climate change

Climate Change and the electric vehicle vs gas debate


Where you live is an important factor:

As vehicles powered by electricity make up a larger percentage of the nation's fleet over the next generation, demand for electricity could surge. That extra power has to come from somewhere — and right now, nearly two-thirds of electricity generated in Michigan comes from burning fossil fuels.

This is a subject that comes up *every single time* I get into a debate with climate change deniers, when discussing zero-emissions electric vehicles. But unlike many of their other arguments, there is more than just a grain of truth in their position. When you tap power from the grid, it makes a direct connection with "how" that grid generates its power. If we choose to ignore that, we're no better than those who ignore all the costs associated with other forms of industrial pollution. Before we proceed, here's a related personal anecdote:

More on Jay Faison's "Environmental Republican" movement

Oops, they left out renewable energy generation:

Faison, a North Carolina conservative, has already set up the ClearPath Foundation to promote conservative clean-energy solutions. He is also starting a Super PAC. This morning at the National Press Club he’s set to lay out a digital campaign aimed at policymakers and an expanded advisory team to prod along his cause. He’s also opening a D.C. office led by Zak Baig, a former aide to Sen. David Vitter. Faison says he wants small government, free markets and innovation to solve the climate problem, favoring carbon capture, natural gas and nuclear plants.

NC's wood pellet problem

Not even close to being sustainable:

The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund will award $5 million in matching grants to conservation organizations over the next ten years. The effort will focus on four specific areas of bottomland forests in 35 counties in North Carolina and Virginia. Environmental advocates say the effort is not enough.

“After opening three mills in North Carolina and Virginia claiming it would produce wood pellets from sawdust and waste products, Enviva now acknowledges it will focus its pellet sourcing on cutting standing forests,” says Derb Carter, senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “It fails to put off limits to pellet sourcing some of our most ecologically sensitive and valuable forests including oak and ash swamps, black gum swamps, non-riverine hardwood swamps and longleaf pine forests.”

$500,000 per year, to be split into 35 counties. Calling it a "pittance" would be generous, and considering wood pellet exports to Europe have doubled each year since 2012, every year that pittance will become more irrelevant. This needs to stop, people.

Fishel calls for end to partisan divide over climate change?

Greg Fishel, WRAL TV

WRAL's meteorologist, Greg Fishel, now an ex-Republican, was featured in the Washington Post this week. The topic was climate change. And while I do welcome Greg to the land of the sane, I don't much like his use of false equivalency when he decries the sad state of partisan polarization.

Report: wind energy could reduce pollution equal to five coal plants

The carbon pollution from five coal plants could be eliminated in North Carolina if wind power is developed off the North Carolina coast, according to a new analysis by Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center. The report comes right as Congress considers whether to renew tax credits critical to wind development.

“Wind energy is a wise investment for the environment and the economy,” said Rep. David Price. “In North Carolina, developing the infrastructure to support wind power could help us meet up to a third of our energy needs while creating tens of thousands of jobs and an estimated $22 billion in economic benefit. I strongly believe that wind and other renewable sources are critical to our energy future.”

Trouble on the coast

Hat tip to NC Policy Watch for spotlighting this frightening story of our sinking coastline.

Many of those data are highlighted in a new, “must read” investigative report from the news service Reuters entitled “Water’s edge: The crisis of rising sea levels.” This report finds that: a) the data are overwhelming and, perhaps even more disturbingly, b) that public officials are doing little-to-nothing about the problem except pouring more and more money down a very big drain — even when the impacted area are federal lands.

Science Friday: Climate Change, Part 1

Probably the second most important (only to preventing nuclear war) issue humanity has ever addressed will be discussed at Copenhagen in less than a month. At this conference, delegates from all over the world will work out a global agreement on how to prevent this catastrophe from occurring. In light of this, the next few weeks' Science Fridays will discuss the various aspects of climate change.

The change humans are causing to the climate is known most commonly as global warming or climate change, though the terms global change and climate crisis are also used. The meaning of these is essentially the same. Some people care a lot about which is best; I don't, except that I think global change is vague and likely to be misunderstood. I will use the other terms interchangeably in this series.

I'll start with an overview on how the Earth's climate has worked for most of recorded history, and how we should make sure it returns to.

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