Gristmill Blog: Three for the Price of One


Firstly, Grist has a look at rep. Henry Waxman's Safe Climate Act and concludes, in short, that it kicks ass. It's based on incremental reductions in greenhouse gas emissions; to learn more about the principle and why it's a better way to do things than setting big targets with distant deadlines, read this excellent post by Jeremy Faludi on WorldChanging. If you are in the USA, it might be a good idea to contact your elected representatives and show your support for the bill.

Secondly, they report that NASA climate scientist Jim Hansen wrote a piece for the New York Review of Books in which he's supposed to be reviewing three books that deal with global warming: The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery, Field Notes from a Catastrophe by Elizabeth Kolbert and An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore. "Supposed" because he actually spends most of the piece talking about our climate and the possible repercussions of global warming. He also gives props to Al Gore for having had better insight than him on certain points in the past. A very interesting read.Thirdly, David Roberts has interviewed Chris Paine, the director of Who Killed the Electric Car? (see our recent TreehuggerTV episode about it), Chelsea Sexton, an activist prominently featured in the film, and Wally Rippel, an engineer who played a role in developing the power system for the late, lamented GM EV-1.

Here's a juicy bit from the interview:

David Roberts: The movie seems to start out in support of all-electric cars and end up in support of electric-gas hybrids, which seems a little bit of a step back. Why not all electric cars now?

Wally Rippel: Ten years ago, I don't know that we could have been talking about plug-in hybrids the way we do now, because the batteries, in order to get adequate power for acceleration, had to be large enough that it was really looking like an electric car. You didn't have space left over for an internal combustion engine. So there's been technical progress that allows us to put two power trends together. And this is not a step back: I mean, these vehicles are pure electric if you're driving 30 miles a day. But they also, by virtue of the engine, allow you to have a much larger market share. It potentially can become not just a niche thing but mainstream, and really do some good.