AC Alert for November 29, 2011 The Climate Debate Rages On

Dec 2, 2011 2:00 PM ET

AC Alert for November 29, 2011 The Climate Debate Rages On

Steve received an interesting assignment from his high school science teacher last week: “On the eve of the

UN’s International Climate Talks

in Durban South Africa,” said his teacher “I want each of you to research some of the latest news about

Global Warming and Climate Change

, and then form an opinion on whether the threat is real or exaggerated. Please document your findings.” 

The first article Steve accessed was from the November 21st edition of the Washington Post:  “UN: Global concentrations of carbon dioxide at record level exceed worst-case projections” was the headline. Rather convincing, he thought, a strong argument that the global warming threat is indeed very real.

However, the next article challenged his first conclusion: “Global warming may not be as severe as predicted” was the headline from the November 25th edition of TG Daily, an on-line source offering features, opinions and news about technology, science and entertainment related topics. “A possible contradiction,” he thought to himself.

And so to high schooler Steve: If you are feeling confused about the entire global warming issue, take heart: you are not alone! There are strong advocates on both sides of this issue, and new articles and studies surface almost every day. And many others are in the middle trying to decide on their own opinion with regard to climate change.

Perhaps AC's featured commentator Richard Barr can shed some light on the issues for you. In his current commentary, he writes: "In August I posted The Future Of Green Tech, Part I and it may have been seen as just one more piece of depressing news.  Now, I’m here to cheer you up with Part II. .If you’re a regular reader of my commentary you know that our energy issues and the closely-linked climate change threat are of great interest to me.  When I heard of a live webinar featuring two of the industries leaders, of course I faithfully attended. The program was hosted by the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSRI), an extremely important on-line journal with content on strategies for nonprofits, foundations and socially responsible business.”

The webinar -- “The Future of Green Tech” -- was presented by L. Hunter Lovins, President, Natural Capital Solutions, and Clayton M. Christensen, the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School.

Barr writes: “Having now digested Christensen’s talk thoroughly I must say that I don’t think the future of green tech is quite as bleak as he painted it although he does have a very clear grasp on the historical evolution of commercial technology.  But I’ll let Lovins do my talking.  Their presentations couldn’t have been more different.  The major difference is that Christensen’s talk dealt with what has happened.  Lovins' talk dealt with what could happen based on what is happening.  What could happen is decidedly more upbeat than what has happened -- and Hunter Lovins uses real world examples of how we can turn the energy crisis and climate change around on a dime." (Source: Richard Barr)

Of course, even Richard Barr's interesting comments may have our high schooler searching for still more answers for his assignment. Perhaps that was the lesson his teacher was trying to get across with this assignment. There’s a lot to learn about climate change, isn’t there!

Over the last two years we have seen intense debate about the existence of human-caused climate change and global warming. Some truly believe the damage has already begun and have been raising warnings; those assumptions are strongly challenged by doubters who nay-say scientific findings.  It's a never-ending dialogue and your AC editors continue to closely monitor each day's activities through our Global Warming and Climate Change Hot Topic. Here are some recent excerpts:

UN: Global concentrations of carbon dioxide at record level, exceed worst-case projections
(Source: Washington Post) Global warming gases have hit record levels in the world’s atmosphere, with concentrations of carbon dioxide up 39 percent since the start of the industrial era in 1750, according to the U.N. weather agency. The new figures for 2010 show that CO2 levels are now at 389 parts per million, up from about 280 parts per million a quarter-millennium ago. The levels are significant because the gases trap heat in the atmosphere.

Global warming may not be as severe as predicted
(Source: TG Daily) As atmospheric carbon dioxide increases, the planet won't get as hot as previous studies have indicated, new research shows. The authors of the National Science Foundation-funded study say their data suggests that a doubling of CO2 wouldn't increase the rate of global warming by as much as the worst estimates of some previous studies – or even than projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report in 2007.

In climate talks West would redefine rich and poor
(Source: Associated Press) As delegates gather in South Africa to plot the next big push against climate change, Western governments are saying it's time to move beyond traditional distinctions between industrial and developing countries and get China and other growing economies to accept legally binding curbs on greenhouse gases.

China Outlines Cuts in Carbon Emissions
(Source: New York Times) With global climate talks set to begin China has issued the most comprehensive document yet on its plans and negotiating positions on emissions. Although much of the information has been released before, it is the first time the data has been presented comprehensively — part of China’s strategy to make its accomplishments better known.

Study: Climate change to have serious impact on NY
(Source:  Scientists at some prestigious New York universities say the recent bizarre weather may be a part of a trend in the coming decades as the state faces an outsize effect of climate change because of its northern latitude and geology.

EPA to propose utility carbon rules next year
(Source: Reuters)  The EPA will propose twice-delayed rules on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants in early 2012, according to Lisa Jackson, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator. The EPA in June and again in September had delayed the proposed rules on power plants, which are the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, saying it needed more time after talking with businesses, states and green groups.


The Future Of Green Tech, Part II

(Source: Richard Barr) Richard Barr is a featured commentator for Accountability Central.  He transitioned out of a 20-year career with First Affirmative Financial Network. His commentary on the impact of global warming should be a must read for every citizen.

Some Americans still have their doubts about the problems of climate change and global warming. At the same time, world governments are unable to agree on a course of action. AC will continue to focus on potentially one of the greatest issues world society faces today. We strongly suggest you pay our Global Warming and Climate Change Hot Topic section a daily visit.

This is just a sampling of the information in our Alert. Go here for the full text of this alert, and more information on Sustainability, and other Accountability related topics.