Posts Tagged ‘solar power’

Holiday Season first annual point – counterpoint babble

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

* POINT: The Ontario International Airport is worse than Los Angeles City Hall’s red-haired stepchild. It’s more akin to the deserted, forlorn cousin promised housing in a garden shed. Glad folks are just learning this.

- From the L.A. Times: “After three decades of steady growth and earning a Forbes magazine nod as one of the nation’s top “alternative airports,” Ontario International is now among the fastest-declining midsize airports in the country. A pillar of pride for the Inland Empire, which rode the housing boom to a colossal bust, the sprawling facility owned and operated by the city of Los Angeles lost a third of its 7.2 million annual passengers between 2007 and 2010. The airport is on track to lose an additional 200,000 this year — setting it back to 1987 levels, when Ronald Reagan was president and the Dow was below 3,000. Nationally, only Cincinnati is shedding travelers at a faster pace …”

* COUNTER-POINT: (A.K.A. first to the punch): my piece on this subject from way back when.

- “Thirty-six years ago, during the money-loathing Summer of Love, Los Angeles got control of the air at a bead-like price. For $1.2-million and future concessions, the city bought a postage-stamp airport in the dusty flatlands of the Inland Empire in the era before the subdivisions and chain-malls invaded. Though dry in detail, if not colonial in result, the 1967-transaction provided each side with something immediately useful. Los Angeles International Airport secured a backup landing strip for those nights coastal fog (or smog) socked in its runways. Ontario inherited a strapping big-city patriarch that could lure commercial jetliners to the scruffy, San Bernardino County outpost while chasing federal dollars to expand it. Ontario’s airfield was barely more than parched earth and booster dreams when L.A. came along. It had taken World War II training needs to convert the dirt runways there to concrete, and defense contractors after that to bulk up the facilities. The first passenger terminal, one converted from a hybrid chapel-theater-canteen, didn’t rise until the 1960s. It was bush league at best …”

* POINT: The cities of Glendale, Burbank and northwest Los Angeles have tried their level best to keep hexavalent chromium (chrome-six, “The Erin Brockovich chemical) under state standards by either diluting the tainted fluid with fresh suppies, shutting off compromised acquifers or just dumping the stuff into the Los Angeles River. Research in Glendale, meantime, is underway to figure out how to remove the industrial contaminant point blank. This is an enormous issue where the Cold War, environmental science, Superfund policies and municipal water management weave in and out of the water table pocked by decades of defense manufacturing (mainly Lockheed), chrome plating and other industrial work involving heavy metals. You just wouldn’t know it’s a crisis from the scant media coverage. Consider this short piece from the L.A. Times:

- “Although the City Council last week approved spending an additional $400,000 to continue research at two testing facilities — just two months after the council gave the green light to spend $550,000 in grant and state funding on more research — some city officials are getting antsy …”

* COUNTERPOINT: My article that launched a series and community hullaballoo about local chrome-six water contamination after I worked with the L.A. Times in the year-2000 exposing the problem. Sometimes, it seems like we all have dementia when it comes to remembering that there’s an unusually pernicious toxin infesting our water. Maybe it was the recession or terrorism that spurred us kick this can down the road? Or, environmental fatigue? Couldn’t be politics (insert laugh track) or the sheer magnitude of the issue.

(more…)

If we want to ditch fossil fuels, and all the smog and global warming that it manufactures in bulk, perhaps we should we get ourselves far beyond the clouds.

Monday, November 21st, 2011

* We love this type of story. Ingenuity meets necessity. Graps exceeds reach. A scientific revolution that might lubricate social harmony. Orbital power plants: a warming, exhaust-laden envivorment needs you.

From MSNBC:

“The sun’s abundant energy, if harvested in space, could provide a cost-effective way to meet global power needs in as little as 30 years with seed money from governments, according to a study by an international scientific group. Orbiting power plants capable of collecting solar energy and beaming it to Earth appear “technically feasible” within a decade or two based on technologies now in the laboratory, a study group of the Paris-headquartered International Academy of Astronautics said … ” Colonel Michael Smith, the U.S. Air Force’s chief futurist as director of the Center for Strategy and Technology at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, said the idea has the potential to send safe, clean electrical energy worldwide “if we can make it work. “Isn’t that what government and industry should be working to do?” he said in a telephone interview.

Sidebar: how realistic?

“The idea of beaming down power from outer space has surfaced in science-fiction stories and government studies for decades now. Commercial deals have been struck, prototype satellites have been proposed, international initiatives have been announced. But has any real progress been made toward developing space-based solar power systems? That’s what we’re talking about this Sunday on “Virtually Speaking Science.”

* In less inspiring news, check out this New York Times story detailing President Obama’s decision to pare back on anti-smog rules. We’re in 2011, but it’s the same story that it’s been for decades. When political fortunes go south and the economy sputters, hard-won environmental regulation is recast as reckless oversight so our government leaders can water them down, to hell wilth the consequences. Maybe some day Uncle Sam will, green-wise, grow up to the point it stops creating false choices. Maybe.

From the New York Times (with their standard picture of a polluted L.A. skyline):

“The summons from the president came without warning the Thursday before Labor Day. As she was driven the four blocks to the White House, Lisa P. Jackson, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, suspected that the news would not be good. What she did not see coming was a rare public rebuke the president was about to deliver by rejecting her proposal to tighten the national standard for smog. The half-hour meeting in the Oval Office was not a negotiation; the president had decided against ratcheting up the ozone rule because of the cost and the uncertainty it would impose on industry and local governments. He clearly understood the scientific, legal and political implications. He told Ms. Jackson that she would have an opportunity to revisit the Clean Air Act standard in 2013 — if they were still in office. We are just not going to do this now, he said … The full retreat on the smog standard was the first and most important environmental decision of the presidential campaign season that is now fully under way. An examination of that decision, based on interviews with lobbyists on both sides, former officials and policy makers at the upper reaches of the White House and the E.P.A., illustrates the new calculus on political and policy shifts as the White House sharpens its focus on the president’s re-election …”

Our book, Smogtown: the Lung-Burning History of Pollution, makes clear we are on history’s hamster wheel here.

Cap and delay; the chromium tide. A mid-summer Smogtown roundup

Monday, July 18th, 2011

* California/West Coast greenhouse gas cap and trade on hold until 2013. Big surprise, here. The idea is controversial, poorly understood, largely unproven and being implemented during a historic election. Got juice?

- L.A. Times coverage:

“Facing continued litigation, California officials will delay enforcement of the state’s carbon-trading program until 2013, state Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols announced Wednesday. The delay in the cap-and-trade program, slated to take effect in January, is proposed because of the “need for all necessary elements to be in place and fully functional,” she said. But in testimony before a state Senate committee,Nichols said the postponement would not affect the stringency of the program or the amount of greenhouse gases that industries will be forced to cut by the end of the decade. Carbon-market executives mostly shrugged at the news. The air board “has given firms a breather, not a pass,” said Josh Margolis, chief executive of CantorCO2e, an emissions-trading company. “Companies will need to make the same reductions, but they will face a steeper slope.” The cap-and-trade program, championed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is a centerpiece of the state’s landmark effort to cut planet-warming gases to 1990 levels by 2020. It accounts for a fifth of the planned cuts under the state’s 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act. Under the program, 600 industrial facilities, including cement manufacturers, electrical plants and oil refineries, would cap their emissions in 2012, with that limit gradually decreasing over eight years. Several neighborhood organizations and environmental justice groups that focus on local pollution are fighting the program in court, saying it would allow industrial plants to avoid installing the strictest pollution controls. A San Francisco judge ruled in March that the air board had not sufficiently analyzed alternatives to the trading program, as required under California’s Environmental Quality Act. The agency appealed the decision, and an appeals court ruled last week that officials could continue working on the regulation pending the court decision. The board is drafting an analysis of alternatives, which is to be considered for adoption Aug. 24, Nichols said … In the wake of the failure of national climate legislation in Congress last year, California’s program would be North America’s biggest carbon market, three times larger than a utility-only system in the northeastern U.S. By 2016, about $10 billion in carbon allowances are expected to be traded through the California market, which is slated to link to similar markets in several Canadian provinces …”

* Chromium-six polluting L.A. County’s wells in addition to local cities. No cause for panic, but one for focused alarm.

- From the L.A. Daily News:

“The tap water in at least four Los Angeles County facilities, including two in Lancaster, has levels of contaminants such as arsenic and lead that exceed federal and state recommendations, according to a new county report released Thursday. The study by the county Department of Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures looked at the drinking water in 765 county facilities, including county jails, fire stations and wells. While it found that several hundred facilities had detectable levels of contaminants such as chromium 6, arsenic and lead, four of them were above the “maximum contaminant level” set by state and federal agencies. Those sites included Challenger Memorial Youth Center and a county-owned well at a trailer park, both in Lancaster. The report was the first time in 10 years that such an evaluation of water quality at county facilities was undertaken. County officials said that while they take the findings seriously, they urged the public not to panic … Of the 765 county facilities that were tested, about 43 percent exceeded the state’s “public health goal” for hexavalent chromium, 84 percent exceeded the PHG for arsenic, while 31 percent exceeded the PHG for lead. But officials said that public health goal is a very conservative target and failing to meet it does not necessarily mean the water is dangerous. Of greater concern are the facilities that exceeded the “maximum contaminant level” for certain pollutants. The study detected concentrations of arsenic at 70.4 parts per billion – seven times the federal and state maximum contaminant level – in samples from a restroom faucet at Challenger. It also found that Challenger, and several other facilities, had high levels of hexavalent chromium — aka chromium 6 — a heavy metal that gained notoriety in the film “Erin Brockovich.” The juvenile facility was found to have 12.2 ppb of hexavalent chromium. State officials have yet to set a maximum contaminant level for that particular chemical, but they said the “public health goal” is 0.2 ppb … ”

* Speaking of pollution victims, few place can lay claim like Kettleman, California. Looks like the natives are taking matters into their own hands now, and there’s real parallels to anguished mother in the early days of L.A.’s smog fight.

- From the L.A. Times story:

“Central and Southern California community groups filed a complaint about toxic waste dumps with the Environmental Protection Agency 17 years ago and never received a response. Tired of waiting, they have filed a federal lawsuit … Kettleman City, Buttonwillow and rural areas of Imperial County are home to the only toxic waste dumps in the state. Grassroots community groups say that locating the dumps only in low-income and predominantly Latino areas violates Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits any recipient of federal money from discriminating on the basis of race or national origin …”

MISC.

* Don’t even get us going on how disingenuous until now the state’s efforts at popularizing solar power has been with homeowners. Progress now, or perhaps the truth bubble emerging of people’s hunger to do more than themselves? You decide.

- From the L.A. Daily News:

“Due to public demand, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power canceled a single public meeting about its solar energy programs and replaced it with four workshops, the utility announced today …”

- The big boys are already reaping the savings, though. Thank God for Google. It just created a $280 pocket change fund. Link

* Some things never change: a conservative group trying to undercut hard-won environmental rules, state by state. They have fans, too. Link

Now, this is a big deal – California cementing its commitment to green energy

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

 

– From the L.A. Times story: “A mandate that California utilities increase their use of renewable energy sailed through the state Assembly on Tuesday and is headed for the governor’s desk. Environmental groups say the legislation is the most ambitious of its kind in the country. It would require the state’s electricity companies to provide 33% of power from renewable resources by the year 2020. State law now sets a 20% goal. Supporters made their case by invoking the nuclear plant problems in Japan and conflict in the oil-rich Middle East, as well as the struggling California economy: Environmentalists have said the mandate could create 100,000 jobs. The bill aims to lessen dependence on coal and natural gas in favor of wind, solar and geothermal energy. It would also protect ratepayers from large new costs, and “provides flexibility to utilities,” argued Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata).”

Very heartening news. Too bad it didn’t come a generation earlier.

– More on California and energy.

* It looks like California’s under-reported and provocative bid to run a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade will go forward after all once officials conduct further studies about alternative plans. Color us skeptical about market-based approaches after covering the Anne Sholtz case involving the AQMD, EPA, DOJ, and, yes, even the CIA, and hearing about Europe’s rampant cap-and-trade scandals. We’ll see.

* From the L.A. Times: “California’s effort to curb global warming, which was put on hold by a court decision, will be able to proceed on schedule once officials conduct a new environmental review, according to attorneys analyzing the case. A San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled that the California Air Resources Board failed to properly evaluate alternatives to the so-called cap-and-trade program, which would allow industries to purchase pollution allowances rather than cut their own carbon emissions. The court said that measures such as a carbon tax or direct regulation of greenhouse gases were not given enough consideration. Air board officials said Tuesday that they would meet with environmentalists who filed the lawsuit in an effort to narrow the scope of the court injunction, which is expected to be issued in about a week …”

* Wave energy and the future: a truly untapped source to meet our insatiable needs or a quick path to disrupt the marine ecosystem we need to live? Read it here. :”The waves off San Onofre have for generations beckoned surfers and sport fishermen to a wild stretch of coastline in the shadow of domed nuclear reactors. Now, an Orange County entrepreneur wants to tap the power of that legendary surf in a novel but highly controversial plan to build one of the nation’s first hydrokinetic wave farms …”

– For those convinced it’s no big deal to shave provisions of the Clean Air Act to shore up the wobbly recovery, take a read through these EPA-generated public health statistics from the Environment News Service. “Last year, the reductions in fine particle and ozone pollution from the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments prevented more than 160,000 cases of premature death, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates released Tuesday … By 2020, the benefits of reducing fine particle and ground level ozone pollution under the amendments will reach approximately $2 trillion while saving 230,000 people from early death in that year alone, the report concludes.”

In the year 2010, the reductions in fine particle and ozone pollution from the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments prevented more than:

  • 160,000 cases of premature mortality
  • 130,000 heart attacks
  • 13 million lost work days
  • 1.7 million asthma attacks

For more about the landlmark Clean Air Act, click here.

– Will the prolonged and alarming Japanese nuclear-plant crisis mean fresh opportunities for more exotic alternative energy ideas? Geothermal: get ready for your close up. LA Times Greenspace Link. Here’s my L.A. Times’ story on this general subject. And here’s my New York Times online Op-Ed that underscores how few Californians in supposedly America’s greenest state have largely eschewed solar power and our governmental hypocrisy.

– More about those Robert F. Kennedy photographs that my older brother took not long before RFK was assassinated in the kitchen of the old Ambassador Hotel nearly 43 years ago. L.A. Times Daily Mirror blog (note to self: type slower when commenting) and L.A. Observed, which produced a hysterical headline.

* For the record, my brother a couple of years ago emailed me these photographs and told me I could do with them what I pleased, as long as nobody stole the images. They sat idly on my hard-drive until I did a little file organizing recently and decided to post them. Both of us had completely forgotten about them, and so the idea we were seeking our 15 minutes — or 15 seconds in the blogosphere — of fame out of such a gruesome tragedy makes me want to laugh for about 15 hours. These were just a couple of poignant and significant photos taken by a then-21-year-old USC undergrad who stumbled upon one of his heroes. In broken record cadence, I believe the timing of the images pales next to the fact that Paul could get so close to a presidential candidate whose brother was assassinated in Dallas less than five years earlier!

Our mad green world – a mini tour behind the velvet ropes

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

* From the New York Times story: The U.S. armed forces beginning to weam themselves from good old petroleum.

“… Last week, a Marine company from California arrived in the rugged outback of Helmand Province bearing novel equipment: portable solar panels that fold up into boxes; energy-conserving lights; solar tent shields that provide shade and electricity; solar chargers for computers and communications equipment …”

* When green advertising becomes greenwashing. From an MSNBC piece,

” … Aiming to clear up confusion for consumers about what various terms mean, the Federal Trade Commission has revised its guidelines for making claims about so-called “eco-friendly” products. The proposed new version of the agency’s Green Guides was released Wednesday, with recommendations for when to use words like “degradable” and “carbon offset,” in advertisements and packaging, and warnings about using certifications and seals of approval that send misleading messages …”

* From the law of unintended consequences file, wind turbines may be sleek and nifty and economical if you live in a high-wind, high-energy-cost area, but they aren’t doing your neighbors’ or your own eardrums much good. New York Times piece:

“… Now, the Lindgrens, along with a dozen or so neighbors living less than a mile from the $15 million wind facility here, say the industrial whoosh-and-whoop of the 123-foot blades is making life in this otherwise tranquil corner of the island unbearable.

They are among a small but growing number of families and homeowners across the country who say they have learned the hard way that wind power — a clean alternative to electricity from fossil fuels — is not without emissions of its own.

Lawsuits and complaints about turbine noise, vibrations and subsequent lost property value have cropped up in Illinois, Texas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Massachusetts, among other states. In one case in DeKalb County, Ill., at least 38 families have sued to have 100 turbines removed from a wind farm there. A judge rejected a motion to dismiss the case in June.

Like the Lindgrens, many of the people complaining the loudest are reluctant converts to the antiwind movement …”

Thursday thicket – green catch-up mode

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

 

* Ensuring California’s millions of cars are as smog-free as possible has never translated into a system that’s corruption free, and never will.

From the L.A. Times: “A South Los Angeles smog check shop has been shut down by state regulators and may face criminal charges for routinely certifying pollution-belching vehicles as smog-free. Undercover surveillance by the state Bureau of Automotive Repair found that in a two-hour period, each of the 13 smog tests conducted at AM PM Smog at 6401 1/2 S. Avalon Blvd., was fraudulent … A state audit earlier this year found widespread fraud statewide, with almost one-third of older model vehicles failing surprise roadside tests even though they had earned passing grades at inspection stations …”

* Big stunner out of Washington, D.C. Politicians are politicizing the Gulf Oil spill to push for clean energy legislative, including a carbon “cap-and-trade” market. In Casa Blanca terms, I’m shocked at this dirty pandering. Restoriong gooey, tarry wetlands and petroleum-shellacked beaches and controlling the earth’s temperature are distant cousins of the green movement, or are they?

L.A. Times coverage.

* So Aghanistan actually does have natural resources that don’t include Taliban grunts with scarves and AK-47s? As if the average Afghani will get any benefit from this.

From the New York Times piece. “The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.

The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe …”

* Tell me this isn’t true, 30 years after a painful OPEC oil embargo that illuminated our need to wind down our dependence on fossil fuels, particularly from nations prone to hate and attack us, and intensity the search for clean, renewable energy. What was it George Washington proclaimed about foreign entanglements? Anyway, America’s addiction to cheap energy prices and our devotion to the status quo has done China wonders. They’re the country with the boundless solar power future.

From MSNBC. “… Solar power accounts for less than 1 percent of U.S. energy usage, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group. And although many industry watchers see big potential, the giant U.S. market currently ranks fourth in solar electric capacity — behind Germany, Italy and Japan …”

* On this last note, all I can say is that it’s about time and why wasn’t the old anti-corruption unit able to competently prosecute and investigate the Anne Sholtz cap-and-trade fraud? 

L.A. Times coverage: “U.S. Atty. Andre Birotte Jr. announced Friday that he was creating a specialized unit to prosecute public corruption and civil rights cases, such as those involving politicians or police officers accused of crimes.

The move effectively restores a similar unit that was disbanded by Birotte’s predecessor, Thomas P. O’Brien, two years ago.

“My experience has taught me that oversight breeds public confidence in government, and public confidence breeds better government,” Birotte wrote in a memo circulated to his staff, a copy of which was obtained by The Times. “The public needs to be able to rely on federal law enforcement to act as a watchdog for public institutions and the individuals who hold positions of trust in those organizations …”

On Earth Day, here’s my 2-cents on California’s false status as solar kingpin. In truth, the idea hasn’t caught on with homeowners, and all the rebates and rhetoric can’t obscure the depressing numbers. If this is true green, in the sense of mass acceptance, then we’re color blind out here on the West Coast. From the New York Times “room for debate” roundtable

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Here’s the tease to my Op-Ed on the subject.

“Californians: meet your sun. Or, rather, remember it.

Despite living in America’s premier green state, most of the state’s homeowners continue to rebuff solar power as a way to shrink their electricity bills, and simply plug into their local public utility much as their parents did.

The numbers paint the apathetic picture. Out of 7.7-million single family homes statewide, only about 50,000 have roof-mounted photovoltaic cells. In Los Angeles, the nation’s eighth sunniest city, only 1,627 homes boast solar hookups …”

There’s a lot more to say, and I will, but for now, I encourage you to read the opposing viewpoints and reader commentaries.

Right now, to reiterate, no matter California’s “status” as the greenest of greens, a meager 1 out of 154 homeowners currently use solar power. Does that sound like consumer acceptance to you? I fear we may learn how catastrophic this is as the environment continues to degrade and we experience an earthquake, terrorist attack or other awful event that knocks out power plants and leaves people with no way to electrify their lives and meet their needs until the juice is back on (and yeah, I know you need a fuel cell).

Anyway, here’s the link and I hope it proves a little thought-provoking. Just don’t buy into labels. Buy into the numbers and the big picture.

Happy Earth Day: do we have a lot to compute.

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Class: pay attention!

* Excellent perspective on the phoniness and promise of Earth Day from the Washington Post. Link.

* California Solar Initiative: billions on the line, millions of lives potentially at stake, and yet most are in the dark. For your enlightenment, link up. California: meet Spain. Link to New York Times story on their solar-lifestyle.

*Boeing scientists use organic remedies to remove toxins at Santa Susana Field Laboratory site. Enough said with the L.A. Daily News headline. Link.

*When it comes to long distance running, L.A.’s toxically perfumed air give local athletes that competitive edge. Coughing will knock you off that medal stand. See the L.A. Marathon. Link to L.A. Times blog.

* An EPA man of substance: where was this guy when I was reporting on chromium, et al? Link from the Patt Morrison radio show on KPCC.

* Now this is a real-mini, but will the Third World embrace it in the name of post-climate change and unglamorous function. At least GM is trying, which is better than wallowing in bankruptcy blues. Link to MSNBC story.

* A couple of morsels on California’s climate law, which right now is anything but orderly. L.A. Times story on opponents pouring in money for initiative to delay the climate-change-fighting legislation. Link. On the same subject of global warming, here’s what the California Air Resources Board projects will be the economic benefits of the bill. Link to L.A. Times piece.

Around the green horn … Wednesday potpourri

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

solar-cell-array-jpeg-lasmogtown

* From the L.A. Times story:

“A solar energy project proposed for development on public land in the Mojave Desert would create jobs mostly for Las Vegas and electricity for San Francisco at the expense of the relatively pristine area of east San Bernardino County where it would be built, San Bernardino County Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt said …

‘Obviously, there is a lot of political pressure to get this project expedited and under construction,” Mitzelfelt said. “But its impacts in San Bernardino County and sensitive and scenic Mojave Desert environment are not worth the benefits.’ … ”

* Hmm, does this sound familiar – a green Ponzi scheme that slipped past the regulatory watchdogs? Not that many honest politicians want to discuss this. From the New York Times post

“Federal regulators have accused four people and two companies of using bogus claims about “green initiatives” to entice more than 300 investors into what was really a $30 million Ponzi scheme.”

* Power to … ummm, the windmills. Sorry, that’s politically incorrect green jabber. Power to the windturbines, micro or massive, whether they spin horizontally or merry-go-round style. Interesting story about this in the L.A. Times (link). Stay tuned on this subject.

* In a scene straight from our book, Smogtown: The Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles, comes this latest effort to beat back global warming with “geo-engineering.” Anyone have an air pollution sewer blueprint ready to roll. What I find interesting isn’t the scientific bravado and ingenuity that some might otherwise tab hubris but a discussion of the unintended consequences of messing with Mother Nature.

From the L.A. Times piece:

“If there were some kind of panic button to stop global warming, what would it look like?

How about billions of tiny mirrors, launched into orbit to deflect solar rays away from Earth? Or big, fluffy clouds, artificially whitened so they reflect more sunlight back into space? Or maybe mechanical trees, ugly but effective at sucking carbon dioxide from the air along busy highways?

Outlandish as some of these proposals may seem, scientists and engineers are paying increasing attention to such ideas amid mounting evidence that human-caused climate change is wreaking havoc in some parts of the world.

The proposals belong to a field known as geo-engineering, or manipulation of the environment on a grand scale …”

* Think we’re too cynical here. Read on about what’s happened in China here.

* If that doesn’t depress you about what’s happening in Asia, you always have super-duper dirty L.A. Break out the bubbly – we’re the 7th most toxic city in America (depending on how you calculate that.) Link.

More environmental pot-luck for you while we fine-tune some things

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

gm-volt-jpeg-lasmogtown

Can the GM Volt really get 230 MPG? Story

If you’re skeptical about that, how do you feel about carbon sequestration. Count us as skeptics here, until that “ah-ha” moment of truth in science and consensus in D.C. Link.

The public’s de-prioritizing environmental cleanup during hard economic times is both common sense and old hat in Los Angeles, where anti-smog campaigns often were killed, delayed or made all marshmellow-like whe those jobless numbers went up and the booster types snarled that detoxifying the air was polluting the California business cliimate. Read our book Smogtown for a stroll down memory lane. This latest poll is pretty insightful about the American mind right now.

Idealab and solar power. What a marriage! Story.

Of all the recent enviro stories, this one from the New York Times about how climate change may wind up being a national security threat might be the most important.