1998: Still Hot

You may have heard this from a conservative friend already, but NASA recalculated its temperature records for 1998 and the year is no longer the hottest in the 48 states (1934 is). Hill Heat has a good synopsis of the political fallout- sometimes more interesting than the science itself. RealClimate has a good rundown on the science. What your conservative friend did not tell you is that the differences are statistically insignificant. Anyway, the problem with the NASA data was found by a blogger from http://www.climateaudit.org/. Nice work, Steve McIntyre. You get the gold star for analyzing primary data and for paying attention.

The data record still indicates that temperatures on the surface of the Earth are getting warmer. The data corrections are for anomalies of surface air temperatures for the 48 states and do not change the fact that temperatures in 19 of the past 26 years globally have been setting records, and that 2005 was the warmest year on record for the globe. According to RealClimate:

More importantly for climate purposes, the longer term US averages have not changed rank. 2002-2006 (at 0.66 Continue reading

No Time for Activism as Usual

“The Weather Makers,” a book by Tim Flannery, is one of the best sources for those who want to understand the global heating process that is seriously destabilizing the world’s climate. In it, Flannery explains the three main Continue reading

Stepping it Up … second time around …

Global Warming is a massive challenge. It requires serious commitment for change toward a better tomorrow, change from government and from individuals. Government action can help drive (and facilitate) individual action. And, well, individual action — individuals acting in concert — can help drive government action.

That second, individuals combining to drive a government response, is the core to Step-It-Up. And, after a massive set of actions earlier this year (1400 rallies across the nation), Bill McKibben is organizing another day of citizen engagement for 3 November 2007. This is something that everyone (EVERYONE) should engage with …

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Decoupling 101

Decoupling essentially works like this: The profits a utility company receives are separated (un-coupled) from the amount of kilowatt hours produced. Right now in Maryland (and most states) power companies earn more money the more energy they produce (the more coal they burn, the more kilowatt hours they push onto the grid). Therefore, the companies make more money when more energy is consumed. Clearly, this is not going to usher in a new era of energy efficiency.

With Maryland energy bills hitting record-highs recently, it’s time for Maryland to consider something new. In 1999, lawmakers passed a degregulation bill. They capped utility rates for seven years at pre-1999 levels and hoped that competition among energy providers would drive down prices. But, when the caps expired last year, Constellation Energy (which owns Baltimore Gas and Electric) proposed a 74% increase- and the Maryland Public Services Commission approved it! And now, people are demanding action on energy policy like they never have before.

Recently, the Public Services Commission decided to try decoupling to increase Maryland’s energy efficiency. Decoupling would remove the disincentive for the utilities to pursue and encourage energy efficiency projects. Instead of having profits that are dependent upon total kilowatt hour produced, the power company rates profits of a certain amount are guaranteed by the state. If Maryland consumers use less energy, the power companies would make up the difference with a flat distribution charge. So, this means a few things: 1) Rates will not change much. Marylanders will not experience the 75% rate hikes- rates will remain relatively stable. 2) Efficiency projects, that in the past meant less kilowatt hours produced and therefore lower projects, can occur more readily without disrupting the profits of the company. In fact, power companies realizing that they can earn more by producing less may even embrace energy efficiency projects everywhere- saving homeowners and power companies money.

There are a lot of problems with the way our energy system is managed today. Can decoupling be part of the solution? O’Malley seems to think so. What do you think?

For more information and a more in depth analysis of the issue, see this daily kos post by A Siegel. Continue reading

FACT: Wind farms will have zero impacts on migratory bird populations

Among the many colossal falsehoods routinely espoused by the media and misguided activists about wind power is the canard about how wind farms threaten bird populations. People how make this claim, who say birds are at risk in Appalachia from existing and proposed wind farms, have zero — ZERO — data to back up their claims.

On the other hand, there’s now an enormous body of scientific evidence, backed up by radar studies, showing the opposite: that bird populations are in no way threatened by wind power development in our region.

Please see below and here an essay I posted on the CCAN website in March 2006. This is thoroughly documented stuff, not hot-headed rhetoric. Here’s the truth: global warming is the single biggest threat to all the planet’s bird and bat populations. And wind power can and already is a safe and responsible part of the solution to global warming.

Read the essay>>

Global Warming: Seven Generations, not Seven Years …

We live in a “time of consequences.” We, as individuals and collectively, are setting the path which will determine the living conditions for millenia to come. This time of consequences is both long term and quite immediate.

This is true for the individual. Do you invest in an energy efficient future life? Will you unplug the computer before going to sleep?

And, it is true for society. What is the transportation infrastructure we want 30 years from now? And, what is the legislation that will emerge in coming weeks and months related to energy, farming, and Global Warming?

We live in a Time of Consequences. And, we can chose to live through this time, buffeted by the consequences, or we can seek to act to drive change in a positive direction.

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Top 10 Computing Energy Savers

Computers are becoming an increasingly have become an integral part of our life largely because of the time they save. The even conserve energy by allowing us telecommute and order products from the comfort of our home. However they obviously use electricity, electricity that is often coming from dirty forms of energy such as coal. Luckily, manufacturers like Dell and Hewlett Packard are striving to “green” their image and produce computers that use significantly less power. Fortunately, there are also things you can do to reduce the energy consumption of the computer you are using right now. The folks at the Lifehacker blog have compiled a great list of the Top 10 Computing Energy Savers. Continue reading

For You Climate Lawyers!

Hey All,

For those of you wonky attorneys out there, my article below got published in the June edition of the Maryland Bar Association Newsletter/Journal. Climate Change law is an ever growing and expanding field, especially in Maryland where a slew of bills were passed or are being seriously considered in the Maryland General Assembly addressing global warming and its affects on the Bay. This dynamic field of law is changing so quickly that the article below from June is somewhat outdated. Comments, questions? Please post to our blog :)

Sincerely, CCAN’s lawyer (yes we have a lawyer) Diana Dascalu-Joffe, Esq.

Article for Maryland State Bar Association Environmental Edition

Global Warming and the Law in Maryland

By Diana Dascalu-Joffe
May 2007

Artic ice melting at an alarming rate. Sea level rise. Ravaging forest fires. Strange, destructive weather patterns. Global warming. Anyone who has not heard about global warming or its affect on the world must have been hibernating under a rock for the past few years. The daunting news is everywhere from Vanity Fair to the Wall Street Journal to local community newsletters.

Speaking as an attorney for a Maryland non-profit organization that educates on climate change and its affects on the Chesapeake Bay, business has never been better! Finally, the world, and many citizens, legislators, businesses, faith leaders, etc have had their “eureka” moment on this issue. Continue reading