When the Seas Turn Sour

Just in case you didn’t have enough to worry about, the New York Times reports there is growing concern about the impact of CO2 levels on the oceans: The oceans have long buffered the effects of climate changeby absorbing a substantial portion of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. But this benefit has a catch: as …

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A Jolt to the Economy

Perhaps unavoidably, the stimulus package that passed the House on Wednesday authorizes broad investment goals, but offers few details. In some instances, this leaves us with much opportunity for honest debate. Consider, for instance, the various authorizations related to improvement and expansion of the electric grid. With up to $8 billion in loan guarantees, $6.5 …

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Jody Freeman to White House

According to press reports, Jody Freeman, a Harvard Law School professor, will be the counselor for energy and climate change in the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change — in other words, a senior advisor to Carol Browner.  Jody is well known to all of us, having been a long-time member of the …

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Federal scientists could get increased whistleblower protection

Before it passed the economic stimulus bill on Wednesday, the House grafted on the text of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, H.R. 985, from the previous Congress.  That bill, which passed the House last year, would (among other things) have extended whistleblower protection to federal workers who reveal the dissemination of “false or misleading” scientific …

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Gobama Bounce?

Two days ago, the Emmett Center hosted what we thought would be a tidy, manageable panel and “roundtable discussion” on SB 375, California’s new anti-sprawl law and the state’s latest legislative attempt to tackle GHG emissions from passenger vehicles.  In line with turnout to similar past events, we booked a room that holds 90 people …

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New Jungles for Old?

The New York Times has an interesting article about the growth of new forests as poor people abandon farms and move to the cities in less developed countries.  Carbon storage is complicated, so we don’t really know yet just how much effect this might have on climate.  But it’s obviously a very interesting development.

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The Bathtub Effect: A sobering assessment of where we are on climate change (but what does this mean for adaptation efforts?)

Andrew Revkin of the New York Times has posted an important essay discussing implications of the recent report by Dr. Susan Solomon and others documenting the profoundly serious impacts that will result from letting GHG concentrations in the atmosphere get too high before they are stabilized (the subject of this post below by Dan and …

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Conflicting data need not make environmental controversies worse

Anyone interested in the resolution of environmental controversies featuring conflicting or incomplete scientific accounts (and what interesting environmental conflict doesn’t fit in that category?) should read this article by Biggs et al. in the January issue of BioScience (subscription required). As the authors explain, the fact that two scientific studies produce conflicting results or lead …

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The California budget squeeze hits Marine Protected Area research

At least two academic projects supporting California’s marine protected areas program have been halted for now by the state’s budget crisis. From Science Insider: Researchers were ordered to stop work immediately, says Rikk Kvitek of California State University, Monterey Bay, a principal investigator on a $20 million sea-floor mapping program funded by the state. . …

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A republican moment on climate change? Maybe not yet

The environmental community has been understandably excited about the prospect of finally getting U.S. legislative action in light of the popularity of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, the development of a public consensus on the reality of global warming, the election of Barack Obama, and strong Democratic majorities in both House and Senate.  That optimism, …

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