Wednesday, January 10, 2007

climate change news

The New York Times has an interesting article about a recent news release issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stating that 2006 was the warmest year for the 48 contiguous states since regular temperature records began in 1895. Most notably, the release states, “A contributing factor to the unusually warm temperatures throughout 2006 also is the long-term warming trend, which has been linked to increases in greenhouse gases." Watch for this release to be cited often in the debate over greenhouse gases.

On a related note, Michael Dell, founder of Dell Computers, is urging the electronics industry to offset the environmental effects of the energy consumed by their devices.

On yet another related note, Governor Schwartzenegger has asked state regulators to require petroleum refiners and gasoline sellers to cuts, by ten percent, greenhouse gas emissions associated with petroleum production and use. The plan is innovative in that it incorporates lifecycle analysis, looking not only at the emissions associated with the use of the fuel, but also with the production.

As an aside, according to the article, Governor Schwartzenegger urged the legislators "to encourage the free market to overthrow the old order." This brings to mind the competing visions of the free market (and I'm even talking in terms of definitions, not norms, here). Schwarzenegger's plan involves mostly promoting the production of alternative fuels. Some might argue, though, that any government interference (including promotion of one product over another) constitutes a perturbation of the "free market". It seems that Schwartzenegger has a different definition.

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