- Energy and Global Warming News for September 25: Schwarzenegger says he's ready to work for Obama; Clean-energy jobs touch off bidding wars between states
- SurvivaBalls Take Manhattan — and Pittsburgh
- Melting ice caps expose over 100 secret Arctic lairs
- GE CEO Immelt: Government has to play a 'key role' in clean energy investments
- Dust Bowl-ification hits Eastern Australia — next stop the U.S. Southwest. Anti-scientific WattsUpWithThat says it has "nothing to do with the dreaded Climate Change" and "has an unappreciated benefit"!
- PRESS ADVISORY: Energy experts in Pittsburgh to discuss U.S. climate policies, global priorities at G-20
- Energy and Global Warming News for September 24: India weighing emissions curbs; Buildings offer emission-cutting projects that pay for themselves
Posted: 25 Sep 2009 10:32 AM PDT
Posted: 25 Sep 2009 05:01 AM PDT
A repost from Wonk Room.
This Tuesday, as President Barack Obama and other world leaders addressed the United Nations on the need to tackle global warming, some entrepreneurs hoped to demonstrate their own solution. Notably, this solution allows humanity — at least those who are sufficiently wealthy — to completely ignore climate change. The Yes Men displayed SurvivaBalls, self-contained survival suits impervious to the ravages of global warming, on the banks of the East River:
Although the demonstrators of "Halliburton's solution to global warming" hoped to reach the United Nations headquarters, they were detained by New York City police. However, CNN's Jeannie Moos was able to file a report on the pranksters' novel approach to a planet under siege [Video above].
Just as Yes Men activists were detained on Monday "when they handed their own version of the New York Post (headline: 'We're screwed!') to the paper's conservative owner, Rupert Murdoch, the group's founder was arrested during the roll-out of the SurvivaBall." After all charges were dropped, Yes Men founder Andy Bichlbaum has been released.
Update: Huffington Post's Jason Linkins interviews Andy Bichlbaum about the New York Post action, the new Yes Men Fix the World movie, and how his group is beating the media at their own game.
Update2: I also saw photos of SurvivaBalls at the big G20 party last night, here in Pittsburgh. No partying for me, yet!
Posted: 25 Sep 2009 05:00 AM PDT
ZACKENBERG RESEARCH STATION, GREENLAND—Claiming it to be one of the most dramatic and visible signs of climate change to date, researchers said Monday that receding polar ice caps have revealed nearly 200 clandestine lairs once buried deep beneath hundreds of feet of Arctic ice.
"We always assumed there would be some secret lairs here and there, but the sheer number now being exposed is indeed troubling," said noted climatologist Anders Lorenzen, who claimed that the Arctic ice caps have shrunk at the alarming rate of 41,000 square miles per year. "In August alone we discovered 44 mad scientist laboratories, three highly classified military compounds, and seven reanimated and very confused cavemen.. That's more than twice the number we had found in the previous three decades combined."
"This is no longer conjecture," Lorenzen added. "This is a full-blown crisis."
According to oceanographers, the Arctic Circle has been devastated by the effects of global warming in recent years, threatening hundreds of men and women who use the frozen tundra as a place to conduct bizarre experiments in human-animal grafting, carry out massive government cover-ups, or simply as a hidden headquarters from which to battle the forces of evil and fight crime.
"Last week a giant ice sheet broke off and split my prized underground complex nearly in half," said Dr. Raygun, a self-described psychotic mastermind best known for his diabolical thought-control experiments. "Now millions of dollars in state-of-the-art doomsday devices are gone—all because of the environmental carnage wrought by the human race."
"You spend your whole career concocting a brilliant scheme to wipe out all of mankind, and what happens?" Dr. Raygun continued. "They bring about a major global catastrophe completely on their own, those fools!"
Scientists predict the problem will only get worse as rising temperatures release methane trapped in Arctic permafrost, perpetuating the warming cycle and threatening the habitats of those who depend on the ice caps for safety from the prying, meddling public.
Earlier this week a flying saucer surfaced and is reportedly still pulsating with increasingly intense, unearthly colors.. And late last month, a mystical order of Nazi occultists emerged from an underground bunker where they had spent decades communing with the Hyperborean gods and attempting to breed a new Aryan super-species destined to destroy Homo sapiens and rule the earth for untold millennia.
The 12 elderly Germans were detained by local law enforcement in Wainwright, AK.
According to a Natural Resources Defense Council survey, 78 percent of sinister one-eyed industrialists based in the Arctic have been forced to relocate their powerful underworld shadow governments, with many now secretly orchestrating world affairs from dormant volcanoes on remote islands.
Many villains have also been forced to change their entire way of life.
Zawallah, the super-intelligent ape whose gold-teleporter crippled the global economy during the 1980s, recently ceased operation of his orbital heat cannon. Others, meanwhile, are genuinely concerned about the effect that increased temperatures may have on the future of humanity.
"Gwaahhhhrrr-huaawwwrr-gwaahhhrrrr," cried test subject PR-433809-21, the ghastly result of a human cloning experiment gone horribly awry. "Pwwwuuuagharrgh!"
But not all inhabitants of the polar ice caps are upset by global warming. Last month saw the thawing out of a team of British explorers frozen in 1848. Expedition members told reporters they were confident that, if more ice melts, they can finally complete their original mission of discovering a Northwest Passage.
For the time being, most researchers have shifted their attention away from the ice caps and toward finding a way to contain the giant reptile monster Bizarricus, who was trapped in an ice floe by Japanese scientists in the 1950s and has now returned to teach the world a lesson about the folly of man.
Posted: 25 Sep 2009 04:58 AM PDT
This is a Wonk Room repost. WR has been reporting from the Clinton Global Initiative conference this week.
Earlier this year, the American Society for Civil Engineers roundly panned America's disintegrating infrastructure, giving it an overall D grade and estimating that "it would take a $2.2 trillion investment … over the next five years to bring it into a state of good repair." One of today's discussions at the Clinton Global Initiative focused on how to develop infrastructure in both the U.S. and the rest of the world, and the role that government plays in such development.
General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt — who has been critical of the business community for investing too much money in preserving America's status quo — noted that successful infrastructure improvements, particularly in creating the capacity for clean energy, means coordinating government standards with private investment:
In Immelt's world, the government would set the standards, and then let the private sector loose to achieve them, or, as in China, lay out five-year plans for infrastructure development. This is a distinctly different take from most of the rest of the business community, which recoils from standards, aided by conservatives who claim that if we just "let the free market work," everything will take care of itself.
Of course, Immelt must see a way for GE to come out ahead under such a policy, but that doesn't mean that his viewpoint doesn't make sense. Smart standards, regulation, and a cohesive policy from the government would make energy investment — and infrastructure development as a whole — much less scattershot and much more effective.
Dust Bowl-ification hits Eastern Australia — next stop the U.S. Southwest. Anti-scientific WattsUpWithThat says it has "nothing to do with the dreaded Climate Change" and "has an unappreciated benefit"!
Posted: 24 Sep 2009 12:21 PM PDT
We have seen the future, and it is Australia — and it isn't pretty (see "Absolute must read: Australia today offers horrific glimpse of U.S. Southwest, much of planet, post-2040, if we don't slash emissions soon").
NASA's Earth Observatory reported yesterday:
Australia is the the driest inhabited continent on earth, with a fragile ecosystem, which makes it the canary in the coal mine for how global warming will create Dust Bowls in the SW and around the globe (see "Australia faces collapse as climate change kicks in": Are the Southwest and California next?).
It is, sadly, probably too late to save much of Australia. But it is not too late to save the U.S. Southwest and other key regions in or near the subtropics. We can still prevent the worst.
Two years ago, Science (subs. req'd) published research that "predicted a permanent drought by 2050 throughout the Southwest" on our current emissions path — levels of aridity comparable to the 1930s Dust Bowl would stretch from Kansas to California. The Bush Administration itself reaffirmed this conclusion in December (see US Geological Survey stunner: SW faces "permanent drying" by 2050.)
And a major new study led by NOAA found that if we don't act to reverse emissions soon, these global Dust Bowls will be irreversible for a long, long time (see NOAA stunner: Climate change "largely irreversible for 1000 years," with permanent Dust Bowls in Southwest and around the globe).
The anti-scientific website WattsUpWithThat happily assures us that we should simply ignore all of the well-known climate science predictions that this part of Australia would become hotter and drier — even though Australia's 1000-year drought is strong evidence the predictions were right. Watts finds a 'reader' who claims the epic Dust Storm has "nothing to do with the dreaded Climate Change." Seriously!
Watts also points out a bright side: "dust headed to sea has an unappreciated benefit – it will fertilize the ocean with its mineral rich dust." Yes, the record drought wipes out land-based crops, and we're in the process of poisoning the oceans for millennia, but hey, a massive Dust Bowl may create "some interesting blooms of sea life in the weeks to come."
Ah, yes, the "unappreciated benefit" of a disastrous dust storm. You can't make this stuff up! But what do you expect from a guy who offered the 'inanity defense' for his effort to censor Peter Sinclair's video, saying he was "doing him a favor."
Back in the real world, the ABC story Watts cites notes:
Record heat with record droughts — who ever would have predicted that (see "Must-have PPT: The 'global-change-type drought' and the future of extreme weather")?
More from NASA:
Here's the amazing satellite picture of the Wall of Dust [click to enlarge]:
The rest of this post is an exclusive commentary on the great dust storm by Paul Gilding, former executive director of Greenpeace International, who blogs on The Great Disruption here. You may remember Gilding from Tom Friedman's Ponzi scheme column (see here).
More amazing photos here.
Posted: 24 Sep 2009 10:48 AM PDT
I'm going to be on a panel at the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh Friday afternoon. Details below:
Posted: 24 Sep 2009 10:42 AM PDT
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