Tag Archive: Climate Change

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop?

Cross-posted from City Belt

Climatechange

The headlines screamed out, like manna from heaven for gas-guzzlers, McMansioners, and Bush administration "scientists" alike:

"Scientists: Global Warming Can’t Be Stopped."

"Scientists Say There’s No Way To Stop Climate Change."

This morning, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their widely-anticipated report on global climate change. The report (available here as PDF) found, among other things, that, "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea level." The group of experts also said, with over 90 percent confidence, that human activity has been the main driver of said warming.

So what’s New Jersey’s largest news portal, home of the award-winning Star-Ledger, to do with such a drastic report?

If you guessed, "Misrepresent its findings," you’re the big winner — we’ve got a Hummer in the mail to you.

The Star-Ledger/Nj.com report, authored by Kitta MacPherson, leads by calling global warming "a runaway train that can’t be stopped," before half-heartedly adding, "at least for a while." What the IPCC did in fact say was that we’ve fucked ourselves over for at least 30 more years of global warming as a result of our selfish actions, but, as the New York Times put it:

"The warming can be substantially blunted by prompt action."

So, it turns out there actually is a way — many ways, actually — to stop climate change. While my fellow City Belter Elizabeth recently took An Inconvient Truth to task for saying as much, there are personal actions that, if replicated on a grand scale (perhaps incentivized by government), can help stem the tide of global warming. But she was right to say that our ever-business-friendly federal government deserves most of the blame, and it is indeed killing us.

Rather than giving up, and encouraging everyone else to do so, perhaps Nj.com should help us understand how we can create change. Perhaps with an afternoon to put it all together, the report in tomorrow’s paper will be a little less cynical — and a little more correct.

Joint Legislation Combats Climate Change

Senators Lautenberg and Menendez were two of eleven co-sponsors of new federal legislation to combat climate change by significantly reducing polluting emissions.

The Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act, first introduced last July by now-retired Senator Jim Jeffords (I-VT), would reduce U.S. emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 (a 15% reduction from today’s levels) and to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.  To achieve these emission reductions, the bill calls for a greater reliance on clean, renewable energy and improved energy efficiency.

The Senate bill is mirrored by the New Jersey Global Warming Response Act (A3301/S2114), sponsored by Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-22) and Senator Barbara Buono (D-18), requiring statewide emissions reductions are below 1990 levels by 2020 (about a 20% reduction from New Jersey’s emissions levels today).

Environment New Jersey is urging all members of the state legislature to co-sponsor this legislation and is also calling on Governor Corzine to issue an Executive Order to reduce statewide emissions by 80% by 2050 and develop a plan to start cutting emissions right away.

Of several sponsors, one is Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri-Huttle, who is fulfilling her job on the Weinberg Team by advocating progressive, good citizen policies.

Oyster Creek, Salem and Global Warming

More Inconvenient Truth
How high above sea level are the nuclear power plants at Oyster Creek and Salem?

What will happen to the nuclear plants if sea level rises 20 feet as projected by various global warming scenarios?

I don’t know if Solar panels will work when submerged – but they are usually mounted on the roof – and they work even when the basement is flooded. And a solar electric system is composed of a bunch of discrete components which weigh about 8 pounds – as much as a baby – and can easily be moved.  According to the guys who sell them, they ‘should’ last 40 years – they are guaranteed for 25.

Offshore Wind Turbines are mounted on pillars that rise up 3 or 4 miles from the ocean floor to a majestic 400 feet above the surf. A 20 foot rise in sea level won’t make a difference. It’ll  spoil the view – make them harder to see, but they’ll hum along generating power with no greenhouse gases, no radioactive wastes, no mercury, no pollution.

Coal plants can be shut down and flooded like Davey Jones Locker or the mythical Atlantis. It will cost a bundle but they won’t explode or melt down.

But Nuclear plants? Those bad boys are hot – radioactive. What will happen if they flood? Will they crack? Melt-Down? Will Avon By The Sea become Chernobyl by the Sea? What will happen if they crack and release all that radioactive stuff into the ocean?