Following a record rate of ice loss through the month of August, Arctic sea ice extent already stands as the second-lowest on record, further reinforcing conclusions that the Arctic sea ice cover is in a long-term state of decline. With approximately two weeks left in the melt season, the possibility of setting a new record annual minimum in September remains open.
Why all the melting? It is hot, hot, hot near the home state of our new global-warming-denying GOP VP:
FIGURE: Sea surface temperature anomalies for August 2008, expressed with respect to 1982 to 2006 mean, correspond closely with ice retreat. Blue line indicates ice edge; warm colors indicate positive sea surface temperature anomalies.
Here is the latest ice extent figure along with more details on the record-breaking ice loss in August:
Last week the Rocky Mountain Roundtable hosted a day-long symposium on energy and climate change. One session included top officials from major global warming polluters — electric utility Xcel Energy, Arch Coal, Dow Chemical, natural gas corporation GHK, and top coal corporation Peabody Energy. The five men have, of course, become millionaires as their companies have spewed millions of tons of global warming pollution into the atmosphere. At the Roundtable, the pollution executives defended government subsidies for their respective industries, claimed solidarity with average Americans, and pooh-poohed any possibility of change from the status quo:
– Xcel Energy CEO Dick Kelly complained, “Consumers want access to renewable energy and information. People have expectations that the solutions are readily available. That’s not true.”
– Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris — who made $10 million last year and has fired 7000 American workers — complained, “It’s been a tough couple of years,” and urged the audience, “We can’t as a government abdicate helping corporations.”
– GHK founder Robert A. Hefner III argued, “We can have totally green natural gas plants” in order “to replace coal.”
– Peabody Executive Vice President Fred Palmer — a $25,000 donor to Gingrich’s ASWF 527 corporation — claimed “Clean coal is not an oxymoron.” He then stated, “The United States is not the problem,” putting blame on China.
The Wonk Room interviewed Jessy Tolkan, leader of the Power Vote campaign and executive director of the Energy Action Coalition, for a response:
As one of the most powerful voting blocs in America, we are going to make it abundantly clear that we don’t want an abundance of dirty energy in this country. We want an abundance of clean energy, and we’re going to force our elected officials to listen to us and not the oil and coal and natural gas industry.
In the interview, Tolkan also called Newt Gingrich’s “Drill Here, Drill Now” campaign “a bunch of bullshit,” saying she’s still naive enough believe we should tell the truth. Tolkan recommends that everyone check out PowerVote.org and join the Energy Action Coalition on September 27th in the Green Jobs Now Day of Action.
See also the Wonk Room video interview with Van Jones of Green For All.
You might think that people actually working on the clean energy transition like the Apollo Alliance could not possibly think McCain’s blather about clean energy represented a reversal from years of very strong opposition (see “Anti-wind McCain“).
Edited by Joe Romm, we cover climate science, solutions and politics. Columnist Tom Friedman calls us "the indispensable blog" and Time magazine named us one of the 25 "Best Blogs of 2010." Newcomers, start here.