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April 01, 2011

This Week's Blogosphere Soup

A quick review of this past week's happenings in the blog world

Energy was a big issue this week. The president gave a major speech -- it primarily focused on energy security -- which had some energy advocates disappointed and deflated. (He didn't mention the Clean Air Act.) The Sierra Club liked what it heard, except for Obama's idea that nuclear and coal should be part of the equation. Meantime, the U.S.'s progress on clean energy is falling behind.

A new report finds that global finance and investment in low-carbon energy technologies "roared back" in 2010 from flat recession levels, but that the U.S. fell another rung to third place after losing the top spot to China in 2009.
The Pew Charitable Trusts unveiled the report — which is based on data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance — on Tuesday and hopes to translate the findings into Capitol Hill momentum for more robust and stable federal policies to boost the U.S. sector.
-- Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty wants the Oval Office and seeks the GOP ticket. In case you're scoring at home, Pawlenty was for climate-change solutions before he was against them.
Tim Pawlenty argued Monday that his past support for cap-and-trade legislation shouldn't hinder his presidential bid because nearly all the other Republican White House hopefuls also took the same position.

David Frum, former George W. Bush speechwriter, doesn't like Pawlenty's approach.

Here is what I don't understand about Tim Pawlenty's reversal – not only on cap-and-trade – but also on any concern for climate change whatsoever: It would make sense to say: "Back in 2007, I supported cap-and-trade. That was before the recession. In these difficult times, our economy cannot support an additional burden. Let's get back to full employment and strong economic growth. Once our economy is prospering again, it will be time to decide what to do to protect our environment." [...]

But whoever is president after 2013 will inherit both an improving economy – and also an accelerating climate-change problem. Why put yourself on record now in ways that will inhibit responding to environmental challenges in the future?

Well, I don't understand Frum's confusion. As someone who wants to win the GOP base, Pawlenty will have to swear off any past concerns with this scientific reality.

Also in the blogosphere this week:

-- Copenhagenize, the bike blog of all bike blogs, put together horrifying images from Japan that include bikes. Read Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune's thoughts on the tragedy in Japan.

-- U.S. offshore wind is taking shape.

-- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches can save the world. PB&J Day is tomorrow. Slap one together and celebrate! And on the topic of food, I've been enjoying this food waste blog.

There are environmental, ethical and economic reasons why food matters. The environmental implications of food waste alone make it worth avoiding. A massive amount of resources–mostly oil and water–go into producing our food. When we don’t use roughly 40 percent of it, we’re squandering those embedded resources.

In addition, when we send food to the landfill, its anaerobic rotting creates methane. That greenhouse gas is more than 20 times as potent at trapping heat as CO2. Given that and our staggering rate of waste, our food-filled landfills are steadily aiding climate change. Landfills are the number two source of human-related methane emissions. And while some landfills have systems in place to either destroy or harness its methane, they aren’t all that efficient.

-- Earth is "a rotating potato." What kind of a potato? Check out the video.

-- Brian Foley


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