Energy and global warming news for December 21: Wind turbines on farmland may benefit crops; Religious right attacks environmentalism as ‘deadly’ and ‘destructive’; Gas could hit $3.75 by spring

Wind Turbines On Farmland May Benefit Crops

The giant turbine blades that generate renewable energy might also help corn and soybean crops stay cooler and dryer, help them fend off fungal infestations and improve their ability to extract growth-enhancing carbon dioxide [CO2] from the air and soil.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, a scientific society, in San Francisco, a researcher at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory and his co-researcher from the University of Colorado announced the preliminary findings of a months-long research program aimed at studying how wind turbines on farmlands interact with surrounding crops.

“We’ve finished the first phase of our research, and we’re confident that wind turbines do produce measureable effects on the microclimate near crops,” said Ames Laboratory associate and agricultural meteorology expert Gene Takle….

Both Takle and Lundquist stressed that their early findings have yet to definitively establish whether or not wind turbines are in fact beneficial to the health and yield potential of soybeans and corn planted nearby. However, their finding that the turbines increase airflow over surrounding crops, suggests this is a realistic possibility.

“The turbulence resulting from wind turbines may speed up natural exchange processes between crop plants and the lower atmosphere,” Takle said.

For instance, crops warm up when the sun shines on them, and some of that heat
is given off to the atmosphere. Extra air turbulence likely speeds up this heat exchange, so crops stay slightly cooler during hot days. On cold nights, turbulence stirs the lower atmosphere and keeps nighttime temperatures around the crops warmer.

“In this case, we anticipate turbines’ effects are good in the spring and fall because they would keep the crop a little warmer and help prevent a frost,” said Takle. “Wind turbines could possibly ward off early fall frosts and extend the growing season.”

For instance, crops warm up when the sun shines on them, and some of that heat is given off to the atmosphere. Extra air turbulence likely speeds up this heat exchange, so crops stay slightly cooler during hot days. On cold nights, turbulence stirs the lower atmosphere and keeps nighttime temperatures around the crops warmer.

“In this case, we anticipate turbines’ effects are good in the spring and fall because they would keep the crop a little warmer and help prevent a frost,” said Takle. “Wind turbines could possibly ward off early fall frosts and extend the growing season.”

Other benefits of wind turbines could result from their effects on crop moisture levels. Extra turbulence may help dry the dew that settles on plants beginning in late afternoon, minimizing the amount of time fungi and toxins can grow on plant leaves. Additionally, drier crops at harvest help farmers reduce the cost of artificially drying corn or soybeans.

Another potential benefit to crops is that increased airflows could enable corn and soybean plants to more readily extract atmospheric CO2, a needed “fuel” for crops. The extra turbulence might also pump extra CO2 from the soil. Both results could facilitate the crops ability to perform photosynthesis.

‘Resisting The Green Dragon’: Religious Right Attacks Environmentalism As ‘Deadly’ And ‘Destructive’ In New DVD Series

Various conservative Christian leaders have united with the Cornwall Alliance for the release of a shocking new 12-part DVD series, “Resisting The Green Dragon,” that attempts to debase and discredit the environmental movement by portraying it as “one of the greatest deceptions of our day” that is “seducing your children” and “striving to put America and the world under its destructive control.”

The hyperbolic accusations spewed throughout the video give it the appearance of a ridiculous parody, calling environmentalism “deadly,” a “cult” and a “spiritual deception.” Unfortunately, the comical PSA is anything but a joke.

In the video, David Barton, founder of WallBuilders, attests that environmentalists’ “false assertions are based more on their own morbid pessimistic fears, not on any good science,” while the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Dr. Richard Land, says, “Environmentalists have a long history of believing and promoting exaggerations and myths” — statements both so steeped in irony that they are hardly worth parrying.

Mexican City Devastated by Pipeline Blast as 28 Die

Zoyla Perez awoke before dawn to a strange, overpowering smell, like gasoline. Outside the ground looked as if it were flowing in tar, as crude gushing from a pipeline rushed down the street and into a river.

Suddenly flames leapt skyward as a massive explosion laid waste to parts of this city in central Mexico, incinerating people, cars, houses and trees.

“It was like we were living in an inferno,” said Perez, 27. “Everything was covered in smoke.”

Bipartisan energy panel calls it quits

A bipartisan panel of well-connected energy experts is ending its work after eight years of pitching several ideas successfully into law – although the biggest fish got away.

The National Commission on Energy Policy follows several prominent environmental groups that also have closed or recalibrated their campaigns following the collapse this summer of a comprehensive global warming and energy bill.

Formed in the early days of the George W. Bush administration, NCEP’s collection of Democratic and Republican specialists tried to bridge deep partisan chasms over global warming, fuel economy and the future of coal, oil and nuclear power.

Congress replicated several of its suggestions in 2005 and 2007 energy laws, but one of the group’s primary missions – a cap on greenhouse gases – couldn’t get enough traction in the Senate despite a large Democratic majority and President Barack Obama as an ally in the White House.

‘Fuel apocalypse’ to come: Gas could hit $3.75 by spring, analyst says

Today’s gasoline prices, while higher than normal for this time of year, could end up looking cheap come springtime, says one prominent oil analyst.

Pump prices nationwide for regular unleaded could hit an average of $3.25 to $3.75 a gallon early next year on higher crude oil prices and a seasonal rise in gasoline demand, Tom Kloza, senior oil analyst with the Oil Price Information Service predicts.

“My view of 2011 suggests that we are looking at the second fuel price apocalypse of the 21st century, commencing during a time line that will begin with spring training and end when the Cubs are written off as a baseball non-contender,” Kloza writes.

As for whether U.S. pump prices will reach an average of $3 a gallon before the end of 2010, he says it could go either way.

59 Responses to Energy and global warming news for December 21: Wind turbines on farmland may benefit crops; Religious right attacks environmentalism as ‘deadly’ and ‘destructive’; Gas could hit $3.75 by spring

  1. Daniel Ives says:

    The “Resisting the Green Dragon” trailer absolutly made me want to vomit. The rank hypocracy, the deception, but most of all the projection-trying to frame clean energy advocates and environmentalists as part of a religion-was just disgusting.

    I hope this completely backfires on them, driving more people to get their information from real science instead of a bronze age book.

  2. Colorado Bob says:

    The storms are also pushing snow levels to abnormally high levels for mid-December.

    According to International Weather Expert Meteorologist Jim Andrews, “While most resorts will keep their snow, it is in the intermediate elevations where melting snow, combined with rain is where the greatest concern exists for flash flooding.”

    The Globe and Mail had a piece on the weather in Europe seeded earlier on another post. In it they painted the west coast storm as a “freezing” event.
    I looked at the records for yesterday.

    New daytime highs vs lows. ………. 28 to 4
    New night time highs vs lows ……… 120 to 0

  3. Daniel Ives says:

    Another point that just came to me on the Green Dragon trailer: these sound like the same recycled arguments from the likes of Ray Comfort, Kurt Cameron, Kent Hovind, William Craig, etc. when they spew on about the danger of evolution and how it has a horrible scientific basis and so on. Just replace evolution with environmentalism.

  4. fj3 says:

    Poverty must be eradicated in the battle against climate change, World on the Edge, Lester R. Brown

    @powerofsocinnov Poor People First in @NYCMayorsOffice Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City with CEO; Cheers!

  5. Colorado Bob says:

    The Carnarvon floods in western Australia –

    “For the industry as whole it is going to cost growers millions and millions of dollars to recover,” Mr Turley said.

    “It is very, very devastating.”

    Carnarvon resident Dianne Masters, who works at Carnarvon Quality Fruit and Veg, echoed Mr Turley’s concerns and said prices would “skyrocket”.

  6. caerbannog says:

    The “Resisting the Green Dragon” trailer absolutly made me want to vomit. The rank hypocracy, the deception, but most of all the projection-trying to frame clean energy advocates and environmentalists as part of a religion-was just disgusting.

    And lookie whose name appears on the Cornball Alliance board of advisors (linky None other than one Dr. Roy W. Spencer.

    Obviously, the man has gone ’round the bend. It is a shame that so many in the media still treat this fringe character as a credible source of scientific information.

  7. Michael T. says:

    NOAA/NCDC State of the Climate – November 2010

  8. Economist scrambles for (artificial) caps on climate catastrophes, or else his model would advise prevention at all cost:

  9. Chad says:

    Spiritkas: If scientists are smart enough to have pulled off a conspiracy of this magnitude, after having planted the seeds more than a hundred years ago, then they have proven beyond any doubt that they DESERVE to rule the world.

  10. The winter recovery of Arctic sea ice is wavering; now 1.35 million km2 less than normally this time of year: Very little sea ice in Hudson Bay and around Newfoundland:

  11. caerbannog says:

    The winter recovery of Arctic sea ice is wavering; now 1.35 million km2 less than normally this time of year: Very little sea ice in Hudson Bay and around Newfoundland:

    The curious downward blip is quite evident here:

  12. From Peru says:

    Well, that “Christian” Right attacks environmentalism does not surprise me.

    This is the kind of propaganda that fundamentalists do. Of course that Climate Science is fastidious to them, just as Physics, Astronomy, Geology, Biology, Medicine, Chemistry, and all science that doesn’t fit into their medieval dogmas.

    This are the kind of people that want us to believe that the Earth is just 6000 years old, that evolution is a left-wing conspiracy to destroy Christianism (if they don’t call it an invention of the devil), that a global flood created the entire geological column, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

    How can one expect that a Christian fundamentalist can be concerned by climate change if he believes that 4 500 000 000 years of climate change happened in just 6000 years? For they abrupt climate change is the norm.

    They are hypocrites in accusing environmentalists of scaring the people, particularly children. They teach that the Apocalypse is coming, that God will trow all the people that don’t believe their dogmas into Hell, that there is a giant left-wing , atheist (an someones even diabolic) conspiracy to corrupt humanity. If that is not alarmism, then nothing is. How can one be more alarmist than a religious fundamentalist?

    As a Roman Catholic Christian, these people make me feel shame. They are what the Catholic Church was in the times of Galileo and Giordano Bruno.

    As a final comment, they also repeat the rightist nonsense of “Environmental Communism ” by showing a red hammer and sickle over a green backgroud. It shows how the Big Money Right and the Religious Right join in their paranoia and propaganda.

  13. Rob Honeycutt says:

    That “Green Dragon” video was the most frightening thing I’ve seen, maybe ever. It’s straight out of pre-war Germany.

  14. Rob Honeycutt says:

    The Cornwall Alliance has a Youtube channel with 3 videos. Roy Spencer shows up in one of them.

  15. 350 Now says:

    Topic: Resisting the Green Dragon…

    By following several links here and there, it seems the Rapture-ready, right wing, religious zealots have two goals. One is to hasten the destruction of the Earth to bring on their mental/spiritual apocalypse/rapture in order to be with God in heaven forever and ever.

    The other, and this seems to be the part funded by pro-business chamber of commerce types, (if not by Big Oil/Coal), is to counteract the TIDES Foundation’s program called Changing the Social Climate (evidently funded by Soros). The green TIDES program is becoming popular in schools and churches and promotes wise resource use, downsizing/elimination of wasteful spending on stuff/junk. So there’s the threat to big box store economies which relates to the numbers of container ships and profits from SE Asia and on and on.

    The zealots repeatedly reference dominion over the earth in the video, their websites and conversation.

    The PBS -Affluenza- project is also referenced in the TIDES guides. I suspected that was part of the reason for the faux outrage over Juan Williams’ firing and the attempt to defund PBS/NPR immediately following the election.

    Glenn Beck hosted two of the green dragon-fighters (Beisner and Barton) on his show in mid October. It was the first I”d heard of the Tides’ greening curriculum… So as they always say, follow the money… The Story of Stuff seemed to be enough to make their neck veins bulge.

    (Free Downloads at links below)

    A few related links:

    Also, may I suggest a different format for these discussion topics. It is hard to follow the conversation when multiple topics are lumped together. (E.g. very few of the comments under the Dalai Lama heading are about that story.) Perhaps a “misc” topic heading so folks can post their news/comments for readers and the comments not be lost in other threads? Thanks for your work in maintaining the site and providing the chance for important dialogue to continue.

  16. Mike says:

    Ocean Acidification Changes Nitrogen Cycling in World Seas

    ScienceDaily (Dec. 20, 2010) — Increasing acidity in the sea’s waters may fundamentally change how nitrogen is cycled in them, say marine scientists who published their findings in this week’s issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

  17. 350 Now says:

    Topic: Resisting the Green Dragon

    One other thing that made my green blood boil was Cal Beisner’s comment in the Christian Cinema article about his work:

    Beisner: “The environmental stewardship is really the occupation of the prosperous, who are really not worried about basic survival. So a wealthy society is much better able to take care of its environment than a poor society. 
”You can drive from a wealthy part of the city to a poor part and see far more filth, far more pollution in the poor part. That’s not because wealthy people are purposely exporting pollution to poor areas, it’s because poor people don’t have the means of doing things cleanly.”

    I would suggest Cal Beisner leave his cushy cerebral job awhile and visit the poor before he talks about their “filth.” He should first watch TED’s presentation by Majora Carter and see the industrial waste and pollution that the poor have dumped at their doorsteps in order to keep the landfills and “filth” from their country club mansions and neighborhoods.

    The website at the Cornwall Alliance and blogging from Copenhagen and Cancun indicates there is serious money behind this effort. And for a good belly hoot and laugh, check out the “500 prominent” endorsers of their “declaration”:

    In my best, rough Sean Connery voice: I AM the Green Dragon. Any one else?

  18. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Colorado Bob, the incessant rains across Australia have devastated many crops, for example cherries, where Young in New South Wales, the centre for production, was hit by deluges that split the fruit. In a nice Biblical turn, locusts have chewed up carrot and other crops in Victoria. As for religious fascists joining the denialist cavalcade-this is a long anticipated development. The denialist industry has long made anthropogenic climate change a problem to be painted in ‘Right versus Left’ terms. They did this for tactical advantage, and it has worked well. Of course there is no rational reason for any so-called follower of ‘The Prince of Peace’ to be disinterested in the fate of their children, but these are apocalypticists who simple crave Armageddon, and I believe that they subscribe to the dictum ‘The Fire Next Time’. I don’t known how subterranean this desire for a fiery end dwells withing the tangled undergrowth of their ‘minds’, but it’s there, make no mistake. And this is a symptom of another disaster about to afflict us. When the reality of rapid, catastrophic climate change becomes unarguable, don’t expect the lunatic Right to come to their senses. They don’t have any. They will go straight from denial to anger, a la Kubler-Ross, because anger and hate are their existential fuel, and they will particularly hate and wish to do harm to those who were correct and more intelligent and better informed and less credulous than them. This is just a foretaste.

  19. Crank says:

    I’d actually seen the “green dragon” video before your post here. Disgusting, but nothing new for those folks. I recognized several of them; they routinely spew the most ludicrous nonsense on many subjects. To be honest, I wouldn’t worry about them too much. Hard though it may be to accept people pushing such obvious divisive nonsense, their target audience is strictly limited by their rather tattered credibility, and those they do convince are long since past reachability.

    Your last point about gas “posssibly hitting $3.75 by spring” made me laugh, though. I was talking to my parents (who live in northern England) at the weekend, and discussing the price of petrol (ie gas) over there. It takes a couple of conversion calculations, but their price is approximately $7.25 per (US) gallon there right now. Most of that is tax, of course. It’s remarkable how that sort of pricing alters people’s perception of how big a vehicle they need to drive.

  20. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    “We must exercise wise dominion over the magnificent planet God has entrusted to us” by trashing it.

  21. 350 Now says:

    Resisting the Green Dragon – version Oct. 2004. Although some of the key GOP players have changed over the last 6 years, this article is very insightful on a particularly powerful Oklahoma Senator:

  22. 350 Now says:

    Green Dragon…

    Re # 18 – I’m not so sure these folks are harmless due to their “tattered credibility.”

    Consider Illinois GOP Rep. John Shimkus’ view of “God decides when the earth will end” (not global warming…) Just this wording bothers me greatly:

    Shimkus is the appointed head of the newly created House Environment and Economy Subcommittee.

    Curiously, there is this wonderfully insightful talk by (soon to be former) Rep. Bob Inglis who was sadly beaten by a GOP-tea party candidate from upstate SC:

  23. Crank says:

    350 Now #21:

    Oh, I don’t think they’re harmless. Not at all. It’s just that the people that find their BS persuasive are a fairly well bounded group who are not reachable. They also vote, unfortunately.

  24. Prokaryotes says:

    “wind turbines do produce measureable effects on the microclimate near crops”

    That’s similar like a for water bodies.

  25. Prokaryotes says:

    EPA to double down on climate

    The Obama administration is expected to roll out a major greenhouse gas policy for power plants and refineries as soon as Wednesday, signaling it won’t back off its push to fight climate change in the face of mounting opposition on Capitol Hill.

    The Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to a schedule for setting greenhouse gas emission limits, known as “performance standards,” for the nation’s two biggest carbon-emitting industries, POLITICO has learned.

    Under the schedule agreed to by EPA, states and environmental groups, the agency will issue a draft greenhouse gas performance standard for power plants by July 2011 and a final rule by May 2012. The agreement – which comes after states and environmentalists challenged the George W. Bush administration’s failure to set the standards – requires EPA to issue a draft limit for refineries by Dec. 2011 and a final rule by Nov. 2012.

  26. Prokaryotes says:

    Out of Cancun Climate Talks, A Breakthrough for Preserving Wetlands Globally

    Peat soils are carbon sinks, absorbing about twice the carbon as all the planet’s forests

    By Stacy Feldman

    Climate negotiators at UN talks agreed to consider letting rich countries cut their climate-changing emissions by “rewetting” degraded peatlands, in the first official sign of global action on the issue.

    It was a victory for conservationists who long fought for incentives in UN forestry and land-use proposals to entice governments to stop draining carbon-rich swamps

  27. Michael says:

    From Peru (#12) –

    Check out the recent temperatures in Coral Harbor, north of Hudson Bay – nearly 30°C (54°F) above average (note the 30 day average as well, despite a cold snap a week ago) and above freezing:

    (location #6 on

    Not surprisingly, ice on Hudson Bay is melting right now, as it is over the Arctic:

  28. Michael T. says:

    More flooding out west:

    4 empty homes destroyed by flooding in northern AZ

  29. Colorado Bob says:

    Sustainable2050 says @ 10 –

    You’er on to it, now think about the Maritimes add that. If fact, that whole chunk of eastern Canada all of it has refused to enter winter this year, all the way to Norway. It’s dragged on for weeks, like the Russian Heat Wave.

    To quote the firefighters from 2007 –
    “We’ve never seen this before.”

  30. Rick Covert says:

    Polls consistently show that about 2/3rds of the American public favor action on climate change even if it could place a cost on the economy. So who is it exactly the Cornwall Group is trying to influence? I’ll give you a hint. They’re fair and balanced.

  31. Colorado Bob says:

    I had a personal victory this year. The largest fire in Alaska in 2007 was on the tundra. 350 sq. miles burnt. This year, I learned that someone took off the next spring , and cored that place. It was the largest tundra fire in 5,000 years. 4 months before , the largest fire in Georgia history happen in their largest swamp.

    I was archiving these things at NewsVine. ( I have nearly 2,000 seeds from this time forward, and 100 articles.) I was told that I didn’t know weather from climate, and that the largest fire in Alaska in 2007 was a normal event.

    2007 was tame, that June , 18 inches fell at Marble Falls , Texas in 6 hours. Earth shaking event. Now it runs 24/7 .

    There is no chance to catch your breath anymore, you may get a few months for the clean-up, but Hell’s comin’ to breakfast, 24/7 now .

    All this future talk is wasted, all these things are here, there all around us. And they are killing people and smashing crap everyday. On a grand scale.

    My question is, as we enter 2011, … Is there a limit to how hard can it rain ?
    IE –
    Can it rain 6 inches an hour ? Or do the laws of thermodynamics limit that much water in the air ? We know it can rain for 8 months in Central American, but will there be 4 to 6 inch rainfalls in the train of water ?

    I’m to beginning to see how the American Southwest was carved. Not over long geologic time, but years of mind altering rains.

  32. Colorado Bob says:

    The Russian heatwave this year should have been 2 weeks long in the models, it was 6 weeks long in real life. That was supposed to happen in some fuzzy period in the future.

    The mile posts are moving at a pretty good clip. And we just blew by several hundred this year.

  33. Colorado Bob says:

    I believe our cake is cooked, it’s just a matter of how much we burn it. There is no balm, or bandage. I’m not a doctor, I’m just a witness.

  34. Colorado Bob says:

    I’m not a doctor, I’m just a witness.

    But I’m old enough to have that luxury. And my friends and I were right 40 years ago.

    The Whole Earth Access Company 71′ Boulder, Colorado.

  35. Michael T. says:

    Peter Sinclair has a new “Climate Denial Crock of the Week” video:

    Global Warming? or Climate Change?

  36. peter whitehead says:

    Re: Green Dragon

    Watch out for the TeaBag Taliban. See Robert Heinlein ‘If This Goes On’

  37. Erik J Smith says:

    Err, guys. What the hell is going on with the Arctic sea ice right now?

    Are they having some kind of catastrophic instrument failure at the NSIDC, or is the ice really melting in mid-winter?

  38. Sime says:

    “Pump prices nationwide for regular unleaded could hit an average of $3.25 to $3.75 a gallon or £2.10 – £2.42”

    “I deny your reality and substitute my own”

    Average UK price regular unleaded is £1.22 PER LITRE –

    1 US gallon = 3.80 liters (rounded)

    3.80L * £1.22 = £4.64 per gallon = $7.18

    Reality check – Even after the increase you will be paying less than half (or slightly over) the price in the UK

    Most regulars here will know the above so my question to you is do you think the average US citizen might get the idea of clean energy and the seriousness of the situation if they had to pay $7.18 a gallon for regular unleaded?

    As a new years present out prices will increase again in January 2011 .

  39. holopreventer says:

    (Canada ceding enviropolicy south)
    Hardest problem with hydrology monitoring in tar sands adjacent areas is rain and glacier changes. Is N.Alberta in 2050 desert or water resource rich?
    If CCS is known to work (tricky to determine outgassing in a millenia from decades of data is denier rhetoric pointed to self) and matures fast enough to overcome inferior anddifferent geologies from test sites…I’d guess 50% odds so optimal investment is 25%??
    Where is other 75% of AB’s future?
    If CCS known not to outgas b4 next ice age, is widely scaleable. If uncertain chemistry, need to force industry CCS limit measured against air CO2 degradation rate or ocean CO2 recycle rate…

  40. fj3 says:

    Clean energy investment over the next ten years is projected to be as large as $2.3 trillion, according to a report released this month by the Pew Environment Group.

  41. fj3 says:

    Net-zero transportation’s high-leverage potential

  42. fj3 says:

    Lower cost-of-living (also material througputs & emissions) to raise quality-of-life Great example!

  43. MarkF says:

    “All this future talk is wasted, all these things are here, there all around us. And they are killing people and smashing crap everyday. On a grand scale.”

    That’s the way I see it.

    And the Canadian Broadcasting corp, covers extreme weather in Canada regularly, but they just can’t bring themselves to utter the words

    global warming.

    There must be a memo somewhere at that place. Don’t say “global warming”

    Just this morning there was a story from the Arctic. There is no ice. but not a word about climate change, greenhouse gas emissions.

    A very big part of the problem.

  44. Paulm says:

    46 Markf, yes your right.

    CBC has come onboard on Climate Warming with lots of in your face reporting, but there still is reticence in the main reports to link these amazing weather events and phenomena to GW.

  45. Paulm says:

    41 sime. They will get peak at any price starting above $3.50. The difference between US and UK is the rate of rise and the infrastructures. US is entranced and based on cheap energy and has no time to evolve sanely to one based on higher prices.

    That’s why there was a shock and collapse in 2008. And that’s why the US won’t be coming out of recession for along time, if ever. If ever I say because climate warming impacts are now ramping up and we are arriving at Planet Eaarth, where calamity and chaos rules.

  46. Esop says:

    #40 (Erik): Yes, Arctic sea ice is melting right now, in mid winter.
    However, it is cold in England, so everyting is probably juuust fine.

  47. Prokaryotes says:

    L.A.-area storm swamps beach town, cuts off roads
    Worst of it hits south of city; rail disrupted, San Diego sees power outages

  48. Crank says:

    #41 Sime:

    a couple of things, in addition to what Paulm #48 said:

    it almost certainly depends on where in the US you are, but I’ve certainly seen in the just over a decade that I’ve been living here a shift to smaller and greener transportation. Ten years ago, you wouldn’t have seen Smart cars or other small (by European standards) cars on the road, but they’re pretty common now. I think there was a change after one of the big gas price “shocks” when the price peaked at over $3 a gallon (yes, I know). It doesn’t happen overnight, but even short excursions in prices to the high side have a slow, long term effect.

    The other thing is that requirements really are very different between the US and the UK; there are plenty of reasons around here (Oregon) to own a large 4 wheel drive vehicle. Most people in the UK just don’t have the need to drive over high altitude mountain passes, for instance. I don’t think you’ll ever get to the point where there’s anything close to parity in the US/European vehicle mix.

    Oh, one more thing that I’ve frequently wondered about: I’d like to see what the actual realized fuel consumption is for US versus UK vehicles. I’m certain that, if you look at the quoted figures for the vehicles, on average, the UK would look much better. However, there is a vast difference in driving styles either side of the Atlantic which I’m sure has a significant impact. There aren’t many Brits, who, on seeing an open stretch of motorway will immediately switch on the cruise control at 65 mph (unless there’s been some radical change since I left…)

  49. 350 Now says:

    Green Evangelicals

    It’s good to see this story on Grist that points out there are thoughtful folks in the Evangelical movement serious about stewardship and concern for the climate. I didn’t doubt they existed when they were trumped in the media by the self-appointed, big oil-funded Dragon slayers… It just worries me that so many 2011 elected officials (especially on energy, environment and commerce committees) boast their beliefs that are more aligned to the rapture-ready dragon slayers. Thus I think it behooves all climate hawks to shine the light of reason onto their warped and twisted logic. As was pointed out above, most of the dragon slayers are beyond reaching with reason, but their influence on elected officials cannot be understated or overlooked.

  50. 350 Now says:

    Nice article on the Keelings – Charles and Ralph in the 12/21/10 NYT

    As he watches these difficulties, Ralph Keeling contemplates the unbending math of carbon dioxide emissions first documented by his father more than a half-century ago and wonders about the future effects of that increase.

    “When I go see things with my children, I let them know they might not be around when they’re older,” he said. “ ‘Go enjoy these beautiful forests before they disappear. Go enjoy the glaciers in these parks because they won’t be around.’ It’s basically taking note of what we have, and appreciating it, and saying goodbye to it.”

  51. Prokaryotes says:

    Fossil hunters uncover complete 252m year-old underwater world
    A spectacular haul of 20,000 fossils including plants, carnivorous fish and large reptiles, has been found in a hillside in Luoping, southwestern China

    The Earth has witnessed several mass extinctions in its 4.5bn year history, but the event that struck at the end of the Permian was unequaled in scale. Some 96% of marine species and 70% of land vertebrates were lost in what has been called “the great dying”.

    What caused such global havoc is still open to debate, but Michael Benton, a paleontologist at Bristol University who led the latest research, said evidence points to prolonged and violent eruptions from the Siberian traps, a huge region of volcanic rock. In this scenario, mass eruptions triggered environmental catastrophe by belching an overwhelming quantity of gas into the atmosphere for half a million years.

    “The main follow on was a flash warming of the Earth. That caused stagnation in the oceans, as normal circulation shut down. On land, the consequence of all the carbon dioxide and other gases appears to have been massive acid rain that killed the forests and stripped the landscape bare,” Benton said. “This was the greatest of all mass extinctions, the time when life was most nearly completely wiped out.”

    What life survived became the starting point for a recovery that played out over the next ten million years. Some of these organisms, known as “disaster species” clung on through sheer hardiness, somehow coping with the harsh conditions of scarce food, wild variations in temperature and little oxygen in the oceans.

  52. Bob Doublin says:

    “A mudslide in Silverado Canyon, Orange County” #52 My sister lives in Silverado.They survived the Oct2007 fire fine but the TOPS of the surrounding hills were burned.I’m not surprised but was hoping…

    I am having a major flashback about this group on the Green Dragon “seducing your children” is exactly the BULL they spewed about the gay community decades ago.It worked like a charm for awhile but now with them pretty much losing that crusade,HEY,why not use a tried and true weapon.When the truth is totally irrelevant just use whatever.

  53. The “Resisting the Green Dragon” trailer absolutly made me want to vomit.