Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year!

Best wishes from all of us for a happy and prosperous New Year!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

News from Copenhagen

GreenBiz's Peter Lacy reports from Copenhagen that, while there is a lot of disappointment and frustration at the climate conference, in order to reach some success there are five remaining "Runners and Riders" that need to be resolved:

1. Targets in the North -- Developed country emissions reduction targets, particularly to 2020;
2. Targets in the South -- Defining what actions developing countries commit to take to mitigate greenhouse gases, overall and to 2020;
3. Finance -- Securing financing and capital flows to developing countries to fund both emissions reductions and adaptation to the impact of climate change;
4. Bunker Fuels -- The way countries should treat what are called 'bunker fuels' -- jet and marine fuels -- in relation to their climate targets and programs, and whether to tax aviation and shipping;
5. Forests – Finance for avoided deforestation and aforestation under the REDD+ program, particularly monitoring and verification of developing country forests


Lacy goes on, writing,

For government, getting this mix right will dictate success or failure on commitments. For business leaders, understanding the impact on current and future markets will give insight into the value at stake, determine direction and start to plan for their own important journey from strategy to execution.

ExxonMobil moves to shale gas

An interesting piece here by the Daily Finance's Mark Svenvold. ExxonMobil is buying up North American shale gas:

ExxonMobil's move into shale gas comes at a time when natural gas is increasingly weaponized. When Ukraine balked at Russia's price for natural gas in January 2006, Russian president Vladimir Putin shut off Ukraine's gas supply -- in the dead of winter. And in a brief 2008 war between Georgia and Russia, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline -- one of two pipelines supplying much of Europe's natural gas -- was almost hit by mortar fire.

The use of North American shale gas could help neutralize such a supply-chain risk. And experts agree that natural gas is fast becoming the primary transitional fuel, bridging our reliance today on fossil fuels with a future ideal dependent on renewable energy. So while StatOil's and ExxonMobil's drives into domestic natural gas might seem to make little economic sense, they're part of a long-term strategy.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cleaners worth more than bankers

From the BBC -- of absolutely no surprise to anyone, a study by think tank the New Economics Foundation, says hospital cleaners create £10 of value for every £1 they are paid.

Addtionally, the research shows that:

bankers are a drain on the country because of the damage they caused to the global economy. They reportedly destroy £7 of value for every £1 they earn. Meanwhile, senior advertising executives are said to "create stress".


A bit hard to believe that they needed to do an actual study to realize this, but it's always good to be aware of who exactly creates wealth. The report also showed that "child minders and waste recyclers are also doing jobs that create net wealth to the country."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Spread holiday cheer with the Pajama Program

In the holiday spirit, if you are searching for a worthy charity, please consider our favorite: the wonderful Pajama Program.

The Pajama Program, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit, provides new warm pajamas and new books to children in need – many who are waiting and hoping to be adopted.

This year, we are not as concerned with opening our presents as opening our hearts. We wish you and yours a warm and wonderful holiday season!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Copenhagen live 24/7

Click here for live 24/7 coverage from the Copenhagen climate change conference!
Another excellent piece from Daily Finance's Mark Svenvold, reporting on November's Carbon Economy summit. Click here to read about his top picks of entrepreneurial ideas on how to address renewable-energy demand, carbon mitigation, and green jobs.

Greening US energy

Journalist Stephen Greenhouse (an appropriate name for this topic, don't you think?) reports in the NYTimes on some of the reasons why "green jobs have grown more slowly than hoped. The clean energy component of the $787 billion stimulus package has only recently started to kick in. Energy experts say that banks, which have been reluctant to lend generally, have been especially loath to lend for alternative energy projects." Worth reading the whole thing.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Media Matters for America on CRU hack

Media Matters for America has an excellent collection of denialist claims and scientific reality regarding the CRU hack here.

Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said: "There's nothing in the e-mails that shows that global warming is a hoax. ... There's no funding by nefarious groups. There's no politics in any of these things; nobody from the [United Nations] telling people what to do. There's nothing hidden, no manipulation. It's just scientists talking about science, and they're talking relatively openly as people in private e-mails generally are freer with their thoughts than they would be in a public forum. The few quotes that are being pulled out [are out] of context. People are using language used in science and interpreting it in a completely different way."

RealClimate on the CRU hack

RealClimate explains the CRU hack in clear simple terms here. Highly recommended reading.

In any case, however unpleasant scientists' personal emails are, our current understanding of global warming physics is not affected by anything in the hacked files. How quickly the planet will heat under what CO2 concentrations is not yet pinned down to absolute certainty (as science rarely deals in certainties), but the stolen files neither significantly contribute to nor challenge our current understanding of global warming physics.

We will keep following this story.

UPDATE:

Just to remind you that, as we mentioned previously, RealClimate has a new page of posted raw and processed data here.

They write about their page:

The climate science community fully understands how important it is that data sources are made as open and transparent as possible, for research purposes as well as for other interested parties, and is actively working to increase accessibility and usability of the data. We encourage people to investigate the various graphical portals to get a feel for the data and what can be done with it. The providers of these online resources are very interested in getting feedback on any of these sites and so don’t hesitate to contact them if you want to see improvements.

CRU hack: Climategate?

Kevin Drum at Mother Jones discusses the CRU hack, now dubbed "Climategate", here.

Among the stash of emails recently hacked from computers at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, one mentioned a "trick" for producing a nice looking graph, but the word "trick" was plainly used in the sense of "technique," not chicanery. There's nothing questionable there. Another bunch of emails shows that when scientists are communicating privately they can be as catty and nasty as anyone else. It's good gossip fodder, but nothing more. Another set of emails deals with outraged reaction to a particular journal article, but this isn't news. It was an entirely public incident when it happened a few years ago, and half the board of the journal resigned in protest. The emailers were determined not to have shoddy science published in peer-reviewed journals, and there's nothing wrong with that.


...

For years the CRU has resisted public release of its underlying datasets, partly for the understandable reason that they're tired of dealing with amateurs who comb though raw data looking for ways to pretend that warming isn't really happening, and partly because they don't have the authority to release it all. Still, science is all about transparency, and annoying or not, the data should be available. Now it probably will be, and under the worst possible circumstances. It's going to be rough sledding for the next couple of years against the fever swamp crowd, aided and abetted by the coal industry.
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More on CRU hack

The New York Times covers the CRU hack here.

CRU hacked

The BBC reports that the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia has been hacked, and unpleasant private emails posted on the Internet. More as this story develops.