The Footprint Blog

Save the whales! Save the planet!

It turns out sperm whales are every bit as good for the atmosphere as they are awesome to look at. Scientists from Australia have calculated that the whales may in fact be responsible for the removal of 200,000 tonnes of carbon every year, approximately the same as taking 40,000 cars off the road. Large mammals are generally considered to be… read more →

Encouraging people to drive to the bar

I get funny looks when the subject of zoning ordinances comes up, mostly because I end up hijacking the conversation to talk about the insanity of our parking laws. But if other people are talking about it on their blogs, it's only fair that I get to mention it here: >[D]id you know that American cities usually require off-street parking… read more →

The experts have it… TerraPass is #1 again!

We are thrilled to announce that TerraPass has claimed the top spot in Greenopia's rankings of carbon offset companies for the 2nd straight year. In fact, we are the only provider to receive Greenopia's coveted four-leaf ranking. Greenopia's overall verdict: > TerraPass is head and shoulders above the rest of the industry in terms of transparency, project selection, and usability,… read more →

EPA analysis of Kerry-Lieberman released

The EPA released its analysis of the Kerry-Lieberman bill - aka the American Power Act - earlier this week and the results are in: this bill, much like the ACES legislation already passed by the House, will have a nonexistent to negligible effect on the longterm prosperity of the USA. Detailed analysis here(pdf), and bullet-pointed summary by Dave Roberts over… read more →

What’s holding up China’s oldest buildings?

Scientists, reporting in an issue of *Accounts of Chemical Research*, have discovered the secret organic ingredient added to building mortar in China to create super strong walls that withstood even earthquakes: sticky rice. In creating what amounts to the first organic-inorganic composite material, construction workers circa 1500 years ago utilized a unique feature of a polysaccharide chain from the sticky… read more →

Cash for caulkers coming

The House passed the "Cash for Caulkers" legislation earlier this year and (maybe? hopefully? probably?) the Senate will soon follow suit. The legislation provides incentives for energy efficiency improvements by rebating to homeowners some $6 billion dollars for window retrofits, water heater upgrades, and insulation installations, among other things. I don't want to go into a ton of detail about… read more →

What can you do about it?

TerraPass members are a vocal group, with our past surveys showing that about half of our members have contacted their government on environmental issues. Recently, I spent some time with some friends who work in environmental NGO circles, and we got to talking about the most effective ways for regular constituents to get attention from their elected representatives. After all,… read more →

Media thinks scientists hype dangers of climate change

Spiegel Online recently published a narrative of the politicization of climate science over time, from James Hansen's 1988 Congressional testimony all the way to last year's "Climategate." The abbreviated story goes like this: scientists in the 1980's first discovered and proved the link between a warming planet and human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. The politicization began when Hansen, in his Congressional… read more →

No silver bullets available here

I heard a luncheon speaker last week who channeled James Hansen as he asserted that mitigating climate change is, more than anything else, about coal. And that actions short of shutting down all the coal plants are something between a palliative and an unwarranted distraction. This line of thinking couldn't be more right and more wrong at the same time.… read more →

“Science” writer John Tierney hates kittens

I occasionally find John Tierney's contrarian column in the Science section of the New York Times enlightening, but invariably when he writes about climate change I want to punch a hole through the wall. His latest column has to do with supposed doomsayers calling for expensive reductions in GDP to combat climate change. The gist is that doomsayers have always… read more →
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