Archive for August, 2006

California and carbon

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

So California is taking the American lead in trying to do something about global warming. Pretty dang cool.

California will become the first state in the country to require industries to lower greenhouse gas emissions under a deal struck Wednesday by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democrats that could dramatically reshape the state’s economy…. By 2020, when industries would have to lower carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by 25 percent, solar panels, alternative fuels and electric cars could be commonplace, according to advocates of the legislation.

The plan is to use tradable emission permits, at least tentatively.

The board is likely to set up a trading system that will allow companies to buy and sell emission credits, which would allow a company that made more emission reductions than required to sell credits to another business that hasn’t reached its emission goal…. The governor also demanded that the bill require that a trading system be created to help industries meet the targets. While the final version of the legislation points the way toward a trading system, some argued it was not specifically required and that the governor did not get what he wanted. British Petroleum announced late Wednesday it would not support the bill because it seemed unclear as to whether a trading system would actually develop.

So first thing to do is say, “yahoo! Some good news!”

The next thing to do is be wary of a cap-and-trade system for carbon. Cap-and-trade can work quite well in reducing pollution, as is evidenced in the experience of sulphur and nitrogen oxides. However, to work, a system like this needs to have measurable emissions. For sulpher dioxide, the emissions were mostly coming from large industrial facilities, especially coal-fired electricity power plants. It was pretty easy to put a meter on the smokestack to measure how much SO2 was coming out, and then check to see if the facility had the necessary permits to cover their emissions.

But carbon doesn’t strike me as easy to enforce. I suppose for large facilities burning fossil fuels, they can submit records of their coal, oil, and natural gas purchases, and those numbers can be converted into estimated carbon emissions. You can’t do that for transportation, though, at least no way that I can think of off the bat. Maybe California will ignore transportation. Anyway, we’ll see.

PS: Broken Flowers is a great movie. Oddball and funny. One of Jim Jarmusch’s best.

One mighty fine handbasket you’ve got there

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

All the better to go to hell in. More doom and gloom on the global warming front. Also, that reminds me that in this food issue of The Nation, Peter Singer says that Gidon Eschel and Pamela Martin says that the average American would reduce their contribution to global warming more by switching to a vegan diet, than switching their car to a hybrid-electric, like the Prius. Wow. I’d like to read some more of the specifics, but a little digging suggests that it’s only available by subscription. Curses!

Bioneers–we’ll be there

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

You know about Bioneers? You know about the Bioneers conferences coming up? You know that lots of Chelsea Green authors will be at the conferences in Dartmouth, MA and San Rafael, CA? Now you do.

CGers at Bioneers by the Bay (Dartmouth, MA, October 20-22)

  • John Abrams
  • Stephan Harding
  • John Lash
  • Lynn Margulis
  • Gunter Pauli
  • Jessica Prentice
  • Matthew Sleeth
  • Eric Toensmeier
  • Tim Traver
    Plus several of us behind-the-sceners, too.CGers at Bioneers (San Rafael, CA, October 20-22)
  • John Abrams (yes, John will be at both conferences)
  • Sim Van der Ryn
  • A big soap box for Eliot

    Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

    Congratulations to Eliot Coleman, fabulous farmer, bodacious book writer, and now gnarly Nation contributor. Eliot’s included in the current Nation special issue on food, part of a forum of ideas on “one thing to do about food.” Kudos also to the editors at The Nation for doing this special focus issue. Hopefully it will become an annual event. Among other things, we here at CG have lots of writers we’d like to recommend for inclusion next time.

    Thank you sir, may I have another

    Monday, August 28th, 2006

    Let’s go down the list and see how one Party rule has served the American populace. I will underline the correct answer.

    Foreign affairs?
    Excellent Good Okay Mediocre Bad Worse than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick

    Domestic economy?
    Excellent Good Okay Mediocre Bad Like salt in an open wound (see poke-in-eye-with-stick above)

    Civil liberties?
    Excellent Good Okay Mediocre Bad On the presumed advice of the lawyer that I am not allowed to consult, no comment. Now, Mr. CIA interrogator, please don’t rub salt into my eye that you just poked with a sharp stick!

    Excellent Good Okay Mediocre Bad Hell in a handbasket; or, like an Abu Ghraib for the whole planet

    Of course, it’s not all bad. But I just don’t have the vast free time it takes to research what the good news is. You’ll just have to trust me.

    Latest cribs from the CFRA newsletter

    Friday, August 25th, 2006

    Naturally, I recommend to all that you subscribe to the newsletter directly, but in the meanwhile, I like to help spread the word a bit here and there. My favorites from the August issue are on labels that mean what they say; Whole Foods Market buying local; a poem paean to windmills; and more on locavoring, in Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Maine, and beyond. Please, do read on.

    Grass Fed Beef, Credit Where Credit Is Due

    USDA’s proposed rule to certify livestock as “grass fed” might be given some teeth, thanks to family farmers and ranchers who have established markets with consumers

    USDA has finally proposed an administrative rule that would require livestock certified as “grass fed” receive a minimum of 99 percent of their lifetime feed from grass or forage, increased from the 80 percent proposed in 2002. The proposed rule, which is open for public comment until August 10, 2006, should be approved by USDA forthwith.

    Let’s give credit where credit is due. Folks like Chuck and Bev Henkel of Norfolk, Nebraska, among many others, have worked tirelessly to establish a market for grass fed livestock that provides a premium for family farmers and ranchers who produce high quality meat raised in ways that consumers support.

    Approval of the proposed standard will be a dramatic victory and will ensure that grass fed beef producers are able to maintain their hard-earned reputation for marketing a healthy and environmentally sustainable beef product.

    USDA’s new grass fed standard is a response to an effort led by the Center for Rural Affairs, Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and other organizations to improve USDA’s 2002 proposal for livestock label claims such as grass fed and free range as well as antibiotic free and hormone free.

    We urge everyone to help secure this victory by sending their comments in support of the grass fed label claim. While you are at it, urge USDA to move forward with the other sustainable production labels mentioned above. You can find out more about submitting comments and view a sample comment letter at – – under the action alert on grass fed beef.

    Contact: John Crabtree, 402.687.2103 x 1010 or [email protected] for information.


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    Wow. I hadn’t realized that.

    Friday, August 25th, 2006 reports the following “curiosity“:

    “We’re counting from the day Germany declared war on the US (December 11, 1941) to VE day (May 8, 1945). This is 1244 days. The Invasion of Iraq began on March 20, 2003 at 21:34 EST when the US began their first air strike on Baghdad.

    On August 15, 2006 21:30 EST the United States will have been at war in Iraq longer than it was at war with Germany in World War II.”

    Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Days of our Lives.

    Preaching in the belly of the beast

    Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

    The good Dr. Sleeth was recently interviewed in The Washington Times, generally a frothing mouthpiece of wackazoid right-wingedness. But you know what they say about a broken clock (although clearly that saying was established before the advent of digital clocks. George W. Bush is a broken analog clock. Donald Rumsfeld is a broken digital clock. Dick Cheney is an alien from an alternate universe where there is no fourth dimension of time–the question of accurate vs. broken clocks simply doesn’t exist in his universe).

    Lamont v. Lieberman

    Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

    Is it a conspiracy by CNN or does Lieberman just always look like someone stepped on his face? Anyway, Lamont seems to be working more democratic magic in CT, gaining ground among undecideds and maybe even a few Republicans. Coolio.

    I’ve been busy

    Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

    Still am. But will try to post some things nonetheless. (I love that word!)

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