Thursday, January 31, 2008

"Clean Coal" Project Abandoned

In Major Reversal, Administration Abandons 'Clean Coal' Project as Too Expensive. By Stephen Power, Rebecca Smith and Jeffrey Ball, WSJournal, January 31, 2008. "The Bush administration, in a major policy reversal, canceled its support for [the] planned $1.8 billion coal-gasification plant, FutureGen Industrial Alliance, that was supposed to herald a new era of emissions-free power but instead has been plagued by huge cost overruns. The move may kill the project by shifting most of the cost to an industry consortium whose exposure was expected to be capped at $400 million. The decision by the DOE represents a blow to coal producers and coal-burning utilities which had hoped to use the demonstration plant to test 'clean-coal' technologies. The Bush administration had promoted the project as part of a broader effort to keep coal as part of the nation's fuel mix by finding ways to burn it more cleanly and store carbon-dioxide emissions. Under the project... the government was to support the construction of a nearly pollution-free coal plant that would have turned coal into hydrogen-rich synthetic gas for generating electricity while pumping [CO2] underground for permanent storage."

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


From red-ink recession to green stimulus
Three dozen Senators from both parties have proposed a stimulus package to revitalize the US economy that would include a "long-term extension of clean energy and energy-efficiency tax incentives that expire at the end of this year." The tax incentives would put more money in people's pockets, more jobs in people's lives, and less carbon dioxide in the air.The three dozen Senators contend that "Over one hundred thousand Americans could be put to work in 2008 if clean energy production tax credits were extended in the first quarter of this year."An all-around winner!A great beginning! -- It would teach the truth that greening our earth does not need to destroy jobs and the economy. Human "earthlings" and the earth are not enemies we have to choose between; we are intertwined just as the Hebrew words "adam" (human being) and "adamah" (earth) remind us. With a new President and Congress one year from now, we can be demanding much more: switching the huge subsidies that now go to Big Oil, Big Coal, and Big Highways to encourage green energy sources and build swift and efficient rail systems.Start now! -- Write your Senators right now to urge them to support clean energy and energy efficiency as part of the stimulus package to strengthen our economy. To get a letter off by FAX, click to -

Monday, January 28, 2008

VIDEO: Blue Man Group on Global Warming


Iraq Ratifies Kyoto Protocol. AFP, January 26, 2008. "Iraq has formally ratified the UN's Kyoto Protocol on climate change, according to a government statement... 'The presidential council ratified in its session on January 23 a law according to which the Republic of Iraq will join the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol,' the statement said."

Saturday, January 26, 2008

OMNI program focuses on tool in fight against global warming — sustainable farming

Please click on images to enlarge explanatory slides and closeup of organic farmer, Patriece Gros.

Friday, January 25, 2008

OMNI Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology's annual dinner TONIGHT

2008 Annual
Omni Members Meeting

6-7 Join or Renew Membership
Visit “Pitch Pit” for volunteer opportunities
Enjoy Dinner!
7:00 Still on the Hill
7:15 Introductions
7:30 Workshops
8:30 Report Back from Workshops
Revisit “Pitch Pit”
Group Sing - We Shall Overcome

Sustainable Farming – the gentle way to feed the planet, one community at a time
A discussion of farming practices which can change the way food is grown, and how it can save our families, our communities, and our planet. Presented by noted sustainable food systems presenter Patrice Gros. Patrice has been a full time organic farmer for 10 years. He is the cofounder of 2 area Farmers Markets (Berryville & Eureka Springs, AR) and sits on the board of the Eureka Market. Patrice runs Foundation Farm and its associated Farm School. For more info visit SANCTUARY

Sensible Fayayetteville – A positive shift away from draconian drug laws
Ryan Denham talks about a suggested city code that places marijuana possession as the least important priority for law enforcement officials, (similar to the ordinance passed by Eureka Springs last year.) Federal drug laws have driven our prison system to crisis, and into the hands of private corporations. At the same time it has created class and human-rights dilemmas on a wide scale. A sensible step for Fayetteville is a major step for American human rights. Deep End

Nonviolence in the Face of Fascism
America appears to be moving toward a more fascist government, and many people are becoming anxious about it. People who believe in nonviolence need to know what powerful tools of nonviolence are available to them in tense and uncertain situations. Gladys Tiffany and Shelley Buonaiuto lead discussion on some remarkable and already-available options. There are more then you might think. Omni office

5th Anniversary of the Iraq War
Oh No! Not Again!
We hoped it would never come to this, but we’ve been a-honking for a long time now. Would you like to help Omni plan and organize a fitting remembrance for the national imbroglio? Kelly Mulhollan will organize this session to begin planning a commemoration for the month of March. upstairs chapel

Media Reform In Our Own Backyard
Big Media has taken over mainstream forums for discussion of public issues, and left dissenting opinion without a public voice. Omni Center is working with others to create forums where open discussion is encouraged. Some of those attempts are with our great, long-time Video Underground series, working with Fayetteville Cable Access TV (CAT) to develop Omni Month in Review, and creating Omni Free Radio - our own community radio station. This group also includes Rapid Responders – writer/researchers ready to counter the uninformed perspectives in the local letters to the editor pages. And we have a hankering to take up our own editorial-writing board. There may a place for you in the media corner of the Culture of Peace. Presented by four Omni Media Group members: Gerry Sloan for Video Underground, Claire Detels for Omni Month in Review, Joe Newman for Omni Free Radio, and Larry Woodall for Rapid Response Network. fire pit upstairs

Thursday, January 24, 2008

South's Drought Threatens Nuclear Power Plants

South's drought a threat to nuclear power plants
January 24, 2008
LAKE NORMAN, N.C. -- Nuclear reactors across the South could be forced to throttle back or shut down temporarily this year because drought is drying up the rivers and lakes that supply power plants with the cooling water they need to operate.
Utility officials say these shutdowns probably wouldn't result in blackouts. But they could lead to higher electricity bills. Last summer, there was one brief, drought-related shutdown at a reactor in Alabama.

"Water is the nuclear industry's Achilles' heel," said Jim Warren, executive director of N.C. Waste Awareness and Reduction Network, an environmental group critical of nuclear power. "This is becoming a crisis."
An Associated Press analysis of the nation's 104 nuclear reactors found 24 are in areas experiencing the most severe levels of drought.
All but two are on the shores of lakes and rivers and rely on submerged intake pipes to draw billions of gallons of water for cooling and condensing steam after it has turned the plants' turbines.
Because of the yearlong dry spell in the South, water levels on those lakes and rivers are getting close to the minimums set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
"If water levels get to a certain point, we'll have to power it down or go off-line," said Robert Yanity, spokesman for South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., which operates the Summer nuclear plant outside Columbia.
About 3 million customers of the four commercial utilities that have reactors in the drought zone get their power from nuclear energy. If a prolonged shutdown were to happen, utilities might have to buy electricity on the wholesale market, and the high costs could be passed on to customers.
"Currently, nuclear power costs between $5 to $7 to produce a megawatt hour," said Daniele Seitz, an energy analyst with Dahlman Rose & Co in New York. "It would cost 10 times that amount if you had to buy replacement power, especially during the summer."

Wal-Mart on the Green Offensive

Wal-Mart on the Green Offensive. By Michael Barbaro, NYTimes, January 24, 2008. "Wal-Mart pledged Wednesday to cut the energy used by many of its products 25 percent, to force the chain's suppliers to meet stricter ethical standards and to apply its legendary cost-cutting skills to help other companies deliver health care for their employees. In a lofty address that at times resembled a campaign speech, the chief executive of Wal-Mart, H. Lee Scott Jr., said that 'we live in a time when people are losing confidence in the ability of government to solve problems.' But Wal-Mart, he said, 'does not wait for someone else to solve problems.' He then laid out sweeping plans for the company on several health and environmental issues, and he hinted that even more ambitious goals might be on the horizon. Mr. Scott said, for instance, that Wal-Mart is talking to leaders of the automobile industry about selling electric or hybrid cars -- and might even install windmills in its parking lots so customers could recharge their cars with renewable electricity."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

US at the bottom of G8 for Environmental Performance

U.S. Ranked at Bottom of G8 for Environmental Performance. By Felicity Barringer, NYTimes, January 23, 2008. "A new international ranking of environmental performance puts the United States at the bottom of the Groups of 8 industrialized nations and 39th among the 149 countries on the list. European nations dominate the top places in the ranking, which evaluates sanitation, greenhouse gas emissions, agricultural policies, air pollution and 20 other measures to formulate an overall score, with 100 the best possible. The top 10 countries, with scores of 87 or better, were led by Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and Finland. The others at the top were Austria, France, Latvia, Costa Rica, Colombia and New Zealand, the leader in the 2006 version of the analysis, which is conducted by researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities. 'We are putting more weight on climate change,' said Daniel Esty, the report's lead author, who is the director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy. 'Switzerland is the most greenhouse gas efficient economy in the developed world,' he said, in part because of its use of hydroelectric power and its transportation system, which relies more on trains than individual cars or trucks. The list [will] be released today at the World Economic Forum in Davos."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Texas Judge Rejects Hempstead Coal Plant

LITTLE ROCK (AP) -- A Texas administrative law judge has recommended that regulators reject a Southwestern Electric Power Co. plan to build a $1.3 billion coal-fired power plant in southwest Arkansas that also would serve Texas customers.
The written recommendation said SWEPCO wrongly calculated future demand for electricity among its customers in Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, and failed to prove the proposed 600-megawatt John W. Turk plant near Texarkana would be needed.
Wendy K.L. Harvel, a law judge with the Texas State Office of Administrative Law Hearings, agreed with Texas Industrial Energy Consumers, which opposes the plan, and with the staff of the Texas Public Utility Commission that SWEPCO should have excluded projected load amounts related to wholesale customers.
Harvel said in her findings Thursday that because the utility is not obligated to continue to sell to wholesalers once a contract expires, including the wholesale figures would mean residential and commercial customers could end up paying higher rates for a plant that does not sell wholesale in the amounts originally estimated.
In addition, she said, including the wholesale figures runs counter to efforts to move toward a more competitive electricity market.
The Texas commission has scheduled a Feb. 22 meeting to discuss the recommendation.
SWEPCO has said it plans to build the plant, regardless of whether Texas grants the "certificate of need." The company hopes to complete the project in 2011.
In a statement Monday to The Associated Press, SWEPCO said that Texas approval of the Turk plant would ensure "that Texas customers continue to benefit from a stable, reliable and affordable supply of electricity as demand increases across the region."
The company said that without Texas approval, the 158 megawatts allocated for Texas customers would be sold elsewhere and electricity needed in the area would be supplied from "the much more volatile purchased power market."
The utility said its service to wholesalers, such as cooperatives and municipalities, has been of direct economic advantage to its non-wholesale customers.
"If SWEPCO were to reduce or abandon its wholesale customer base, as has been suggested by some parties in the Texas case, the cost of facilities and service would have to be spread over a smaller customer base, thereby hurting all of SWEPCO's existing retail customers in the future," the statement said.
In her findings, the law judge said that if the Texas commission denies the certificate, the Turk plant would not be included in SWEPCO's customer rate base in Texas and SWEPCO then would have to shift the costs of the plant to ratepayers elsewhere. Shreveport, La.-based SWEPCO has about 464,000 customers in Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana.
In Arkansas, the Public Service Commission agreed with SWEPCO in 2006 that the company needed more electricity to meet a nearly 2 percent annual increase in demand among its customers. Last year, the PSC found by a 2-1 vote that the plant would be "environmentally compatible" and said the project could proceed on a 2,875-acre site near Fulton. The PSC also set certain conditions on the project to address environmental concerns.
Meanwhile, SWEPCO continues to seek permit approval from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and from Louisiana regulators.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Friday, January 18, 2008

Wind Energy News

Offshore Wind Power Resolution Introduced in Delaware Legislature. By Aaron Nathans, Wilmington News Journal, January 18, 2008. "Twenty-eight [Delaware] lawmakers have co-sponsored a resolution that recommends passage of an offshore wind power contract. It was filed Thursday by Rep. Robert Valihura (R-Talleyville); half of the Republican-controlled House, including Speaker Terry Spence, had signed on as co-sponsors. The resolution says Controller General Russ Larson should approve a 25-year contract for Delmarva Power to buy offshore wind power from Bluewater Wind. At a meeting with three other state agencies last month, [the controller] declined to sign the contract because of division among the legislative leadership... One co-sponsor, Rep. Peter Schwartzkopf (D-Rehoboth Beach), said he hoped the measure would pass in the House and move to the Senate... But it faces an uncertain future there. While seven of 21 senators co-sponsored the resolution, including three Democrats, none of the Democratic majority leadership had signed on. Senate Majority Leader Anthony DeLuca could not be reached for comment Thursday. Sen. Harris McDowell III, D-Wilmington, chairman of the Senate Energy and Transit Committee, said he will first hold hearings on a broad range of renewable energy sources [which] could hold up consideration."
U.S. Wind Industry Breezed Along at 45 Percent Growth Last Year. By Rebecca Smith, WSJournal, January 18, 2008. Subscription required. "Two forms of renewable energy -- wind and solar power -- enjoyed substantial growth last year, spurred by federal and state energy policies and incentives that support green energy sources. The U.S. wind-power industry grew in size by 45% last year, adding a record 5,244 megawatts of capacity that amounted to a third of all new generating capacity built in the U.S. in 2007, according to the American Wind Energy Association. General Electric led the pack as the nation's largest supplier. The solar industry grew at a similar clip, though from a much smaller base, adding more than 300 megawatts of capacity last year, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Additions are expected to roughly double this year. Large commercial solar installations now exceed home installations in California, reversing a long-term pattern and likely a bellwether for other states... One worry for the sector is the expiration, at the end of 2008, of certain federal tax credits that have spurred development."

Big Coal Throws Its Weight Around

Big Coal Throws Its Weight Around. By Steven Mufson, WashPost, January 18, 2008. "A group backed by the coal industry and its utility allies is waging a $35 million campaign in primary and caucus states to rally public support for coal-fired electricity and to fuel opposition to legislation that Congress is crafting to slow climate change. The group, called Americans for Balanced Energy Choices, has spent $1.3 million on billboard, newspaper, television and radio ads in Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina. One of its television ads shows a power cord being plugged into a lump of coal, which it calls 'an American resource that will help us with vital energy security' and 'the fuel that powers our way of life'... The group has also deployed teams on the campaign trail; about 50 people, many of them paid, walked around as human billboards and handed out leaflets outside Tuesday's Democratic debate in Nevada with questions for voters to ask the candidates... Environmentalists are worried that [this]... could be a much bigger offensive once Congress gets down to work on a climate change bill."

Wind power in Arkansas focus of Fort Smith meeting

The Arkansas Democrat/Gazette's Jan. 18, 2008, Northwest edition included a story on the
Potential of wind power in Arkansas
in its Business section. Among those quoted was Dr. Stephan Pollard of Fayetteville, whose first name was mispelled in the story, but whose message was clear.

"Stephen (Stephan) Pollard, an engineer with Environmental Dynamics in Fayetteville, said certain areas of Arkansas, including Northwest Arkansas, are in wind currents considered fair to good for operating wind turbines.
He’s counted only six wind turbines in or near Benton and Washington counties. One in Eureka Springs and two in West Fork are residential-size turbines. A larger, 75-foot tower turbine in Prairie Grove is operated more as a hobby than an energy source, he said.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has a 12-foot rotor diameter turbine on a light pole in the parking lot of its Pleasant Crossing store in south Rogers.
Crowder College in Neosho, Mo., is building a 125-foot tower to hold a turbine with a 54-foot-diameter rotor as a teaching tool, he said.
St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Springdale has ordered three small turbines it will install near Interstate 540 and within sight of the minor league baseball stadium now under construction. The church hopes to influence others to seek alternative energy sources, he said."

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Please, Eat Less Meat

Pachauri Urges Less Consumption and Vegetarian Diet. By Marlowe Hood, IPS, January 15, 2008. "Don't eat meat, ride a bike, and be a frugal shopper -- that's how you can help brake global warming, the head of the United Nation's Nobel Prize-winning scientific panel on climate change said Tuesday. The 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), issued last year, highlights 'the importance of lifestyle changes,' said Rajendra Pachauri at a press conference in Paris. 'This is something that the IPCC was afraid to say earlier, but now we have said it.' A vegetarian, the Indian economist made a plea for people around the world to tame their carnivorous impulses. 'Please eat less meat -- meat is a very carbon intensive commodity,' he said, adding that consuming large quantities was also bad for one's health... Pachauri praised the system of communal, subscriber-access bikes in Paris and other French cities as a 'wonderful development'... Another lifestyle change that can help, he continued, was not buying things 'simply because they are available.' He urged consumers to only purchase what they really need... At 67, Pachauri said he has not yet decided whether to take on a second five-year mandate as IPCC head. Elections take place in September. On the one hand, he said, the experience he has acquired would serve him well. But the advantage of retiring, he said with a smile, is that his carbon footprint -- the amount of C02 emissions generated by all this travels -- would be greatly reduced."

Tar Sands Devastation

Comprehensive Report Spell Out Devastation From Tar Sand Operations., January 10, 2008. "The Pembina Institute and WWF Canada released [on January 10, 2007] Under-Mining The Environment, Oil Sands Mine Environmental Report Card -- the most comprehensive comparative assessment of 10 of Alberta's operating, approved or applied-for oil sands mines. The mines, for the most part, get a failing grade. The current and proposed oil sands mining projects are ranked on 20 different environmental indicators in five categories: environmental management, land impacts, air pollution, water use, and management of greenhouse gases... With the exception of the existing Albian Muskeg River Mine, no operation has voluntary targets to limit greenhouse gas emissions... Despite more than 40 years of oil sands development, not a single hectare of land has been certified as reclaimed under Government of Alberta guidelines." Summary of Report (PDF, 4 pp); Full Report (PDF 72 pp).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Rapid Increase in Antarctic Ice Melt

Antarctic Ice Disappearing

WASHINGTON - Climatic changes appear to be destabilizing vast ice sheets of western Antarctica that had previously seemed relatively protected from global warming, researchers reported yesterday, raising the prospect of faster sea-level rise than current estimates.
While the overall loss is a tiny fraction of the miles-deep ice that covers much of Antarctica, scientists said the new finding is important because the continent holds about 90 percent of Earth's ice, and until now, large-scale ice loss there had been limited to the peninsula that juts out toward the tip of South America. In addition, researchers found that the rate of ice loss in the affected areas has accelerated over the past 10 years -- as it has on most glaciers and ice sheets around the world.
"Without doubt, Antarctica as a whole is now losing ice yearly, and each year it's losing more," said Eric Rignot, lead author of a paper published online in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Northeast Winters Warming FAST!

Northeast Winters Warming Fast. By Michael Hill, AP, January 12, 2008. "Signs that winters in the Northeast are losing their bite have been abundant in recent years and now researchers have nailed down numbers to show just how big the changes have been.A study of weather station data from across the Northeast from 1965 through 2005 found December-March temperatures increased by 2.5 degrees. Snowfall totals dropped by an average of 8.8 inches across the region over the same period, and the number of days with at least 1 inch of snow on the ground decreased by nine days on average. 'Winter is warming greater than any other season,' said Elizabeth Burakowski, who analyzed data from dozens of stations for her master's thesis in collaboration with Cameron Wake, a professor at the University of New Hampshire's Institute for the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space."

Cap and Trade Scheme Flawed

Cap-and-Trade Scheme to Reduce Airline Emissions is Flawed. Commentary by Dan Hamilton, SFChronicle, January 13, 2008. "There's a big hole in the Kyoto Protocol: Airline emissions aren't covered. This emission omission has officials in California and Europe worried, so each acted recently to plug the hole. In December, ministers from 27 different countries agreed to cap carbon emissions from aircraft flying to and from the European Union. California joined a host of other U.S. states and municipalities to petition the EPA to institute a similar system on all aircraft flying to and from American airports. The new EU system, slated to go into effect in 2012, would cap carbon dioxide emissions for European and foreign airplanes alike, while allowing airlines to buy and sell pollution credits on the EU carbon market... The pollution credit scheme could mean windfall profits for some companies and major losses for others. It is a unilateral approach to a global problem. Undaunted, EU activists are pressing ahead, and have found American allies - not in Washington, but in California and a host of other states. The states have petitioned the EPA to impose a cap-and-trade system, similar to that of the EU, on domestic and foreign aircraft departing or landing at American airports... Activists on both sides of the Atlantic are hoping that their newfound partnership can set the stage for U.S. action at home and abroad, should the policy door open in Washington following the November elections. They will be better able to walk through that door, however, if they use the time they have now to fix the flaws in their cap-and-trade plans for aviation." Dan Hamilton is a professor of international relations at Johns Hopkins University.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Seeking Friendlier Skies

NRDC Launches Campaign Against Airlines Using Fuel from Tar Sands, Coal and Shale. NRDC, January 10, 2008. "The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) today urged 15 major U.S. and Canadian airlines and The Boeing Company to publicly oppose the use of jet fuel made from highly polluting sources including liquefied coal, oil shale, and so-called 'tar sands,' and called on the airlines to join a campaign seeking increased investment in cleaner fuels throughout the airline industry. 'The aviation industry is under tremendous pressure to cut emissions and reduce their fuel bills. Using tar sands, coal, and shale to make fuels won't help. In fact, it would be a giant step backward,' said Liz Barratt-Brown, NRDC senior attorney. 'There are better, safer, cleaner solutions that cost less and won't pollute the friendly skies. We want to work with them to make it happen.' Production of oil from these controversial sources generates between two and five times the heat-trapping global warming pollution compared with producing conventional oil."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Wartime Mobilization Against Climate Change

'Wartime Mobilization' Against Climate Change: Lester Brown's Plan B. By Bryan Walsh, Time, January 10, 2008. "After detailing just how screwed our overpopulated, overconsuming world is -- thanks to an economic system that rewards production without regard for environmental impact -- Brown [president of Earth Policy Institute] lays out an alternate path that could save us from the worst consequences of climate change. At the heart is a call to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions 80% by 2020 -- far more aggressive than anything you'll hear from political leaders or even most activists. It's an ambitious plan, one that is less concerned with political feasibility than the survivability of the planet. 'This is... wartime mobilization, an all-out response proportionate to the threat that global warming presents to our future,' [Brown says]."

Fossil Fools Day

Fossil Fools Day, April 1st: International Day of Action Against the Fossil Fuel EmpireFind a fossil fool in your community and pull a prank that packs a punch. Check out our website for the call-to-action and to download our new April 1st Action Guide to Fossil Fooleries zine. [read more]

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Stop Idling

Utah Moms Fight Idling. By Elaine Jarvik, Salt Lake Deseret Morning News, January 5, 2008. "On a typical afternoon you'll see Dana Clark knocking on the window of some car idling in front of the school across from her house. Politely, Clark will explain that turning off an idling engine is something that moms can do to help clean up Utah's filthy air. But what's really needed, says Clark, is a more systematic approach — not just a few moms knocking on a few windows but a whole state full of moms lobbying for change. Clark is one of the co-founders of Utah Moms for Clean Air, begun seven months ago... Utah Moms for Clean Air is lobbying for public transportation as a priority over construction of the Mountain View Corridor and will lobby the state to adopt stricter car-emission standards. The group has also been working with the Environmental Protection Agency and local school districts to retrofit diesel school buses so they run more cleanly, and has called for a moratorium on the construction of new coal-fired power plants in Utah and elsewhere."

Presidential Candidates on Climate Change

Presidential Candidates on Climate Change. E Magazine, January 6, 2008. "The outcome of the 2008 presidential election could very well have a big impact on a wide range of environmental issues, especially climate change. All of the Democratic candidates -- Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Bill Richardson and Dennis Kucinich -- support reducing carbon dioxide emissions nationally upwards of 80 percent by 2050 in order to stave off global warming. Likewise, each would like to see fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks raised to at least 40 miles per gallon within the next few decades. Meanwhile, only one of the major Republican contenders, John McCain, has even articulated a position on the issue of global warming, with most favoring expanding our base of greenhouse gas-spewing coal-fired power plants... As for specific track records, Clinton has an impressive record of introducing pro-environment legislation into Congress, and for her time in the Senate scores a 90 (out of 100) on green voting from the... League of Conservation Voters. Obama is newer to the politics of the environment, but scored a 96 for his two years in the Senate from LCV, and has garnered kudos from environmental leaders for the aggressive climate and energy plan he unveiled in October 2007." [For the other candidates' climate and energy plans: Clinton; Edwards; Richardson; Kucinich; McCain.]

Keep Up to Date on the Coal Plant Issue

(1) Sierra Club's National Coal Rush Website - This website maps and tracks all coal plants that have been proposed across the country since 2005. We also post recent news articles on coal plants.

(2) Call to Governor Mike Beebe to Halt SWEPCO's Proposed Coal Power Plant in Southwest Arkansas -

Monday, January 7, 2008

Ice Pioneer Eyes Farthest Glaciers

By CHARLES J. HANLEY – 1 day ago
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (AP) — For 5,000 years, great tongues of ice have spread over the 3-mile-high slopes of Puncak Jaya, in the remotest reaches of this remote tropical island. Now those glaciers are melting, and Lonnie Thompson must get there before they're gone.
To the American glaciologist, the ancient ice is a vanishing "archive" of the story of El Nino, the equatorial phenomenon driving much of the world's climate.
More than that, the little-explored glaciers are a last unknown for a mountaineering scientist who for three decades has circled the planet pioneering the deep-drilling of ice cores, both to chronicle the history of climate and to bear witness to the death of tropical glaciers from global warming.
"No one knows how thick these remaining glaciers are," Thompson said of Puncak Jaya, or Mount Jaya. "We do know they are disappearing."
The unknowns on this wild, Texas-sized island extend even to the local climate.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Sign the Stop-the-Coal-Plant Petition

Sign the Petition

To: Governor Mike Beebe
We believe that the Arkansas Public Service Commission made a mistake when it approved Swepco's plans for a new coal-fired electric generating plant to be built near Texarkana. Far from being "clean," this plant will spew five million tons of global warming pollution into the atmosphere every year, increasing our states' global warming emissions by 8 percent. These emissions are equivalent to the annual emissions from half of the cars and light trucks in Arkansas. This is especially ironic when the Arkansas legislature earlier this year voted overwhelmingly to establish the Governor's Commission on Global Warming with the goal of establishing, by the time of the 2009 legislative session, a reduction goal and a plan for achieving it. There are better solutions: energy efficiency, renewable energy resources such as wind, and, if necessary, natural gas (which is far cleaner than coal, and emits only half as much global warming pollution as coal). Furthermore, all of these solutions will provide more jobs for Arkansans than will be provided by the planned coal plant. We call on you to issue a moratorium on all physical preparations for construction at the Texarkana plant until the Governor's Commission on Global Warming has reported to the Arkansas legislature.
The Undersigned

Sign the Petition

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Co-founder of IPCC Dies

Bert Bolin, Swedish Co-Founder of IPCC Dies. By Malin Rising, AP, January 3, 2008. "Bert Bolin, a Swedish climate scientist and co-founder of the Nobel Peace-winning U.N. panel on climate change, has died at age 82. As early as the 1950s, Bolin produced research about the circulation of carbon in nature that remains relevant to the debate on climate change. He played a key role in communicating the dangers of climate change and served as the first chairman of the U.N.'s IPCC from 1988 to 1998... Visiting Sweden in December after accepting the Nobel Prize in Norway, [former VP Al] Gore said: 'Bert, you set up the framework for the IPCC and without your contributions we would not have come to where we are today. Thank you for starting the process.' When he learned he had won the Nobel, Gore first called IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri, and then Bolin, he said. Bolin died Sunday in a Stockholm hospital from stomach cancer, but was active until three days before his death, said his colleague Henning Rodhe, a professor in chemical meteorology at Stockholm University. 'He was an eminent organizer and leader and played an important role internationally in establishing links between scientists and decision-makers,' Rodhe said Wednesday in announcing Bolin's death."

CO2 Trapping Capacity Cut by Warm Fall

CO2 trapping capacity cut by warm fall
QUEBEC CITY, Quebec, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- A new study says warmer autumn temperatures are reducing the ability of Canada's northern forests to remove carbon dioxide from the environment.
Related Headlines
That sucking sound? CO2 pulled out of air (November 21, 2007) -- Emerging technologies could take direct aim at global warming by sucking carbon dioxide from the air, U.S. scientists said. Columbia University ... > full story
More trees won't solve climate problems (November 17, 2007) -- A U.S. report says planting more trees won't solve the problem of increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The State of the Carbon Cycle ... > full story
Study: 320 million trees killed by Katrina (November 16, 2007) -- U.S. researchers say the millions of trees killed or severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 have become a major source of carbon dioxide ... > full story
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Study: Human-generated ozone damages crops (October 30, 2007) -- U.S. scientists said increasing ozone levels from the use of fossil fuels will damage global vegetation, seriously affecting the world's ... > full story
Ocean CO2 levels can influence climate (October 24, 2007) -- A Swiss-led study has found the concentration of carbon dioxide in the world's oceans has a significant influence on the Earth's global ... > full story
The report, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, said autumn temperatures in northern latitudes have risen by about 2 degrees Fahrenheit over the past two decades.
Using computer modeling to integrate forest canopy measurements and remote satellite data, researchers found that autumn warming greatly increases soil decomposition and significantly reduces carbon dioxide uptake.
Researcher Philippe Ciais of the Global Carbon Project said the potentially rapid decline in the future ability of northern terrestrial ecosystems to remove atmospheric carbon dioxide would make stabilization of atmospheric CO2 concentrations much harder than currently predicted, the report said.
Copyright 2008 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Green Drinks tonight!


What: GreenDrinks happy hour --- this month with a BONUS!: an organic wine tasting sponsored by Barb Willett from Liquor Mart

When: Wednesday, January 2nd from 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm (the 1st Wednesday of every month)

Where: Smilin' Jack's (262 N. School Ave. in Fayetteville)

---GreenDrinks is a casual social opportunity for people from different professional and personal walks of life who are interested in participating in creating a "greener" local environment and economy to get together to meet one another, talk about ideas and see what comes out of it. This is a community event that is open to anyone interested in participating and takes place on the 1st Wednesday of every month.

---If you haven't been there yet, Smilin' Jack's is great! It is an organic & natural food sandwich shop right off Dickson on School (behind Dickson St. Book Shop; across School from the WAC Rose Garden). As far as drinks go, he serves organic beer and wine (and other beer choices) as well as organic smoothies, water, coffee and sodas. He is committed to developing and running a sustainable business and promoting it to his customers and is happy to offer up his place as a "home" for our GreenDrinks event.

University of Arkansas Net Impact
Green Valley Net Impact
Bentonville/Rogers Net Impact
Ozark Headwaters Group Sierra Club
Western Arkansas Chapter U.S. Green Building Council
Sustainable NWA
NWA Sustainability Center
Audubon Arkansas

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions or comments. Also, if you already get this message from your organization, let me know and I'll take you off my list so you won't get double messages. Hope to see you on the 2nd!


Karen McSpadden
University of Arkansas Net Impact
479.225.2077 cell
This email was sent by
PO Box 4796
Fayetteville, 727201

How Green is Your Candidate

How Green is Your Candidate?, December 6, 2007. ''Interviews and info on the presidential candidates' energy plans and environmental positions"

Beyond the Point of No Return

Beyond the Point of No Return. By Ross Gelbspan, Grist Magazine, December 11, 2007. "As the pace of global warming kicks into overdrive, the hollow optimism of climate activists, along with the desperate responses of some of the world's most prominent climate scientists, is preventing us from focusing on the survival requirements of the human enterprise... To keep ourselves afloat, we need to change the economic and political structures that determine how we behave... We need, in the face of this oncoming onslaught, to reorganize our social structures to reflect our most humane collective aspirations... We are crossing a threshold into uncharted territory. And since there is no precedent to guide us, we are left with only our own hearts to consult, whatever courage we can muster, our instinctive dedication to a human future -- and the intellectual integrity to look reality in the eye."

350 is the NUMBER Every Person Needs to Know

350 Is the Number Every Person Needs to Know. Commentary Bill McKibben, The Washington Post, December 28, 2007. "This month may have been the most important yet in the two-decade history of the fight against global warming. Al Gore got his Nobel in Stockholm; international negotiators made real progress on a treaty in Bali; and in Washington, Congress actually worked up the nerve to raise gas mileage standards for cars. But what may turn out to be the most crucial development went largely unnoticed. It happened at an academic conclave in San Francisco. A NASA scientist named James Hansen offered a simple, straightforward and mind-blowing bottom line for the planet: 350, as in parts per million carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It's a number that may make what happened in Washington and Bali seem quaint and nearly irrelevant. It's the number that may define our future... 450 parts per million... [is what] the European Union and many of the big environmental groups have been proposing in recent years, and the economic modeling makes clear that achieving it is still possible, though the chances diminish with every new coal-fired power plant... But the data just keep getting worse. The news this fall that Arctic sea ice was melting at an off-the-charts pace and data from Greenland suggesting that its giant ice sheet was starting to slide into the ocean make even 450 look too high. Consider: We're already at 383 parts per million, and it's knocking the planet off kilter in substantial ways. So, what does that mean? It means, Hansen says, that we've gone too far. 'The evidence indicates we've aimed too high -- that the safe upper limit for atmospheric CO2is no more than 350 ppm,' he said after his presentation... The last time the Earth warmed two or three degrees Celsius -- which is what 450 parts per million implies -- sea levels rose by tens of meters, something that would shake the foundations of the human enterprise should it happen again. And we're already past 350. Does that mean we're doomed? Not quite. Not any more than your doctor telling you that your cholesterol is way too high means the game is over. Much like the way your body will thin its blood if you give up cheese fries, so the Earth naturally gets rid of some of its CO2each year. We just need to stop putting more in and, over time, the number will fall, perhaps fast enough to avert the worst damage... the weaning has to happen now, and everywhere. No more passing the buck. The gentle measures bandied about at Bali, themselves way too much for the Bush administration, don't come close. Hansen called for an immediate ban on new coal-fired power plants that don't capture carbon, the phaseout of old coal-fired generators, and a tax on carbon high enough to make sure that we leave tar sands and oil shale in the ground. To use the medical analogy, we're not talking statins to drop your cholesterol; we're talking huge changes in every aspect of your daily life. Maybe too huge. The problems of global equity alone may be too much -- the Chinese aren't going to stop burning coal unless we give them some other way to pull people out of poverty. And we simply may have waited too long. But at least we're homing in on the right number. Three hundred and fifty is the number every person needs to know." Bill McKibben is a scholar in residence in environmental studies at Middlebury College and the author of the forthcoming "Bill McKibben Reader."