Saturday, April 28, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Companies and individuals rushing to go green have been spending millions on “carbon credit” projects that yield few if any environmental benefits.
A Financial Times investigation has uncovered widespread failings in the new markets for greenhouse gases, suggesting some organisations are paying for emissions reductions that do not take place.
Others are meanwhile making big profits from carbon trading for very small expenditure and in some cases for clean-ups that they would have made anyway.
The growing political salience of environmental politics has sparked a “green gold rush”, which has seen a dramatic expansion in the number of businesses offering both companies and individuals the chance to go “carbon neutral”, offsetting their own energy use by buying carbon credits that cancel out their contribution to global warming.
Well, what a surprise. A fake problem with an even faker solution that makes Al Gore and his buddies rich. How could that possibly go wrong?
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
She's also a big hugger right now, and seems to want to hug other kids, some of whom don't really want a hug. Which can be kind of heartbreaking, watching your daughter try to hug another kid and get knocked to the ground in the process. Fortunately Sabrina's such a trouper that it never bothers her, she just gets up and keeps trying to hug the kid.
Monday, April 16, 2007
God I love first-time experiences with Sabrina, every one is such a wonderful gift and I'll remember them all forever.
UPDATE: I forgot, this pic was taken by my lovely sister Genie, who lost a good friend last week. Send her your love and prayers.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Before compact fluorescent light bulbs and ethanol, the first line of defense against global warming was planting trees.
Forests, after all, cool the atmosphere by drinking in carbon dioxide from the air. A new study, however, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports that forests' other climatic effects can cancel out their carbon cleaning advantage in some parts of the world. Using a three-dimensional climate model, the research team mimicked full global deforestation and also studied the effects of lear-cutting in different regions of latitude, such as the tropics and boreal zones. Apparently, these natural carbon sinks only do their job effectively in tropical regions; in other areas, they have either no impact or actually contribute to warming the planet. In fact, according to this model, by the year 2100, if all the forests were cut and left to rot, the annual global mean temperature would decrease by more than 0.5 degree Fahrenheit. (Emphasis mine)
This is Scientific American, mind you, not exactly a supporter of the Bush administration or big business. And if you think that's confusing, read this:
Trees perform three major climate functions: They absorb carbon, which they pull from the atmosphere, creating a cooling effect; their dark green leaves absorb light from the sun, heating Earth's surface; and they draw water from the soil, which evaporates into the atmosphere, creating low clouds that reflect the sun's hot rays (a mechanism known as evotranspiration that also leads to cooling). These three factors—the second two being largely ignored in climate models up to this point, according to Caldeira—taken together created very different results in the primary latitudes studied: the equatorial tropic zone; the midlatitudes that include most of the U.S.; and the boreal areas, which are subarctic and include much of Canada, Russia and the northern extremities of the U.S.
In all three regions, forests dutifully perform their task of sucking carbon dioxide from the air, but light absorption and evotranspiration vary wildly. In tropical zones, forests have a significant, overall cooling effect. The soil is very wet and, so, via evotranspiration, the trees are covered by low-lying clouds that create a small albedo (power of light that is reflected by a surface). In nontropical areas, Caldeira explains, "the real significant factor is whether there's snow on the ground in the winter." If a forest covers a snowy expanse, "that has a strong warming influence," he notes, because of little cloud cover resulting from less efficiency in evaporating water. The poor cloud formation coupled with the intense absorption of light by the trees "far overwhelms the cooling influence of the carbon storage," he says.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Soon our little girl will graduate to the big kid slide, and that should be all kinds of fun. Anything but the big kiddie castle, built so adults can only enter by crouching down in the most unpleasantly uncomfortable way. Sabrina's not big or skilled enough to deal with the winding staircase and other dangers, so one of us has to murder our lower backs while supporting her throughout the damn thing. I want to burn it down.
As much as I want to leave her alone while she's trying to do physical things, I have to admit I love being part of her adventure. As a former daredevil, I have a decent sense of when she's really in trouble and when it just looks dangerous, and I try to help her avoid disastrous consequences without denying her the chance to fail, because some lessons must be reinforced by pain to be truly learned. By which I mean I only catch her when it's going to be a bad fall, with blood and head injuries.
More park fun in a moment.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Monday, April 02, 2007
And when that happens, remember: it was Sabrina's idea, and she'll punch you in the nose if you say otherwise. Look at those dukes. They'll getcha.