-Yourself Climate Program Flops

The EPA reports that voluntary programs to cut ultra-powerful GHG emissions don't work; few takers and bad data. Read more

July 25, 2008

A Little Oil Goes...

Dot Earth

Andy:
You're right to target the need for response plans for oil spills in the Arctic. Unlike Alaska's National Wildlife Refuge, no one nation can protect this region. It doesn't take a crystal ball to see that the Arctic is on it's way to becoming the world's new oil patch and that major accidents there are on the way. Given the technical complexity of Arctic oil drilling and transportation, we would forget at our peril the message of Charles Perrault's classic book "Normal Accidents" — the more complex the system, the more inherent the system is to goofs, errors and unintended consequences.

Next up, who will set enforceable standards for good spill response plans? And who'll protect the budget for implementing and maintaining these plans? Maintenance is always the first budget item to be cut when times are lean. Talk about a potential tragedy of our global commons!


A Little Oil Goes a Long Way

With all the talk about an an oil rush in the Arctic, it’s useful to ponder the old-fashioned accident that just occurred on the mighty Mississippi River in New Orleans, where one leaking barge has spread a slick down nearly 100 miles of the river toward the Gulf of Mexico, closing that vital waterway to all ship traffic while cleanup crews figure out next steps.

oil spill
(Lee Celano for The New York Times)

The Arctic is a very different place, both because the water is so much colder that oil tends to congeal more, and because sea ice (at least in winter these days) can stall the spread of oil but also make it harder to clean up. The United States Coast Guard is beginning to prepare for the time when tanker and other ship traffic up there expands. But what’s happening in Russia? Even as more oil is on the move in the Caspian Sea and along parts of the Northeast Passage (already busier than the passage over Canada), there’s still no indication that Russia has ramped up its preparedness for inevitable spills.

Below you can read a thumbnail sketch of where things stand these days, taken from the Big Melt series in 2005 on the transforming Arctic, which I wrote with reporters scattered around the Arctic rim and Craig Duff, who also shot the prize-winning companion documentary, Arctic Rush. [Read Revkin's Article in Full]

First Response on WCI

The Western Climate Initiative could be a great leap forward on the global warming front, but observers see room for improvement. Get the Grist

Cool Ways To Stay Cool

Look into cheap and easy ways to beat the heat this summer. That's good

The Secret of Sweden's Success

By growing a green economy, Swedish business thrives while the country meets its Kyoto emissions targets. Read all about it

The Great Wall of Trees

African nations have a plan to plant 'walls of trees' to slow down desertification. Take root

Poll: Voters Rank Energy #1

The cost of gas tops Americans' list of political concerns and they favor energy conservation. Polling also finds mid-western support for off-shore drilling. WSJ

July 24, 2008

True Then, True Now

In 2006, an academic study on jobs and the energy industry concluded, "Across a broad range of scenarios, the renewable energy sector generates more jobs than the fossil fuel-based energy sector per unit of energy delivered." Renewable jobs

New Math Unmasked

A climate skeptic's latest claims turn out to be based on odd arithmetic and odder assumptions. Fine print

What Should Dems Do About Gas Prices?

Polls find that the public wants government action now on high gas prices. Gore has a deploy-new-tech response, but where's Obama's? Stay tuned

Let The Auctions Begin!

The first-ever RGGI auction will be held on September 25; preparations underway now. Step right up

Whoosh!

With 'unconventional' sources being tapped, US natural gas production grew a red-hot 4.3% in 2007. More here

Free Permits=Bad Idea

A brain truster for USCAP, the coalition of major corporations favoring climate legislation, writes that free GHG emissions permits is the wrong way to go. Instead, revenues from permit auctions could defray corporate expenses like employee health benefits. WSJ

You Can't Get There From Here

The UK's plan to double its airport capacity by 2030 dooms its own GHG reduction goals. And don't forget the government's funny math. What's next?

July 23, 2008

Is Shale Oil Drilling Safe? #2

Listen to the second part of an investigative report by WNYC

No Laughing Matter

The most profitable business of a French chemical company, with plants in South Korea and Brazil, could be destruction of 'laughing gas' (nitrous oxide) under provisions of the EU-ETS meant to assist developing nations. WSJ

July 22, 2008

Is Shale Oil Drilling Safe?

Listen to this investigative report by WNYC.

Make No Small Plans

Look into T.Boone Pickens plan for ending America's addiction to oil. Watch the video too. Think big

Germany Falls To Second Place

The US now outstrips Germany as the world's leading producer of wind power. Whoosh!

July 21, 2008

Insureres Battle Over Climate Disclosures

US insurance industry regulators seek adoption of mandatory reporting on climate impacts. Industry representatives strongly oppose. Climate Wire [Subscribers only]

Leaks From On-Site N-Waste

Recently reported leaks at French nuclear power plants came from radioactive waste stored on-site. Read more

From Trash To Cash

Expect the first barrel of ethanol made from municipal waste by 2011 says US company. Stay tuned

Building Blocks

Join the block-by-block race for sustainable cities. Let the competition begin! Re: Vision

July 20, 2008

Brighton Green

The English seaside resort, Brighton, beats the competition when it comes to going green. Old Victorian homes are getting real-time electric meters, energy efficient windows and insulated roofs that compete with new eco-smart houses. Righto!

July 18, 2008

Faust In Canada

The Canadian oil rush heads toward making great profits and great environmental devastation. It's devilish

What They Said

Looking for a summary of responses to Al Gore's latest speech? Start here

Energy Attitude In California

Poll results find that high gas and fuel prices are leading Californians to drive less but staying committed to strict auto emissions standards. As well, they're taking a second look at nuclear power and LNG terminals. Data here

Smarter Money

Research finds that current funding mechanisms for climate projects in developing countries are not delivering on their promises. Change needed. Fine print

Something In The Water?

France will monitor ground water near fifty-eight nuclear power plants for potential radiation leaks. Look into it

July 17, 2008

Big Yellow Taxi

New York's growing fleet of hybrid taxis is growing by 300 a month and saving drivers $6,500 a year. By 2012 every yellow cab in the city should be green. Beep beep

China: Short On Power

China faces an energy gap, with electricity rationing possible this summer. Connect here

Another Bush Legacy

Texans are shocked to find the electric power deregulation of former-Governor Bush is sending prices soaring now. WSJ

Its' A Bird...It's An Eco-Plane

Aircraft makers spotlight the environmental features of their newest planes. Super!

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Carbon capture and storage technologies for coal-fired power plants get a chilly reception here. Learn more

Efficiency In No Fantasy

Amory Lovins argues that the most effective energy path means adopting a wealth of available technologies. Start here

July 16, 2008

NYPA Nixes New Coal Plant

Calling the project too expensive, the New York Power Authority will not build a "clean coal" plant in Tonawanda but plans for a similar plant in Jamestown remain on the table. End of story?

Non-Discretionary Spending

Household energy prices around NYC rose 10.8% in May and Con Ed bills are expected to be 22% higher than last summer. Chose this

Oil Price Shock In The Kitchen

Manufacturers of plastic household items made from petroleum-based resins cut down product lines. WSJ

The Answer Is...Raging Debate

Revkin's latest Dot Earth blog briefs a key policy debate over how to confront climate change. Read the responses. Chime in

G-8's Giant Step Backwards

Worse than doing nothing, the climate position at June's G-8 meeting in Japan could jeopardize the UN post-Kyoto climate meeting in Copenhagen next year, and Washington's not the only culprit. Gee eight!

Must Clean Power Cost More?

Ofgem, the UK electric power rate-setting agency will now require utilities to prove that they are doing something to justify charging customers a premium for alternative power. Plug in

July 15, 2008

Prepare For Climate Change Refugees

An Australian anti-poverty group urges the Rudd government to establish an international coalition willing to accept climate refugees who are forced to flee home. Look ahead

Burned By Bush

The EPA releases the analysis by government scientists of the human health and related impacts of climate change. Dig in [2.2MB]

Lemurs Live In LEED Gold

The Bronx Zoo's famous Lion House gets an upgrade to LEED Gold and now houses lemurs and other critters from Madagascar. Visit here

Sky Food

Forget penthouse, think farm house. Come on up

July 14, 2008

Friendlier Skies

Starting in 2012, airliner carbon emissions will become part of the EU's emissions trading scheme. Non-EU carriers will be included. Stay tuned

In Debt To Oil

Oil exporting nations are set to become America's biggest creditors. They hold $510.8 billion in Treasury instruments, up 44% over last year. Dig deeper

Canada: Polluted By Oil

The temptations of the world's insatiable demand for oil are irresistible in Alberta, despite the devastating costs. Look closer

Take The A Train

Getting 436 miles/gallon, Amtrak, America's perennial transportation 'also-ran', could be poised to join the winner's circle. Get on board

Baby, It's Hot Inside

Soaring electricity costs are making people turn up their thermostats while looking for other ways to beat the heat and get their power. WSJ

UK: Look To Old Buildings For Answers

A committee of Parliament members will report that government energy policy should center on greening existing buildings - where the biggest benefits can be found. Old is new

Free Union Square

Activists protest conversion of the Pavilion at Union Square Park into a restaurant. Enter here

Clearing The Air

Errors riddle recent media reports on aerosols and European climate change - and that's not all. Clarify that

July 12, 2008

Breaking Up

Scientists are concerned about evidence of fast-paced winter time break ups of antarctic ice shelves. Are you?

July 11, 2008

Window Power

Window glass can become a source of solar power if it's coated with a special light-trapping dye. See here

Grade Schools

Add a green rating into the mix when making that all-important college choice. Opt in

Bush Won't Regulate GHG

The US will have to get a new president before it gets the EPA to issue regulations about GHG. Oh BUT It gets odder

Unintended Consequences?

The European carbon market's Clean Development Mechanism funds fossil fuel-fired power plants in India and China, creating more emissions credits for European projects to buy. WSJ

Warming To WALL-E

See WALL-E, even without the kids. Not inconvenient

Summer Reading

Summer's in full swing - time to catch up on the hottest climate-change books. Turn the page

EU: Collective Action

Will Europe's best chance for success in confronting climate, energy and economic pressures lie in co-ordinated EU actions? Look ahead

July 10, 2008

More Drought Down Under

Australian farms and towns in the Murray-Darling region see no relief in sight from the worst drought in a century. Click here

Will California Fund Fast Rails?

A proposal to fund construction of a 700 mile high speed rail line goes to California voters this fall. Get the back story. Climb aboard

Toyota To Scrap SUV Idea

Instead of churning out a new SUV model, Toyota will gear up with more Prius production in the US. WSJ

Private Equity Goes Green

Blackstone, a private equity investor, stakes $1.6 billion on a new offshore German wind farm. Read more

July 09, 2008

No Bears In Carbon Markets

An investment analyst reports on boom times in global carbon markets. With carbon emissions trading at $32 a ton, total market value nears $59 billion. Climate Wire [Subscribers only]

Making The Older Newer

The USGBC rolls out updated standards to green existing commercial buildings. LEED-EB:O&M emphasizes operations and maintenance, not design. Will it catch on? Details here

EU Caps Airline Carbon Emissions

The EU adds aviation to its carbon emissions trading scheme, as emissions levels rise from this sector. Industry foresees negative impacts. Stay tuned

G-8 Gives The Nod To New Nukes

G-8 leaders support development of new nuclear power plants as a way to combat climate change but warn against nuclear proliferation. Just nod

Climate Changes Drinking Water

NYC's unfiltered drinking water system is at risk from heavy rain storms that create turbidity. Turbidity lowers the impact of the chlorine that kills waterborne microbes and makes costly filtration more likely. Gulp

July 08, 2008

Green Collar Jobs Gather Steam

Labor, workforce development, education, community and environmental justice groups assembled to hammer out plans for growing good green collar jobs in NYC. Plug in

California Labeling

Starting in 2009, new cars sold in California will be labeled with a global warming score. Drive in

Up On The Roof In Spain

General Motors will install the world's biggest rooftop solar plant on an auto factory in Spain. Nice

NYC's Roadmap To 30x17

Mayor Bloomberg launches his plan to cut NYC government's carbon footprint 30% by 2017. Start now

July 07, 2008

The Short-Run & The Long

Ever wonder about the impact of short-term events like El Nino and long-run climate trends? Charts, graphs and links to monographs will give you answers. Fine print

Sacramento's Green Blueprint

"Expensive oil is going to transform the American culture as radically as cheap oil did", says a leading Sacramento smart growth advocate and the city is convincing developers and residents alike. WSJ

More Heat & Drought Down Under

Australian scientists warn of unprecedented heat and drought down under if global warming isn't brought under control. Dire indeed

German Air Power

Germany aims to produce 25,000 MW of wind power by 2030, starting this year. Catch a breeze

July 05, 2008

From Con-Trails To Rails

Air France considers shifting some short-haul flights to rail transport. Move on

July 04, 2008

Bank Blames Biofuels

The World Bank reports that biofuels are responsible for 75% of skyrocketing food prices. The US puts the figure at 3%. Look into it

Japan's Technology Path

Japanese industry keeps energy use down with efficient design. Research that

July 03, 2008

What Drives Them?

There's no agreement about why traffic is down in NYC. Gear up

Walmart Goes Locavore

Walmart's sourcing more locally grown fruits and veggies, up 50% in the last two years. Dig in

Indonesia On A Coal Roll

Demand for low-grade Indonesian coal is booming as South Africa and Australia can't produce enough. In the black

The Ozone-Climate Connection

New research finds that higher atmospheric ozone levels in Antarctica could raise regional temperatures. Fine print here

Bring Back Science

Looking toward the next Administration in Washington, a call to restore scientific integrity in federal environmental work. Start here

Solar Back On Track

The federal government reverses its moratorium on installing solar power plants on public lands. Apply here

Framing Transit Talk

What's the better way to frame the public discussion about transportation? Words worth

US: Dead Last

The US scores lowest of G-8 countries in combating climate change, but none get gold stars. Come on down

July 02, 2008

News From Antarctica's Banana Belt

A NASA satellite captures yet another case of the disintegrating Antarctic ice cap in the Banana Belt. Splash

Growing Green Collar Jobs in NYC

This is a critical moment for advancing a green collar jobs vision. Over the past year, New York City has taken bold steps to address pressing environmental problems. Long strides have been made toward confronting the threat of global warming, planning for future energy use, and improving our infrastructure to accommodate new residents. At the same time, there is growing recognition that greening New York City can be an engine for economic growth, community reinvestment, and job creation.

New York City's large-scale environmental initiatives, such as plaNYC 2030, have the potential to create and upgrade thousands of jobs — in building retrofits, energy efficient building maintenance, energy management, clean energy, urban forestry, storm water management, recycling, and brownfield remediation.

A growing green economy can help the city meet formidable economic challenges.

This is a critical moment for advancing a green collar jobs vision. Over the past year, New York City has taken bold steps to address pressing environmental problems. Long strides have been made toward confronting the threat of global warming, planning for future energy use, and improving our infrastructure to accommodate new residents. At the same time, there is growing recognition that greening New York City can be an engine for economic growth, community reinvestment, and job creation.

New York City's large-scale environmental initiatives, such as plaNYC 2030, have the potential to create and upgrade thousands of jobs — in building retrofits, energy efficient building maintenance, energy management, clean energy, urban forestry, storm water management, recycling, and brownfield remediation.

A growing green economy can help the city meet formidable economic challenges. These include persistent joblessness in many communities — especially for black and Latino youth, the loss of family-supporting jobs, and the growth of low-wage jobs without opportunities for skill development and promotion. Because green jobs often involve working on urban infrastructure and the built environment, they cannot be easily outsourced; and many are based in neighborhoods experiencing the highest levels of joblessness.

If the full promise of a green economy is to be realized, green jobs need to be more than ones that maintain or improve the environment. These jobs have to provide family-supporting wages, benefits, and career pathways.

It remains an open question, however, whether the City’s environmental policies will lead to quality jobs. For that reason, Urban Agenda has launched a nine month process to create a coordinated, citywide workforce development plan to prepare New Yorkers for green collar jobs. The kick-off meeting was held on June 24 when nearly 150 participants from many sectors met to identify critical questions and share information and strategies on how to support green collar job creation.

The plan is being created through a broad based effort that includes input from labor unions, community groups, workforce development practitioners, business, environmental advocates and policy makers. Its ultimate success will be measured in the creation of thousands of green collar jobs.

A citywide green collar workforce development plan must address both retraining incumbent workers in state-of-the-art green skills and preparing New Yorkers who face barriers to employment (such as poor education, limited job experience, a prison record, or lack of childcare).

A comprehensive plan would:
Connect underemployed New Yorkers — including youth, who are unconnected to education or employment, and the formerly incarcerated with green collar careers
The plan will need to create entry points into green career tracks for workers who have been shut out of the traditional economy. This might include piloting a green collar job corps to provide job training, paid work experience, and placement in green collar sectors with basic entry requirements.

Support existing programs
The plan should leverage New York City’s strong workforce development system by expanding training in green skills, materials, and systems and bringing these programs to scale. This would enhance the fundability and sustainability of a green collar workforce development plan.

Build career pathways
The plan would apply a model used by some already existing programs that explicitly connects pre-employment service providers, community and non-profit training providers, labor apprenticeship programs, and two-year and four-year college programs.. Such an approach connects job training programs to green career pathways.

Creating a plan to meet the needs of workers and employers alike will require a commitment from a broad base of concerned stakeholders. A citywide strategy that builds from existing programs, confronts challenges in the workforce development system, and creates green careers would provide the scale and coordination necessary to accomplish this complex effort. With the meeting on June 24, work has now begun on developing a strategy to help lift New Yorkers out of poverty, preserve a middle class and ensure the City’s global competitiveness.

Joanne Derwin is the Executive Director of Urban Agenda, an action research and coalition building organization working for social, economic and environmental justice. Urban Agenda convenes the NYC Apollo Alliance where Joanne serves on the Steering Committee.

Clean Energy Investing Soars

in 2007, invesestors staked $148 billion in clean energy according to a UN report-and that was last year. Adding up

Germany Still Says No

Among the G-8, only Germany retains a policy of no new nuclear power plants. Read on

France Taxes Gas Guzzlers

France cuts taxes on gas sippers and now adds a green tax on low fuel efficient vehicles and other eco-unfriendly products. Bonus malus

July 01, 2008

Focus On Green Work

Here's a state-by-state portrait of jobs needed to grow the green economy and six related strategies to fight climate change. Picture that

UK Eco-Towns Attacked

British government plans to construct green eco-towns sharply criticized. Eh?

Western Govs Meet Climate Challenge

It's not just California that gets it about global warming. Westerns governors are gearing up. Times change

Car Sales Crash

Sales of Ford Motor vehicles are down 28% in June, the worst figure yet for 2008. Look out

Pay More For Hybrids Now

On July 1 the federal government slashes tax incentives for hybrid car buyers by 50% and will eliminate incentives by the end of the year. What timing!

2-Wheel Parking Dilemma

Bicycles are a great way to get to work in NYC, but secure bike storage from 9-5 is headache. Take a spin

Sustainable India: What, When, How?

India announces eight missions for sustainable development but no one's responsible for targets, dates or actions. Progress?