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Cook Organic not the Planet Campaign

Climate Crisis Coalition Newsfeed (Jan 7, 2006)

Heads of State and Climate Change

Gerald Ford: The First Energy President . Commentary by Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, January 5, 2007 (subscription - TimesSelect). "Now that President Gerald Ford has been buried with all the honors he deserved, it is time to discuss a proper memorial. I would suggest the Gerald Ford Energy Independence Act. Few people remember today, but 'Gerald Ford was the first U.S. president to really use the levers of the presidency to try to break our addiction to oil,' said the energy economist Philip Verleger Jr. 'He was way ahead of his time.' Well, his time has come again — and then some... The president proposed firm but necessary measures designed to achieve energy independence for the U.S. by 1985, and to regain our position of world leadership in energy... Obviously, President Ford's emphasis on coal and domestic oil came in age when most people were unaware of climate change. Still, Mr. Ford wasn't just all talk on energy. He used his presidential powers to impose a $3-a-barrel fee on imported oil to reduce consumption. That was a big deal, noted Mr. Verleger, because the average cost of imported crude at the time was only $10.76 a barrel... Thanks to the Energy Policy Conservation Act of 1975 and other measures, Mr. Ford's energy legacy includes: the creation of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for use in an emergency; the phasing out of domestic price controls on oil to encourage more exploration; major investment in alternative energy research; assistance to states in developing energy conservation programs; and, most important, the creation of the first compulsory mileage standards for U.S. automobiles... Every 10 years we say to ourselves, 'If only we had done the right thing 10 years ago.' Well, President Bush has a chance in his State of the Union to call on Americans to honor Mr. Ford by completing his vision. But it means asking Americans to do some hard things: accepting a gasoline or carbon tax; inducing Detroit to make more fuel-efficient cars, trucks and plug-in hybrids; setting a national requirement for utilities to provide 20 percent of their electricity from renewable wind, solar, hydro or nuclear power by 2015; and, finally, making large-scale investments in mass transit. It is stunning that since 9/11 the Bush team has never mounted a campaign to get Americans to conserve energy. 'Ford called for zero oil imports by 1985,' said Mr. Verleger. 'Instead, we imported five million barrels a day then. In 2006, imports will average almost 14 million barrels a day.'"

Bush Tells German Chancellor that He Will Cooperate on Global Warming . By Ben Feller, The Associated Press, January 4, 2007. "President Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged closer cooperation on combating global warming and in trying to prod a Middle East peace on Thursday, brushing aside lingering differences between the two countries. Bush said at a joint White House news conference that he was open to new ideas to confront climate change, although he stopped short of some of the tight environmental standards favored by Germany and other European nations. 'We talked about climate change, and I assured the chancellor I'm committed to promoting new technologies that will promote energy efficiency and do a better job protecting the environment,' Bush said. .I believe there is a chance now to put behind us the old stale debates of the past.' It was a reference to past differences between Bush and European allies on the Kyoto accords... For her part, Merkel said, 'I was delighted to hear that there is a readiness there.'"

Gore Leaves Door Ajar for 2008 . By Chris Cillizza And Shailagh Murray, The Washington Post, January 7, 2007. " As the Democratic field for 2008 takes shape, one big remaining question is whether former vice president Al Gore -- winner of the popular vote in 2000, an almost-candidate in 2004 and now the public face of the movement to address global warming -- will be in it... Over the past six years, Gore has become a heroic figure for the party's liberal left, thanks in large part to his early and steady opposition to the war in Iraq. And it's not just liberals who have taken to Gore. An Inconvenient Truth, the film detailing Gore's lonely quest to raise awareness of climate change, is one of the most successful documentaries of all time and, as important, has transformed Gore's public image from cold to cool. That renewed popularity has stoked speculation that Gore just may have another national race up his sleeve... Early last month, Gore addressed more than three dozen labor leaders in Washington, a wide-ranging talk about the Democratic congressional gains and the media, said one attendee, who demanded anonymity. Asked about 2008, Gore said that he has taken a number of calls from people encouraging him to consider running but he 'didn't know whether he was going to or not,' the source said. 'Everybody felt he left a small door open.' For the moment, however, Gore seems more interested in his role as global-warming warrior."

Greenhouse Emission Controversy Prompts Canadian Cabinet Shakeup . By Randall Palmer, Reuters, January 4, 2007 . "Stung by public criticism of its environmental policy and preparing for a likely early 2007 election, Canada's government made sweeping changes to its cabinet on Thursday, making the environment a top priority. ' We've clearly determined we need to do more on the environment,' Prime Minister Stephen Harper told reporters after the swearing-in ceremony that included seven cabinet changes and the addition of six junior cabinet posts... The leader replaced embattled Environment Minister Rona Ambrose with John Baird, a feisty young politician who previously headed the Treasury Board. Ambrose, who has faced widespread criticism for what are considered weak plans to control greenhouse gas emissions and for getting facts wrong, is now minister of intergovernmental affairs, which involves promoting Canadian unity. Baird is considered quick on his feet and is known for his fiery attacks on the opposition during parliamentary debates."

Departmental Shakeup in Great Britain Designed to Strengthen Climate Change Program . By Andrew Grice, The London Independent, January 5, 2007. "David Miliband, the Secretary of State for the Environment, is likely to head the expanded department. As well as leading the fight against climate change, he would be in charge of plans to build a generation of nuclear power stations and boost renewable sources such as wind, wave and solar power. Gordon Brown, who is expected to succeed Tony Blair this summer, is keen to promote younger ministers. He believes keeping Mr. Miliband in the post would ensure continuity; moving him could be seen as a sign that the environment was not important.

The 110th Congress

The Senate's Task on Warming . Editorial, The New York Times, January 6, 2007. "Exhaustive computer simulations carried out at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., suggest that the Arctic Ocean will be mostly open water in the summer of 2040 — several decades earlier than expected... One can only assume that the Senate's new Democratic leadership is paying attention. California's Barbara Boxer is the new chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, replacing James Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who regards global warming as an elaborate hoax drummed up by environmentalists and scientists in search of money. Ms. Boxer has already scheduled hearings, and there will be no shortage of legislative remedies to consider. All share one objective, which is to attach a cost to carbon dioxide through a cap on emissions. The underlying logic is that if people and industries are made to pay for the privilege of pumping these gases into the atmosphere, they will inevitably be driven to developer cleaner fuels, cleaner cars and cleaner factories... This is the path most developed countries have chosen. Europe has imposed caps on industrial emissions, and European companies have begun investing in new technologies and cleaner factories in places like China, partly as a way to meet their own obligations to cut emissions and partly as a way to lead China to a greener future. These hearings need to be conducted in a thoughtful manner. There has been enough noise, from the Inhofe right and from the doomsayers who see each hurricane as a sign the apocalypse is upon us. But it is also important that Ms. Boxer and her colleagues not lose sight of a fundamental reality: Saturating the atmosphere with greenhouse gases is loading the dice in a dangerous game."

Nancy Pelosi's Speech upon her Election as Speaker of the House . The San Francisco Chronicle, January 4, 2007. "I thank my constituents in San Francisco and to the state of California for the privilege of representing them in Congress. Saint Francis of Assisi is our city's patron saint, and his song of St. Francis is our city's anthem: 'Lord, make me a channel of thy peace; where there is darkness may we bring light, where there is hatred, may we bring love, and where there is despair, may we bring hope.' Hope, hope, that is what America is about and it is in that spirit that I was sent to Congress. And today, I thank my colleagues. By electing me speaker, you have brought us closer to the ideal of equality that is America's heritage and America's hope... Now it is our responsibility to carry forth that vision of a new America into the 21st Century. A new America that seizes the future and forges 21st Century solutions through discovery, creativity, and innovation, sustaining our economic leadership and ensuring our national security. A new America with a vibrant and strengthened middle class for whom college is affordable, health care is accessible, and retirement reliable. A new America that declares our energy independence, promotes domestic sources of renewable energy, and combats climate change."

Democrats Want to Shift Oil Tax . By Steven Mufson, The Washington Post, January 4, 2007. "House Democrats are crafting an energy package that would roll back billions of dollars worth of oil drilling incentives, raise billions more by boosting federal royalties paid by oil and gas companies for offshore production, and plow the money into new tax breaks for renewable energy sources, congressional sources said yesterday... The repeal of the 2004 tax cuts for the oil and gas industry would generate nearly $5 billion, Democratic lawmakers said, quoting estimates by the Joint Committee on Taxation. The royalty payments would yield between $9 billion and $11 billion, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said... Renewable energy lobbyists said that would set off a feeding frenzy among boosters of hydropower, nuclear, biofuel, geothermal and solar energy. Solar producers, for example, have a proposal to expand and extend tax credits for residential solar installations for eight years, which would cost $400 million... Figuring out how to distribute incentives for renewable energy could be controversial. Some Democratic House members want to exclude nuclear power. Some renewable-energy advocates fear that Congress will scramble to provide too many incentives for corn-based ethanol production."

State and Local Leadership

An Interview with California Environmental Adviser Terry Tamminen . By David Roberts, Grist Magazine, January 4, 2007. "With his bluntness and lack of pretense, it's easy to see why Arnold Schwarzenegger trusted him. The California governor brought Tamminen on as his environmental adviser in 2003, elevated him to secretary of the state EPA, and then appointed him a senior cabinet adviser in 2004. In part due to Tamminen's behind-the-scenes influence and tireless work, Schwarzenegger's first term saw the state pass numerous groundbreaking environmental laws. Now, with Schwarzenegger's blessing, Tamminen has left the administration to "Johnny Appleseed" California's climate plan. He wants to help other states experiment and share best practices, with the ultimate goal of creating a de facto national greenhouse-gas policy, forcing the feds' hand on the issue... The latest addition to Tamminen's almost comically varied resume -- sheep farmer, licensed ship captain, real-estate mogul, environmental campaigner -- is author. His new book Lives Per Gallon: The True Cost of Our Oil Addiction is a scathing indictment of big oil companies, a careful accounting of the subsidies they receive and the costs they impose, and a consideration of legal strategies to hold them responsible... Q. 'Do you have any words of wisdom on what environmental groups could do better?'... A. 'On the climate-change issue in particular, the mistake most environmental groups are making is going to Washington and looking for the national solution first. In the United States, we're so big -- the way we use energy and emit greenhouse gases is so different from one part of the country to another -- to come up with a national solution right out of the box is going to be very hard and very complex. If you let some of these state and regional solutions percolate up and get some success, you can build on them and allow for some flexibility and adaptation.'"

Arlington County, VA, Takes on Global Warming . By Annie Gowen, The Washington Post, January 2, 2007. "Arlington County will buy more wind-generated electricity, give tax breaks for hybrid cars, require new public buildings to be green-certified and hand out energy-efficient light bulbs to residents as part of a major push toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions, county officials said yesterday. The county has reduced carbon dioxide and other emissions -- making its buildings more energy-efficient and adding hybrid vehicles to its fleets -- by a total of 2.6 percent since 2000, but must now sharply increase its efforts in order to reach its goal of a 10 percent reduction in the next five years, Arlington County Board Chairman Paul Ferguson (D) said yesterday... Ferguson... said he was inspired to launch the environmental initiative after seeing Al Gore's recent documentary, An Inconvenient Truth."

This Winter and the Year Ahead

'It's Like Rolling Loaded Dice' . By Joel Achenback, The Washington Post, January 7, 2007 . "We don't need anyone to tell us that some computer model in some climatologist's office is showing that a doubling of atmospheric carbon will lead over the next century to approximately 3 degrees Celsius warming in the average surface temperature of the planet, etc. Because we've been outside. We can detect climate change epidermically... 'Is it really a broadly based area that's seeing particular change? The answer is yes,' says Ted Scambos, a glaciologist with the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. 'From Europe, the East Coast, north to the Arctic and across to Siberia, there's a very large swath of the Northern Hemisphere for the months of September, October and November that [were] exceedingly warm.' So it's bad. Except for one thing. What you might call, at the moment, the Denver factor. Denver got four feet of snow in December. The third big storm blew in Friday. Snowdrifts of 10 feet! An automobile-snuffing avalanche in a mountain pass west of town! In Denver, January is still January... 'It's very dangerous to blame climate for weather,' says Richard Alley, a professor of geosciences at Penn State University. But he doesn't let climate change off the hook when discussing our warm winter. 'No, we didn't cause it, but we made it more likely,' he concludes. It's like rolling loaded dice in a craps game. But Dennis Feltgen, a National Weather Service meteorologist, says climate change isn't the culprit. It's El Niño . Warm water in the tropical Pacific, changed wind patterns, lots of balmy air blowing our way from the southern United States... And for some, El Niño is dandy. 'Keeps the hurricanes away and the cold winter away. I'm all for it,' said Colin Offner, golfing happily at Hains Point."

The 'Swing' Behind East Coast's Warm Spell . By Peter N. Spotts, The Christian Science Monitor, January 4, 2007. As they dig out from under thick snow dropped by back-to-back holiday blizzards, residents of Colorado, northern and central New Mexico, and several Plains states may wonder what the rest of winter holds for them. But at least the patterns behind such weather are predictable. They're typical of the long arm of El Niño, which now reigns in the tropical Pacific. For residents of the East Coast - not to mention Europe - it's a different story. Record-setting warmth, which gave Muscovites near shirt-sleeve weather, has everyone scratching their heads. Is global warming responsible? Researchers aren't sure. They point instead to a seesaw climate pattern that occurs over the North Atlantic, called the North Atlantic Oscillation or NAO. Less publicly known than El Niño, and certainly less understood, the NAO is getting increasing attention from scientists. Their goal is twofold: to develop useful forecasts of the oscillation and to better estimate whether global warming is exaggerating its effects... Unlike El Niño, the phenomenon's reach isn't fully globe-circling. But particularly in the winter months, the NAO 'is just as important for weather and climate across much of the northern hemisphere,' says James Hurrell, an atmospheric scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo... 'There is a tremendous amount of certainty on a large global or hemispheric scale that certain things we're seeing are undoubtedly due to human influence on climate, such as the warming of the global oceans,' Dr. Hurrell says. 'But what people really want to know is: How will the weather in my region change? If seasonal weather is dictated by these patterns of natural variability, then it becomes absolutely critical to understand how those patterns work and how they are going to change in a changing climate.'"

World Faces Hottest Year Ever, as El Niño Combines with Global Warming . By Cahal Milmo, The London Independent, January 1, 2007 . "A combination of global warming and the El Niño weather system is set to make 2007 the warmest year on record with far-reaching consequences for the planet, one of Britain's leading climate experts has warned... The warning, from Professor Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, was one of four sobering predictions from senior scientists and forecasters that 2007 will be a crucial year for determining the response to global warming and its effect on humanity... The warning of the escalating impact of global warming was echoed by Jim Hansen, the American (NASA) scientist: 'We just cannot burn all the fossil fuels in the ground. If we do, we will end up with a different planet... I mean a planet with no ice in the Arctic... is going to have a large effect in terms of sea level rises and the extinction of species.'"

Global Warming May Spell the End of Legendary Dutch Skating Race . Reuters, January 4, 2007. " The Eleven Towns Tour, a marathon skating race along the frozen canals of the Netherlands last held a decade ago, may be put in cold storage if Dutch meteorologists' forecasts of global warming are correct... The event takes place when the ice is at least 15 cm (5.9 inches) thick along the whole course, a condition that has been met 15 times in the past 100 years. 'Average temperatures are rising. In the last 10 years I have only been able to skate here one day. Otherwise there has been absolutely no ice,' Henk Kroes, chairman of the race's organising committee, told NOS television as he gazed at an ice-free canal. The "Elfstedentocht", considered one of ice skating's most gruelling challenges, attracts thousands of participants who try to cover almost 200 km (124 miles) on frozen canals through 11 towns in the province of Friesland, much of it in the dark."

Ethanol and Food

Malaysian Firm to Make Ethanol From Tree . The Associated Press, January 6, 2007. " A Malaysian company is building what it says is the world's first plant to commercially produce ethanol from nipah palm trees, with the product aimed mainly for export to countries looking for alternatives to gasoline, its chairman said Saturday. Pioneer Bio Industries Corp... is building the plant in northern Perak state to extract ethanol from the sap of the nipah tree, scientifically known as Nypa fruiticans and found in abundance in Malaysia's coastal areas. Company chairman, Badrul Shah Mohamad Noor, said the company plans to build more than a dozen additional plants over the next five years. He said the technology was developed by 16 Malaysian scientists over the last five years... Nipah palm trees are also found in neighboring Southeast Asian countries and the Pacific Islands. Badrul Shah said Pioneer Bio Industries is owned by local businessmen... He said the company was seeking investments from within and outside the country for the future plants. Malaysia, a net crude oil exporter, is promoting exports of bio-fuels such as palm oil and ethanol... to diversify its range of exports."

Rise in Ethanol Raises Concerns About Corn as a Food . By Alexi Barrionuevo, The New York Times, January 5, 2007 . " Renewing concerns about whether there will be enough corn to support the demand for both fuel and food, a new study has found that ethanol plants could use as much as half of America's corn crop next year. Dozens of new ethanol plants are being built by farmers and investors in a furious gold rush, spurred by a call last year from the Bush administration and politicians from farm states to produce more renewable fuels to curb America's reliance on oil. But the new study by the Earth Policy Institute, an environmental group, found that the number of ethanol plants coming on line has been underreported by more than 25 percent by both the Agriculture Department and the Renewable Fuels Association, the ethanol industry's main lobbying group. The Earth Policy Institute says that 79 ethanol plants are under construction, which would more than double ethanol production capacity to 11 billion gallons by 2008. Yet late last month, the Renewable Fuels Association said there were 62 plants under construction. The lower tally has led to an underestimate of the grain that would be needed for ethanol, clouding the debate over the priorities of allocating corn for food and fuel, said Lester R. Brown, who has written more than a dozen books on environmental issues and is the president of the Earth Policy Institute. 'This unprecedented diversion of corn to fuel production will affect food prices everywhere,' Mr. Brown said... in the anticipation of high potential returns, ethanol plants that rely on corn are being built by everyone from farmers to Bill Gates of Microsoft to a mix of Wall Street investors. In addition to the 116 ethanol plants in production, and the 79 under construction, at least 200 more ethanol plants, with a capacity of 3 billion gallons a year, are in the planning stages."

British Environment Secretary to Announce Shift in Subsidies for Food Production to Tackling Climate Change . By Charles Clover, The London Telegraph, January 3, 2007 . " Farmers in the future will not be given any support for food production, the Environment Secretary, David Miliband, will say today. Instead they will be helped to maintain landscapes and tackle climate change. Mr Miliband, in a speech to the Oxford farming conference, will say that within 20 years there will be no subsidies for food production and that it will be left to the market and the skills of British farmers to produce food, 'not the generosity of the taxpayer'. But he will tell them he accepts the case that there must be payments for 'environmental security' — tackling global warming through the growing of energy crops, protecting the landscape and reducing methane emissions which, worldwide, contribute more to climate change than transport."

Oil Impacts

Car Boom Driving Europe to a Smoggy Future . By Elisabeth Rosenthal, The New York Times, January 7, 2007. "Vehicular emissions are rising in nearly every European country, and across the globe. Because of increasing car and truck use, greenhouse-gas emissions are increasing even where pollution from industry is waning. The 23 percent growth in vehicular emissions in Europe since 1990 has 'offset' the effect of cleaner factories, according to a recent report by the European Environment Agency. The growth has occurred despite the invention of far more environmentally friendly fuels and cars. 'What we gain by hybrid cars and ethanol buses, we more than lose because of sheer numbers of vehicles,' said Ronan Uhel, a senior scientist with the European Environment Agency, which is based in Copenhagen. Vehicles, mostly cars, create more than one-fifth of the greenhouse-gas emissions in Europe, where the problem has been extensively studied. The few places that have aggressively sought to fight the trend have taken sometimes draconian measures. Denmark, for example, treats cars the way it treats yachts — as luxury items — imposing purchase taxes that are sometimes 200 percent of the cost of the vehicle. A simple Czech-made Skoda car that costs $18,400 in Italy or Sweden costs more than $34,000 in Denmark. The number of bicycles on Danish streets has increased in recent years, and few people under the age of 30 own cars. Many families have turned to elaborate three-wheeled contraptions... High taxes on cars or gasoline of the type levied in Copenhagen are effective in curbing traffic, experts say, but they scare voters, making even environmentalist politicians unlikely to propose them... But Dublin is more typical of cities around the world, from Asia to Latin America, where road transport volumes are increasing in tandem with economic growth. Since 1997, Beijing has built a new ring road every two years, each new concentric superhighway giving rise to a host of malls and housing compounds. In Ireland, car ownership has more than doubled since 1990 and car engines have grown steadily larger."

China Turns Mekong River Into Oil-Shipping Route . By Marwaan-Macan-Markar, Inter Press Service, January 5, 2007 . " As energy hungry China turns the ecologically fragile Mekong river into an oil-shipping route, green activists and environmentalists in South-east Asia worry that spillages could destroy the livelihoods of millions of people residing along the lower reaches of the region's largest waterway."

Pressure Mounts to Clean up Decades-Old Oil Spill in Brooklyn . By Matthew Leising, Bloomberg News, January 3, 2007. "The biggest oil spill Exxon Mobil Corp. has to answer for isn't the cargo that gushed from the Exxon Valdez tanker into Alaska's Prince William Sound. It's the fuel soaked into the ground beneath a working class section of Brooklyn, New York. The pressure is rising on Exxon Mobil to expand its cleanup of oil that seeped into the soil over many decades in the Greenpoint neighborhood. The New York State attorney general's office is threatening legal action, and two suits in the past year seek billions of dollars for alleged damage to property values and possible health risks. In the late 1800s, the area housed more than 50 refineries, and the contamination may have begun then, Exxon Mobil says. By 1892, most of the facilities were owned by Standard Oil, an Exxon Mobil predecessor... The site was identified as an environmental hazard in 1978 when a Coast Guard patrol spotted an oily plume in Newtown Creek. 'There are people who live above this that still don't know about it,' said Basil Seggos, chief investigator for Riverkeeper, an environmental group that sued in 2004 to try to force Exxon Mobil to clean up the creek. Others in Greenpoint have become spill experts, according to Seggos, and they say the fumes that rise from basements and sewers are especially bad when the barometer drops before a storm. 'The locals tell you they know when it's going to rain because they can smell the oil.' The lawsuits by environmentalists and residents allege that Exxon Mobil, BP Plc and other companies were negligent for failing to prevent the spill or clean it up once it was known. One case, a proposed class action, seeks $58 billion."

ExxonMobil Spent Nearly $16 Million to Fund Skeptics and Create Confusion . Press Release, The Union of Concerned Scientists, January 3, 2007. "A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists offers the most comprehensive documentation to date of how ExxonMobil has adopted the tobacco industry's disinformation tactics, as well as some of the same organizations and personnel, to cloud the scientific understanding of climate change and delay action on the issue. According to the report, ExxonMobil has funneled nearly $16 million between 1998 and 2005 to a network of 43 advocacy organizations that seek to confuse the public on global warming science... Smoke, Mirrors & Hot Air: How ExxonMobil Uses Big Tobacco's Tactics to 'Manufacture Uncertainty' on Climate Change [ See press release for link to the full report, PDF, 68 pages] details how the oil company, like the tobacco industry in previous decades, has

  • raised doubts about even the most indisputable scientific evidence,
  • funded an array of front organizations to create the appearance of a broad platform for a tight-knit group of vocal climate change contrarians who misrepresent peer-reviewed scientific findings,
  • attempted to portray its opposition to action as a positive quest for "sound science" rather than business self-interest, and
  • used its access to the Bush administration to block federal policies and shape government communications on global warming."

Regional Impacts

Climate Change Brings Malaria Back to Italy . By Tom Kington, The London Guardian, January 6, 2007. "Sandwiched between temperate Europe and African heat, Italy is on the front line of climate change and is witnessing a rise in tropical diseases such as malaria and tick-borne encephalitis, a new report says. Italy was declared free of malaria in 1970, but it is making a comeback, said the Italian environmental organisation Legambiente. Tick-borne encephalitis, a virus which attacks the nerve system, is also on the way back. While only 18 cases had been reported before 1993, 100 have been since, mostly around Venice... A third ailment, visceral leishmaniasis, carried by sandflies and potentially fatal, is expanding rapidly, the report added. Cases in Italy have risen to 150 a year from 50 before 2000, with the southern region of Campania a hotspot... Twenty percent of the fish now swimming in the Mediterranean, including barracuda, are types that have migrated from the Red Sea as water temperatures rise."

Global Warming and the Outer Banks . By Sue Sturgis, The Independent Weekly of Raleigh, Durham & Chapel Hill, January 4, 2007 . " A nyone who's been lucky enough to visit North Carolina's Outer Banks knows what an extraordinary place they are. A delicate necklace of barrier islands adorning the coastline, they provide a resting place for migratory birds, livelihood for fishermen and a getaway for a growing number of beach lovers. But unless North Carolinians take action soon to curb global warming pollution, we face the possibility of having these gems stolen from us by seas that scientists warn could rise as much as 43 inches by 2100. The natural riches we stand to lose from a warming planet are documented in a new short film being distributed by the nonprofit Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. Titled Treasured Places: The Outer Banks in Peril, the eight-minute movie details the risks of inaction on global warming. Instead of just burying people with a lot of factual information, we wanted to give them a sense of emotional connectedness to these places so they understand what's at stake," says SACE Executive Director Stephen Smith. The film features interviews with Outer Banks residents, including Michael Halminski, a nature photographer who lives on Hatteras Island, and commercial fisherman I.D. Midgett. The video can be viewed at SACE's Web site at www.cleanenergy.org .

Retreat of Himalayan Glaciers Not Getting Sufficient Attention . " As global climate change slowly melts glaciers from Africa to the Andes, scientists say the glaciers in the Himalayas are retreating at a rate of about 33 to 49 feet each year - faster than in any other part of the world. In the Himalayas, the Gangotri Glacier, one of India's largest, is entitled to an even more dubious distinction. Recent studies reveal that the Gangotri, which forms a mass of ice about 18 miles long, is retreating at a rate of more than 100 feet a year. But according to government officials and environmental groups like Greenpeace, very little has been done in the way of a rigorous scientific study. Scientists are monitoring glacial melting on only a handful of the 7,000 glaciers that cover the Indian Himalayas... And at such a rapid retreat, a gradual increase in droughts, flash floods, and landslides are not the only issue to worry about, say environmentalists. Just when power companies are planning more energy sources to power India's growing economy, a rising level of sediment in regional rivers is creating havoc for many grids."

Range for Wheat is Creeping Northward. By George Bryson, The Anchorage Daily News, January 2, 2007. (Free registration may be required). "Are there amber waves of grain in Alaska's future? Given the current rate of global warming, the answer might be yes. That according to a new study that predicts that higher temperatures in North America will make it difficult to grow some varieties of wheat in the Lower 48 states by 2050. By the same measure, however, the more northerly latitudes of Canada and Alaska should be ideal... Unfortunately for Canada, climate isn't everything. Soil conditions matter too. And the rocky terrain and thin soils of the eastern provinces -- what geologists call the Canadian Shield -- aren't considered suitable for grain production. But Alaska is a different story. The fertile loam of the Matanuska Valley 'has the color and consistency of Hershey's cocoa and is rockless two feet down,' geology buff John McPhee wrote in Coming into the Country, his best seller on Alaska... What there is a need for here, farmers say, is a longer growing season and a slightly drier climate in the wet regions of Southcentral Alaska. That could be in the offing if global warming continues, [according to an upcoming report by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico City]... Most significant, the study predicts that the climatic area suitable for growing wheat in South Asia will shrink by about half in the next 50 years. Billions of people in developing nations near the tropics will be severely challenged as crop yields decline due to shorter growing seasons."

Green and Not-so-Green Buildings

The Land of Rising Conservation . By Martin Fackler, The New York Times, January 6, 2007. "Japan tops most global comparisons of energy efficiency in wealthy nations. Its population and economy are each about 40 percent as large as that of the United States, yet in 2004 it consumed less than a quarter as much energy as America did, according to the International Energy Agency, which is based in Paris. Japan's obsession with conservation stems from an acute sense of insecurity in a resource-poor nation that imports most its energy from the volatile Middle East, a fact driven home here by the 1970s shocks. The guiding hand of government has also played a role, forcing households and companies to conserve by raising the cost of gasoline and electricity far above global levels. Taxes and price controls make a gallon of gasoline in Japan currently cost about $5.20, twice America's more market-based prices. The government in turn has used these tax revenues to help Japan seize the lead in renewable energies like solar power, and more recently home fuel cells... The government has tried to foster a culture of conservation with regular campaigns like this winter's Warm Biz, a call to businesspeople to don sweaters and long johns under their gray suits so that office thermostats could be set lower. It has also encouraged development of energy-saving appliances with its Top Runner program, which has set goals for reducing energy use... The savings add up. The average household here used 4,177 kilowatt- hours of electricity in 2001, the most recent figure, according to the Jyukankyo Research Institute in Tokyo. In the same year, the average American household consumed more than twice that, or 10,655 kilowatt hours, according to the Energy Department."

He's Still Following the Sun . By Lee Romney, The Los Angeles Times, January 3, 2007 . " In those 'stone age' days of the mid-1970s, there was no solar energy industry, Gary Gerber says, only a small collection of 'experimenters, forward-thinking people, inventors.' Even eking out a living was an impossibility: Gerber survived, courtesy of a side gig selling cheese from his Volkswagen van. Three decades later, his Sun Light & Power can barely keep up. A frenzied demand for solar power, or photovoltaic, installations has eclipsed the water heater portion of the business, and since 2002, sales have ballooned by about 66% annually — to more than $11 million in 2006 . .. Ac ross the state, in locations not at all off the beaten path, solar installations on homes and small businesses have soared, thanks largely to rebates for systems tied into the state power grid. While 1998 saw 87 installations of such systems — which relieve strain from conventional users in peak heat by feeding excess solar juice back to the grid — the number exploded to more than 5,600 in 2006, with the Bay Area well in the lead, California Energy Commission data shows. For Gerber, 53, it is a head-spinning state of affairs... Though he is by no means the biggest player in the increasingly competitive industry, he is among a handful of believers who came of age in the mid-'70s boom, survived the gloom of the '80s and '90s and emerged to thrive in today's market... As Gerber's company booms with the times, he has redoubled his effort to leave no eco-footprint. On this score, he has a zeal [reputed to be] unparalleled, even in an industry of idealists. There's his fleet of trucks that run on bio-diesel — which a hired chemist cooked in the company garage for a time, but which Gerber now buys from a local company.... and Gerber's personal electric car, charged from the solar-power system that's bolted to the roof of his rented office... Bustling through the space are dozens of bike-riding, recycling, green-loving workers selected not for their technical skills — those came later — but for their commitment to the cause."

New Solar Homes Partnership Under Way in California . RenewableEnergyAccess.com, January 3, 2007 . " A blend of energy efficient solar homes will emerge on California's real estate market this year under the state's New Solar Homes Partnership -- a program that encourages builders to install solar energy systems on new homes as a standard feature for the home buyer, just like granite countertops. Currently, California has over 23,000 photovoltaic system installations, of which 1,500 are installed on new homes. Beginning in 2011, the partnership will not only encourage but actually require builders to offer solar as a standard feature in new home developments of 50 or more... According to the California Energy Commission (CEC), a new home that qualifies for the New Solar Homes Partnership will be at least 15 percent more efficient than the current energy efficiency standards. The home includes Energy Star-rated appliances, and a roof top solar energy system... The New Solar Homes Partnership is a component of the California Solar Initiative, which was signed into law in 2006 under Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger."

New Orleans Repeats Mistakes as It Rebuilds . By Peter Whorisky, The Washington Post, January 4, 2007. "By ones and twos, homeowners here are reinhabiting neighborhoods, even the most devastated ones, and many view their return as a triumph over adversity. But experts involved in the rebuilding believe that the helter-skelter return of residents to this low-lying metropolis may represent another potential disaster. After Katrina, teams of planners recommended that broad swaths of vulnerable neighborhoods be abandoned. Yet all areas of the city have at least some residents beginning to rebuild. With billions of dollars in federal relief for homeowners trickling in, more people are expected to follow. Moreover, while new federal guidelines call for raising houses to reduce the damage of future floods, most returning homeowners do not have to comply or are finding ways around the costly requirement, according to city officials... [as one resident put it] 'I just don't think it's going to happen again -- something like Katrina happens only once in a hundred years. By that time, I'll be dead'... New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin so far has favored allowing evacuees to inhabit their old neighborhoods as they wish."

Traveling Green or Not

Taiwan's Bullet Train Finally Ready for Debut . By Keith Bradshaw, The New York Times, January 4, 2007. "The sleek, bulbous-nosed new bullet trains here look like they are designed to whisk passengers across wide-open spaces. But on this congested island, they represent the start of a 180-mile-per-hour commuter train system. After a quarter century of planning and construction, the system is scheduled to open on Jan. 5. It will tie together cities and towns where 94 percent of Taiwan's population lives, offering an alternative to clogged highways and the air pollution the vehicles on them produce... Passengers who travel on a fully loaded train will use only a sixth of the energy they would use if they drove alone in a car and will release only one-ninth as much carbon dioxide, the main gas linked to global warming. Compared with a bus ride, the figures are half the energy and a quarter of the carbon dioxide, train system officials said. But the system's enormous cost — $15 billion, or $650 for every man, woman and child on Taiwan — has made it a subject of dispute."

Norway to Purchase Greenhouse Gas Quotas for Government Flying Officials . The Associated Press, January 2, 2007. "Norway plans to buy greenhouse gas quotas for public officials when they fly aboard to help curb global warming, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said. In his annual News Year's Day speech Monday evening, Stoltenberg said the proposal would probably make the Norwegian government the first in the world to buy such quotas for international air travel... 'We want to set an example. If only a few do this, it means little. If many join in, it can mean a great deal'... Norway is the world's third-largest oil exporter, and a major natural gas exporter. This year, the government approved the construction of new natural gas power plants, despite their heavy emissions of carbon dioxide... NTB estimated the cost of buying emission quotas for public employees on foreign flights would be roughly $400,000 (2.5 million kroner) per year."

Carbon-Offsetting: Helping Indian Farmers . By James Hopkirk, The London Independent, January 4, 2007. "Some dismiss carbon-offsetting as a way of buying a clear conscience. These Indian farmers disagree... In the remote village of Bannapur, in northern India, Ram Dyal shows me the tiny patch of farmland from which he scrapes a living. This arid plot, less than an acre, must produce enough vegetables to feed his wife and four children, and, hopefully, something to sell on market day. It is a hand-to-mouth existence at the best of times, but in the dry season, when temperatures soar to 46C and his land is reduced to little more than a dust bowl, he faces a stark choice. Either he must hire an expensive diesel pump to irrigate his land, or move his family to the city, where they will live on the street while he looks for labouring work. But that changed six months ago when he bought a treadle pump. This cheap, remarkably simple device, invented in Bangladesh, enables Dyal to farm his land all year round. Constructed from bamboo, plastic and steel, it operates like a step machine in a gym and draws groundwater for irrigation from a depth of 30ft, even in the height of summer. These pumps are revolutionising subsistence farming in India - thanks, in part, to airline passengers from the UK… For farmers such as Ram Dyal, the benefits are simple: more produce to sell and no need to go to the city. But for Climate Care, the British firm that has helped to distribute some 500,000 treadle pumps in India, the added environmental benefit is the decline of the polluting diesel pump. So, where do airline passengers fit into the equation?... Based in Oxford, Climate Care is in the carbon-offsetting business. That means, for an optional fee, it claims that it can compensate for the carbon dioxide that you emit when you jet off on holiday. It puts your cash towards carbon-cutting projects in the developing world."

Generating Green or Not

Iowa Wind Plant Will Store Energy . By David Elbert, the DesMoines Register, January 6, 2007. "Iowa's municipal utilities announced plans Friday to build a $200 million power plant west of Dallas Center that will store wind energy in the ground and use it to generate up to 268 megawatts of electricity. The announcement is a culmination of more than four years of study and research by the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities and others, although operation of the plant is still several years away... Only two similar wind storage plants are in existence, one in Germany and the other in Alabama. Both are about half the size of the plant planned for Dallas County... Roughly 3,000 feet below the farmland is a porous rock structure that extends for about a mile or more and has the capacity to hold compressed air pumped into the ground. It is the key to the storage facility... Electricity will be generated by wind energy farms at remote sites and will be carried by transmission lines to giant compressors at the storage site. The compressors will pump air into the ground, where it will be stored under pressure in the porous rock... contained within the rock by a surrounding solid rock cap. The air can be converted back into electricity by releasing the pressure and allowing the air to drive turbines that create electricity... The U.S. Department of Energy provided $3.5 million in research grants for the project, while Iowa municipalities have kicked in about $800,000 for research."

India Completes Controversial Huge New Dam . B y Rupam Jain Nair, Reuters, January 4, 200 7. "India completed construction of a highly ambitious and controversial dam on Sunday, nearly two decades after it launched the project environmental groups say will destroy the lives of hundreds of thousands. Authorities hailed the completion of the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat state as an answer to the thirst, irrigation and power needs of millions in the vast, parched regions in the west of the country... The Sardar Sarovar is the centerpiece of the multibillion-dollar Narmada Valley development project that taps the Narmada, India's fifth-largest river, through a series of dams, reservoirs and canals... Activists from the Narmada Bachao Andolan, or Save the Narmada Movement... say the dam will displace 320,000 people -- many of them poor tribal farmers who have not been properly resettled on fertile land, and disrupt the lives of hundreds of thousands more... 'The Sardar Sarovar dam is a classic case of cheating the poor ... it has been built to destroy the economy of rural India,' NBA's Medha Patkar said. She said the dam showed policymakers favoured the rich in urban India over those in the countryside."

Montana Green Electricity Buying Coop Clears Major Hurdle . By Clair Johnson, The Billings Gazette, January 2, 2007. "A new electricity cooperative dedicated to green energy cleared a major hurdle when it received nearly $32 million in tax-free bonding authority from the federal government for a wind farm... [But] 'It's by no means a done deal,' said Russ Doty, executive director of Green Electricity Buying Cooperative. The co-op needs to change state law to allow co-ops to own wind machines. Then it needs to nail down the financing, secure access to transmission lines and buy the wind machines. And the co-op needs members... GEBC is making progress. In addition to obtaining the bonding authority, the co-op has signed contracts to lease land in Yellowstone and McCone counties for two 10-megawatt wind farms. Proposed changes in state [will be introduced] when the Legislature convenes in January, Doty said... GEBC was formed in March to pursue wind power, biomass and other renewable energy projects. The wind-farm proposal is the co-op's first." Montanans are joining the coop on GEBC's Web site for as little as $25.

Scotland Leads the Way With Wind Power . By GavinStamp, BBC News, January 3, 2007. "The industry is currently expanding at a furious pace. Right now, there are 40 wind farms in operation, accounting for about 40% of Scotland's renewable energy production. Nearly 50 farms are now either being built or set to be given planning permission. A further 80 schemes are at the planning stage, while nearly 70 more are in early-stage development. Putting this into context, onshore wind farms account for 97% of all renewable energy schemes currently at either planning or scoping stage... Scotland generates about 16% of its total energy from renewable sources - its goal is to reach 18% by 2010 and 40% by 2020 - while the UK as a whole lags behind on a paltry 4%. It is now a question of how far Scotland will exceed its 2010 target, rather than if it will meet it - something which experts say is partly due to the Parliament's supportive stance... With Scottish Power about to start construction on what will become the UK's largest wind farm - the £300m Whitelee project south of Glasgow - the future for wind power in Scotland seems to be serene. But the longer-term forecast could be much more blustery... Scottish ministers, who have the final say over any proposed wind project of more than 50 megawatts, have rejected only two schemes in recent years. To critics, this is proof that economic considerations are taking precedence over wider environmental and social concerns when it comes to official attitudes to wind farms... 'I don't think the public appreciate the destruction caused by the construction of a wind farm , said Gillian Wilson, wind farm opponent... Her fellow campaigners speak passionately about potential noise disruption, threats to water supplies and the impact on local roads but reject claims of self-interest. They believe the visual damage done to the countryside by the schemes will compromise the region's tourist industry - one of Perthshire's leading sources of jobs and income."

Under Water Tidal Turbines Tested in New York City's East River . Video by Emily B. Hager, The New York Times, January 2, 2007. Two prototype water turbines were installed in December, off Roosevelt Island. The power is fed directly to a local grocery store. As the system in given a trial run, its impact on fish will be monitored. Water tidal power is more predictable that wind, and a fully implemented system throughout the city's extensive waterways could make New York the largest producer of renewable energy in the U.S.

Concern over Deforestation Leads German Utility to Scrap Palm Oil Project . By . "A leading German utility has abandoned plans to convert a British power station to run on palm oil, in a blow to the promotion of biofuels in Europe. The decision by RWE power to scrap the project at its Littlebrook plant in Dartford, Kent, which was seen as a test case for palm oil as an alternative energy source, comes after it was unable to secure sufficient supplies without risking damage to tropical rainforest. The move highlights the mounting alarm over the scramble in South-East Asia to bring more land into palm oil cultivation... Close attention paid to the RWE nproject by environmental groups, such as Friends of the Earth, did help to tip the balance against palm oil, RWE's spokesman admitted. The environmental group claims that 87 per cent of deforestation in Malaysia between 1985 and 2000 was caused by palm oil plantations... Further opposition is brewing in the European Parliament, which is considering a ban on imports of non-sustainable palm oil. This stance brings it into conflict with the European Commission, which is anxious to promote biofuels in its drive to reduce European carbon emissions."

Britain to Close Two Oldest Nuclear Power Stations . By Jeremy Lovell, Reuters, January 2, 2007 . "Britain will on Sunday turn off its two oldest nuclear power plants as part of a process that will retire all but one of the country's ageing nuclear fleet within 16 years. The large Magnox Sizewell A and Dungeness A reactors respectively on England's east and south coast have generated electricity for the past 40 years but have now reached the end of their extended design life. Nuclear power supplies some 20 percent of Britain's electricity, but that will have slumped to just four percent when the Torness station closes in 2023, leaving just Sizewell B operating until it too closes in 2035. The government, anxious to plug the power gap and at the same time meet its own and international commitments to combat climate change by cutting carbon emissions, wants a new generation of nuclear power plants to be built... While Sizewell A and Dungeness A will go off line for good on Sunday it will be up to 100 years before the sites will be declared clean for new uses."

Spreading the Word

'Living With Ed' . TV Review by Gina Bellafante, The New York Times, January 5, 2007. "Ed Begley Jr. is at heart an impassioned conservationist... Many people consider him, as his wife, Rachelle Carson, explains in Living With Ed, a new reality show about the couple's home life, 'an environmental hero.' Apparently Mr. Begley has been publicly doing good things for the planet for more than three decades... He has a Volkswagen reconfigured to run purely on electricity. He relies on it when he's not on his mobile bike, which he uses when not home powering his toaster with energy summoned from a stationary bike... Living With Ed, which makes its debut on HGTV on Sunday night, explores a marriage between two people with opposing domestic agendas and it is a delight... He is too eccentrically charming for sanctimony, which is why, it would seem, Ms. Carson remains more amused by her husband than annoyed by him. She can't supply the fakery reality TV demands and consequently is fun to watch."

Power-Sipping Bulbs Get Major Backing From Wal-Mart . By Michael Barbaro, The New York Times, January 2, 2007. "Wal-Mart is determined to push them into at least 100 million homes. And its ambitions extend even further, spurred by a sweeping commitment from its chief executive, H. Lee Scott Jr., to reduce energy use across the country, a move that could also improve Wal-Mart's appeal to the more affluent consumers the chain must win over to keep growing in the United States... A compact fluorescent has clear advantages over the widely used incandescent light — it uses 75 percent less electricity, lasts 10 times longer, produces 450 pounds fewer greenhouse gases from power plants and saves consumers $30 over the life of each bulb. But it is eight times as expensive as a traditional bulb, gives off a harsher light and has a peculiar appearance. As a result, the bulbs have languished on store shelves for a quarter century; only 6 percent of households use the bulbs today... If it succeeds in selling 100 million compact fluorescent bulbs a year by 2008, total sales of the bulbs in the United States would increase by 50 percent, saving Americans $3 billion in electricity costs and avoiding the need to build additional power plants for the equivalent of 450,000 new homes... In August 2006, the chain sold 3.94 million, nearly twice the 1.65 million it sold in August 2005... But to reach 100 million, Wal-Mart has to do much more." Check accompanying video: Understanding Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs .

Earth from Space . By Rick Weiss, The Washington Post, January 1, 2007. "These photos, taken by some of the dozens of satellites that today tirelessly loop our blue-and-green planet, are from an exhibition, "Earth From Space," at Washington's National Air and Space Museum through Jan. 7. Taken from altitudes ranging from a few hundred miles to thousands of miles high, and in some cases enhanced with faux colors that help scientists distinguish among various plants and landforms, these images reveal in startling detail Earth's natural beauty -- and some of the ways that, for better and worse, we are remodeling the only home we have." (Check link to photos.)

Grist Looks at the Top News Stories of 2006, Wings it for 2007 . Grist Magazine, January 3, 2007. "Welcome to your new year! Before we rush into this great unknown annus, let's pause to reflect on the wonders of 2006. Remember when George W. Bush proclaimed that the U.S. was 'addicted to oil'? Yep, that was just 12 months ago, and it was a confession that kicked off one hell of a year. From Al Gore's box-office success to Nicholas Stern's economic reprimand, from disgruntled scientists to a dismantled Republican Congress, the events of 2006 truly changed the environmental climate. We offer our picks of the best of '06, and toss out a few predictions for '07."

Video Podcasts on Climate Change . Posted by Andrew Dressler, Gristmill, December 27, 2006. "T he U. of Arizona put together an impressive seminar series on climate change this past fall. There were seven talks by different U of A professors, covering almost all important aspects of the 'climate change problem.' The talks are now online... [If you have a video iPod] it's a worthwhile way to pass a 4-hour plane trip [grappling, as you travel, with the greenhouse emissions that you're contributing to]. If you want to learn more about climate change, I recommend you check them out. (They also have audio-only versions.)"

How Quickly are Animals and Plants Disappearing, and Does it Matter? Commentary by Steve Connor, The London Independent, January 2, 2007. "Extinction is as old as life on Earth - about 3.5 billion years - but scientists calculate that we are losing species at a rate of somewhere between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural 'background' rate of extinction. This means that technically we are going through a period of 'mass extinction', the sixth that we know about over the hundreds of millions of years of the fossil record. But unlike the previous five mass extinctions, this one is largely caused by the actions of a single species - Homo sapiens... There are several reasons we should be concerned. The first is that in the past it has taken life on Earth between 10 million and 100 million years to recover from a mass extinction. The second is that for all our technology, we still rely on the delicate ecological balance of the natural world for our survival. The Earth's biodiversity provides us with clean air, drinking water, food and even new drugs - upsetting it too much could cause the collapse of this vital life-support system. The third reason is philosophical. If we conserve works of art, why should we not also conserve nature? The extinction of a humble beetle is no less important than the willful destruction of a Rembrandt or a Picasso?"

Moderation versus Stridency in Fighting Global Warming . By Andrew C. Revkin, The New York Times, January 1, 2007. "Debate among scientists over how to describe the climate threat is particularly intense right now as experts work on the final language in portions of the latest assessment of global warming by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change... Many environmental campaigners... have portrayed the growing human influence on the climate as an unfolding disaster... Conservative politicians and a few scientists, many with ties to energy companies, have variously countered that human-driven warming is inconsequential, unproved or a manufactured crisis... A third stance is now emerging, espoused by many experts who challenge both poles of the debate... This approach was most publicly laid out in an opinion article on the BBC Web site in November by Mike Hulme, the director of the Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research in Britain. Dr. Hulme said that shrill voices crying doom could paralyze instead of inspire. 'I have found myself increasingly chastised by climate change campaigners when my public statements and lectures on climate change have not satisfied their thirst for environmental drama,' he wrote. 'I believe climate change is real, must be faced and action taken. But the discourse of catastrophe is in danger of tipping society onto a negative, depressive and reactionary trajectory'... John P. Holdren, an energy and environment expert at Harvard and president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, defended the more strident calls for limits on carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases. 'I am one of those who believes that any reasonably comprehensive and up-to-date look at the evidence makes clear that civilization has already generated dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system,' Dr. Holdren said. 'What keeps me going is my belief that there is still a chance of avoiding catastrophe.'"

A Jewish Response to Climate Change . Commentary by Rabbi Warren G. Stone, PlanetSave.com, January 2, 2007 . " An ancient Jewish midrash teaches that when God took Adam around the Garden of Eden and showed him its magnificence and splendor, God spoke to him saying, 'If you destroy it, there is no one else besides you!' Those words ring mightily today, for the very future of life as we know it is at stake. I fervently believe that climate change, with the destruction that it is wreaking on our fragile, sacred earth, has become the most profound religious issue of our times. Like Adam, we have been warned and cannot plead ignorance; like Adam, will we fail to heed God's words? Who is responsible for responding to the challenge of global climate change? We tend to think that it is the scientist, the statesman and the environmentalist upon whom this responsibility lies. But climate change is an urgent moral and spiritual issue for all peoples of our world... It is incumbent upon every religious leader, religious institution and person of faith to serve as beacons to our communities, illustrating by our actions and example our spiritual commitment to our earth and its threatened and limited resources. In a world where matters of faith seem so often and so tragically to divide us, there is no issue that aligns us more deeply than our shared dependence upon and sacred responsibility to this tiny planet, enfolded within its fragile atmosphere, spinning in the vastness of time and space... May it be that years hence, our children and our children's children will look back with appreciation to this moment when we heeded one of the great moral imperatives of our time."