Sunday, November 26, 2006

Weekly angst:

Solutions must include China, India … and the U.S.
China will pass up the United States as the top emitter of greenhouse gases in 2009, the International Energy Agency predicted earlier this month.

The U.S. now emits one-quarter of the world’s heat-trapping gases. But China, India and other developing countries with fast-growing economies are expected to produce most of the increase in emissions over the next 25 years.

So, clearly they need to be a party to any global solution – and so do we. The “leader of the free world” and biggest polluter must be willing to restrict GHG emissions or others will balk at making sacrifices and we will get nowhere.

China has resisted limits on its emissions and calls instead for tighter restrictions on industrial countries, which have created most of the greenhouse gases now in the atmosphere. It sticks in China’s craw that the U.S. is not party to the Kyoto Protocol and has not reduced its emissions. And many European countries that are part of Kyoto don’t seem to be on track to meet their targets.

Kyoto, which only includes industrialized countries, expires in 2012. So the U.N. Framework Conference on Climate Change is trying to bring all countries together to take the next steps to reduce global warming after 2012. It isn’t easy. There’s a sharp divide between the developed and developing countries on how to proceed.

Among the developing countries, “there has been a loss of confidence … since the developed countries, and particularly the largest ones, have not done more,” the Indian chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change told the New York Times. ”They’re going to shift the burden on us – that’s the popular view.”

China forges ahead with coal use
Meanwhile China, which is about 70% reliant on coal for energy, is building a new coal-fired electricity plant every week. Worldwide, coal use is on the rise because it is plentiful and cheap. Coal use has increased as much in the past three years as in the previous 23, according to the Times. China accounts for 90% of the increase. India is responsible for 8%, and the U.S. comes in third.

China has made some efforts at energy conservation, in order to limit its reliance on foreign oil and reduce its dangerous level of air pollution. Its fuel economy restrictions on cars are stricter than those in the U.S. China also has started requiring power companies to build fewer and larger coal-powered plants instead of more small ones, to cut down on the need for coal, according to the Times.

At the recent U.N. Framework Conference in Nairobi, China reported progress with renewable and nuclear energy, biofuels and reforestation. But clearly the emissions from China are becoming a serious, if not overwhelming, problem for the world.

At the U.N. conference, there was little agreement regarding future restrictions, as developing countries asked for credits for stopping deforestation, flexibility in their contributions to the global effort, and the buying out of intellectual property rights in order to share in new technologies.l To the latter, the industrial countries said no.

It’s not going to be easy to bring all these countries together to head off the impending climate catastrophe.

Pew Center offers suggestions
The Pew Center for Global Climate Change has offered suggestions for a successful international climate effort. Based on a dialogue among participants from 15 countries and 7 major companies, Pew says it will be necessary to engage the major economies (25 countries account for 83% of GHG); be flexible about allowing different kinds of commitments from different countries; strive for a common long-term goal; help developing countries with aid, investment and access to clean technologies; and help developing countries adapt to inevitable climate change.

A global agreement on climate change will only be possible if each country perceives it as reasonably fair, the Pew report said, ass it offered suggestions for a future international agreement:
• Emissions targets coupled with international trading of credits should remain a core element of the multinational effort.
• International sectors such as power and transportation could negotiate commitments across the globe.
• Countries could commit to broad goals integrating climate and development, then pledge national measures to achieve them.
• Governments could increase support for research and development, and facilitate the use of clean technologies in developing countries.
As a first step, Pew says, leaders of the major economies should convene an informal dialogue, to seek consensus on the general nature and scope of multilateral efforts post-2012.

News update

1. Nations cooperate to build $12.8 billion fusion reactor
The United State, China, the European Union, India, Russia, Japan and South Korea signed an agreement last week to build an experimental fusion reactor in France. Fusion’s advantages are that its basic fuels are readily available, it produces no greenhouse gas or nuclear waste, it doesn’t require transport of radioactive materials and there’s no chance of a meltdown. Some have expressed concern it might release hazardous tritium, however. France will pay 45% of the construction cost. The United States’ bill will be $1.1 billion. The partners hope the reactor will be operational by 2014 and if it is successful, commercial fusion plants could be ready by mid-century. Cost is a consideration. (Source: Greenwire)

2. China announces large solar energy project
China announced last week it will build what it called the largest solar power station in the world. The 100-megawatt project is planned for the town of Dunhuang, which has over 3,000 hours of sunshine a year and access to electricity transmission. The project is expected to take five years. Last month, Australia announced a 154-megawatt solar power plant, which will be operational in 2013. (Sources: Greenwire, Reuters)

3. Chicago City Hall’s not so green-powered, after all
Five years ago, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley pledged to run city government 20% on renewable energy by 2006. He got a lot of attention for that pledge. But after a deal with a wind company fell through and the city cancelled a program of buying landfill (methane) energy, the city is pretty much back where it was in 2001 – fueled by nuclear and coal power. The city hasn’t bought any green energy since 2004. Daley’s office says it still plans to buy wind energy, but it could take until the end of the decade. The earlier deal fell through when the city wanted the wind company to build a manufacturing plant here. Chicago lost out to Philadelphia on that one. (Source: Chicago Tribune)

4. Three environmental groups sue over climate report
Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and the Center for Biological Diversity have filed a lawsuit against the Bush Administration, saying it has failed to submit to Congress a report on climate change, as required by law. The suit was filed in federal district court in San Francisco. (Source: New York Times)

5. Texas power company seeks 11 giant coal-powered plants
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has ordered fast-tracking for any new power generation that uses Texas natural resources for “energy diversity.” Under that plan, TXU’s application for 11 new coal-fired plants will get special attention. Texas already is the country’s No. 1 C02 polluter. The amount these new plants would release is the equivalent of 10 million Cadillacs, according to the Environmental Defense Fund. In addition to C02, these plants will add tons of sulfer dioxide and nitrous oxide to the atmosphere each year. Several local organizations are opposing the applications. Hearings are to begin Nov. 27 in the expedited process. Laurie David, producer of “An Inconvenient Truth,” calls the proposed plants “global warming factories” and asks people to write TXU at and tell them to drop plans for their dirty plants. Or you can sign a petition at This doesn’t just affect Texas. It affects all of us. (Source:

Do something
Include one or more environmental groups in your end-of-the-year charity giving. Environmental Defense has someone who will match any gift up to Dec. 5. Environmental Defense, National Resources Defense Fund and the Environmental Law and Policy Center all work with governments and businesses to cut emissions, as well as going to court when necessary to protect us from climate change. You can reach these organizations by clicking on the name in the list down the right side of the page. There are plenty of other good organizations, such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters and Friends of the Earth, doing yeoman work on behalf of the climate, so pick your favorite. Just give. They’re doing our work, so be generous with them this holiday season.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Weekly Angst

A few degrees would change the world, study says

It’s hard to comprehend how a couple of degrees increase in temperature could make such a big difference. Most of us can’t tell, for example, if it’s 52 or 55 degrees out. So why is it so alarming that the Earth’s average temperature has risen 1 degree in the past century. Well part of the problem is the Earth heats unevenly, and much more so at the poles, where ice is melting rapidly. Another concern is that most of the warming occurred in the past three decades, suggesting an acceleration of climate change. Already 1,700 animal and plant species have been observed migrating toward the poles at a speed of 4 miles per decade as the weather changes. They know something’s happening.

A recent study out of Tufts University lays out three scenarios, and shows what we can expect, depending on how quickly and completely we take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Without strong action now
Without immediate and vigorous efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the average global temperature will rise an additional 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, the study says. That will be an all-time high for the past million years. Such an increase will result in:
• Decreased crop yields and widespread hunger in the developing countries,
• Serious water shortages,
• A total loss of Arctic ice and extinction of Arctic animals,
• A near total loss of coral reefs, and
• Possibly the onset of the complete meltdown of the Greenland ice sheet, slowly and unstoppably raising sea levels nearly 23 feet over the next 3000 years.

With major efforts
If, instead, the temperature jumps 3.6 degrees F, which is “extremely likely” without major efforts to reduce emissions, according to the study, we can expect:
• Decreasing crop yields in the developed world, resulting in widespread hunger,
• The wholesale collapse of the Amazon ecosystem,
• Widespread desertification and species extinctions,
• The complete loss of northern temperate and alpine ecosystems.

If we do nothing
With no efforts at all to reduce emissions, the temperature could well increase 5.4 degrees F by 2100, resulting in:
• Entire regions with no agricultural production,
• The melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet, gradually increasing sea levels an additional 16-20 feet.
To read the entire study, “Climate Change – The Costs of Inaction,” by Frank Ackerman and Elizabeth Stanton, go to
(You will note the temperatures in the study are stated in Celsius for a European audience. Google can point you to a good converter, which I used to switch those numbers into Fahrenheit, which we Americans are more used to.)

News update

1. McCain says he’ll push for caps on GHG emissions
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told an audience at Duke University Thursday that he would push for a vote on Global Warming legislation in January. He said he and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) will reintroduce their bill to cap greenhouse gases and set up a market-based trade system to buy and sell credits. The bill got 43 votes in 2003 and 38 in 2005. It includes a provision to encourage more nuclear power, which some – including California Sen. Barbara Boxer, new chair of the Environment Committee – found objectionable. McCain said he sees nuclear power as important to any a short-term solution. He noted 80% of France’s electricity is nuclear. McCain predicted President Bush would sign a bill capping greenhouse gases before his term ends. (Source: Environment & Energy Daily)

2. Senators ask Bush to work with them on climate change
Three Senate leaders wrote President Bush this week, urging him to work with them next year on climate legislation to cap greenhouse gases. Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said the U.S. must quickly adopt economy-wide restraints and then work with the international community to forge an effective global agreement. They reminded the president the Senate voted 53-44 in 2005 to support mandatory GHG limits in theory, so long as any plan protected the U.S. economy and involved the international community. A White House spokesman said Bush is open to talks but “already has in place an aggressive climate change strategy that is realizing results.” (Source: Environment & Energy Daily)

3. Will the new Congress fund re-opening of EPA libraries?
EPA workers, who no longer have access to many important files and papers, are hopeful the new Congress will get them their libraries back. This summer, the EPA started closing most of its research libraries, both to the public and to staff. The move was explained as a response to a $2 billion cut in the proposed $8 billion budget. Employees wrote Congress in protest, saying, “We believe this is just one of many Bush administration initiatives to reduce the effectiveness of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and to continue to demoralize its employees.” Shortly before the election, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) asked the Senate Appropriations Committee to restore access to the libraries. (Source:

4. Aussie Prime Minister shifts position on Global Warming
Prime Minister John Howard told a business group last week that scientific evidence suggests significant damage from greenhouse gas emissions and the Australian government needs to address the problem. Australia and the U.S. have been the only industrialized nations not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Howard is now taking the offensive politically. He will push clean-coal technology and nuclear power and will campaign to limit emissions but not damage his country’s coal and gas industries. He wants a new emissions-trading system for the post-Kyoto period after 2012 and appointed a government-business task force to come up with a model that suits the needs of Australia and the Asia-Pacific world. (Source: The Australian)

5. The top 10 fuel-efficient cars
The U.S. EPA and Dept. of Energy have released their list of the most and least efficient models for 2007. The top ones are:
1) Toyota Prius (hybrid) 60 city/51 highway
2) Honda Civic Hybrid 49/51
3) Toyota Camry Hybrid 40/38
4) Ford Escape Hybrid FWD 36/31
5) Toyota Yaris (manual) 34/40
6) Toyota Yaris (automatic) 34/39
7) Honda Fit (manual) 33/38
8) Toyota Corolla (manual) 32/41
9) Hyundai Accent (manual) and Kia Rio tied at 32/35
10)Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner, both Hybrid 4WD 32/29
For information on the least fuel-efficient cars, as well as the highest and lowest in each class, see

Do something

Having trouble finding a fuel-efficient car?
What we drive significantly affects global warming. In Illinois, for example, 37% of the carbon dioxide emissions come from cars and trucks. There is a place where those looking for a “greener” car can go to get this information. At you can plug in any make and model and learn what the official gas mileage is for both city and highway driving for the new 2007 models. Use it for comparison, but be aware that the tests on which these numbers are based will be adjusted next year to reflect real-life, rather than ideal, driving conditions. In other words, the numbers now are inflated.

The EPA and DOE note on their Web site that aggressive driving (rapid acceleration, speeding and braking) can lower miles per gallon as much as 33% on the highway and 5% in the city (and these are things they will take into account when revising criteria for fuel efficiency next year). Gas mileage drops rapidly over 60 mph. And don’t let your car idle. When you do you’re going zero mpg. Keep tires properly inflated, use air conditioning sparingly and change filters regularly to increase fuel efficiency.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Weekly angst

What do election results mean for climate change?

With more environment-friendly people in positions of power in the new Congress, we can expect hearings on Global Warming and legislation to shift tax incentives away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy. But will the new leadership be able to pass regulations cutting greenhouse gases? It’s an uphill battle. The votes aren’t there now, the president is firmly opposed, and the oil lobby is out there ready to spend millions to make sure it doesn’t happen.

The oil companies beat down California’s Proposition 87 on Election Day. They spent $95 million to defeat the proposal to tax oil drilling and convert the $4 million collected to renewable energy. The margin was 55-45.

In Boulder, Co., a different approach was successful. That city will tax not the oil companies, but individuals and businesses for excessive energy use. Boulder Issue 202, which passed with 59% of the vote, will raise home energy bills by about $2 a month and those at businesses by up to $35 a month. Boulder already had voted to conform to the Kyoto Protocol by cutting greenhouse gas emissions 7% below 1990 levels by 2012. This will help them get there.

The state of Washington also passed a referendum, by a narrow 51.8%, saying that by 2020, 15% of electricity would come from renewable sources. The measure applies to utilities with 25,000 customers or more.

But let’s get back to Washington, D.C.

New direction in Congress
House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said one of her top three priorities for the first 100 days is ending tax breaks for big oil and directing the money to renewable energy and other means to achieve energy independence. The incoming Majority Leader of the Senate, Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he wants to provide tax incentives for alternative energy production. And No. 2 in the Senate, Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), is sympathetic about Global Warming. He was a co-sponsor of Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) unsuccessful Climate Stewardship Act.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), one of the most outspoken members on the environment, is in line to be chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. She told the Associated Press, “Time is running out [on Global Warming] and we need to move forward.” She said she would use California’s new law, cutting emissions 25% by 2020, as a model. Boxer replaces James Inhofe (R-Okla.) who doesn’t believe in Global Warming. Boxer earlier this year co-sponsored a measure to cut emissions 80% by 2050.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), who favors incentives for renewable energy, will take over Energy and Natural Resources, and there already seems to be some cooperation between his staff and Boxer’s.

On the House side, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) will be chairman of Energy and Commerce. He said he plans to hold hearings on Global Warming and push legislation on alternative fuels. Dingell, from Michigan, is a strong supporter of Detroit’s auto industry, so there’s some question how far he’ll be willing to go to curb tailpipe emissions.

Friends of the environment
Environmental groups are happy that many of the people they endorsed were elected Tuesday. And that they defeated Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), who some considered Enemy #1. Pombo, who had been chair of the Natural Resources Committee, was defeated by Jerry McNerny, a wind-power engineer, after Defenders of Wildlife set up an office in his district and allied themselves with the Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters and Humane Society to get out the vote and donate money. Pombo will be replaced as head of Natural Resources by Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), who has a 92% score from the League of Conservation Voters.

Other LCV “Environmental Champions” who won Tuesday were Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.), Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Minn.), Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)

Other victories for environmental groups included John Tester (D), an organic farmer, who defeated Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), Ron Klein, who beat Rep. Clay Shaw (R-Fla.), Bob Casey (D) who handily beat Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and two new governors, Bill Ritter (D) in Colorado and Ted Strickland (D) in Ohio.

“The Congress has been in denial about climate change,” Rep. Tom Allen (D-Maine) told Environment & Energy Daily. “The Congress is going to change. At least the House is going to change.”

Legislation that got nowhere before is likely to be brought up again after January. Bills are expected from Boxer, Bingaman, McCain, Lieberman, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). Environmental groups are poised to work with this Congress and we should be ready to give them our support.

Do something

Now is a good time to write your senators and congressman, asking them to put solutions to Global Warming front and center. Most have a Web page where you can make comments.

News update

1. Africa must adapt to world climate change

Reduction of greenhouse gases must be accompanied by aid to developing countries least able to cope with Global Warming, the author of a new study told the U.N. Framework Conference on Climate Change in Nairobi this week. Africans, who produce the least greenhouse gases, could face severe hunger as extreme weather there limits food production. Africans are already finding it difficult to time the planting of crops because of uncertainty about the weather. Countries giving aid will need to take this into consideration. Africans should plant drought-resistant crops and not rely so much on livestock that could die, said Mario Herrero, co-author of “Mapping Climate Vulnerability in Africa.” Water-conservation projects could help ease the problem. (Source: Reuters AlertNet)

2. EU to make tailpipe emissions cuts mandatory
The European Union is going from voluntary to mandatory emissions regulations after learning some automakers aren’t meeting their goals. Volkswagen, Europe’s largest carmaker, has reduced its emissions by less than half its target. Renault, on the other hand, is on track. A study by the European Federation for Transport and Environment showed that 75% of the 20 major brands were not on track to meet their targets. The new targets will be the same as the old ones (140 milligrams per kilometer by 2008 and 120 by 2012). (Source: Greenwire)

3. Did NASA and NOAA stifle scientists on Global Warming?
At the request of 14 U.S. Senators, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) inspectors general are investigating whether the Bush Administration suppressed scientific research on Global Warming. At issue is whether NOAA officials stopped publication of a report linking the strength of hurricanes to Global Warming and whether NASA kept scientist James Hansen from speaking out after he advocated cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases. (Source: Greenwire)

4. Brazil likely to double consumption of ethanol
Brazil, the world’s main ethanol producer, will likely consume twice as much of the alternative fuel within 10 years, according to JOB Economia, a consultant. Three-quarters of new car sales are for flex-fuel vehicles, which can run on any combination of ethanol and gasoline. In Brazil ethanol is made with sugar cane. Fuel in the country is already 40 percent ethanol. (Sources: Bloomberg and Scientific American)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Weekly angst

We need new technologies to stop Global Warming

The British challenge to the European Union to cut carbon emissions 30% by 2020 and 60% by 2050 is an admirable goal for the industrialized world, but even that won’t be enough.

With a likely 2.5 billion (40%) increase in population worldwide by 2050, mostly in developing countries with fast-growing economies, the technologies available today won’t be sufficient to prevent a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – and thus a catastrophic rise in temperature – by the end of the century.

Much more funding needed for R & D
So one of the most important points in the British Global Warming report last week was it’s call for a worldwide doubling of funds for research and development of non-carbon energy sources. U.S. government funding for energy has been cut by more than half in the past 25 years, to $3 billion from an inflation-adjusted $7.7 billion. At the same time, federal funding for drug research went up four times, from $7B to $28B, and money for military research grew 260% to $75B, according to the New York Times. The Bush administration is asking for $4.2 billion in 2007, but many scientists agree that’s nowhere near enough.

Both the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (1997) and the bipartisan National Commission on Energy Policy (2004) called for a doubling of R&D spending for energy. Author Daniel Kammen, in Scientific American’s special September issue on Global Warming, calculated a need for $15B to $30B a year – something on the scale of the Manhattan Project or Apollo space program.

Others, including Science magazine’s State of the Planet (2006-07) report, agree on the need for innovation. Major climate change can only be avoided by reducing carbon emissions to a tiny fraction of current levels, the report said. But efforts so far have focused on affordable technologies such as wind, biomass fuels and improved efficiency, which cannot cut emissions enough, the report said.

Many alternatives to explore
“There are many promising candidates – solar thermal, hydrogen, carbon sequestration and nuclear fusion among them. Which will become most cost-effective is hard to predict, so research needs to proceed on many fronts,” the State of the Planet report said.

Other energy sources to be explored include waves and tides, high-altitude wind, space-based solar, nanotech solar cells, designer microbes and a global supergrid, according to Scientific American.

We must make carbon expensive
Now, how do we get industry to increase its funding for research on renewable sources? A tax or a cap on CO2 emissions will likely be required.

“Perhaps the most important step toward creating a sustainable energy economy is to institute market-based schemes to make the prices of carbon fuels reflect their societal cost,” said author Kammen in Scientific American. “A fee on carbon emissions would provide a simple, logical and transparent method to reward renewable clean energy sources over those that harm the economy and the environment.”

The president, many congressmen and much of industry oppose a carbon cap or tax. But when you realize that the world is adding a new carbon-emitting coal-fired power plant each week (mostly in China), it’s clear there needs to be a strong incentive to wean the world away from its 90% dependence on fossil fuels for energy. And America, the biggest polluter, needs to show some leadership.

News update

1. Californians vote Tuesday on oil drilling tax

On the California ballot Nov. 7 is a measure to tax oil drilling to fund alternative energy sources. Proposition 87, known as the Clean Alternative Energy Act, would raise up to $4 billion for alternative energy investments. If the measure passes, a tax on oil drilled in California, the fourth largest oil-producing state, would fund a state agency that would sponsor research and projects in solar, wind, ethanol and other alternative energy sources. (Source:

2. U.S. West to be hit by droughts, heavy rain, long heat waves
The Western United States, Brazil and the Mediterranean countries will be hot spots for extreme weather over the next century, according to a new study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Because of Global Warming, these areas in particular will suffer extreme droughts, heavy rainfalls and long heat waves with high nighttime temperatures. These spots will be hardest hit because of a predicted change in airflow caused by an increase in rain in the tropical Pacific. The Pacific Northwest will see longer dry spells as well as heavier rainfalls, the study says. (Source: Associated Press)

3. Two senators challenge Exxon to stop funding denial
U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) have sent a letter to Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, asking that the company stop funding groups spreading word that Global Warming is a myth and trying to influence policymakers. The huge oil company has spent more than $19 million in support of such groups since 1990. (Source: ABC News)

4. Bush names former Exxon chief to chart energy future
President Bush has asked Lee Raymond, the retired chief of Exxon Mobil, to head up a study to help the U.S. chart a cleaner course for its future energy needs. Raymond heads the National Petroleum Council (NPC), a powerful lobby. The study will look at the supply and demand of oil and "assess the potential contribution of conservation, efficiency, alternative energy sources and technology advances," said Samuel Bodman, U.S. Energy Secretary. Under Secretary David Garman said the NPC is "well qualified to provide a balanced and informed perspective on strategies and action affecting the energy future for both the U.S. and for every country on Earth." (Source: BushGreenWatch)

5. Industrial countries cut GHG emissions 3%, says U.N.
Industrialized nations cut greenhouse gas emissions 3.3% between 1990 and 2004, according to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. But much of the decrease was due to a nearly 37% drop in the Eastern Bloc countries following the collapse of the Soviet economy. The other industrialized countries actually increased emissions 11%, though countries that signed the Kyoto Protocol managed to reduce theirs by 15%. Germany was down 17% and Britain 14%. The U.S., on the other hand, increased its emissions nearly 17% in the 14-year period. Turkey was up the most, at 79%, followed by Spain, 49%, and Portugal, 41%. Canada saw an increase of nearly 27%. (Sources: Greenwire and Reuters Planet Ark)

6. Next “Kyoto” phase is topic in Nairobi this week
The U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change will meet in Nairobi, Kenya, Nov. 6-17 to discuss the next phase of climate control after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. Some backers suggest extending talks until 2010, to allow for a new, more sympathetic, U.S. administration to participate. President Bush pulled the U.S. out of the Kyoto agreement, which calls for industrialized countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions 5%-7% by 2012. Only the U.S. and Australia failed to sign on. Australia said this week it would push for a “new Kyoto” that would include the U.S., Australia, China, India, South Korea and Japan, six of the largest polluters. China, not a party to the first Kyoto Protocol, is asking for agreement on a second phase by 2008 so there will be plenty of time for comment before ratification. (Sources: Greenwire and others)

Do something

Join the Virtual March against Global Warming

Add your name to half a million others protesting Global Warming by going to and signing up. And while you’re there buy one or more Stop Global Warming wristbands by clicking on “take action” at the top of the home page. They’re only $5 and the money goes to, the organization started by Laurie David, producer of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” and wife of Larry David of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Seinfeld.” The wristband can be a conversation-starter and give you an opportunity to tell others about the climate crisis facing our planet.

Canadian film on warming playing in some theaters here
“The Great Warming,” an acclaimed film from Canada, just opened in Regal Cinemas in the United States. To find out if it’s at a theater near you, go to
The film was shown on Discovery channel in Canada but not in the United States. This is the first opportunity to see it here.

Did you miss “An Inconvenient Truth”? Buy the DVD
The DVD of Al Gore’s landmark movie is coming out Nov. 21. Go to and advance-order a copy at a reduced price. There is also a paperback book version on sale in most bookstores. This a world changer. If you haven’t seen it or read it, here’s your chance.