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Today's Top Stories on the Climate Crisis (June 29, 2006)

Lighting Key to Energy Saving
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/2/hi/science/nature/5128478.stm
By Richard Black,
BBC News,
June 29, 2006.

"A global switch to efficient lighting systems would trim the world's electricity bill by nearly one-tenth. That is the conclusion of a study from the International Energy Agency (IEA), which it says is the first global survey of lighting uses and costs.

The carbon dioxide emissions saved by such a switch would, it concludes, dwarf cuts so far achieved by adopting wind and solar power. Better building regulations would boost uptake of efficient lighting, it saysS For the individual, the most obvious switch to make is from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent systems (CFLs), marketed in many countries as Oenergy-saving bulbs'. The IEA calculated the total costs to the consumer associated with buying and then using the two types, and found a significant difference. OThe overall cost of 10,000 hours of light provision from incandescents is 85 euros,' said Paul Waide [a senior policy analyst with the IEA and one of the report's authors] Obut for CFLs it's 25 euros, because they use so much less energy, and because you might have to buy only one CFL for every 10 incandescents.'"


A Potential Snag in Burying CO2 http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2006/628/3?etoc 
By Richard A. Kerr,
Science Magazine,
June 28, 2006.

"Carbon dioxide injected deep beneath Texas is producing a noxious, corrosive brew...Scientists testing the deep geologic disposal of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide are finding that it's staying where they put it, but it's chewing up minerals. The reactions have produced a nasty mix of metals and organic substances in a layer of sandstone 1550 meters down, researchers report this week in Geology. At the same time, the CO2 is dissolving a surprising amount of the mineral that helps keep the gas where it's put. Nothing is leaking out so far, but the phenomenon will need a closer look before such carbon sequestration can help ameliorate the greenhouse problem, say the researchers."


Wind: the World's Fastest Growing Source of Power http://www.earthpolicy.org/Indicators/Wind/2006.htm
By Joseph Florence,
Earth Policy Institute,
June 28, 2006.

"Global wind electricity-generating capacity increased by 24 percent in 2005 to 59,100 megawatts. This represents a twelvefold increase from a decade ago, when world wind-generating capacity stood at less than 5,000 megawatts. Wind is the world's fastest-growing energy source with an average annual growth rate of 29 percent over the last ten years. In contrast, over the same time period, coal use has grown by 2.5 percent per year, nuclear power by 1.8 percent, natural gas by 2.5 percent, and oil by 1.7 percent."


Sierra Club Sues Pentagon Over Wind Farm Delay http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/breaking_news/14922767.htm By Marcus Wohlsen,
The Associated Press,
June 28, 2006.

"The Sierra Club sued the Department of Defense in federal court Wednesday for allegedly halting construction of new wind farms across the United States by failing to complete a study on whether they interfere with military radar. The suit filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco claimed that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and the Pentagon missed a deadline for completing a study that is holding up more than a dozen wind farm projects in the Midwest. OThe end result is the wind industry is being crippled,' said attorney Kristin Henry of the Sierra Club. The study was ordered earlier this year by Congress. The Federal Aviation Administration has halted projects in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, North Dakota, and South Dakota until the agency can determine their impact on military radar. The departments of Defense and Homeland Security announced in March they would contest any proposed wind turbines that fell within the Oradar field-of-view' of long-range air defense systems."


Unitarian Universalists Conclude Annual Meeting with a Resolution to Combat Global Warming
http://www.uua.org/pressroom/pr.php?PRID=38
Press Release,
June 28, 2006.

"The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) concluded its annual General Assembly in St. Louis with a renewed commitment to protect the earth and to witness on behalf of liberal religious values. The convention attracted 4,300 Unitarian Universalists from across the country for the annual gathering... The Assembly delegates adopted a formal Statement of Conscience on the OThreat of Global Warming/Climate Change.'S Advocacy goals included a call for Oratification of and compliance with the Kyoto Protocol' as well as a demand for Ofunding for research and development of renewable energy resources and energy-efficient technologies that includes a shift of federal subsidies from fossil fuel industries to renewable energy technologies and improved energy efficiency.'"

U.S. Emits Half of Car-Caused Greenhouse Gas, Study Says http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0628-07.htm
By Janet Wilson,
The Los Angeles Times,
June 28, 2006.

"American cars and pickup trucks are responsible for nearly half of the greenhouse gases emitted by automobiles globally, even though the nation's vehicles make up just 30% of the nearly 700 million cars in use [worldwide], according to a new report by Environmental Defense. Cars in the U.S. are driven more miles, face lower fuel economy standards and use fuel with more carbon than many of those driven in other countries, the authors found. According to the report by the environmental group, released on Wednesday, U.S. cars and light trucks were driven 2.6 trillion miles in 2004, equal to driving back and forth to Pluto more than 470 times." (The report is on the Environmental Defense site http://www.environmentaldefense.org/article.cfm?contentid=5300&linkID=200 )


CA Legislature Moves On Global Warming http://www.yubanet.com/artman/publish/article_38141.shtml  Environmental Defense,
June 28, 2006.

"The California Senate Environmental Quality Committee passed the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) by a margin of 4-2 yesterday. The passage indicates increasing support for limiting greenhouse gas pollution in California. The bill was jointly authored by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblymember Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), on April 3, 2006. The bill's passage is a milestone for the global warming legislation as it must be passed in the Senate and Assembly before going to Governor SchwarzeneggerS AB 32 is the first statewide effort to cap greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors of California's economy. It would set a firm cap that would ensure that California's greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by 25% by the year 2020, putting teeth in Governor Schwarzenegger's goal to reduce California's emissionsS More information about The Global Warming Solutions Act and global warming impacts on California is available online at: http://www.solutionsforglobalwarming.com http://www.solutionsforglobalwarming.com/ ."


Aleutian Islands Get Trawling Protection http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2006/628/2?etoc  Katherine Unger,
Science Magazine,
June 28, 2006. 

"June is proving to be a good month for oceans. Two weeks ago, U.S. President George W. Bush set aside 360,000 square kilometers of the northwestern Hawaiian Islands as a marine reserve. And today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced that more than 950,000 square kilometers of sea floor in Alaska's Aleutian Islands and the Gulf of Alaska are now protected from bottom trawling, a fishing method that can destroy coral reefs and other marine habitat. The new reserve will be the largest protected area in the United States and the third largest in the world. The ban, published today in the Federal Register, will go into effect on 28 July."


Japan to Mandate Use of Ethanol or Other Biofuels http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/business/news/20060629p2g00m0bu019000c.html The Associated Press,
June 29, 2006.

"The new policy, adopted by the Environment Ministry, will require all new cars to be able to run on a blend of 10 percent ethanol, an alcohol fuel made from corn or sugar, and 90 percent regular gasoline, starting in 2010."  The requirement would extend to all vehicles by 2030.


The Threat to the Planet
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/19131
Review by James Hansen,
The New York Review of Books,
July 13, 2006, edition.

"Animals are on the run. Plants are migrating too. The Earth's creatures, save for one species, do not have thermostats in their living rooms that they can adjust for an optimum environment. Animals and plants are adapted to specific climate zones, and they can survive only when they are in those zones." So begins Hansen's review of three books, "The Weather Makers" by Tim Flannery, "Field Notes from a Catastrophe" by Elizabeth Kolbert, and "An Inconvenient Truth" by Al Gore, and the film of the same name featuring Gore and directed by Davis Guggenheim. Recommended reading. Hansen is director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Adjunct Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University's Earth Institute. His opinions in the review, he writes, are "personal views under the protection of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution."

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