Three Perspectives on Climate Change

Last weekend was all about global warming. First, on Saturday, I attended the Washington, D.C. premiere of “Chasing Ice,” a new adventure documentary in which nature photographer James Balog attempted to capture glaciers in their death swoon.

See my review, and don’t miss the trailer:

On Sunday, I rode my bike to a theater near the White House to hear author Bill McKibben speak as part of the “Do the Math” tour. McKibben is a gangly, bookish hero of the movement against climate change, and he is starting a provocative crusade against oil, coal and gas companies. From my Forbes blog post, entitled, “Is It Time To Divest From Exxon?“:

Bill McKibben, the author and activist famous for halting the Keystone XL pipeline, led a rally in Washington, D.C. yesterday to build momentum toward a larger, harder and much more controversial goal: persuading colleges to drop their investments in companies like Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and BP because the burning of their fossil fuel reserves will warm the planet beyond recognition.
“They’re trying to wreck our future,” McKibben told a jubiliant young crowd that nearly filled the 1,800-seat Warner Theater near the White House. “So we’re trying to take away some of their money.”

The story prompted this comment from a Forbes reader:

Yeah, divest from the most profitable company on earth because some guy from Vermont says so. Right. Let me get right on that. Regardless of hybrid or electric cars, gasoline powered vehicles are still the standard…until someone builds a better mouse trap, which has not happened yet.

Finally, today, I posted a story based on some interesting new figures from the recent International Energy Agency. While coal use is dropping like a hot rock here in the U.S. — good news for our carbon emissions — the atmosphere will continue to steadily warm because China and India are burning far more coal than we’re saving. Here’s a relevant passage from my post titled, “As Coal Use Drops in U.S., China and India Burn Even More“:

This news confounds the narrative about coal that has started to take hold in the U.S. The story goes that coal, nudged toward extinction by a glut of cheap, domestic natural gas and stiffening regulations, will begin to disappear as a fuel source and cause emissions of global-warming gases to decline.
But the rest of the world, especially Asia, is going in exactly the opposite direction, projected to use an additional billion tons a of coal each year by 2016. During that time, China will add the equivalent of 160 new coal plants while India adds 70. The atmosphere doesn’t make a distinction between coal burned in Ohio and coal burned in Shanghai.





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