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2013 SkS Weekly News Roundup #26B

Posted on 29 June 2013 by John Hartz

  • 21 percent of homes emit 50 percent of CO2
  • Alberta floods a wake up call to dangers of extreme weather
  • Big Oil's big lies about alternative energy
  • Coal industry fuels opposition to emissions regulations
  • Global warming worsened Australia's record hot summer
  • Heat wave may threaten world's hottest temp. record
  • Obama asks American voters to declare on climate change
  • Obama is right on climate change
  • The myriad benefits of a carbon tax
  • While Congress sleeps

21 percent of homes emit 50 percent of CO2

Not all homes pollute equally—even in the relatively homogeneous world of a mid-sized town in Switzerland. A study of a village of 3,000 finds that 21 percent of households belched half the town's greenhouse gases. The biggest factors running up the carbon tabs of the disproportionate polluters: the size of their houses and the length of their commutes. Airline travel wasn't factored into this research.

21 Percent of Homes Emit 50 Percent of CO2 by Julia Whitty, Mother Jones, June 27, 1943

Alberta floods a wake up call to dangers of extreme weather

The Alberta floods are Canada’s Hurricane Sandy moment, and should be a catalyst for badly needed changes to limit future damage from extreme weather, say experts on climate change adaptation.

“In many cases, the standards for where and how we build are completely out of date with a climatically changed future,” said Ian Mauro, Canada Research Chair in human dimension and environmental change at Mount Allison University. The Alberta floods, he said, should be a wake-up call that “we need to seriously rethink how we build structures, where we build structures and how we manage in emergency situations.”

Alberta floods a wake up call to dangers of extreme weather: experts by Elizabeth Payne, Ottowa Citizen, June 28, 2013

Big Oil's big lies about alternative energy

As President Obama calls for greater investments in alternatives, the biggest energy companies are doubling down on riskier, more destructive oil sources.

Big Oil's Big Lies About Alternative Energy by Antonio Juhaz, Rolling Stone, June 25, 2013

Coal industry fuels opposition to emissions regulations

In the wake of President Barack Obama's climate change speech delivered Tuesday, some coal companies have already begun firing back.

Power companies throughout the nation, along with a number of (mostly GOP) lawmakers supporting the coal industry's interests, criticized Obama's calls for increased regulations on carbon emissions. They're no strangers to attacking proposals coming from the president -- and they back up their statements with their political giving.

According to the money trail, the coal industry has consistently given to Republicans.

Coal Industry Fuels Opposition to Emissions Regulations by David Steinbach,, June 25, 2013

Global warming worsened Australia's record hot summer

Human-caused global warming played a role in making this past summer Australia's hottest on record, a new study suggests.

The summer of 2012-2013 probably won't retain its title for long; researchers say record-breaking scorching summers are five times more likely to occur now in Australia due to climate change.

"Our research has shown that, due to greenhouse gas emissions, these types of extreme summers will become even more frequent and more severe in the future," study author Sophie Lewis of the University of Melbourne said in a statement.

Global Warming Worsened Australia's Record Hot Summer by Megan Gannon, LiveScience, June 27, 2013

Heat Wave May Threaten World’s Hottest Temp. Record

A brutal and potentially historic heat wave is in store for the West as parts of Nevada, Arizona and California may get dangerously hot temperatures starting Thursday and lasting through next week. In fact, by the end of the heat wave, we may see a record tied or broken for the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth.

The furnace-like heat is coming courtesy of a “stuck” weather pattern that is setting up across the U.S. and Canada. Starting this weekend, the jet stream  a fast-moving river of air at airliner altitudes that is responsible for steering weather systems — will form the shape of a massive, slithering snake with what meteorologists refer to as a deep “ridge” across the Western states, and an equally deep trough seting up across the Central and Eastern states. 

Heat Wave May Threaten World’s Hottest Temp. Record by Andrew Freedman, Climate Central, June 28, 2013

Obama asks American voters to declare on climate change

President Barack Obama is urging Americans to make climate change a political litmus test, asking them to declare they won't vote for any politicians who don't protect future generations from environmental devastation.

Obama says Americans are already paying the price for climate change, including in lost lives and hundreds of billions of dollars. He says America will be judged as a people and a nation by how it responds. 

Obama asks Americans to declare they won't vote for those who don't act on climate change by Josh Lederman, AP/Daily Journal, June 29, 2013

Obama is right on climate change

The goals President Barack Obama set out Tuesday in his Climate Action Plan -- including cutting pollution from coal plants and aggressively pursuing clean energy alternatives -- won't solve all the challenges of climate change, but they are a big first step in protecting the planet from its worst effects. Getting serious about solutions is critically important, especially now and especially for the United States. 

Obama is right on climate change, Op-ed by Chris Field, CNN, June 29, 2013

Tepid, timid

THIS is an unusually busy moment in the unhappy history of efforts to curb climate change. In two weeks at the end of June the world’s three biggest polluters unveiled carbon-reducing measures. In China and America these are more ambitious than previous policies. But they fall far short of what is needed to rein in the relentless rise in global carbon emissions.

Tepid, timid: The world will one day adopt a carbon tax—but only after exhausting all the alternatives, The Economist, June 27, 2013

The myriad benefits of a carbon tax

Few goals in Washington have more bipartisan support, at least in theory, than cleaning up the tax code. Republicans and Democrats say they want a system that is simpler, fairer and more efficient. Put simply, they want a system with fewer special tax breaks and lower rates.

Yet one of the best ideas for advancing all of those goals – and also heading off catastrophic climate change — isn’t even on the table. I refer to a carbon tax, which would impose a price on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. 

The Myriad Benefits of a Carbon Tax by Laura D’Andrea Tyson, Economix, New York Times, June 28, 2013

While Congress sleeps

IN THE full glare of Washington’s summer sunshine, Barack Obama unveiled what he called “a co-ordinated assault on a changing climate” on June 25th. He promised to deploy almost every green weapon at his disposal, from better insulation in public buildings to loan guarantees for clean energy. To engage the enemy as quickly as possible, he is relying solely on authority already granted to him by Congress. Yet most of the munitions in his atmospheric arsenal are less than fearsome—and Congress, which could provide reinforcements, prefers not to. 

While Congress sleeps: Barack Obama offers stopgap measures to slow global warming, the Economist, June 27, 2013

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Comments 1 to 4:

  1. Julia Whitty's "21 Percent of Homes Emit 50 Percent of CO2" by Julia Whitty, is part of a family of rules, of which LIndsay Wolson's "60-15 rule of carbon footprints” ( is a member.  Wolfson, in his own words, traces his rule back to "the economist Vilfredo Parteo, who once observed that 80% of Italy’s land was owned by 20% of its people, and went on to find a similar ratio occurring in many systems. In business it might be ’80% of sales come from 20% of customers’ or in economics that ’80% of wealth is held by 20% of people’". 

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  2. I am really "terrified" by the report on the lies of Big Oil ... And I thought BP is investing into PV and windmill technology ... nothing ...

    They simply lie, always lie!

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  3. If CO2 is really a pollutant then all emissions should be illegal and all those who emit CO2 should be prosecuted.

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  4. That's right William! Any time something has been identified as a pollutant in the past it's simply been regulated completely out of existence, and all the emitters have been locked up! In iron coffins, with spikes on the inside, to quote Monty Python.

    Not so much a strawman, as a strawbogeyman, really... ;-)

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