“It’s not true that the temperature has not changed in two decades.”

Am I wrong or does the BBC interviewer seem just a bit snippy about having her misinformation set straight?

I like this new, liberated James Hansen.

In the past year, we’ve seen images of extreme  pollution events across China, far in excess of anything that would be tolerated in developed countries.

What’s been largely uncovered by mainstream media in the west, are the protests and demonstrations, sometimes violent, that have been breaking out against new coal power stations, oil and gas development, and polluting industries across China.

It’s a standard climate denial talking point that “whatever we do will make no difference because China yada yada”.  Time to put that one to rest. Not only has China been leading the world in the development of renewable energy, but has now begun serious discusions about when to introduce a carbon  tax of their own..

James Fallows in the Atlantic:

Environmental carnage of all sorts is a truly major emergency in China, both in the short term and as a potential limit on the country’s development;

Chinese emissions are a problem not just for its own people but also for the world. It has now overtaken the U.S. as the biggest carbon emitter; most of the coal that is burned anywhere on Earth is burned in China.

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A friend tipped me off to this one.

Focused on five major areas — climate, economy, human rights, land and species, and air and water — Oil Sands Reality Check offers the facts about how these key indicators of health on the planet are affected by the tar sands.  Knowing full well that “facts” can often be misconstrued, all the information on Oil Sands Reality Check was reviewed by a scientific advisory committee made up of academics, scientists, and economists.  So, you can rest assured, the facts are straight.
If you write about Alberta’s tar sands, major oil pipeline development (Keystone XL, Northern Gateway, Energy East), global emissions, energy policy, climate change, or ecological sustainability, this website is a fantastic resource.  Every fact presented on Oil Sands Reality Check has a primary source linked to it, which is also available for more in-depth analysis.

Put this on in the background and let it creep up on you.

Elizabeth Shepherd performs Live-to-Air with Michael Occipinti’s Shine On: The Universe of John Lennon
Toronto, June 1, 2012 CBC Radio

UPDATE: by popular demand, the original below.

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In Germany, alone among the 27 members of the European Union, unemployment rates for both older and younger workers are now lower than they were when the United States slipped into a recession at the end of 2007.

In the rest of the euro zone, the unemployment rate for workers ages 25 to 74 has more than doubled over that period, to 12.8 percent. The rate for younger workers is more than 30 percent, on average — and above 50 percent in Spain and Greece. In Germany, it is less than 8 percent.

We’re on a roll with the final fund raising push. If you still haven’t jumped in, you can do so by going to darksnowproject.org, , checking out our IndieGoGo site, or texting darksnow to 50555.

Yesterday we got a nice push in  this piece from the Weather Channel.  Dark Snow is making inroads, and we can do so much more if everyone helps out. I appreciate deeply the support we’ve receieved so far, and am hard at work preparing for our trip in late June.


Above, an appeal to economic reason by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Below, a piece titled ‘You Might Just Like a Carbon Tax”, by Ike Brannon.

Ike Brannon is senior fellow and director of research at the R Street Institute. R Street was founded by Eli Lehrer, a former staffer at the climate denialist Heartland Institute. R Street accepts the science of global climate, and explores, among other activities, potential free market solutions to climate change. A significant portion of their funding is from the insurance industry.

(Correction: May 20, Eli Lehrer advises me – “One tiny detail: I’m the co-founder, not the sole founder of R Street. The other founding staff–one of whom now works at UCS, the others are still at R Street–are founders just as much as I was.“)


Tax reform may involve simplifying the tax code, but actually achieving such a thing promises to be a terrifyingly complicated process. The battle over how (and by how much) to reduce the various tax deductions, credits and exemptions that litter the code will be contentious enough; reaching agreement on how to divvy up the revenue generated by this exercise between reducing the debt and lowering tax rates seems almost intractable.

Republicans face a dual problem. The fiscal reality is that revenue gains from reducing tax deductions won’t be as substantial as they desire and, politically, Democrats will insist some of those gains go toward reducing the deficit.

The only way Congress can deliver the lower rates they’ve promised, given those inevitable constraints, is to find a new source for revenue. And the only one that both parties could potentially live with is a carbon tax.

The motivations for enacting tax reform are many: our tax code is a mess, we incentivize behavior that makes little economic sense, and there’s a growing belief that, in many respects, it is fundamentally unfair. This dissatisfaction is especially true for the corporate tax code, where a bipartisan coalition of congressmen is keen to cut the rate, which is among the world’s highest and serves as a disincentive to investment. Ultimately, investment in new machines, software and equipment improves worker productivity, boosts wages and creates jobs.

Some Democrats kvetch that corporations’ effective tax rate (what they actually pay once we take into account the various credits, deductions and exemptions) is relatively low and thus, we shouldn’t do them any favors. They are right that these tax expenditures drive average tax rates down while doing little for the economy. If we did away with the bulk of these provisions and used the savings to finance a lower rate, we would see more economic growth. Getting rid of all of these and using the revenue generated to offset reductions in the corporate tax rate would allow Congress to cut the corporate tax rate from the current 35 percent (the highest in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) to around 25 percent, which is what House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., has been promising the business community.

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Remember that item from Fox News a few weeks ago? Germany is doing well with solar energy because they have way more sun than we do!”

Another piece of the anti-renewable disinformation campaign commonly heard, and just as accurate, is something like: “Germany has had to increase reliance on coal because renewables are so unreliable.”

It is vitally important for the windbagger/anti-renewable crowd to cover-up, tear down, distort or distract from the example that Germany, Denmark, and other countries are setting for the world – maintaining world class manufacturing, exporting, and living standards, while switching to renewable power – so expect to see a lot of this in the future.

Fortunately, we have the reporting of Craig Morris at renewablesinternational.net to keep us oriented x 4.

In a PDF published last month, consultants from Pöyry tell the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) not to expect any more coal plant projects after the current ones are completed.

Over the past two years, Renewables International has repeatedly argued that there will be no shift to coal power as a result of the nuclear phaseout. So it’s nice to see that other independent analysts see things the same way.

In their presentation to the UK government (PDF), researchers at Pöyry say there are three main reasons for the “apparent surge” in new coal plant construction, which is “due to highly unusual historic reasons”: a favorable market environment in 2007/2008; excess carbon allowances; and an “inability or reluctance of developers to cancel projects” when circumstances changed.

I had already written about the first two and am pleased to hear someone argue the third point. But going forward, the researchers say “there will be no major new unabated coal or date night projects in Germany for the foreseeable future beyond those currently under construction.”

Starting in 2009, the experts find that “developers’ appetites” for new coal projects has died down significantly so that there will be no further investment in coal plants “in this decade.” By 2035 (see chart above), installed coal power generating capacity will have fallen from around 42 GW to around 15 GW – and again, that installed capacity is likely to be running at lower utilization levels.

Is Germany Switching to Coal? Morris pointed out last December:

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Peter Hadfield, (potholer54 on YouTube) has a new addition to his indispensable series of climate disinformation debunks.