Palin to Right of Republicans on Climate Change

ABC News’ Rick Klein Reports: Among the issues Sen. John McCain will have to smooth over with his new running mate: global warming.

In an interview for the September issue of the conservative magazine Newsmax, Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska, said she does not believe climate change is caused by human behavior.

“A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. I’m not one though who would attribute it to being man-made,” Palin said in the interview, which was posted online Friday.

McCain, R-Ariz., by contrast, has broken with his party’s dogma by supporting a mandatory program to cap carbon emissions — a point of pride for McCain as he burnishes his independent reputation.

Palin’s quote about global warming not being manmade is also at odds with the freshly approved GOP platform for 2008. That language — adopted by the party this week — marks the first time the Republican Party’s policy document addresses climate change.

“The same human activity that has brought freedom and opportunity to billions has also increased the amount of carbon in the atmosphere,” the document reads. “Increased atmospheric carbon has a warming effect on the earth.”

Political Radar: Palin: Global Warming Not Man-Made.

Note: That last bit isn’t from some tree-hugging hippie-Greenpeace-giving-whale-savers, it’s from the Grand Ole Party, The Republicans. Really. No shit, I couldn’t believe it either.

And I can’t believe they’d nominate a VP who was to the right of them on the environment. What an interesting week.

Last Chance…Squandered?

The Associated Press: NASA warming scientist: ‘This is the last chance’

WASHINGTON (AP) — Exactly 20 years after warning America about global warming, a top NASA scientist said the situation has gotten so bad that the world’s only hope is drastic action.

James Hansen told Congress on Monday that the world has long passed the “dangerous level” for greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and needs to get back to 1988 levels. He said Earth’s atmosphere can only stay this loaded with man-made carbon dioxide for a couple more decades without changes such as mass extinction, ecosystem collapse and dramatic sea level rises.

“We’re toast if we don’t get on a very different path,” Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute of Space Sciences who is sometimes called the godfather of global warming science, told The Associated Press. “This is the last chance.”

So we’ve pretty much already passed over the GW tipping point. The hope now is to try and moderate some of the effects. This has been a major push at the G8 summit in Hokaido.

Unfortunately that’s not going to happen with the present leadership. And not just the U.S. leadership, the whole G8 has problems.

The leaders of the world’s richest countries have squandered yet another opportunity to lead the global community when it comes to climate change. The G8 Summit in Japan has issued a classically vague and nonbinding statement endorsing the idea of halving carbon emissions by 2050, a goal well below the emissions cuts proposed by leaders of many of the G8 nations.

The declaration on the environment and climate change gives a lot of lip service to various “low-carbon technologies” but offers little in terms of new policy to help facilitate development and deployment.

More baffling is the way in which the statement names certain technologies and omits others. Nuclear and biofuels receive strong commendations, while wind and solar fail to get a single mention. Meanwhile clean coal technologies, including carbon capture and sequestration, are given a whole paragraph, in which there resides one of the most clearly worded assertions: “We strongly support the launching of 20 large-scale CCS demonstration projects globally by 2010, taking into account various national circumstances, with a view to beginning broad deployment of CCS by 2020.”

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The other part of the backsliding is highlighted in this NYT article.

RUSUTSU, Japan — Pledging to “move toward a low-carbon society,” leaders of the world’s richest nations vowed Tuesday to work with emerging powers to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050, but did not specify whether the starting point would be current levels or 1990 levels, and refused to set a short-term target for reducing the gases that scientists agree are warming the planet.

So they can’t even decide what the baseline is, much less make any realistic, trackable goal.

The G8 is also hampered here, as China and India, the two main U.S. competitors for “Polluter of the Planet” are not represented and the U.S. won’t sign a deal without them. And they won’t sign one without the the U.S.

So we have a nice stalemate, and the water slowly gets hotter.

The frog sits, waiting for flies.

The “Collapse” Continues

As Fight for Water Heats Up, Prized Fish Suffer – New York Times

WISDOM, Mont. — It’s a simple fact of life across the rural West, as it is here in Montana’s mountain-ringed Big Hole River Valley. Flooding river bottoms to grow hay sustains the economy but means less water in the river for the prized wild trout population.


Peter Lamothe, a biologist, is working to save the grayling, Montana’s most imperiled fish.

The competition for water is not new, but it is intensifying as the climate here gets warmer and drier.

“The biggest worry for trout is that smaller streams will simply run dry in late summer and temperatures in the remaining pools will exceed lethal levels,” said Steven W. Running, a climate scientist at the University of Montana in Missoula who is a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “Even if the stream has good flow 11 months of the year, fish have to survive the highest stress conditions in late summer. We could lose the populations in these smaller streams, and they won’t come back.”

By all accounts, these kinds of changes in the West’s celebrated trout fisheries are happening quickly — faster, experts say, than in other parts of the country. A new report by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization, based on research by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, shows temperatures in the West the last five years increased by 1.7 percent, compared with 1 percent elsewhere.

As I am currently downloading Jared Diamond’s “Collapse” into the collective, I read news stories about the collapse of Montana’s ecosystem with a bit more “aaaahhhr” than your average pirate.

Let Your Mad Light Shine

Shining a light on fluorescent bulbs – Environment-

Compact fluorescent light bulbs, long touted by environmentalists as a more efficient and longer-lasting alternative to the incandescent bulbs that have lighted homes for more than a century, are running into resistance from waste industry officials and some environmental scientists, who warn that the bulbs’ poisonous innards pose a bigger threat to health and the environment than previously thought.

Quicksilver made for some of the most entertaining madmen ever. Given these and all the drugs in the water, things should get real interesting in my adopted homeland in a generation or so.