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Energy and global warming news for March 1, 2011: China issues warning on climate and growth

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"Energy and global warming news for March 1, 2011: China issues warning on climate and growth"

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Prime Minister Wen Jiabao: “We must not any longer sacrifice the environment for the sake of rapid growth and reckless roll-outs, as that would result in unsustainable growth featuring industrial overcapacity and intensive resource consumption,”

Pretty amazing stuff:

China issues warning on climate and growth

China’s environment minister on Monday issued an unusually stark warning about the effects of unbridled development on the country’s air, water and soil, saying the nation’s current path could stifle long-term economic growth and feed social instability.

In an essay published on the agency’s Web site, the minister, Zhou Shengxian, said the government would take a more aggressive role in determining whether development initiatives contributed to climate change through a new system of risk assessment.

Ignoring such risks, Mr. Zhou said, would be perilous.

“In China’s thousands of years of civilization, the conflict between humankind and nature has never been as serious as it is today,” he wrote. “The depletion, deterioration and exhaustion of resources and the worsening ecological environment have become bottlenecks and grave impediments to the nation’s economic and social development.”

His comments, coupled with similar remarks by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao that were publicized in the state media on Monday, suggest that China may seek to embrace tighter environmental restrictions during legislative sessions that begin this week in Beijing. The meetings, held once a year, will include the introduction of the country’s latest five-year economic plan.

On Sunday, Mr. Wen lowered the target for average gross domestic product growth, to 7 percent from 7.5 percent, and suggested that China would reconfigure the emphasis that places economic growth above all else.

“We must not any longer sacrifice the environment for the sake of rapid growth and reckless roll-outs, as that would result in unsustainable growth featuring industrial overcapacity and intensive resource consumption,” said Mr. Wen in an Internet chat widely publicized by the state media.

The remarks come at a time of unrelenting environmental degradation that has accompanied double-digit economic growth. Last year, China registered 10.3 percent growth, higher than its official target.

Mr. Zhou’s vow to weigh factors like climate change when approving new factories would be significant given that such policies were largely the domain of China’s top economic planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, which had been reluctant to sacrifice economic growth for environmental protection.

With its increasing fixation on social stability, the Communist Party may have come to realize the benefits of balancing economic growth with the public’s demands for uncontaminated food and water. In recent weeks, there has been a cascade of damaging news about the environment, from dangerously high smog levels in the capital to a study that found 10 percent of domestically grown rice contaminated with heavy metals.

China has also become the leading emitter of greenhouse gasses, which scientists link to global warming, largely because of the country’s dependence on coal, which feeds 70 percent of its energy needs, and its growing thirst for oil. Although the government has an ambitious program to cut energy use for each unit of economic growth, it refuses to place any outright caps on emissions.

Official vows to rein in environmental abuse are frequently announced, but many laws and policies are ultimately circumvented or ignored at the local level, in large part because of a system that encourages officials to pursue economic growth over environmental sustainability.

China to slow GDP growth in bid to curb emissions

China will try to slow GDP growth to ease pressure on the environment following a series of unusually stark warnings from senior ministers about the country’s current mode of development.

The announcement that economic growth targets will be lowered from 8% to 7% over the next five years may mark the end of China’s peak growth years as environmental constraints drive up the expense of resources and pollution control.

“In China’s thousands of years of civilisation, the conflict between humanity and nature has never been as serious as it is today,” the environment minister Zhou Shengxian wrote on his ministry’s website.

“The depletion, deterioration and exhaustion of resources and the deterioration of the environment have become serious bottlenecks constraining economic and social development.”

In an online discussion on Sunday, the premier, Wen Jiabao, said China’s 2011-15 economic plan would lower the target for annual GDP growth – “to raise the quality and efficiency of economic growth”.

U.S. gasoline price jump biggest since Katrina

The average price U.S. drivers paid for gasoline soared 19.4 cents in the latest week to $3.38 a gallon, the biggest jump in pump prices since Hurricane Katrina disrupted petroleum supplies in September 2005, the Energy Department said on Monday.

Gasoline prices rose a record 46 cents during the week Hurricane Katrina devastated offshore drilling platforms and Gulf Coast oil refineries.

Gasoline prices are up 68 cents from a year ago because of skyrocketing crude oil costs, as unrest in Libya sent U.S. oil trading above $100 a barrel.

The price of crude, which accounts for more than half the cost of making gasoline, rose by more than $8 a barrel last week. Every $1 increase in a barrel of oil is equal to a 2.4-cent rise in a gallon of gasoline.

First deep-water drilling permit issued

The United States has approved the first deep-water drilling permit in the Gulf of Mexico since last year’s massive oil spill.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement announced Monday that it issued a permit to Noble Energy to continue work on a well about 70 miles southeast of Venice, La.

Noble started drilling the well four days before the Deepwater Horizon exploded. Drilling activity was suspended on June 12 under a moratorium the United States placed on exploration in waters deeper than 500 feet.

No new deep-water permits had been issued since the moratorium was lifted in October. Regulators have been under pressure from the oil industry and some lawmakers to get drilling projects started again in the gulf while ensuring that new safeguards were in place.

Climate change deniers aren’t ‘skeptics,’ they’re cranks

According to The Nation’s Mark Hertsgaard, allowing climate change deniers to pose as cautious skeptics has sabotaged the US response to the global warming crisis. Hertsgaard, who’s reported on climate change for over twenty years, joins The Real News Network to explain how the media has provided a platform for right-wing fringe groups to peddle a distorted ideology and a mercenary support for the coal and oil industries.

True skeptics, Hertsgaard says, are invaluable to the scientific process because scientific hypotheses must be tested. But those who claim that the science is mixed on whether climate change is occurring deserve the name “climate cranks.” A genuine skeptic is driven by facts and open to changing their position, while the outright denial of overwhelming evidence that climate change is real, urgent and dangerous by this crop of conservatives does not warrant them the title of skeptics, he says.

Environmentalists targeting Upton in new advertisements

Environmental groups are running a series of radio and television advertisements targeting House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) for voting to block funding for Environmental Protection Agency regulations in a spending bill approved by the House earlier this month.

The advertisements are part of a broad effort by environmental groups to build opposition against lawmakers for their votes on the House spending bill, which would fund the government through the end of the fiscal year.

The bill slashed the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by about $3 billion and included a series of amendments that blocked funding for the agency’s climate rules, among other regulations.

Upton, who became chairman of the House energy panel in January, has become a central figure in GOP efforts to stop the EPA from issuing climate regulations, a move that Republicans say would impose major burdens on the economic recovery.

U.N. unveils tool for tracking progress of climate talks

We’ll always have Cancºn. Online, at least.

The United Nations office in charge of international climate change negotiations introduced a new online tool on Monday to track progress toward meeting the goals agreed to last December at an international climate conference in Cancºn, Mexico.

That meeting, remember, got the international talks back on track after the debacle at Copenhagen a year earlier. Climate negotiators came to Cancºn in a more businesslike mood and with more modest and realistic expectations. No one expected to conclude a binding international treaty, and none was produced.

But the more than 190 nations represented at the talks achieved marked progress on the main agenda items: mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, adaptation to climate change, international financing arrangements, slowing deforestation and development of low-carbon energy sources. They recommitted to taking collective action to keep the rise in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius over the next half-century.

The new Web site maintained by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change details terms of the Cancºn agreement and overall progress toward meeting them. A separate Web site compiles the pledges by individual nations toward those goals.

‹ House Natural Resources Committee Taps Disgraced Bush Official and Industry Lobbyist to Testify on Lands Policy

Charles Koch Revels In His Crony Carbon Capitalism ›

34 Responses to Energy and global warming news for March 1, 2011: China issues warning on climate and growth

  1. Prokaryotes says:

    Re China,

    “The remarks come at a time of unrelenting environmental degradation … In recent weeks, there has been a cascade of damaging news about the environment, from dangerously high smog levels in the capital to a study that found 10 percent of domestically grown rice contaminated with heavy metals.”

    LOL??!

    East China wheat basket braces for worst drought in 200 years
    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-02/08/c_13722789.htm

    China’s drought-hit areas shrink after rain, snow

    The province’ s meteorological authorities launched its largest cloud-seeding operation in 20 years by firing 5,800 silver-iodide rockets and flares into the sky to increase rainfall and alleviate the worst drought in six decades.

    The rainfall helped to reduce the total coverage of the drought by 82 percent to about 10 million mu, it said.

    The rainfall also helped ease the pressure on water resources in Shandong by saving 1.6 billion cubic meters of water that could be used to irrigate without rain, it said.

    Winter wheat accounts for 95 percent of the gross wheat output in China, the world’ s largest producer of the commodity.

    The statement said local governments in the eight regions have irrigated 117.5 million mu of winter wheat this month, more than 40 percent of the total acreage.

    Since the autumn, local governments in these regions have mobilized more than 14 million people to help irrigate 190 million mu of winter wheat, 69 percent of the total.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-02/28/c_13754286.htm

  2. Prokaryotes says:

    So apparently it takes 14 million people and the biggest geongineering affords in history to get some water – NOWADAYS! In light of these revelations, the stark warning from the china government can be considered a super double whammy!

  3. John McCormick says:

    China is basking in its glory day and taking count of its cost to China’s environment.

    China is a smart, disciplined nation with a few thousand years of history to draw upon. I do not expect instant miracles from Bejing. But, I do expect the Chinese government to face the reality of global warming and act accordingly.

    John McCormick

  4. Lore says:

    Chevy Volt V1.0 takes a hit from Consumer Reports. The Volt is only getting 25-27 miles on a charge in the winter.

    —————————–
    Consumer Reports: GM’s Volt ‘doesn’t really make a lot of sense’

    “When you are looking at purely dollars and cents, it doesn’t really make a lot of sense. The Volt isn’t particularly efficient as an electric vehicle and it’s not particularly good as a gas vehicle either in terms of fuel economy,” said David Champion, the senior director of Consumer Reports auto testing center at a meeting with reporters here. “This is going to be a tough sell to the average consumer.”

    From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20110228/AUTO01/102280401/Consumer-Reports–GM’s-Volt-‘doesn’t-really-make-a-lot-of-sense’#ixzz1FMrifyPt

    [JR: They've never heard of peak oil and they seem to think that the multiple attributes delivered by the Volt, some of which are difficult to value, must be reduced to a cost-benefit equation that, say, leather seats aren't.]

  5. Mike Roddy says:

    Zhou is saying the right things, but whether Wen Jiabao and the Communist Party leadership follow is unknown. We will know they mean it if the $80 billion coal import contract with Australia is canceled, and they place a moratorium on new coal plants. Coal is of course a huge environmental problem in China, in addition to the enormous CO2 emissions.

    If the US does something serious about our own emissions, international pressure on China will become far greater, enabling Jiabao to take action that he may realize is necessary in any case. Their leaders have issues in standing up to their fossil fuel industries just like ours do. A bilateral summit on these issues could change the world, but Obama’s actions up to this point indicate that he would be less willing than the Chinese to do what’s necessary. Unfortunately, the Republican alternative is far worse- Nixon will not go to China this time around, since that Party now works for Koch and Exxon.

    It’s going to be an interesting test of the strength of China’s culture. Scientists believe that China may be hit hardest of all by global warming. Plastic and furniture factories won’t save them when drought destroys more of their agricultural base.

    I like Hertsgaard’s climate crank description. It’s about time that the media did its job, and called out the ones who are poisoning the public dialogue.

  6. Colorado Bob says:

    Our addiction to oil is draining every last drop

    Having taken oil for granted for decades, the global economy has failed to prepare for its absence. A bleak future awaits

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2011/mar/01/addiction-oil-global-economy?commentpage=last#end-of-comments

    ———–
    Lot’s of Koch-Heads on this thread.

  7. Colorado Bob says:

    New Zealand -

    Another poor harvest – the third in a row – will have some boysenberry growers considering whether it’s worth staying in the industry, say major Nelson producers.

    Graham Battersby, whose company Ranzau Horticulture is the largest grower in the country, said torrential rain and strong winds during harvest before and after Christmas wiped out almost 25 per cent of his crop, while Berry Fields co-owner Philip Field has described the season as an “unmitigated disaster”.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/features/primary-focus/4716936/Boysenberries-a-disaster

  8. Colorado Bob says:

    Honey production across the top of the south is down by up to 60 per cent after a promising start to the season was ruined by heavy rain either side of Christmas.

    A hot, dry spring had beekeepers hopeful of a bumper harvest, but December storms struck just as manuka and other species were about to flower, stopping honey flows in their tracks.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/features/primary-focus/4687138/Less-honey-after-summer-storms

  9. Prokaryotes says:

    Roads Flooded, Power Out in Parts of Midwest http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39UuUsVuFw8&feature=player_embedded

  10. Colorado Bob says:

    VANCOUVER — Climate change is expected to drive lodgepole pine, the backbone of the central Interior forest industry, from most of its range in B.C. by 2080, says a study by researchers at the University of B.C. and Oregon State University.

    Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Climate+change+drive+lodgepole+pine+trees+from/4362755/story.html#ixzz1FMwF39c9

  11. Colorado Bob says:

    (03/01/11) A researcher in the Adirondacks is literally rewriting the history of global climate change.

    Curt Stager, a scientist at Paul Smiths College, is publishing an article later this month in the journal Science that describes an ancient drought that transformed Asia and Africa thousands of years ago.

    The “H1 mega-drought” may have wiped out whole tribes of humans, as it dried up rivers and lakes across whole continents.

    As Brian Mann reports, Stager thinks that devastating event could be a warning for people living in a new period of global warming.

    http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/story/17236/20110301/north-country-scientist-rewrites-history-of-global-climate-change

  12. Anonymous says:

    Temperatures in northern North America continued to generally be above the 1971-2000 averages in Feb. 2011 as well as for the year-to-date as shown below:

    Town………………… February Temp. Dev…..Jan/Feb Temp. Dev.
    Prudhoe Bay, AK………..+12.4 F (+6.9 C)…….+7.7 F (+4.3 C)
    Moosonee, Ontario……….+3.5 F (+1.9 C)…….+1.5 F (+0.8 C)
    Nome, AK……………….+1.5 F (+0.8 C)…….+5.4 F (+3.0 C)
    Churchill, Manitoba……..+4.1 F (+2.3 C)…….+4.4 F (+2.4 C)
    Iqaluit, Nunuvut………..-2.3 F (-1.3 C)…….+7.3 F (+3.9 C)
    Goose Bay, NFL………….-1.1 F (-0.6 C)…….+6.2 F (+3.4 C)
    Yellowknife, NWT………..+3.7 F (+2.1 C)…….+2.3 F (+1.3 C)
    Sault Ste. Marie, MI…….+3.1 F (+1.7 C)…….+0.5 F (+0.3 C)
    Hibbing, MN…………….+0.2 F (+0.1 C)…….-0.7 F (-0.4 C)
    Ft. Nelson, BC………….+1.2 F (+0.2 C)…….+4.6 F (+2.6 C)
    Resolute, Nunuvut……….+1.4 F (+0.8 C)…….+5.7 F (+3.2 C)

    Roger Blanchard
    Sault Ste. Marie, MI

  13. Those readers who are especially interested in how these issues are playing out in Asia might find my just published article “Asia & the Climate Crisis” especially helpful. It can be found at

    http://sagethoughts.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/asia-the-clmiate-crisis.pdf

  14. “The announcement that economic growth targets will be lowered from 8% to 7% over the next five years may mark the end of China’s peak growth years as environmental constraints drive up the expense of resources and pollution control.”

    7% growth is a doubling time of about 10 years, which means that their economy would grow to abut 16 times its present size by 2050. Sounds like they might still hit some environmental constraints along the way.

  15. Colorado Bob says:

    Newsflash: American science teachers are so afraid of controversy, so intimidated by students and parents who dispute the theory of evolution, that, according to this recent survey, more than half do not even take a stand on the issue with their students. And one in eight actually promote creationism. Only about 28% consistently teach evolution.

    And from Tennessee comes the news that conservative lawmakers there are working on a law that will require science educators there to “teach the controversies” regarding evolution and climate change.

    An article in Mother Jones describes the bill:

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/anthony-cody/the-fight-over-teaching-evolut.html

  16. Brendan says:

    Regarding the Volt, the author does have a point regarding that from a purely economic standpoint the Volt doesn’t make a lot of sense. But, it seems a bit biased to say that for the Volt but not every single luxury car that they test – from an economic standpoint luxury cars make even less sense since their are cheaper alternatives that accomplish the same goal (e.g. a fully loaded Nissan will have similar features and cost considerably less than it’s Infinity counterpart). If it’s just about the value of being a status symbol, both luxury brands and the Volt have established that. In fact, I would argue that buying a new car, period, does not make economic sense; yet they test new cars all the time. If this were really such an all-important factor, we’d all be driving around in slightly used Hyundais.

    Consumer reports is failing to look into their crystal ball about future gas prices and offer a realistic range of prices for future ownership. I think they have a responsibility as a consumer advocate to state that oil (and thus gas) prices are likely to increase dramatically during the lifetime of any car bought today and any economic analysis should take that into account. The January 2011 copy, CR uses $2.80/gallon for their “annual cost, 12K miles” price ($3.00 for diesel). This was already a laughably low estimate by the end of February. Do they really expect gas to average $2.80/gallon over the life of cars with 100K mile warranties (over a minimum of 8 years using their numbers)? Something tells me that between now and 2019, gas will average a lot more than $2.80/gallon. Basing lifetime fuel cost on what the first tankful costs is intellectually dishonest.

  17. Prokaryotes says:

    EPA Announces Next Steps for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Program

    WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is announcing that its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reporting Program has recently completed extensive work to develop GHG data reporting requirements for a wide range of different industries in response to Congressional mandates. This program will provide Congress, stakeholder groups and the public with information about these emissions while helping businesses identify cost effective ways to reduce emissions in the future.

    To ensure that the requirements are practical and understandable to the thousands of companies already registered to report under the program, the agency is in the process of finalizing a user friendly online electronic reporting platform.

    Following conversations with industry and others, and in the interest of providing high quality data to the public this year, EPA is extending this year’s reporting deadline – originally March 31 – and plans to have the final uploading tool available this summer, with the data scheduled to be published later this year. This extension will allow EPA to further test the system that facilities will use to submit data and give industry the opportunity to test the tool, provide feedback, and have sufficient time to become familiar with the tool prior to reporting. The agency will provide more detail on these intended changes in the coming weeks and will ensure that this reporting extension is in effect before the original reporting deadline of March 31, 2011.
    In addition to the nine rulemakings necessary to comply with congressional direction for the program, over the past two years EPA has established a public help center that operates through our website and efficient mechanisms for stakeholders to get answers from EPA experts to detailed technical questions. EPA has also conducted training sessions with each affected sector and held hundreds of meetings with stakeholders across the country.

    EPA’s greenhouse gas reporting program, launched in October 2009, requires the reporting of GHG emissions data from large emission sources and fuel suppliers across a range of industry sectors. This program will provide data that will help industries find ways to be more efficient and save money.
    http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/3ad763d974685e5185257846005e0f1c?OpenDocument

  18. Lore says:

    Where we’re failing in the automobile industry, and subsequently the environment, is trying to use every bit of resources in terms of material labor and money to create 4,500lb. vehicles to drive a single person around an average of 12,000 miles a year.

    Rather then change the experience for the better, we’re attempting to just transform it into more of the same.

  19. Prokaryotes says:

    Six corporations in Alberta will be splitting $27.2 million in provincial funding to reduce industrial emissions through energy efficiencies, Climate Change and Emissions Management Corp. said Monday.

    The companies include energy giants such as ConocoPhillips Canada, Encana Corp., Cenovus Energy Inc., and Weyerhaeuser Canada Limited.

    Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/technology/companies+split+industrial+emissions/4364038/story.html

    Can you say greenwash? And the irony that firms like CoconutPhillips end up with funds …

    In the meantime on the other side of the globe Coconut is about to release the most potent greenhouse gas – methane and radioactive contamination in the process of fracking up all the groundwater..

    The Australian government has given the environmental go-ahead for ConocoPhillips’ and Origin Energy’s A$35 billion ($35.22 billion) coal bed methane project in the country’s eastern Queensland state. http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/article245623.ece

  20. Prokaryotes says:

    Australia’s booming coal-seam gas industry, centred around Queensland, plans to build up to roughly $70 billion worth of liquefied natural gas projects over the next four to seven years around the coal port of Gladstone.

    Santos and BG Group have both moved forward with LNG export projects in the region that are expected come online in 2014 and produce more than 15 million tonnes per annum of LNG combined.

    Shell and PetroChina have also planned an LNG export project which is expected to come online sometime between 2015 and 2017.

    The boom in coal bed methane projects has raised some environmental concerns from local communities near the projects in rural areas of northern Queensland.

    “Australia Pacific LNG will pursue high environmental, community consultation and development standards not only during the construction period but also throughout the ongoing operational life of this exciting project,” Origin said in a statement.

    The fracking process has raised concerns that the projects could pollute a huge underground reservoir, the Great Artesian Basin, which is vital for local agricultural use.

  21. Prokaryotes says:

    While natural gas power plants emit approximately half the carbon dioxide of an equivalent coal power plant, the natural gas combustion required to produce and transport LNG to the plants adds 20 to 40 percent more carbon dioxide than burning natural gas alone.[16] With the extraction, processing, chilling transportation and conversion back to a usable form is taken into account LNG is a major source of greenhouse gases.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquefied_natural_gas#Environmental_concerns

    With fucking up the groundwater and releasing huge amounts of the most dangerous heat trapping gas, LNG is a major contributor to climate change.

  22. Prokaryotes says:

    And you have such events from time to time

    Explosion at Sonatrach LNG liquefaction facility.[19] 27 killed, 56 injured, three LNG trains destroyed, 2004 production was down 76% for the year. A steam boiler that was part of a liquefaction train exploded triggering a massive hydrocarbon gas explosion. The explosion occurred where propane and ethane refrigeration storage were located.

  23. Colorado Bob says:

    Some Texas wildfires contained; most still spreading

    Since Sunday, forestry officials, who were called in to assist local fire departments, have responded to 71 fires covering 136,699 acres, the Texas Forest Service said on its website. Most of the fires were across the Texas Panhandle.

    http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/03/01/texas.wildfires/index.html?hpt=T2

  24. dp says:

    @JR: you’ve said you think the volt’s battery is much bigger than necessary.

    @brendan: consumer reports should have a range of gas cost estimates. even so after adding extra purchase & insurance costs, lifetime average gas prices have to be VERY high for volt 1.0 to approach prius 4.0 on total operating cost. it even looks like there are edge cases where they come out even on gas use! definitely many things for GM to work on.

  25. Barry says:

    China should be worried because so far they have built a totally wasteful economic machine.

    China produces only $450 per tCO2. India manages $700 and Brazil creates $2,400. Oh, and Norway hauls in $8,000 per tCO2.

    If China would at least clean up their economy to India’s level they would cut their climate pollution by 38%. If they created an economy as clean as Brazil’s they would cut their climate pollution by 80%. We might even have hope of civilization hanging on in a scenario like that.

    A nation like China with gobdoodles of cash laying around and thousands of years of civilization and wisdom can certainly do a h*ll of a lot better job than $450/tCO2. It is a totally pathetic effort on their part so far.

    There are eight nations on the planet that do worse than China: like North Korea ($330) and Zimbabwe ($360). So they aren’t the very worst. But definitely far down into “F” territory.

  26. Brendan says:

    @dp: note that I never said the Volt made economic sense, and was actually inferring (without directly stating) that the Prius (and many efficient hybrid and non-hybrid alternatives) really makes more sense economically – with or without high gas prices. If you don’t need highway speeds for short trips, it makes a lot more sense to convert a Prius to a plug in – you’ll end up with more range for less money. When it comes down to it though, if you want a new car with all the bells and whistles that can comfortably cover a 20-mile r/t highway commute on electric and make a 600 mile r/t weekend trip with good mileage, and do it all for under $80K, there’s really only one choice out there right now (besides doing your own conversion). And if you want a unique car that stands out and attracts attention in 2011, it’s not going to be the Prius. That alone is easily worth thousands to some (divided nicely into 60 payments). Nobody buys a new car based on lifetime cost alone. The rare strict adherent to cost-only car buying will always buy used.

  27. Michael T. says:

    Huge fire sweeps across central Florida

    MIAMI (AFP) – Firefighters were battling a fast-moving, massive blaze and clouds of thick smoke that prompted evacuations and highway closures in central Florida, though tempered in part by heavy downpours.

    The fire, which began on Monday, spread quickly. By dawn on Tuesday, it had swept over an area of more than 10,000 acres (4,000 hectares), forcing hard-hit Brevard County to declare a state of emergency.

    Schools were closed, many homes were evacuated and other residents were asked to take precautions and be prepared to deal with the effects of smoke for several days to come.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110301/ts_alt_afp/usweatherfire

  28. Joan Savage says:

    “China’s coal mining, processing, and electrical generating industries consumed over 112 billion cubic meters (30 trillion gallons) of water annually, which is nearly 20 percent of all national water consumption, according to the China Ministry of Water Resources.”
    — Keith Schneider [Circle of Blue] as posted on Grist.org
    http://www.grist.org/article/2011-02-23-coal-is-chinas-largest-industrial-water-consumer

    Given that China is having severe drought (as mentioned above by #1 Prokaryotes), cutting back on coal use has an immediate relationship to food supply.

  29. Joan Savage says:

    Prokayotes #22 about LNG and its carbon footprint. That’s something I’ll definitely pass along.

    It seems possible that a good bit of hydro-fracked gas could end up as LNG, for which overseas and industrial markets would pay.

    New Jersey Governor Christie recently vetoed an attempt to build an offshore LNG port near Asbury Park, NJ. The proponents had said it was to deliver gas to the local market.

  30. David B. Benson says:

    Those aren’t merely cranks. They are CRUD purveyors.

    Confustion
    Rejection.
    Uncertainty.
    Doubt.

  31. Turboblocke says:

    Barry @ 26: is the difference in productivity due to out sourcing of low value products to China, rather than making them at home?

  32. Michael T. says:

    Warm Arctic, Cold Continents
    Changes in the Arctic Are Hitting Closer to Home

    http://www.noaa.gov/features/02_monitoring/warmarctic.html

  33. Dr.A.Jagadeesh says:

    China has now realized that Economic Growth should not overtake Environmental degradation. The policy initiatives for clean environment by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and China’s Environment Minister Zhou Shengxian are indication of Chinese Government commitment towards Clean Environment.

    Here is a fine account ofn the subject:

    “Confucianism offers a green world view in which the basic principals of harmony and balance are not limited to human society but are thought to extend to the universe as a whole. Asian philosophies as a whole stress the notion of harmony between nature and mankind but these philosophies are not always reflected in the Chinese record on environmentalism and pollution and their attitude about littering and eating wild animals.
    Economic growth has occurred at great cost to the environment, especially because China relies so much on energy-driven heavy industry to generate growth. China often seems that it is willing to put up with pollution to hold off joblessness. In the end it may be economic and political concerns that bring about the biggest changes. By some estimates pollution already slows economic growth by 3 percent a year.
    Environmental awareness is on the rise. Environmental laws are being taken more seriously. China, wrote historian Francis Fukayama. “may be the first country where demand for accountable government is driven primarily by concern over a poisoned environment.” The amount of money spent on pollution clean-up increased fivefold between 1985 and 1996. In 1998, spending on environmental protection exceeded one percent of gross nation product for the first time. By 2006 Beijing was spending $30 billion on the environment and cleaning up pollution.
    China Going Green?
    The term “eco” is popular in China. Its kind of a fashion
    Thomas Friedman wrote in the New York Times, “I believe this Chinese decision to go green is the 21st-century equivalent of the Soviet Union’s 1957 sputnik…When China decides to go green out necessity, watch out. You will not just be buying your toys from China. You will buy your next electric car, solar panels, batteries and energy efficient software from China…Right now , China is focusing on low-cost manufacturing of solar, wind and batteries and building the world’s biggest market for these products.”
    Shi Zhengring, founder of solar-panel-maker Suntech, which is located in Wuxi near polluted Lake Tai, told Friedman, after a pollution disaster at the lake “the party secretary of Wuxi city came to me and said, ‘I want to support you to grow ths solar business into a $15 billion industry. So then we can shut down as many polluting and energy consuming companies in the region as soon as possible.’ He is one of the a group of young Chinese leaders, very innovative and very revolutionary, on this issue. Something has changed, China realized it has no capacity to absorb all this waste. We have to grow without pollution.”
    Economics and the Environment in China
    Thousands of factories that haven’t meet pollution standards have been shut down, putting millions of people out of work. Industries that have been allowed to stayed open say their costs have increased and their competitiveness has decreased as they have made upgrades to meet environmental standards.
    Guangdong Province, one of China’s richest and post productive economic areas, has enthusiastically embraced anti-pollution measures. It is also where job lay offs and factories closings have been occurring at a high rate. As part of its strategy to develop a “low-carbon economy” an effort is being made to move manufacturing to the countryside where jobs are still scarce and attract clean industries and services to the cities. Foreign company with clean energy technology are welcomed to use the area as a testing ground, with the government providing some of the services they need.
    The Chinese government is appropriating more money towards job-creating infrastructure projects rather technology-based environmental improvements. One of the main goals of economists and planners in China is to move the Chinese economy away from its dependence in environmentally-unfriendly manufacturing industries such as paper, chemicals and textiles and shift to less environmentally-disruptive economic sectors such as computing, biotechnology and science.
    China is at a disadvantage fighting pollution compared to developed countries in that those countries were already rich when they started fighting pollution, whereas China is still developing. (Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications. Jeffrey Hays Last updated April 2010FACTS AND DETAILS ENVIRONMENT OF CHINA)”.

    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore (AP),India