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Climate Crisis Coalition Newsfeed (Sept 11, 2006)

Rhode Island Governor Announces Ambitious Renewable Energy Agenda .
By Timothy C. Barmann,
The Providence Journal,
September 9, 2006

“Governor Don Carcieri unveiled on Friday a state initiative to develop several small hydroelectric generators along major rivers. He said that harnessing the water's energy could generate up to 10 megawatts of power, or roughly 1 percent of the state's overall electricity consumption. ‘While we may not have the reserves of oil and natural gas that many states have,’ Carcieri said, ‘we are blessed with rivers and the ocean, and we need to put those natural resources to work for us.’ … With the hydro projects, his new goal is to have 20 percent of the power come from renewable resources. And he said the state should be able to accomplish that by 2011, five years earlier than his original goal… ‘The wind-power initiative is on track,’ Carcieri said. ‘Applied Technology & Management of Newport has been hired to complete a feasibility study that will recommend potential sites, both on- and offshore, for wind turbines.’”.


U.S. Army Calls for Green Power for Troops in Iraq .
By Mark Clayton,
September 7, 2006.

“Memo to Pentagon brass from the top United States commander in western Iraq: Renewable energy - solar and wind-power generators - urgently needed to help win the fight. Send soon. The memo [from Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Richard Zilmer] may be the first time a frontline commander has called for renewable-energy backup in battle. Indeed, it underscores the urgency: Without renewable power, US forces ‘will remain unnecessarily exposed’ and will ‘continue to accrue preventable ... serious and grave casualties,’ the memo says.
Apparently, the brass is heeding that call.”


Precision Climate Modeling Forecast by Oak Ridge Researchers .
Press Release,
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
September 9, 2006
“Climate modeling of tomorrow will feature precision and scale only imagined just a few years ago, say researchers David Erickson and John Drake of Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Computer Science and Mathematics Division… Tremendous computational capabilities… combined with other software tools now make it possible for researchers to create models that take into account the complete carbon cycle, terrestrial biology, El Ninos and hundreds of other factors. The goal is to provide what scientists call a fully integrated Earth system model that can be simulated every 15 minutes for centuries. ‘Before, we had to make compromises that ultimately limited the resolution and scope of our models and subsequent predictions,’ said Drake, who noted that climate modeling is an enormous multi-agency effort. ‘Now, using what we have learned and with computing power exceeding 50 teraflops, we can make our models far more sophisticated.’ … This information is aimed at helping scientists assess the risk of human-induced climate change.”


Destructive Insects on Rise in Alaska .
By Dan Joling,
The Associated Press,
September 10, 2006
Destructive insects in unprecedented numbers are finding Alaska forests to be a congenial home and climate change could be the welcome mat. Warmer winters kill fewer insects and longer, warmer summers let insects complete a life cycle and reproduce in one year instead of two… Aerial surveys indicate spruce bark beetles have killed mature white spruce trees on 4.4 million acres, including more than a million acres of the Kenai Peninsula south of Anchorage in an outbreak that took off after 1988… warm winters produce wet, heavy snow more likely to break the tops of spruce trees… Injured trees offer less resistance… When an entire forest is stressed or injured, and terpene ratios go wild, and reproductive success is high, beetles overwhelm trees and the ability of predators such as woodpeckers to keep them under control.”


Mexican Coastal Wetland Threatened by U.S. Desalinization Plant .
Stephen Leahy,
Inter Press Service,
September 8, 2006.
With 20,000 hectares of bright green in a sea of sand in the state of Sonora, the Ciénaga de Santa Clara is one of Mexico's richest coastal ecosystems. Faced with the imminent reopening of a desalinization plant just across the border in the United States, a binational team is working to protect the vast wetland. Ongoing drought conditions in the south-western United States [arguably attributable, at least to some extent to global warming] has prompted the George W. Bush government to finance the restart of the long unused Yuma Desalting Plant (YDP) in the border state of Arizona in 2007. ‘Full operation of the desalting plant would mean the ciénaga will get less water and the water would be much saltier,’ said Karl Flessa, professor of geosciences at the University of Arizona in Tucson. And ‘that would completely eliminate the wetland,’ according to Jaqueline García-Hernández, a scientist at a food and development research centre (Centro de Investigación en Alimentación y Desarrollo) in the Mexican city of Guaymas, Sonora.”


An Inconvenient Truth About Youth .
By Laura Wray and Constance Flanagan
The Washington Post,
September 11, 2006
“’An Inconvenient Truth’, Al Gore's movie on global warming, is now the fourth-largest-grossing documentary of all time. But apparently it isn't young adults who are paying the price of the ticket -- or, more important, taking the truth about the environment to heart. In fact, the inconvenient truth today is that youths' willingness to conserve gas, heat and energy has taken a precipitous plunge since the 1980s. According to data from Monitoring the Future, a federally funded national survey on trends in the attitudes, values and behavior of high school seniors since 1976, there has been a clear decline in conservation behavior among 18-year-olds over the past 27 years …Indeed, environmental attitudes of youth seem to mirror the opinions of those in the White House at the time… The good news in these trends is that when government responds, so do youth. If our country's leaders follow the example of Al Gore and start to genuinely explore sustainable solutions, it's likely that young people will follow suit.” Laura Wray is a graduate student and Constance Flanagan a professor of youth civic development at Pennsylvania State University. They work with the MacArthur Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood in mapping the attitudes of young adults.


Global Warming Could Worsen Terror Attacks .
Commentary by Erik Curren,
The Augusta Free Press,
September 11–17, 2006 issue
“Recently, some national-security experts have started saying that global warming could make terror attacks on the United States more likely in the future… Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines already host insurgencies connected to Al-Qaeda. If their low-lying coastal areas begin to flood as a result of sea-level rise, millions of refugees will stream into already crowded areas inland where people today already lack sufficient resources to live. Refugee movements would create civil unrest and lead to local wars that could, in turn, lead to terror attacks abroad… In the Middle East, as long as the U.S. supports autocratic governments that sell us oil or assist us in the war on terror but repress their own people and refuse to address their own widening gap between rich and poor, angry groups will turn to extremists and terrorists to vent their rage… Though it goes against traditional security planning, fighting global warming may actually… give America a more lasting sense of security than any number of airport screeners, bomb-sniffing dogs and phone taps.”


The World’s Biggest Threat to Security: Climate Change .
Commentary by John Ashton,
BBC News,
September 8, 2006
The first priority of any government is to provide the conditions necessary for security and prosperity in return for the taxes that citizens pay. Climate change is potentially the most serious threat there has ever been to this most fundamental of social contracts… Hurricane Katrina hit a city in the world's richest nation. If anywhere should have been resilient enough to deal with the force of nature, it was the United States. The economic and security impacts of extreme climatic events in more vulnerable regions, such as Africa and South Asia, or more strategically important regions, like the Middle East, will be more dramatic… If we want to achieve climate security, governments will need to invest more resources in the emerging techniques of soft power… They will need to design and mobilise coalitions of mutual interest across sectoral and cultural boundaries to transform the way we supply and consume energy, achieve mobility, and use land. And they will need to do all of this very fast.” John Ashton is the UK foreign secretary's special representative for climate change and a visiting professor at Imperial College London. This article reflects his personal views