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OpenMarket: Energy and Environment

  • Fun with Emissions Calculators

    April 23, 2007
    Inspired by John Whitehead, I decided to use the EPA emissions calculator to find out how much CO2 my household emits.Total emissions for my family of two adults and two children came out at 30,502 lbs of CO2. I used actual kwh and so on rather than price to base the calculations on, so that is a pretty accurate figure. It's actually probably too high as it includes a figure for unrecycled newspapers, and we don't get any. Average for a family of two is 41,500 lbs. Given that I am contributing 4.5 metric tons less social damage to the environment than the average family of two, never mind four, using Sir Nicholas Stern's figure of $85 per ton, I reckon I should be getting a check for $385 from a carbon offset company any day now to...
  • How Did You Celebrate Earth Day?

    April 23, 2007
    Iain raises an interesting question over at Planet Gore, and it's a good idea to follow up with it here. Yesterday was Earth Day, celebrated around the world by Hippie and Crunchy Con alike. Now, we might not have all celebrated in the same tribal drum-circle kind of way, but we all did something with yesterday's 24 hours. Below, Open Market contributors will be adding their experiences, starting with Iain's. Feel free to email in to with your own stories of what you did on the planet's Special Day:
  • Flooded homes vs. stranded fish

    April 19, 2007

    In the New York Times today, there was a photo of a submerged subdivision near Wayne, N.J. as a consequence of torrential rain and winds from the nor'easter that raged through the Northeast earlier this week. Undoubtedly many of the homes were flooded and household furnishings damaged.

    Right under the photo was another article titled “Fish may be stranded in flooded areas.” Seems that in Connecticut — also hit by bucketing rain —

    . . . environmental officials are concerned that as many as 50,000 of the freshly stocked fish were swept away by the northeaster and might now be swimming in flooded fields and backyards. . . .

    People who find the wayward trout are being asked to pick them up and put them into the...

  • Greening of the Pentagon?

    April 18, 2007
    Eleven former generals have just published a report warning that global warming poses a "serious threat" to U.S. national security" via increased severity and frequency of floods, droughts, hurricanes, and the like, and "acts as a threat multiplier for instability in some of the most volatile regions of the world." The report calls on Congress and Defense Department to ensure that climate issues are "fully integrated into national security and national defense strategies." There are several problems with this report. The generals uncritically accept the alarmist view that global warming will dramatically increase the severity and frequency of droughts, floods, hurricanes, and disease. This is all very dubious. They also seem blithely unaware that investing significant resources in such highly...
  • China at the U.N. -- on climate change

    April 18, 2007
    In a meeting on Tuesday China told the United Nations Security Council it doesn't have the competence to deal with climate change issues:
    The developing countries believe that the Security Council has neither the professional competence in handling climate change -- nor is it the right decision-making place for extensive participation leading up to widely acceptable proposals.
    China was responding to the British foreign secretary's call for that body to deal with climate change's effects on peace and security. Developing countries are divided on the issue of the U.N. taking on climate change in the Security Council. While Secretary General...
  • Ethanol may cause more smog, deaths?

    April 18, 2007
    Does use of ethanol fuel generate more smog and health problems than use of carbon-based fuels? Check out the new study by a Stanford University civil and environmental engineering professor, written up in an AP story today.
    "It's not green in terms of air pollution," said study author Mark Jacobson, a Stanford University civil and environmental engineering professor. "If you want to use ethanol, fine, but don't do it based on health grounds. It's no better than gasoline, apparently slightly worse."
  • Earth Day Prep II

    April 17, 2007
    In a release announcing its Earth Day preparations, the Earth Day Network urges people to "Register and Find Earth Day Events & Sermons." [Emphasis added.] Environmentalism a religion? Hardly. (Thanks to Margaret Griffis for the link.)
  • Earth Day Prep

    April 17, 2007
    With Earth Day coming up, will winter-like temperatures take some steam out of the recently invigorated climate alarmist train? That may be a fear among some doomsters, according to a news story linked from the Drudge Report today. The Ithaca Journal reports on the mood in the cold upstate New York town:
    While snow piles up outside our windows, we may be hard-pressed to believe climate change is occurring, global temperatures are rising and the planet is on a crash course of serious change if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced. That message was delivered on Friday in Albany by Arthur DeGaetano, a Cornell University professor and the head of the Northeast Regional Climate Center.
  • Ethanol jacking up fertilizer prices

    April 17, 2007
    Ethanolics never tire of telling us that the current ethanol mandate, President Bush's 20/10 program (requiring 20% or 35 billion gallons of the nation's motor fuel to come from corn and other plant materials by 2017), and kindred regulatory initiatives are “good for farmers.” In reality, such policies are wealth-transfer schemes—zero-sum games in which one farmer's gain is another's loss. Once again, big daddy government robs Peter to pay Paul.
  • Attack of the Killer Bee Killers

    April 16, 2007
    We know cell phones don't give you cancer, but according to some people quoted by The Independent in the UK, they are messing with bees:
    The theory is that radiation from mobile phones interferes with bees' navigation systems, preventing the famously homeloving species from finding their way back to their hives. Improbable as it may seem, there is now evidence to back this up. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) occurs when a hive's inhabitants suddenly disappear, leaving only queens, eggs and a few immature workers, like so many apian Mary Celestes. The vanished bees are never found, but thought to die singly far from home. The parasites, wildlife and other bees that normally raid the honey and pollen left behind when a...


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